Hello Giants fans! Well these guys just aren't getting any smaller are they? Just like Marvin Austin, James Brewer is a man mountain. The twenty-four year old out of Indiana is a whopping 6'6, 330 pounds of lineman. And if he's going to be a future solution to the Giants Offensive Line woes he's going to need all the size and strength that he possesses. As we all know, the Giants running game was dreadful last season. Whether it was Bradshaw, Jacobs, or even Ware, it seemed as if we could never really get solid production from our ground attack. Now while Reese has brought in David Wilson to add some explosiveness to the run game, you have to believe that the coaches are looking to guys that are already on the roster to fix our busted O-Line.
The last picture always cracks me up. I don't know how they get a helmet to fit this guy's head. But being that he's bigger than a house I highly doubt many people say much to him about it. Anyway Brewer is a guy on the Giants roster that is just as likely as anyone to have a good year this year. He has all the size and tools needed to become a successful Right Tackle in this league. In fact his size is almost identical to former Giants Right Tackle Kareem McKenzie. Almost like Jerry Reese was perhaps thinking about that when he picked Brewer in the fourth round two years ago. But no matter what, Brewer is going to have to prove that he's ready to step up this year. On a team ran by Coughlin, nobody is handed a spot.
Brewer doesn't have a lot of college ball to list on his resume. In 2007 Brewer injured his foot, causing him to miss the entire season. The very next year he started eight games for the Hoosiers before falling victim to a season ending ankle injury. Brewer's first full year of health came in 2009, where he started at Right Tackle for all twelve games. He was apart of an Offensive Line that allowed only sixteen sacks on the season, which was a total that had them ranked for second fewest in the Big 10 and tied for 28th nationally. He was able to stay moderately healthy in his final year as well, only missing three games in a very successful 2010 campaign. Brewer received an honorable mention nomination for the All- Big Ten team from both coaches and media. Brewer only allowed two sacks during his final season, helping contribute to Indiana's prolific pass offense, which led the Big Ten and ranked 14th nationally.
As you can see from his college career, Brewer has a history of feet and ankle injuries. I can't say I'm surprised being that he's 330 pounds and has to constantly be moving his feet and trying to out maneuver much quicker Defensive Ends. While we can only hope that his injuries are healed up and behind him, having injuries for three out of his four college years has to be a bit worrisome, especially in the NFC East. Keeping up with the likes of Jason Babin, Ryan Kerrigan, and others can really take its toll on a Tackle.
Brewer didn't receive stellar reviews at the Combine. Due to his massive size many expected him to blow the bench press out of the water, but he only put up 25 reps, which is more or less average. He clocked a 5.27 40 yard dash time, which for a 330 pound man isn't bad.
Above is the video of Brewer's combine workout. He doesn't have great speed as far as distance goes, but what do you expect from a lineman? What a liked was his footwork, which makes me think that he can keep up with the quicker pass rushers in the NFL. If he doesn't have a problem stringing out Defensive Ends and letting them take themselves out of the play, he should fit in well along our Offensive Line.
Why He Can Make an Impact
If you ask me, Brewer is the best fit for the Right Tackle spot this year. I loved Kareem McKenzie, but lets be honest here. Last year the man was a turnstile. I watched men half his size push him backwards and take shots at Eli. As Giants fans our number one concern is Eli Manning. Without him, we're screwed beyond belief. The fact that Brewer only gave up two sacks in nine games his Senior year has me very positive about his pass protection skills. He'd also have Martellus Bennett to help chip Defensive Ends and give him a bit of help when he first starts out, and Chris Snee would be a great veteran lineman to play next to, even if he doesn't rebound from his down 2011 season.
As far as the running game goes, once again we just can't get any worse. The lack of a running game really did take a toll on our offense last year. Fortunately Eli was good enough to lead the offense to a Superbowl win and fortunately our Wide Receivers were talented enough to make up for the lack of a running game, but we can't expect to constantly be successful without a ground game. There were times that our offense was stagnant and just looked downright flat. If you can't get those six to eight yard chunks in your ground game, you lose the respect of the defense. One of the Giants favorite things to do is run the Play Action pass and completely confuse the defense. Eli is one of the best at running the Play Action, but without a run game it doesn't matter how good his fakes are. If I do a profile on Mitch Petrus I'll be saying the same thing. Bradshaw and Co. averaging 3.5 YPC is disgusting, and not Giants football at all. If we want to get back to having a solid running game we need to inject some youth into our Offensive Line. Brewer is a big body to run behind and again with Bennett to help him out, he should be able to create some running lanes for Bradshaw and the rest of the Running Backs.
The biggest reason I think Brewer has a real shot to make an impact is because the competition in front of him is not stellar at all. Yes they will probably move David Diehl back to Right Tackle. I'm aware of that. But they shouldn't. Diehl has been mediocre to bad for the past couple seasons, and I don't feel comfortable with him playing Right Tackle and trying to protect Eli. Diehl would just be a smaller version of McKenzie last year, getting pushed around and not being effective in the least. Sure Brewer is unproven, but I'd prefer his potential after a full offseason over Diehl's proven play. Sean Locklear is another guy who will be competing for time. Locklear has been in the NFL for eight seasons since he was picked by the Seahawks in the 3rd round of the 2004 NFL Draft. While he's quality veteran depth, if he's a starter for us I think that we're in trouble. There is also a chance that Brewer could even see work at the Left Tackle position. With Beatty being a big question mark because of his back, they might want to give Brewer some work at the Left Tackle position just in case the injury bug strikes our already thin Offensive Line depth.
In this first video, you get a good feel for how Brewer likes to pass block. I noticed that he really likes to get those long arms out it front of him, which makes it that much harder for the Defensive End to maneuver. He also moves his feet quickly and seals off the edge for his Quarter Back. Now there are a few negatives. On one play he misses a block and turns around to go after him. As a lineman you NEVER do that. If a lineman misses a block they are supposed to look at the defense and find someone else to block. Once a guy gets past you there is nothing you can do unless you're going to blatantly hold the defender. Brewer also needs to learn to stick to his blocks on running plays. You're supposed to block until the whistle, and then just a little bit after. I'd also like if he got a little lower when he goes to the second level, but the guy is 6'6 so it's kind of hard for him to do that.
This next video makes me wish that Brewer would improve upon his strength so that he can handle pass rushers at the NFL level. There are a few times he gets pushed back a little bit and I don't really like that. On the positive side, he stonewalls the Defensive End more often than not. Brewer also sticks to his blocks a little bit better in this video as well.A big thing is he gave up a sack in this game. He seemed confused at who he was supposed to block, which is why he only put one hand on the Michigan defender instead of devoting a complete block to him. Mental errors can be taken care of with time and training camp. It's better then him getting beat constantly because he doesn't have the physical tools.
I think that Brewer could be a very big part of our Offensive Line this year if he can show up in camp. It will be hard to show up in camp seeing as an Offensive Lineman on the Giants have to block guys like JPP, Tuck, and Osi in practice. But hey, it's good practice. I'm really hoping the coaches don't get stuck in a loyalty to the veterans and start a guy like Diehl even if it isn't in the best interest of the team. I'm looking forward to Brewer improving on his physical tools and making an impact on our Offensive Line.