Pro Football Focus Year-End Rankings: Giants Offensive Line Finishes in the Middle of the Pack

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Patricia Traina

The Giants 2019 offensive line apparently wasn’t as bad as some people thought.

That’s the opinion of Pro Football Focus, whose Ben Linsey ranked the Giants as the 17th best unit out of 32 teams, topping four playoff teams—Seattle, Buffalo, Houston, and Minnesota—in the rankings.

Linsey’s justification for his ranking noted Giants right guard Kevin Zeitler’s steady play throughout most of the season. But he also acknowledged the inconsistent performances by tackles Nate Solder and Mike Remmers, whom Linsey noted combined for the most pressures allowed (97) by a tackle duo in the NFL.

So why rate the Giants so high? Linsey didn’t get deep into his explanation, but in looking at some of the numbers at PFF, Daniel Jones, who took the lion’s share of the snaps at quarterback for the Giants this year, had the eighth longest average time in the pocket to attempt (2.70 seconds) out of 27 qualified quarterbacks who took at least 50% of their team’s dropbacks.

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But a more telling stat and one that would align with the notion that Jones didn’t make his reads as quickly as Eli Manning is the 3.12 average seconds it took for him to get sacked.

Ideally, if a quarterback can go somewhere with the ball in 2.5 seconds or less, that should be plenty of time for an offensive line to hold its block; anything longer and that’s courting trouble.

So breaking that stat down even further, Jones finished tied for 10th (with Tom Brady of the Patriots) in taking ten sacks when he had blocking for 2.5 seconds or less (though it’s unclear how many of those sacks were coverage sacks).

Similarly, when Jones had more than 2.5 seconds in the pocket, he was sacked 35 times, ninth most out of the qualified quarterbacks.

What about the run blocking? According to data generated via NFL Savant, when the Giants ran the ball inside the guards, 27.2% of their rushing attempts went for zero or negative yardage versus zero or negative yardage on just 13% of their rushing attempts to the outside.

With all that said, general manager Dave Gettleman, the “Hog Father” of the Hog Molly moment on this team, admitted that the lien, at times, was frustrating when it couldn’t work in unison—one of the biggest problems with the offensive line was its inability to pick up stunts.

But Gettleman does believe that the unit is headed in the right direction, though he also added that he’s not going to rest on his laurels when it comes to the unit.

“We feel like we’ve got some good pieces there, and they’ve just got to continue to work together and improve,” he said.

“We’re always going to look to add. We’re not afraid to draft over anybody, so we’ll continue to work that.”

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Comments (1)
No. 1-1

Wonderful article. For me, it shows the OL coaching was not good. Inability to pick up stunts being a major function in which they failed miserably. The QB was young and needed more time go through reads and despite what was being said and the need for replacing him, Eli was still the best QB on the team. But, a great deal of the blame goes to the play calling. As you said 27% went for zero yardage gained. The biggest gains for the Giants is when they ran outside, especially with blocking provided, or start out inside and take it outside, yet it was time after time, run it up the middle. It is difficult for even the most seasoned OL to open holes when the Defense knows that the run is coming up the middle. For me, play calling was the biggest detriment as to why the OL did not progress. The second was OL coaching. Whoever the Giants hire, should not call plays and hire a proven OL coach like Callahan, who knows what he is doing and who turned the ex Giant Flowers from a bust at OT to a decent OG.