Newly-acquired Jamon Brown will start Monday night for the New York Giants, per Jordan Ranaan of ESPN. That, of course, confirms something we have been telling you to expect for the past several days.
Brown, awarded to the Giants on waivers during the bye week, will be the ninth offensive lineman to start for the team this season. When Brown lines up at right guard Monday against the San Francisco 49ers this will be the fifth starting offensive line for the Giants in nine games.
We know that the initial offensive line rebuild by GM Dave Gettleman didn’t go well. Two of the players in the Week 1 starting lineup (Ereck Flowers and Patrick Omameh) are no longer with the team and a third, center Jon Halapio, has been on IR since breaking his ankle in Week 2.
One of the truly interesting things about the final eight games for the Giants is that there is a chance that this new, rebuilt on the fly offensive line, could provide them some answers long term. Let’s take a look.
LT Nate Solder
OK, let’s all agree. Solder is not living up to his four-year, $62 million contract. By annual salary ($15.5 million) he is the second-highest paid left tackle in the league. He’s, umm, not the second-best offensive tackle in the league. Far from it.
He is also not horrible. Despite whatever the narrative has been.
Among 58 qualifying offensive tackles, Pro Football Focus has Solder ranked No. 38 in pass blocking efficiency. Twenty-two tackles have given up more pressures than the 20 Solder has surrendered. For what it’s worth Solder and Andrew Whitworth have identical pass blocking effiency scores and have given up the same number of pressures.
Solder allowed only six sacks all of last year, so having given up that many in half a season isn’t good. The rest of his numbers, though, are all in line with what he’s done throughout his career.
The 30-year-old figures to be the left tackle in 2019, as well.
LG Will Hernandez
The second-round pick is a solid building block for the Giants. He currently is the ninth-graded guard in the league, per Pro Football Focus. The five sacks he has allowed are too many, second-worst in the league, but Hernandez is 24th overall in pressures allowed with 13. His future is bright.
C Spencer Pulley
Here is where things start to get interesting. The 25-year-old Pulley started 16 games for the Los Angeles Chargers a season ago and was awarded to the Giants on waivers at the beginning of the season.
Pulley started the final two games for the Giants before the bye.
“I think he’s done a good job. He’s a natural center, he’s a little leaner than guys that play guard. He started last year the whole season at center, so he’s got experience,” said head coach Pat Shurmur. “He’s smart; you need more than a fishing license to get into Vanderbilt. He’s a smart guy, he understands football, and he’s doing a good job of directing us.”
The Giants’ handling of the center position this season, from not trying to keep Weston Richburg in free agency to giving the starting job to Halapio instead of Brett Jones and ultimately trading Jones, has been curious. If, however, Pulley shows he can handle the job that could take a need off the table heading into 2019.
RG Jamon Brown
The Giants were extremely lucky to find the 25-year-old Brown, a 16-game starter on a good Rams team a year ago, on waivers. They know it.
“He’s a big man – a really big man, which I’m fond of in linemen – and he can move his feet,” Shurmur said. “He was a starter last year on a team that won more than 10 games, so we were glad he was available. What we’ve seen to this point, we’re excited about getting him going.”
Brown, in his fourth season, can be a free agent at the end of the season. If he plays reasonably well over the last half of the season, though, it’s not hard to picture the Giants giving him a healthy contract to stick around — taking yet another need off the table.
RT Chad Wheeler
Right tackle figured to be the major sore spot on the line entering the season, and even with Flowers now in Jacksonville it still is.
Wheeler has the third-lowest pass blocking efficiency score among 58 qualifying tackles and 10 of the 11 tackles who have surrendered more pass pressures have also played in more games.
The Giants signed Brian Mihalik in September. He figures to get a chance at some point. If he doesn’t, that’s probably more of an indictment of Mihalik than an endorsement of Wheeler.
This is a spot the Giants will almost certainly look to upgrade in the offseason.