The New York Giants signed former Buffalo Bills’ interior offensive lineman Jon Feliciano to a one-year contract to be their starting center, an opportunity Feliciano said Wednesday he has been seeking. Feliciano reunites with general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll.
There’s still a lot to transpire from now till week one of the regular season. Feliciano played 2,536 offensive snaps through four seasons as a backup with the Raiders and three seasons with the Bills, two of which he started. Feliciano was the opening day starter at left guard in 2021 before suffering a calf injury that forced him out of the lineup for nine weeks.
Feliciano played significant snaps at all three interior positions throughout his career. He has 1,789 snaps at right guard, 689 snaps at left guard, and 323 snaps at center.
The veteran former Miami Hurricane is an adequate addition on an offensive line that desperately needed leadership and competency - which Feliciano offers. He shouldn’t be a longtime fixture on the offensive line, but the addition buys the Giants time. It doesn’t force them to overdraft interior offensive linemen, nor does it preclude the Giants from adding one at the correct value.
Joe Schoen and the Giants’ front office had little cap space heading into free agency. Three additions on the offensive line: Feliciano, Mark Glowinski, and Matt Gono, are reasonable moves given the current state of the Giants. In Feliciano and Gono’s case, they won’t count against the compensatory draft formula because both of their contracts were terminated. Here’s a breakdown of Feliciano’s film.
Jon Feliciano is No. 76
Feliciano doesn’t possess the same movement skills or athletic ability as Glowinski, but he’s an adequate run blocker who can work double teams, hold the point of attack, and kick into space.
Feliciano is playing left guard above, and he does a good job chipping the 3-Technique before climbing to locate the defensive back in the box. He chips and uses his inside hand to shove the hip of Christian Wilkins (94) towards Dion Dawkins (73), which allows the tackle to swivel his own hips into the 3-hole, positioning himself between the running back’s landmark and Wilkins. Feliciano climbs and locates Brandon Jones (29) as he heads downhill to fill the B-Gap. He hits Jones and allows Devin Singletary (26) to accelerate to pay dirt.
Feliciano’s uncovered on the outside zone play, so he has to contact the 5-Technique to help Dawkins and then climb to locate the linebacker. He does a great job helping Dawkins initially and then flipping his hips to seal the linebacker inside, providing a hole for Singletary. Dawkins does a poor job sustaining the block as he drives the defender off the line of scrimmage, and the play goes for a modest gain. Still, Feliciano executed his assignments well, showing functional athletic ability and hip mobility.
Aligned at center on this play, Feliciano has to reach the 2i-Technique - not the easiest block. The defender uses his length to keep Feliciano off his chest with his inside arm. Feliciano breaks the contact and locates the small of the defender’s back; he uses the defender’s lateral flow against him and rides the defender off his original spot, creating a cutback lane for Zack Moss (20). An excellent adjustment and ability to adapt from Feliciano.
Feliciano at left guard, loses the leverage battle in this short-yardage situation against Zach Sieler (92), but he lands his inside hand and uses superior upper body strength to take advantage of Sieler’s forward lean, which leads to the balance issues seen on the play. Feliciano winning that one-on-one block led to Moss’ touchdown.
Feliciano, at center, is the pin blocker on the pin-pull concept above. He has to stop the backside 3-Technique from accessing Singletary, who follows the kick-out block towards the 7-hole. Feliciano’s feet are tangled, yet he maintains balance through contact, resets his feet, and doesn’t fall backward.
Feliciano’s back at left guard here. He struggled against Cam Heyward (97) all game. The power Heyward has gave Feliciano a lot of trouble, but on this play he does a good job holding the point of attack long enough while blocking down on the 1-Technique. It’s a pin-pull concept, and Feliciano does well enough to execute the easier task of pinning and allowing his pulling teammates to get around his backside. Feliciano isn’t terrible when pulling himself.
Here are four plays of Feliciano pulling into space and locating defenders. He may not deliver the most power into contact, but he frames his block well, locates, and does an effective job allowing the ball carrier to find a crease. He’s athletic enough to be solid in this role, and he doesn’t take wasted steps.
