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Offensive Line, Of Course, Focus Of Latest Mailbag

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Let’s see what questions we have this week

We haven’t done a “Big Blue View Mailbag” for a couple of weeks. With one less-than-satisfying game down and a Monday night game against the Detroit Lions coming up, let’s open up the mailbag and see what pops out.

Ed says: The “who can the Giants get to help the offensive line right now?” question comes up over, and over, and over, and over again.

Let’s talk about free agents first. In case you haven’t noticed, the Giants are not the only team in the NFL struggling with offensive line play. There are a number of teams in worse shape. Here is a list of some of the best available free agents, including offensive linemen. Here’s the thing, though. If any of these guys were really solid players a team would want to use in anything other than an absolute emergency don’t you believe they would already have jobs? The time to add is in the offseason via free agency or the draft, not now. There is nobody on the street better than the players the Giants have.

Now, trades. The question dealt with guard, but let me reiterate that the Giants are not going to be able to trade for offensive tackles Joe Thomas or Joe Staley. As for guards, again consider the state of offensive line play around the league. Trading for a stud guard, or any stud lineman is a nice idea. Problem is, nobody has surplus offensive linemen and can afford to give up good players. As Ben McAdoo says, never say never. It’s just highly unlikely anyone is giving up a quality lineman.

Ed says: Anthony, I have been calling for Darkwa to get a bigger opportunity for three seasons now. Like I said on this week’s “Big Blue Chat” podcast I don’t know what it’s going to take. Or, for that matter, if it’s ever going to happen. Fact is, he was an undrafted player the Giants plucked off the Miami Dolphins practice squad. They have draft choices invested in Paul Perkins and Wayne Gallman, and a hefty paycheck going to Shane Vereen. Like it or not, those things matter.

Ed says: I think it’s waaaaay too early to try to figure that out. Besides, you don’t go into the draft saying “I’m taking X number of players at this position, X number at that position, etc.” It doesn’t work that way. Let’s see how this year plays out.

Simon Withers asks:

I saw on Twitter a stat from last weeks Giants game that apart from screens 98% of pass plays they only had 5 linemen pass protecting, no help for the struggling tackles.

How does that compare to other teams, and do you think that is part of our offensive line woes?

Ed says: Simon, I didn’t see that stat and I don’t really know if it is accurate or how it compares to other teams. I do know the Cowboys rarely blitzed Sunday night, meaning the Giants had five linemen to block four rushers on nearly every drop back, plus chips from running backs and occasional help from tight ends. That needs to be enough. Whether you believe them or not, and I’m not sure I do, Pro Football Focus will tell you it was enough.

Steven Alessandrini asks:

So frustrated with the continued ineptitude of this offensive line. I agree with you that the Calvary isn't coming though. So what can the Giants do in other aspects of the game to minimize the negative impact the line is having? More sets with 2 TEs? Use the FB more? Use a 6th lineman on running plays?

Ed says: Steven, the Giant are already appear to be doing much of that. Per Pro Football Focus, they ran 14 percent of their plays with two tight ends Sunday night. Fullback Shane Smith played eight of 57 snaps, that is also 14 percent of the offensive plays. It was only one game, but they did show much more variety in their personnel packages. As for using a sixth offensive lineman, why would you do that when you are carrying a highly-paid blocking tight end (Rhett Ellison) and a fullback? You do that when you don’t have players at those spots.