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> Giants Position Battle: How Will Backup Offensive Line Spots Shake Out?
post Wed 20 Feb 2019, 07:32
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When I did my most recent 53-man roster projection , the offensive linemen I have making the roster were unchanged.Starters — LT Nate Solder, LG Will Hernandez, C Jon Halapio, RG Patrick Omameh, RT Ereck FlowersReserves — Brett Jones, Chad Wheeler, John GrecoThere are, however, any number of things that could happen when it comes to the backup offensive linemen. Let’s look at some of the possibilities. We’ll run through some of the guys competing for roster spots.Brett Jones — I know why the Giants are leaning toward Halapio as the starting center. He is a touch bigger and they see him as a better run blocker. I don’t really like it, though, because in my view Jones is a better overall player. If he isn’t the starter, Jones will be the backup center and first option as a backup guard.John Greco — I have Greco making the roster because, first of all , he is still a pretty good player in his 11th NFL season. Second of all, he can play both guard and center. Third, he’s a good guy in the locker room who understands his role and just appreciates still being in the league. Fourth, Greco has a long history with coach Pat Shurmur.Chad Wheeler — Way back in the spring, we figured Wheeler would compete with Flowers at right tackle. That hasn’t been the case. As of now, he is trying to hang on to a job as a backup tackle. He needs to play better than he did last Thursday vs. the Cleveland Browns.John Jerry — Has kept finding his way into the starting lineup the past few years, whether the Giants really wanted him there or not. Now, the question is whether or not he can stay on the roster. On the plus side, he is a decent, experienced NFL player. On the minus side, he’s not a great run blocker and really doesn’t offer much positional versatility.Zac Kerin — The former Minnesota Viking and Detroit Lion is kind of flying under the radar. Shurmur knows Kerin from Minnesota, where he spent three seasons and played in 15 games. Kerin got his only NFL start last season with the Lions, played poorly , suffered a knee injury and landed on IR. Kerin can play both guard and center.Chris Scott — After six seasons as a reserve guard with three NFL teams, Scott knows the drill. Watch him in practice, and he overwhelms the third-team guys he usually works against. Is there a spot for Scott? Maybe not, unless injuries strike in front of him. Scott, though, isn’t a bad fallback option.Nick Becton — If the Giants are going to keep a second backup tackle, as of now that would be Becton. The 28-year-old was solid in the preseason opener, but has only played six regular-season games — none since 2015. More likely, I think the Giants look to the waiver wire.Giants vs Eagles: Can the Giants defense bring the pressure against Philadelphia? A Thursday night matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles will be a test for the New York Giants defense. Both units still look to be finding their groove early in the season with flashes of the good things that were expected. Injuries have played a part in that for both teams, though they should both be healthier on this side of the ball for the divisional matchup. Here’s what to look for on Thursday night when the Eagles have the ball:By the numbersFor more explanation of these numbers, go here.A heavy dose of play-actionPhiladelphia has used play-action on 28 percent of pass plays this season, per Sports Info Solutions charting from Football Outsiders, the fourth-highest rate in the league. While it hasn’t gone super well for them through five weeks — the Eagles’ 6.6 yards per play on play-action passes ranks 26th — it’s still been better than what the Eagles have done on passes without play-action (5.9 yards per play).Meanwhile , few defenses have play-action run against them more frequently than the Giants — 27 percent, fifth-most. The Giants have also allowed the 13th-highest yards per play (8.9) on play-action passes while allowing the seventh-fewest (6.1) on passes without play-action. The Eagles really like to use this on first down, when the league average pass-to-run rate is 50-50. Philadelphia is one of the most pass-heavy teams on first down (59 percent, the fifth-highest rate per Sharp Football Stats), but the offense will still make teams believe they will run before hitting the pass.This pass against the Minnesota Vikings came on a first-and-10 with three wide receivers and six offensive linemen on the field. The run fake and the route concepts were enough to have a receiver wide open in the intermediate middle of the field, but there was also a deep shot available, which Carson Wentz took for a 48-yard gain to Shelton Gibson.Philadelphia will also use 12 personnel — two tight ends — to pass frequently. League-wide, teams pass 51 percent of the time out of 12 personnel. The Eagles pass 66 percent of the time and use it more often (37 percent) than any other team in the league. Olivier Vernon active for GiantsPutting on pressurePhiladelphia’s offensive line was one of the pieces that got them to a Super Bowl victory last season, but it hasn’t been up to that standard through Week 5. The Eagles are 26th in offensive pressure rate allowed, per Football Outsiders. The Giants are 25th.The Eagles come out better in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate, which adjusts for down, distance, and situation Womens Odell Beckham Jr Jersey , where they rank 13th, but still, this is not quite the top-tier unit the Eagles had last season. These pressures and sacks are happening all across the offensive line. Last week against the Vikings, the Eagles allowed a strip sack and a Linval Joseph touchdown set up by nothing more than Lane Johnson getting beat on an inside move.This isn’t a knock on Johnson, who is still one of the best offensive tackles in the league, but it does show there’s just been more pressure all over this line so far this season.Per Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic, Wentz’s sacks are happening an average of 3.93 seconds after the snap opposed to the league average of 4.28. These are quick pressures and sacks impacting the Eagles offense.It helps that the Giants will likely get Olivier Vernon back on the field Thursday night in at least some capacity. Vernon will immediately take over as the biggest pass rush threat off the edge. In his absence, the Giants have gotten some pressure — 15th in defensive pressure rate — but it hasn’t come consistently outside of the game against the Houston Texans and one of the league’s worst offensive lines. Cam Newton was barely under pressure last week. With Vernon on the field, there’s now a bigger threat an opposing offense would have to account for, which could open up more opportunities for the other defenders on the field. A broken Wentz Wagon?Carson Wentz has now been back for three starts off his ACL injury, but he has yet to look like the 2017 version. Wentz’s numbers through three games look a lot like Eli Manning’s through five.2018 seasonQBComp%YPA (RK)ANY/A (RK)DVOA (RK)QBR (RK)QBComp%YPA (RK)ANY/A (RK)DVOA (RK)QBR (RK)Wentz, to this point, hasn’t been helped out a whole lot by his receiving corps. The Eagles are tied for the third most drops this season Womens Janoris Jenkins Jersey , per Sports Info Solutions, and Nelson Agholor is fourth among individual players with four. Now the raw number of drops can be vastly overrated when factoring in the rate at which they occur, but the rate in which they have occurred is an alarming number for the Eagles this season.Through his three starts, Wentz is throwing shorter and less aggressive passes than last season — 8.0 intended air yards to 9.9 last season and an average pass 1.4 yards behind the first down marker compared to 0.8 yards past it last season, per Next Gen Stats.Tackling is still an issueWhen the ball does get into the hands of an Eagles receiver, taking him down might be an issue. The Giants have been one of the league’s worst tackling teams through five weeks — they currently have the seventh-highest broken tackle rate per SIS.The biggest culprits have been Curtis Riley and Alec Ogletree, who have each been charged with five broken tackles, which is tied for the fifth-most among defenders. Ogletree’s 25 percent broken tackle rate is the third-highest among 61 defenders with at least 20 tackle attempts and the most among linebackers. Riley’s 22.7 percent broken tackle rate is fifth-worst among that group and Landon Collins’s 16 percent — four total broken tackles — is 14th-highest.
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