Negative run plays
Feliciano doesn’t consistently reach his landmark on outside zone plays. This isn’t an easy block; he’s the left guard attempting to reach Tershawn Wharton’s (93) far hip to the play side. What should assist Feliciano was Wharton’s initial step towards the left guard. Unlike Glowinski, Feliciano doesn’t sink himself into contact; he goes in high and loses the leverage battle, negating the opportunity for him to get his hips across Wharton’s hips. With the high pad level, he also surrenders his chest, allowing Wharton to separate from Feliciano, find the ball carrier, and make the tackle.
Khalen Saunders (99) is aligned on the play side 1-Technique, another difficult block. He, too, steps to the backside allowing a more advantageous angle for the backside left guard (Feliciano) to complete the ACE combo block. Feliciano positions himself well and swivels his hips around into the 2-hole, off the backside of the center. Once the center climbed, Feliciano couldn’t maintain a positive relationship with Saunders, despite his hips being in a solid position. Saunders sinks his outside shoulder and uses excellent strength to negate Feliciano’s position; Saunders drives through the contact and gets a real opportunity to make a tackle down the line of scrimmage. Feliciano does a great job finishing the block after losing position - something I respect about his game.
Feliciano is tasked to reach the 2i-shade. He gets his hands inside and attempts to drive his legs through contact. However, the defender successfully resists Feliciano’s positioning and leverage. The defender flows laterally with his eyes on the ball carrier. Feliciano finishes strong but allows the defender to stretch the run and never earns great control.
Feliciano struggles to locate the 2i-shade again. A quick punch pushes Feliciano backward, giving the defender an easy path to Moss. Feliciano’s hands were wide into contact - chest exposed - and the space created after contact was too much for Feliciano’s athletic ability and movement skills to account.
Overall, Feliciano’s anchor is adequate, but he can maximize his ability to hold up against power rushers by maintaining low leverage, wide feet, continuously re-sinking his hips, and uncoiling his hips into contact.
We see something similar here; his feet are constantly readjusting and redirecting while his hips stay square to his target. Feliciano does a good job using his outside hand to negate the defender while refitting his hands lower and continually sinking his center of gravity to account for power. He also does a great job disallowing the defender from establishing a half-man relationship.
Here we see a similar play; Feliciano keeps his hat low and stays in front of the defender. He has active feet, subtlely holds a bit, and forces the inside spin towards help near the end of the rep.
The Bills run play-action outside zone with Feliciano at center. They sell the play-action well and leave the “backside” end man on the line of scrimmage unblocked. The Bills account for him in the protection by rolling Feliciano out of the center spot to account for the defender. Feliciano positions himself well, cuts the angle off, absorbs the contact, and allows Josh Allen (17) to release the football in a clean pocket.
Snatch and trap
(left guard - run game)
Feliciano takes advantage of defenders who present the opportunity to have their momentum furthered towards the ground with a snatch and trap move. A snatch and trap move is when an offensive lineman breaks the contact established by defenders with violence by hitting the defender’s arms downward (snatching) while falling on top of the defender while his momentum is headed towards the ground (trapping).
Pulling this move off shows confidence, adaptability, and precise hand usage. Feliciano pulled this move off several times on his film.
Feliciano’s not the cleanest in pass protection, but he has a ton of grit, and he finds ways to recover after losing initially at the snap. At left guard, Frank Clark (55) slants inside from the 5-Technique position. Feliciano gets his hands inside but fails to grab cloth; Clark uses a hard inside hand power move to lower the inside shoulder of Feliciano and allow Clark to use an outside arm-over move to win inside. Feliciano’s positioning and technique were sloppy, but he does a great job changing direction and getting his inside shoulder on the near hip of Clark while exploding through the ground and washing Clark out of the play. Great reactive quickness on display by Feliciano.
Feliciano is the center on this play, and he gets hit with power; his feet slip underneath him, and his hat is low, but it initially looks like he’s about to lose the half-man relationship. The defender uses a hard swat/arm-over to win outside, and Feliciano recollects his balance and explodes low to high to remove the defender from the pocket.
As we’re about to see, Feliciano struggles with power at times. This isn’t a great play by Feliciano, but he prevented it from being a disaster by doing just enough to negate the pass rush of the nose. The defender bull-rushes and walks Feliciano backward into the pocket while working outside and attempting to separate. The defender lands an impressive rip move and gets underneath the outside shoulder of Feliciano. With his hips uncoiled and back bowed, Feliciano, is able to generate enough force through the ground - while on his toes - to drive the defender downward and into traffic, forcing the defender to the deck.
