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Film review: Max Garcia, is he a starter for Giants’ revamped OL?

Let’s look at what the veteran can offer

Arizona Cardinals vs Detroit Lions Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The New York Giants continue to revamp one of the worst offensive lines in franchise history. Joe Schoen and company signed veteran Max Garcia to a one-year contract. Garcia is another inexpensive competent offensive lineman that provides versatility. The Giants have signed Garcia, Mark Glowinski, Jon Feliciano, Jamil Douglas, and Matt Gono during the offseason. Considering the Giants’ cap situation, this is an impressive accomplishment by the Giants’ front office.

New York has positioned themselves with one glaring need on the offensive line - right tackle. They entered free agency with four, and now competition will allow the cream to rise to the top.

Garcia is a 30-year-old (6-foot-4, 309-pound) former fourth-round pick in 2015 by the Denver Broncos. He has started 39 games at left guard, nine at right guard, and four at center; the four starts at center were in 2021, and it was his best tape of the year.

Garcia allowed 20 pressures and five sacks through 565 snaps at right guard and no pressures or sacks through 297 snaps at center. In his career, he’s allowed 116 pressures and 16 sacks through 2,289 pass-blocking reps. Let’s get into Garcia’s film and see what he can offer the Giants in 2022.

Max Garcia is No. 73

Run blocking positives

Garcia’s tape wasn’t dominant in any one area. He’s not a dynamic athlete, but he plays with a toughness that’s more than respectable. Like most of the Giants’ offensive line additions, he’s functional and a realistic option to start.

At right guard, Garcia faces a 2i-shade in a favorable run box. He steps play-side and gets his outside hand on the mid-line of Greg Gaines (91). The defender does a great job extending his arms and occupying the cut-back lane, but Garcia grabs cloth and pulls Gaines close despite the high pad level. Garcia then torques his inside hand - which was initially placed outside before he trapped Gaines’ outside arm by going underneath the armpit of the defender. Essentially, this prevents Gaines from further flowing laterally, and there’s no obvious hold of the jersey, so it doesn’t get called. Chase Edmonds (2) runs right past Gaines for a nice gain. It was a crafty move from a savvy veteran.

At center, Garcia does a great job on the ACE Combo block to assist his left guard in eliminating the 2i-shade. He then picks up a scrapping linebacker and removes him from his run fit while playing through the whistle and upsetting the defender.

At center, Garcia feels this ACE Combo block very well as a center. He snaps the ball and leads the defender into the guard, completing the transfer; however, Garcia showed excellent processing to know there was no space to climb, so he repositioned himself squarely in front of the defender to allow the guard to climb and locate Bobby Okereke (58). The run isn’t a success, but that’s no fault of Garcia, who sealed the defender away from the gap, providing Edmonds space to operate.

At center, Garcia stands up the 1-Technique, who shades towards Edmonds’ path. Garcia does a great job - despite his high pad level - of shifting his weight outside and using good grip strength to prevent the defender from closing the gap. Garcia is helped a bit by his left guard and the defender attempting to peek inside.

Offensive linemen must have an eat-glass mentality and the ability to punish defenders. Garcia can finish blocks well with authority. Here are a few plays of him doing such.

When pulling

Garcia had success in space, whether that’s onscreen passes or while kicking out to remove an end man on the line of scrimmage. For a bigger guy who isn’t overly light on his feet, Garcia was good at flipping his hips and hinging players away from the outside.

At center, Garcia kicks out and locates Jadeveon Clowney (90). He quickly gets his hands on him and swivels his hips outside, pinning Clowney inward before using his unstable balance against him by throwing him to the deck.

Here’s another play at center where Garcia kicks out to locate a smaller defender. He uses his good play strength to put the defender on the ground before finishing him off by slamming all 309 pounds on top of the defender.

He pulls from the right guard spot here and does a good job getting to the defender’s outside shoulder. His framing is good, but the pop-on contact is marginal, and the defender does a great job sinking his hips and exploding into the contact while extending his arms to narrow the rushing lane. Although Garcia still does enough to give Edmonds space, Leighton Vander-Esch (55) does a very good job clogging the rushing lane and preventing a big run.

Here’s a similar situation; from the right guard spot, Garcia locates the defender’s outside shoulder, who is attempting to use a squeeze technique to keep the rushing lane tight. Azeez Al-Shaair (51) reads the play and positions himself between the double-team down block and Garcia’s kick out to prevent James Connor (6) from finding space. Garcia’s block was good enough to provide the alley, but the defense played the run well.

At right guard, Garcia executes a trap block on the play-side 3-Technique. He has a tell pre-snap; we can see how much higher he is in his stance, and he’s just a tad off the line of scrimmage. At the snap, he explodes to the opposite side and rolls his hips through the 3-Technique, removing him from the play while driving his feet through contact.

Run blocking negative

The plays above are solid, and Garcia is a functional player, but he still has technical issues that prevent desired consistency. At times, Garcia pops out of his stance, presenting a big target for defenders. He also leans into contact and gets sloppy with his balance. I like how he aggressively attempts to use his hands to jolt, but - in doing so - he tries to stun, furthering his momentum forward, allowing defenders to floor him.

At right guard, he attempts to quickly jump on the 2i-shade. He explodes low to high with his hands following in suit, but he leans at the waist, and the defender club/swims him to the ground. Leaning in this manner is a recipe for disaster; while it wasn’t consistently on his film, it was something that seemed to happen when he was asked to move laterally on these zone blocking concepts. A bit more discipline and body control are warranted to maximize the good things he can execute.

