There is, quite obviously, intense interest from both the media and the fan base regarding the development of the revamped New York Giants offensive line. After all, it was an Achilles heel last year that has to be repaired for the Giants to be as good as their play-making weapons indicate they could be on offense.
Thus, there is lots of reporting going on at practice each day regarding how the line is doing handling the pass rushes of Olivier Vernon and Connor Barwin, whether or not they are successfully identifying and picking up the variety of looks and blitzes defensive coordinator James Bettcher has been dialing up in preparation for the season.
In general, to the naked eye of reporters on the sideline, it looks like the defensive is getting the better of the battle in the trenches thus far in training camp.
During his daily press briefing on Monday, Giants coach Pat Shurmur might as well have dropped the “don’t believe everything you read” cliche.
“Everybody’s kind of giving play-by-play, day-by-day analysis of what’s going on. I get it. There’s a craving for that type of information. Boy, the o-line is doing great, or the d-line is doing better. I get that. I see it differently. I think it’s important that we go out there and work on certain things. If we’re only running one play against one defense and everybody’s getting it right all the time then we’re not getting enough done.
“The more we see in practice the better we’ll be against Jacksonville, Houston, Dallas ...”
Despite the appearance that the defensive line is winning through the first four practices, Shurmur told me is “encouraged” by the offensive line’s work to date.
“I am,” he said. “I don’t have anything from a year ago to compare it to. I’m encouraged by what I’m seeing from the guys that are in there.
“We’ve already written a lot of articles and done a lot of interviews about how we’ve made big changes there. So, yeah, I like how they’re working together.”
Here are more takeaways from Shurmur’s Monday presser.
Olivier Vernon “a pro”
Olivier Vernon, converting from defensive end to outside linebacker, has been dominant early in camp.
“We all know he’s a dynamic pass rusher, but he does a very good job of playing the run as well. He was her all spring, really engaged in everything we’re doing, learning the new defense. I’ve really, especially behind the scenes, gained a great appreciation for what a pro he is.”
On Evan Engram ...
“We feel like he’s a three-down tight end. He’s improved his blocking, he works on it constantly. Obviously his redeeming quality is as a pass receiver.”
On Odell Beckham ...
“I see what I expected to see when we started to communicate back in February. This guy loves to play football.”