The pending hiring of Rob Sale as offensive line coach by the New York Giants has to be right move. The future of a young offensive line that needs both good coaching and stability after a 2020 season that saw some uneven play and a mid-year swap from Marc Colombo to Dave DeGuglielmo.
What should we know about Sale?
One person I asked about Sale called him an “excellent OL coach and developer.” Another said he was a “very good coach and developer.”
Notice the common, and crucial, word? Developer.
The Giants went all-in on young offensive linemen in the 2020 NFL Draft. They selected Andrew Thomas (No. 4 overall), Matt Peart (Round 3) and Shane Lemieux (Round 5). Nick Gates has only one season of starting experience at center, and Will Hernandez is still on his rookie contract. Also, considering their salary cap limitations, should the Giants want to add to this group they will likely do so via the draft. They need someone with a track record of developing young talent.
Sale’s success with offensive lines at Louisiana (Lafayette), Arizona State, Georgia and McNeese State shows that he can do that.
At Louisiana, Sale oversaw the development of two players, Robert Hunt, and Kevin Dotson, who were selected in the first four rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft. Hunt was selected in the second round, 39th overall, by the Miami Dolphins. Dotson was taken in Round 4, 135th, by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Sale, with no previous NFL experience, is obviously accustomed to teaching young players. DeGuglielmo, by contrast, freely admitted that rookies were not his cup of tea.
The ability to understand young players and help them learn their craft is an essential skill for a Giants’ offensive line coach.
Digging into the Rolodex again
In his first two offseasons, Giants head coach Joe Judge has leaned heavily on hiring and on hiring coaches he has worked with in the past at either the college or NFL level.
Sale was a strength and conditioning assistant and offensive analyst at Alabama from 2007-2011. Judge was there as an assistant to Nick Saban from 2009-2011.
Linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer, running backs coach Burton Burns and defensive line coach Sean Spencer had never coached in the NFL before joining Judge’s staff.
Sherrer, Burns, quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski, tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, defensive assistant Jody Wright and special projects coach have all worked with Judge in the past.
That shows, to me, that Judge knows the kind of people he wants to work with and that he has made a strong impression along the way on many of those he has worked with.
Sale has been an offensive coordinator at two college stops. He was a run game coordinator at Arizona State. Louisiana also featured a high-powered passing attack.
All signs indicate Jason Garrett is returning as offensive coordinator. There was an ESPN report, though, that some assistant coaches will have expanded roles. Perhaps Sale will be able to contribute to an exchange of ideas that can help freshen or expand what the Giants, 31st in the league on offense in 2020, do when they have the ball.