The Giant Insider Online

Chad Wheeler ready to turn his inner ‘savage’ loose

When the New York Giants decided to switch out Ereck Flowers for Chad Wheeler at right tackle two games ago, the move couldn’t come soon enough for most Giant fans.

Flowers was still under-performing at an unacceptable level and had head coach Pat Shurmur waited any longer, it could have led to something catastrophic happening.

n his first game, Wheeler was owned by Houston’s All-World defensive end J.J. Watt. In his second game, however, he matched up better against another Pro Bowler in New Orleans’ Cam Jordan.

“I think he played better this game than he did last game,” said Shurmur of Wheeler. “The thing I appreciate about him is, he walks around pretty quiet sort of Monday through Saturday, but on gameday, you can see the emotions and you can see him playing hard and competing, and he works hard in practice. For a guy that plays with emotion and then he works hard and he competes, then he’ll continue to get better because he has a good skill set. Just like Will [Hernandez], we’re hopeful that he has a better game than he did last week. He’s going to get another tough matchup, so we’ll see how he does.”

This week, Wheeler will be looking across at a group of talented Carolina Panthers pass rushers that includes future Hall of Famer Julius Peppers. How does he prepare for that?

“You start throughout the week,” said Wheeler when asked on Wednesday when his ‘game switch’ goes on. “I think you start on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Sort of like build up for game time. So yeah, you got to be calm around family and friends and then you got to turn into a savage when you enter the building.”

The Giants like the sound of that. They need their offensive linemen to be as nasty and aggressive as possible. They are having issues both protecting the quarterback and opening lanes for the running game. For an offensive line, there’s not much else.

Either way, there’s a lot of newness to this line and this will be only the third game in which they’ve lined up together. But Wheeler has a good feeling they’re going in the right direction.

“As a group I feel like we’re coming together just doing the little things, it’s just do something better,” said the second-year tackle out of USC. “Honestly, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or try to be Superman out there so you just got to do your job and hope the guy next to you is doing it.”

Wheeler knows there’s a long way to go for this Giants offense, but they are determined to turn this into what management had planned — an aggressive, accurate, attacking offense. He sloughed off any praise the coach lumped on him earlier this week.

“You got to be hard on yourself especially being an undrafted free agent. You’re always going to have that chip on your shoulder, never going to feel like you’re good enough and honestly once you start feeling you’re good enough, that’s when you get humbled in this league, so you just got to keep pushing,” he said.

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