The Giant Insider Online

Giants unveil new offensive line to mixed results

It’s been the Achilles heel of the Giants roster for several years now. They once had a legendary bunch here, one that set records for unity, chemistry and production. That all went away with their last Super Bowl win, which is now a good half-dozen seasons in the rearview mirror.

The goal of GM Dave Gettleman when he came in the door late last season was to build the team back up with those “hog mollies”, a nickname he coined for the big bodies in the trenches. His belief that football team is built from the line of scrimmage out was on full display on Thursday night, at least for 16 snaps, anyway.

The Giants lifted the curtain on their new offensive line in their preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns: LT Nate Solder, LG Will Hernandez, C Jon Halapio, RG Patrick Omameh and RT Ereck Flowers to mixed reviews. They sprung rookie RB Saquon Barkley for a 39-yard run on his first play but then had a few breakdowns, including a sack that arguably could have been thwarted by the running back, Jonathan Stewart.

“I think it went well,” said QB Eli Manning after the game. “I thought everybody was on the same page – making some calls, making some checks, changing some protections, and everything. I think everybody is doing the right things. No delay of games or those types of things. I thought the communication went smoothly. Now, it’s just cleaning some things up. We left some plays out there.”

He’s right. The Giants played a relatively clean game considering, committing just four penalties overall for 33 yards. The Browns, on the other hand, had 13 accepted penalties totaling 141 yards.

Halapio, who is in a camp battle with Brett Jones at center, believes there are some positives in the line’s performance even though they were only out on the field for a short time. 16 plays to be exact.

“I would say the running game early on,” he said when asked what he thought went right. “I think that was pretty good from the first run we had with Saquon (Barkley). That was a positive note. I think communication up front, getting everybody on the same page, blocking in the same direction, in the run game and the pass. I think that was pretty good.”

Halapio believes they are still very much a work in progress and must concentrate on technique and finishing drives, something they didn’t do on Thursday. When asked about the play of the rookie, Will Hernandez, Halapio was positive.

“I think Will did good,” he said. “I think he went out there like a pro and he was poised. He was playing hard and I think he loves to hit so I think he did a good job with that.”

Hernandez was seen next to Solder, an eight-year veteran who has been more of a teacher than anything else this summer to the others, both on and off the field. They have gained sort of a symmetry that appears to be growing.

“The biggest takeaway I think – the chemistry,” said Halapio. “The chemistry showed up early on in the run game. I think that’s a positive thing that we can build on going on to next week to Detroit.”

 

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