The 0-3 New York Giants have played in three winnable football games and found ways to lose all of them. Teddy Bridgewater and the Denver Broncos outclassed them at home on opening Sunday, 27-13. They somehow found a way to lose, 30-29, against the Washington Football Team in prime time. They had so many opportunities to seal the victory but made several bad mistakes that hurt their chances of earning a divisional win on the road; it ultimately cost them in the end.
The Falcons, a team that surrendered 80 points in the first two weeks, defeated the Giants, 17-14, at MetLife Stadium. New York had the ball more, ran more plays, gained more yards, and still lost the football game because of self-inflicted errors at inopportune times. It also didn’t help that the Giants don’t capitalize on opponent’s mistakes - they dropped two easy interceptions and let a third fall to the deck as well.
One issue with this offense is the line, but not just due to pure ineptitude. The line has given Daniel Jones some clean pockets. Still, critical mistakes by individual players - a missed assignment, losing 1-on-1 matchups, penalties, miscommunications, etc. - have cost the offense multiple drives.
We broke down center Billy Price last week after his first start against the Washington Football Team. He struggled in that game; Hernandez and Price weren’t on the same page several times. Price didn’t have as many obvious mistakes against the Falcons.
Left guard Ben Bredeson, who also struggled against Washington, had a fluctuant game against the Falcons. His mistakes, though, were costly. ESPN reported on Monday that he’s dealing with a hand injury. The severity of the injury is unknown, but the Giants signed guard Wes Martin off of Washington’s practice squad. It’s certainly a situation to monitor. Let’s get into his film.
(Ben Bredeson is #68)
The Giants ran a few GH counter plays with the backside guard and sniffer pulling to the front side. It’s a power/gap-based downhill run call, a staple of Jason Garrett’s playbook in 2020. Last season, Shane Lemieux excelled pulling for the Giants, and Bredeson did a solid job against the Falcons in this role.
He’s quick to get his shoulders square and momentum moving forward towards the unblocked end man on the line of scrimmage. He sinks his pad-level and explodes through his hips - low to high - to absorb the contact from Dante Fowler Jr. (6). Bredeson wins the pad-level battle and drives Fowler Jr. vertical after contact, and once Saquon Barkley (26) was away from the hole.
Here’s the same play call, but Price is flagged for the hold while attempting to pin the 2i-Technique to the backside. Bredeson again engages the block promptly. His pad level is slightly high, but he still uncoils his hips and drives his legs through the block, creating space between his assignment and the double-team on the 3-Technique. The defender does a good job reading the tackle’s down block and putting himself in a good position to defend the puller, but Bredeson still did a solid job overall.
This isn’t a counter run, but it is a downhill power run with the backside guard, Bredeson, lead blocking. In this case, the linebacker attacks downhill, and Bredeson meets him unblocked at the line of scrimmage, sort of in a trap type of manner. Bredeson does cross his legs to his target, but he locates the inside shoulder of the linebacker and turns him away from the 6-hole.
This is not a counter-play, but it’s a solid run-blocking rep from Bredeson, who uses Grady Jarrett’s (97) momentum against him. Jarrett attempts to penetrate the A-Gap quickly; Bredeson gets one hand on his midline, allows the penetration, and then takes his outside hand and places it on the small of Jarrett’s back, securing control as Barkley runs through the hole.
Solid pass protection plays
As you’ll see in a bit, Bredeson wasn’t great in pass protection, but he shows a good anchor on the play above. He sits well against the bull rush attempt. His shoulders are square; he absorbs the contact well, sits on his hips, and doesn’t get put on skates. This is a nice play from Bredeson.
Bredeson’s punch is a bit wide, but he does a good job staying in front of Jarrett as he attempts to gain a half-man relationship. Bredeson adjusts to Jarrett’s rush twice and does a solid job not allowing the pass rusher space to separate. Bredeson’s feet are active, his hands are constantly repositioning, and he sinks his pad-level multiple times through the play.
Bad pass blocking plays
These mistakes happen with Bredeson a bit too often. Jarrett opens outside, and Bredeson doesn’t stay square; he leans into the block, leaving himself vulnerable to pass-rushing moves. As he leans, Jarrett clubs his outside arm, and Bredeson’s inside foot doesn’t glide to match Jarrett’s movement. His hips attempt to open, but that foot isn’t in a position to move. The reaching and lunging set up the bad footwork and left him susceptible. He’s not light on his feet, and that position provides terrible maneuverability.
He may have been expecting inside help from Billy Price, who trips over Will Hernandez’s (71) inside foot, but it’s still not a good look for the left guard. Bredeson goes to make contact with his inside arm, but it is quickly clubbed downward while the pass rusher swims over the top of Bredeson and records one of the easier sacks of his career. This destroyed the Giants’ first drive and may have cost Big Blue four points.
This is an RPO, so Bredeson is attempting to position himself between Jarrett and Barkley’s path, but watch how Jarrett uses his hands so quickly to keep Bredeson off his chest. Bredeson pops up out of his stance, and Jarrett swats his outside arm away to swim over the top. Jarrett’s used his hands so quickly and efficiently against Bredeson, who struggled to deal with the overall speed of Jarrett.
The last play was an RPO, and this is a run play where Jarrett, again, tosses Bredeson downward due to a heavy lean and his quick hand usage. Bredeson comes off the ball low and with a lean, but Jarrett excellently clubs that outside arm down and swims over the top. The force in Jarrett’s hands sends Bredeson to the ground, effectively taking him out of the play.
Bredeson does not anticipate the power of the 3-Technique, which forced the left guard back into the pocket. Bredeson does enough not to falter, but his anchor was really challenged.
Bredeson’s Week 4 availability is still up in the air. Bredeson has struggled through three games. He’s not a disaster, but he needs some work as a pass protector. There are plays where he executes good technique, maintains a low center of gravity, and readjusts very well through the play. There are other plays where he’s beaten right off the snap. There is certainly room for improvement along this entire interior offensive line - and the entire line other than Andrew Thomas, who is playing well. Still, the Giants find themselves in the unfortunate position of traveling to New Orleans to play one of the more feared defenses in the NFL. It could be a long Sunday for this offensive line in the Superdome.