Why Giants Fans Should Be Optimistic That Carmen Bricillo Can Fix the O-Line

Offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo is drawing rave reviews from his new students and for a good reason.
New YOrk Giants offensive Line Coach Carmen Bricillo
New YOrk Giants offensive Line Coach Carmen Bricillo / Tariq Zehawi/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY
In this story:

It’s still early enough in the process, but the New York Giants most valuable addition this off-season could very well end up being a man who never takes a snap for the team.

That would be offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo, hired earlier this year after Giants head coach Brian Daboll fired Bobby Johnson, his friend and offensive line coach during the first two seasons of his tenure.

While Daboll never explained his reasons for dismissing Johnson, the offensive line's regressive performance over the last two seasons was evident.

According to Pro Football Focus, the unit allowed 456 pressures over the 2022 and 2023 seasons. From 2022 to 2023, the line, which ranked 30th, took a major step back in 2023, .

While one could point to the injuries that hit the offensive line hard for the regression last year—left tackle Andrew Thomas, center John Michael Schmitz, and right tackle Evan Neal all missed multiple games—it didn’t help that the team's youth on the roster never developed to the point of being counted on enough to dissuade management from having to bring guys in from the street.

Enter Bricillo, the 47-year-old former offensive line coach of the Las Vegas Raiders and a one-time protégé under famed offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia from their time together in New England.

Bricillo prides himself on being a teacher, not a screamer who creates an environment where guys are walking on eggshells, fearful of their jobs if they make a mistake or have a bad practice.

He is all about relationship building, and he has spoken about how he views his linemen as extended members of his family and how he wants to get to know them, their wives/significant others, children, etc.

And Bricillo comes to the job without an ego. Simply put, if a guy succeeds, it’s because that player put in the time and work to get there, but if a guy struggles. Bricillo points the finger at himself because in his eyes, he’s the one who failed in teaching and preparing the player to be successful.

Put it all together, and there is real hope among the halls of 1925 Giants Drive that the offensive line, which has been this team’s biggest Achilles heel over much of the last decade, is about to shed that label.

“Carm, he’s very detailed, very detail oriented,” said Giants guard Jon Runyan, Jr, a five-year veteran. “There are some bad habits I’ve created over my career that … kind of (were) pushed to the side.

“I come here and have a new, fresh set of eyes on me, and it’s good because it’s making me think more about my hands, my feet, and how everything is correlated. Having those fresh set of eyes has been beneficial, and I think it'll help carry me the rest of this and into the training camp and pay dividends for me in the season.”

Schmitz, the second-year center who struggled with consistency last season, agreed that Bricillo’s perspectives on playing offensive line have been a breath of fresh air.

“Yeah, Coach Carm has been a great addition to the O-line room,” Schmitz said. “He has a great amount of knowledge of the game and has helped every single one of us out to be better players and holds us to a high standard each and every day.”

Watching Bricillo work with his lineman, you see a man who’s hands-on and demanding in his expectations that his players give him the best they have on every snap but who is also not afraid to give a pat on the backside or a quick bear hug to a guy who gives Bricillo everything he has.

Bricillo’s ways have worked, too. Among his greatest success stories during his time with the Raiders was turning center Andre James, an undrafted free agent in 2019 out of UCLA, into an eventual starter who is not only one of the better centers in the league but who also signed a three-year, $24 million contract extension this past off-season.

Want another Bricillo success story? How about offensive tackle Thayer Munford, Jr., a seventh-round draft pick out of Ohio State in 2022?

Munford not only made the Raiders as the team’s swing tackle as a rookie, but by his second season, Munford stepped in as a starter, first at right tackle and then for the final four games of 2023 at left tackle, and he held his own, in which he pitched a shutout as far as pressures allowed.

Bricillo’s next player success story is still to be determined, but as far as the Giants are concerned, if he can get the line functioning more cohesively to where they’re winning more of their battles in the trenches, that would be a great start.

“There are things that we want to improve on as a group—that would be anywhere, wherever I was coaching from one year to the next,” Bricillo said.

“Truly, though, it's a clean slate. We're looking at moving forward and what can we do to do that? How do we go about achieving those goals?

“In the offensive line room, when we close the door, it's just us in there. We pull out some clips from years ago of different places I've been to, and ‘Hey, how would we protect this? How would we ID this?’

"As a room, as a collective, we're working on that, so it's a clean slate, and we're just trying to work each day to get better and get on the same page.” 



Published |Modified
Patricia Traina

PATRICIA TRAINA

Patricia Traina has covered the New York Giants for over three decades for various media outlets. She is the host of the Locked On Giants podcast and the author of "The Big 50: New York Giants: The Men and Moments that Made the New York Giants" (Triumph Books, September 2020). View Patricia's full bio.