New York Giants fans might not believe what they are reading, but Pro Football Focus has the team’s much-maligned offensive line graded as the third-best in the NFL through four games. Yes, third-best out of 32 teams.
Pretty amazing. PFF had the Giants ranked No. 20 among offensive lines heading into the season.
PFF’s Sam Monson writes:
There may be no bigger turnaround in performance from a season ago than that of Giants LT Ereck Flowers, who was disastrous as a rookie while struggling through an injury all year. In 2016, however, he has been impressive, allowing no sacks through four games and run blocking extremely well. Justin Pugh has become an All-Pro level guard, and currently leads the rankings at PFF with a 90.4 grade. The worst performer so far has been C Weston Richburg, but even he has been good as a pass blocker, allowing just a single total pressure (a sack); his run blocking, however, has left something to be desired (42.8 run-blocking grade).
Here’s a quick peek at Flowers. We’ve looked at this one before, but it’s worth showing again.
From PFF, here are the the individual grades for the Giants’ offensive linemen:
Flowers: 83.0; Pugh: 90.4; Richburg: 58.2; Jerry: 80.8; Hart: 75.6; Newhouse: 68.8
Football Outsiders is not nearly as generous to the Giants in its offensive line rankings. FO has the Giants ranked 19th in the league in run blocking with 3.81 Adjusted Line Yards per attempt and No. 4 in pass protection with an Adjusted Sack Rate of 4.1 percent.
The offensive line is playing better than it did a year ago. Flowers’ improvement has been central to that. So, too, has the Giants’ ability to run the ball using Pugh and Jerry as pulling guards. The combination of Newhouse and Hart has been solid in three of four games, another plus. Hart, incidentally, has held up better at tackle in his two starts than I thought he might based on his difficult preseason.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though. The Giants spent most of Monday night getting rid of the ball as quickly as they could, knowing they couldn’t hold up with deep drops against the pass rush of the Minnesota Vikings.
This offensive line is better than it was a year ago. It’s good enough to win with provided they can stay in rhythm and not ask Eli Manning to stand in the pocket and hold the ball while waiting constantly for downfield routes to develop. I’m not buying, though, that it’s the third-best group in the league.