Unless D.J. Fluker wins a starting job, the players starting along the offensive line for the New York Giants in 2017 are likely to be the same ones that were part of a much-maligned unit last season.
Even with the same pieces, optimism has been the buzzword around that line thus far. The Giants have pointed to the hard work done this offseason by tackles Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart, as well as their added year of experience. Justin Pugh is currently healthy after missing time last season with a knee injury. Weston Richburg has recovered from a hand issue.
Still, that optimism means nothing until the players prove they can a) perform better and b) stay healthy. Pro Football Focus reminds us that the line remains a huge question, placing the Giants’ blockers No. 28 in their offensive line rankings:
Few teams have larger chasms on their offensive line than the left side of the Giants line. Ereck Flowers has had serious issues in pass protection over the course of his career and led all tackles in pressures allowed as a rookie. Next to him is left guard Justin Pugh who has been a top-15 guard when healthy over the past two years.
Realistically, the Giants’ offensive line is probably not as bad as it is reputed to be. When healthy, Richburg and Pugh are among the best in the league at their positions. John Jerry is a serviceable player coming off his best season. The questions, as every Giants fan knows, are at the tackle spots.
Rather than replacing Flowers or Hart, or at least adding real veteran competition, the Giants are simply counting on improvement. We will see if they were right.