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NY Giants Will Hernandez, Nate Solder developing a mutual respect

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Rookie, veteran biggest building blocks in revamped offensive line

NFL: New York Giants-Rookie Minicamp
Will Hernandez
Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY SPorts

There appears to be a budding mutual admiration between rookie left guard Will Hernandez and veteran left tackle Nate Solder. Hernandez and Solder, of course are a duo the New York Giants hope will elevate the play of their offensive line.

When the Giants drafted Hernandez there was a question of whether he or veteran Patrick Omameh would play left guard, since that is where each has the most experience. It always seemed, honestly, to make the most sense to leave Hernandez at his natural spot and allow him to play and learn next to Solder.

That is what the Giants have done, with Hernandez taking all of the first-team reps next to Solder for the first two days of mandatory mini-camp. That also leaves the experienced Omameh next to Ereck Flowers, who is learning the right tackle position.

When I spoke to Hernandez on Tuesday, he was effusive — perhaps to the point of hyperbole — in his praise of Solder.

“I’m extremely blessed to be able to come in and play next to a future Hall of Famer, in my opinion. The guy’s not just a great player but he’s also a great coach and a great teammate and just a great person off the field, too,” Hernandez said. ”He’s taught me a lot so far and there’s no telling how much I’m going to learn from him as the time passes, but I’m extremely thankful and I’m glad I’m able to play next to him.”

NFL: New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns
Nate Solder
Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Solder chuckled on Wednesday when I read parts of Hernandez’s quote to him.

“I think that’s very flattering and very nice of him to say. I don’t think that all of my qualities are as good as he may have portrayed, but I’m so thankful to be playing with him, too. He’s got so much talent and he’s got a lot ahead of him, but we’ve got to keep working,“ Solder said. “We’ve got to keep working together, we’ve gotta know each other better, we’ve gotta know how we play, how our footwork is, how our hand placement is, all the technical details that really make you work well with a person.“

The Giants can only hope that the developing relationship between the veteran leader of the offensive line and the player who could be that groups future anchor helps lead to better offensive line play than the team has seen for a while.