New York Giants fans have spent the offseason talking ... and talking ... and talking some more about the right side of the offensive line. Why didn't the Giants sign a big-name free-agent offensive lineman? Why didn't they draft a starting-caliber right tackle? They can't be serious about starting John Jerry and Marshall Newhouse again? Can they? Really? Where's the nearest bridge?
Well, in the course of the Giants not adding any obvious starting candidates to the line discussion has continued to center around Bobby Hart, the team's 2015 seventh-round pick. Could Hart, just a young pup at age 20 when the Giants drafted him, push one of those two veterans to the bench in 2016? Forget the question. Giants fans are begging -- please let Hart be ready to push one of those guys, preferably Newhouse, to the bench. If he's not ready, where's that bridge again?
Well, yours truly has had the opportunity to speak with Hart twice this offseason. Once in an exclusive one-on-one interview and once during the "Big Blue Chat" podcast. Both times Hart discussed his opportunity and told me he was focused on getting stronger this offseason.
"You can't be strong enough. Strong isn't strong enough. The stronger you are the better chance you have when you're going against some great athletes every Sunday," Hart said. "You might be able to get by for a little while not being strong enough ... definitely being strong is one of the main points I'm working on right now."
What Hart didn't say in either of those interviews, and that he revealed to Dan Graziano of ESPN this week, is that he has dropped 25 pounds since this time a year ago. Hart told Graziano that he now checks in at 315 pounds. That would indicate that the 329 pounds he was listed at when the Giants drafted him and the 334 pounds he is officially listed at on the Giants web site are both inaccurate.
Giants fans should take it as good news that Hart recognized the need to improve both his strength and his overall physical condition.
Can he play well enough to unseat Jerry or Newhouse? There are no guarantees. He is an unproven seventh-round pick and to take a job away from either player, both of whom have started a lot of NFL games, Hart is going to have to clearly prove that he is a better player. We will simply have to wait to find out if he can. So, stay off that bridge and give the kid a chance.
Getting himself into top physical condition is a good start.