Everything came up sunshine and roses in Dave DeGuglielmo’s first couple of weeks as offensive line coach for the New York Giants.
The Giants protected quarterbacks Daniel Jones and Colt McCoy, ran the ball with impunity and won football games.
The storm hit Sunday for DeGuglielmo’s group as Giants’ quarterbacks were sacked eight times and the team ran for only 78 yards in a 26-7 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
“Our rhythm wasn’t right up front, and that caused problems for other parts of the offense. We’ve gotta be big boys. We’ve got to rally behind each other and get better each and every day,” DeGuglielmo said.
“The problems don’t get solved because you win a game that nobody thinks you can win in Seattle. You still have problems, and those things have to be addressed.”
One of those problems has been handling T/E stunts from opposing defensive lines. The Giants struggled with that early in the season, had done a better job recently, then had difficulty handling twists from the Cardinals.
“I think if you watch the film it really hasn’t been handled well all year. That’s part of the problem, we’re trying to solve that problem. T/E stunts, it is the most difficult stunt a team can run against you pass-protection wise,” DeGuglielmo said.
“We did handle it better against Cincinnati, yes, but it’s been an issue throughout the season and it’s something we’re continuing to work on to get better at. We need to get better at it, we need to straighten it out. It’s not that we can’t get it right, we just didn’t get it right.
“We’ve gotta be big boys. We’ve gotta pick these things up. That’s just how it goes.”
DeGuglielmo said things started “snowballing” on the young offensive line as the game went along.
“We lost sight of the fundamentals because things started snowballing. A mature team, a team that is used to facing adversity and coming out of it they don’t get flustered when things happen,” DeGuglielmo said. “We have to learn how to be Steady Eddie, especially up front. We’ve gotta be mules, just keep on plowing away and let things fall where they may with the rest of the team.”
The coach took the poor performance personally.
“Even though I’ve only been here a short time these are like my children. Most importantly i feel bad for my guys. Whether it was how we prepared or our mental state or maybe we were overconfident, whatever the case may be we didn’t accomplish what we needed to accomplish,” said DeGuglielmo.
“Good teams can pass block when everybody knows you’ve gotta throw the ball. Good teams can do that. Good offensive lines can do that. We were not a good offensive line the other day and I feel terrible for the guy who’s taking the hits … We didn’t do our job.”
DeGuglielmo deflected blame from rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas, who was charged with two sacks and seven pressures, per Pro Football Focus.
“It’s the totality of the protection, it’s the whole pocket it you will. If the pocket is not firm in the middle the tackles are at a disadvantage, and that’s the truth of the matter …. It’s not his fault on some of those plays,” DeGuglielmo said.
“It’s not what it always seems to be. I think he’s doing a great job, he’s working very hard and I love the fact that he’s an intelligent guy. That impresses me the most about him. He was trained very well in college.”
DeGuglielmo also said that rookie left guard is a player with “tremendous upside,” but one who needs to lower his pad level and learn to play with power.
“He’s from a program in college where it’s not a power game, it’s a finesse game at Oregon. So he’s learning how to play with power, both in the pass and the run game,” DeGuglielmo said.
“I think he’s got a tremendous upside, but we’ve gotta keep working at it. The only way he’s going to get better is to go through these little periods of ‘shoot I got bullrushed here, how do i need to put my hands, do I need to separate, do I need to sit, where’s my back foot? All these little pieces … now he knows, now he felt it, he’s gotta put it into play … It might take two or three shots.”