I generally hate playing the “what could have been” game, but when I saw the just-released Pro Football Focus offensive line rankings for Week 2 [subscriber only] I couldn’t help myself.
Let’s start with this. The Giants are ranked No. 23 overall. That means that despite as bad as you may think the line is, nine groups around the league grade out worse. The highest-graded lineman is left tackle Nate Solder at 83.7. The lowest-graded is right guard Patrick Omameh at 59.6.
PFF’s Michael Renner writes:
I know the Giants’ offensive line looked like it got completely obliterated this past week, but much of that was the Cowboys’ blitz schemes against New York’s protection calls. Manning was only under pressure on 16 of his 51 drop backs, but he converted six of those pressures into sacks. Dallas blitzed 13 times, and Manning was sacked on five of those plays. A few of those were miscommunications up front, but Manning has to help his line by getting the ball out quickly with extra rushers.
What I have a problem with in Renner’s statement is the part about Manning getting the ball out quickly. When 29 of 44 throws are with 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, 12 behind the line, the ball is coming out pretty quickly. I don’t really know what else you can do to protect the line.
Here, though, is the kick in the teeth for the Giants. The No. 1-ranked offensive line this week belongs to the New Orleans Saints, who happen to have 39-year-old Drew Brees at quarterback. Oh, and with a couple of different decisions three of the five players who make up that New Orleans line could be Giants.
- In 2015, the Giants drafted Ereck Flowers No. 9 overall. The Saints drafted Andrus Peat, now their starting left guard, No. 13.
- In 2017, the Giants passed on Ryan Ramczyk at No. 23 to select Evan Engram. Ramczyk went No. 32 to the Saints and is their starting right tackle.
- In 2017, New Orleans right guard Larry Warford was a free agent. Rather than sign Warford, the Giants brought back John Jerry and added D.J. Fluker, neither of whom are with the team any longer. This past offseason, they added Patrick Omameh.
I know it’s crying over spilt milk. I know it’s pointless to play the “coulda/woulda/shoulda” game. I just couldn’t help it in this case when I looked the players who comprise that Saints line.