Giants hope to have the Hart to improve the O-Line
Seventh-round picks don’t normally become starters so quickly in the NFL, but Bobby Hart, selected with the 226th overall pick in the 2015 draft, has proven to be an exception, becoming a new staple of the Giants’ offensive line.
With such a great leap comes increased responsibility, something Hart struggled with that last season. Per Pro Football Focus, Hart allowed 46 total pressures against QB Eli Manning.
Perhaps Hart escapes the relentless criticism that Ereck Flowers gets because Hart isn’t a first-round draft pick chosen int he top-10. However, there’s no denying that the pair, neighbors in the locker room, need to get better if the Giants are going to make noise on offense.
Like Flowers, Hart buckled down this offseason, changing his workout habits and sticking around Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
The coaching staff has taken notice. Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan praised the work that Hart put in this offseason, mentioning that Hart’s and Flowers’ improvement is clear.
Offensive line coach Mike Solari also took note.
“Bobby and Ereck were here together to develop some competition and camaraderie,” Solari said. “(Strength and Conditioning Coach) Aaron Wellman did a beautiful job in the sense of where they need to improve on. Physically working in the weight room, conditioning aspect, you could tell the difference.”
Perhaps adding to Hart’s realization that he couldn’t continue doing things as he had before was that the Giants were proactive in getting offensive line help.
They drafted Adam Bisnowaty in the sixth round, signed veteran free agent D.J. Fluker, and added a pair of undrafted free agents in Chad Wheeler and Jessamen Dunker.
With those moves made and with the effort put forth by Hart, the Giants were content enough to let Marshall Newhouse, whom Hart shared the starting right tackle job with last season, walk to Oakland.
How Hart responds to the rising heat, of both competition and the New Jersey summer, will determine if his NFL journey will continue.
What has Hart changed this offseason?
Hart worked out with former Pro Bowler LeCharles Bentley in the past. This year, he went even further out of the box, adding boxing to his routine.
Solari has said the workout help with hand placement, something Hart struggled with last season. Hart was called for a couple of illegal hands to the face penalties in 2016, something he’s going to have to curb if he wants to keep his starting role in the Giants lineup.
Has Hart recovered from last season’s “injury”?
Hart’s season ended in mystery last season, as he was a late scratch from the Giants’ regular season finale in Washington.
Listed as having a forearm injury, Hart sat out the regular-season finale and played sparingly in the playoff game. When he spoke during offseason activities, he remained confident in what can bring to the team, and praised the offseason work he got in with Flowers, saying, “I’m confident in everything I do. I just know that if I keep working on the things I need to work on, the sky is the limit.”
While Hart said while he’s “over” the de facto playoff benching, he can still use it as yet another extra source of motivation.
If recent times in the NFL has taught us anything, it’s that a solid offensive line, while absent in the final box score, can open up so many avenues of success for a unit.
Hart has his work cut out for him to not just keep his starting job, but possibly to make the team as well, but if this offseason is any indication, he’s more than up for the challenge.