At right guard again, he blocks play-side laterally and leans too much. Angelo Blackson (90) uses a double swipe on the move to jolt and toss Garcia to the ground. The lack of balance in this situation - and the inability to embrace the contact - is concerning. His feet are clean, and it doesn’t appear as he tripped. This was an issue on his tape when run blocking.

At center, Garcia does a good job getting his hands quickly on the defender here, but the defender does a better job keeping his hips low and gaining access to Garcia’s wide chest. The defender stacks him up and lifts; this prevents Garcia from gaining any power in his lower half - it’s not a great position for an offensive lineman.

At right guard, Garcia is typically solid with the kick-out blocks and pulls, but he dips his head into contact here, and that gave the Dallas defender an opportunity to evade and get to the mesh point.

Pass blocking

The Cardinals’ offense was predicated on promptly getting the football out of the quarterbacks’ hand. Garcia wasn’t tasked too much with one-on-one blocks that weren’t in the quick game. He had a lot of help from his teammates on deeper concepts.

Garcia is the right guard here, and he does a good job timing his outside arm punch against Arik Armstead (91). Once Garcia lands the punch, he just holds that jersey at the collar and mirrors Armstead. He then places his inside arm on the shoulder of Armstead and hand fights with positive control.

At right guard, he quickly jumps Armstead here and gets his outside hand inside the breastplate while wrapping his inside hand on the back of Armstead’s inside tricep. Armstead attempts to flow outside around the edge, but Garcia’s teammate is there to assist. Garcia does a good job influencing Armstead in the direction of help.

At center, another smart play by Garcia in a double-mug A-Gap look against Detroit. He stabs inside from the center position but knows Edmonds will be there for blitz pickup, so he follows the linebacker and easily removes him from the play. His punch is wide, and he kind of hugs.

At right guard, Garcia recollects himself and notices a late twist from the 49ers in this play. The 4i-shade explodes into the B-Gap and hits Garcia, but the veteran sees Nick Bosa (97) slanting inside; Garcia quickly passes his original assignment to the tackle and picks Bosa’s rush up well. Garcia does a good job changing direction quickly in these tight areas.

On screens

Garcia does a very good job getting into space, locating, and sealing defenders away from the path of his teammates. Here’s a bunch of clips of Garcia executing screens well.

The ability to throttle down and tempo his pace to put himself into optimal positions is an impressive trait. He seems very controlled and balanced in space, which is odd because that’s not consistent with other parts of his game, which we will see shortly.

Pass blocking negative

At right guard, here’s some of the ugliness of the leaning we mentioned before; at right guard, Garcia looks to block the nose tackle, who anticipates the block once the center opens outward. The nose just violently clubs Garcia’s poor posture and throws him to the ground.

Attempting to set against Aaron Donald (99) as a right guard when he’s aligned as a 4-Technique is difficult, but we see the leaning and the lack of balance at the point of attack. Garcia looks at the second-level defender and notices he’s not coming, so he opens towards Donald and lunges at him. His chest is well in front of his toes, and he over-sets, allowing Donald to spin inside. To Garcia’s credit - and I love seeing this - he quickly pivots, opens his hips, and repositions himself in front of Donald. The pass is tipped, and it’s an easy interception for the Rams.

Garcia oversets against the Bears at right guard and allows the defender to spin inside. The timing of the strike - along with the lateral movement in the set - was predicted by the defender and led to the counter spin that put Garcia into a bad position.

At right guard, Garcia has Donald over him as a 3-Technique; the offensive lineman pops up too high after stepping towards Donald before going into his pass set. His hands are wide, and Donald gets to the half-man relationship quickly. Donald pulls the outside shoulder, sending Garcia downward, creating the necessary separation to sack Kyler Murray (1).

At right guard, Garcia is way too high and not in a position to withstand or hold up at the point of contact. As he strikes, his hips rise, and he doesn’t do a great job framing the block. He gives the pass-rusher an alley outside, and Murray is hurried to throw the ball.

At right guard, a strong stab with his outside arm initially lands, but Armstead times Garcia’s punch so well to break the contact at the elbow. The stab is risky with no help outside due to that reason. He attempts to short-set and stab, but Armstead was more efficient and put Garcia into a tough spot. Armstead sacked Colt McCoy (12), but a penalty was called for a face mask.

Anchor

At right guard, Garcia’s anchor is adequate at best. The play above is against Aaron Donald for perspective, but he completely gets put on ice skates. When a player’s pad level and hips are too high, this is an inevitable outcome against top talent or strong bull-rushers.

He gets walked back here at right guard. A quick stutter step raises Garcia’s pad level - something that happened too much on tape. The indecision of the defender’s direction leads to more exposure and more vulnerability for Garcia. The defender strikes the offensive lineman in the chest and drives him back.

Final thoughts

Garcia is a veteran player who can start if necessary. He’s not a huge difference-maker but a quick processor who is deceptively good in space. He does a solid job kicking the EMOLOS out in power/gap concepts. The balance issues, lack of an elite anchor, and propensity to lean into contact when on the line of scrimmage on more challenging angles are vulnerabilities on his tape. I wouldn’t say he’s great at anything.

Like most of the Giants additions, he’s a functional player. He may start at left guard, but that depends on the development of Shane Lemieux post-injury. I believe his best tape in 2021 was at center. If Feliciano doesn’t work out, now the Giants have another player on their roster with center experience. New York can still address the interior offensive line in the draft, but now they won’t feel obligated to do so just for functionality this season.

Regardless of Garcia’s starting status, this is another quality, inexpensive move to add depth to the Giants’ most significant liability over the last decade.