Feliciano is a savvy veteran who has been around the league. He washes the 1-Technique into the B-Gap while keeping his eyes open for Markus Golden (44). Golden loops into the A-Gap and Feliciano is right there to make contact, along with the right guard. Feliciano effectively has control of two blockers with both the left tackle and right guard assisting, while the left guard kicked out right to account for potential blitzers in the protection.
At left guard, Feliciano blocks the 1-Technique, maintaining a hip to hip relationship with the player along with starting center Mitch Morse (60). If we look closely, we see Feliciano flash his eyes at No. 34, a potential delayed blitzer who doesn’t come; however, a looper from the backside flies around the original 1-technique, and Feliciano reacts quickly, catches the defender, and then refits his hands inside to stall him long enough to allow Allen to throw the ball.
Feliciano gets pushed back a bit, but he’s ready for the stunt. His punch was high, he was a bit too aggressive leaning into the contact, and he was forced to uncoil his hips prematurely, resulting in pressure. Allen is still able to get the football out of his hand for a completion.
I'll have an in-depth Jon Feliciano breakdown @bigblueview...— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) March 15, 2022
I did appreciate this recognition & pickup from 2020 pic.twitter.com/9zWI5VwEq6
This is a nice blitz pickup by Feliciano, who annihilated a defensive back attempting to affect Josh Allen.
Negative pass protection
There are aspects of pass protection that aren’t strengths for Feliciano. When defenders use power rush moves to disrupt a full-man relationship that’s attempted to be maintained by Feliciano, then Feliciano can struggle to bring his feet with him as he tries to cut off any defender’s angles into the pocket. As we see above, Feliciano is at center; he attempts to frame the block, and the defender does a great job violently clubbing Feliciano’s arm downward and swimming over the top of the former Bills’ interior offensive lineman. He leans a bit into the contact - that’s at an angle - and leaves himself susceptible to the quick powerful move.
Feliciano (left guard) gives an inside path against a similar move against Pittsburgh. Heyward violently hits Feliciano’s inside arm, dips his outside shoulder, and gets hip to hip. Heyward is able to win the edge, rip through Feliciano’s outside arm, and pressure Allen. The pad level is too high, and Heyward’s upper body strength was too much for Feliciano on this rep.
Feliciano goes to punch Heyward, and his feet get stuck in the mud. He throws the inside arm and lunges; Heyward swipes his punch attempt and shoots inside. In order for Feliciano to turn and account for Heyward’s move, he has to pick up his inside foot, re-establish positioning, and flip his hips, putting him in a terrible position to stop Heyward. To his credit, Feliciano always sticks with the play, showing good recovery and resolve. Heyward doesn’t get the sack, but his initial pressure sets up T.J. Watt (90) for the strip-sack of Josh Allen.
To account for an inside move off the snap, Feliciano steps inward, putting a lot of weight on that inside foot. Heyward adjusts his initial path, presses vertically outside, lands the inside arm on the breastplate of Feliciano and pushes the guard to the ground. Feliciano’s feet never truly get set, and he’s left scrambling off the snap in an effort to combat Heyward.
Again, Heyward uses a quick stutter off the snap, getting Feliciano guessing and forcing his feet into a less than optimal situation. Heyward gets his outside arm into the chest of Feliciano and then just puts the guard on skates, driving him back into Allen. Feliciano’s overall anchor is adequate, but he will struggle against stronger rushers who also possess the ability to convert speed to power.
Adding Feliciano to the Giants was an inexpensive move for 2022. He’s a veteran presence with familiarity to the coaching staff, and he can play multiple positions. The Giants don’t have the luxury to shop at the top of free agency; their current cap situation is horrendous, so adding competent football players had to be the goal. Feliciano is functional in a pinch. He’s not flashy, won’t be as effective as Mark Glowinski, but he can start. He’s a solid run blocker who is crafty, and he’s an adequate pass protector. Ideally, he would be a swing offensive lineman for New York, but Nick Gates’ injury may force him to start at center if the Giants don’t address that specific position in the draft. Either way, New York is in a better spot today than they were at the end of the 2021 season.