This season, the New York Giants bought themselves a brand new Lamborghini in the form of flashy financial dealings like signing receiver Brandon Marshall, drafting tight end Evan Engram, and bringing back defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
In doing so, however, they ignored the mold damage in their basement, otherwise known as the offensive line. The reluctance to fix the team’s blockers has been a key spark in igniting this season’s 2-13 dumpster fire, leading to the firing of general manager Jerry Reese earlier this month.
In ringing in the new year two days before the ball in Times Square drops, Reese’s successor, Dave Gettleman, announced that won’t be the case in the foreseeable future.
In a move that echoes what so many giants fans have said, Gettleman, who held the same position with the Carolina Panthers from January 2013 through July 2017, acknowledged that there needs to be, literally, big changes if New York is to remove themselves from this extended funk.
“We’ve got to fix the o-line, let’s be honest,” said a blunt Gettleman. “Let’s not kid each other.”
Gettleman was understandably a bit more mum on other Giants issues, namely the quarterback situation and the dilemmas surrounding receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and cornerback Eli Apple, seeking to gain more information on the respective scenarios. On the offensive line issue, however, there was no debate.
“I believe in the ‘hog mollies,'” Gettleman said, bringing back the old lineman term he popularized in Carolina. “We’ve had some great groups here, had great groups everywhere I’ve been, and we’re going to get back to that. They do allow you to compete.”
During his time with the Giants, working in the player personnel department from 1999-2012, Gettleman built a strong protection unit, leading the Giants to three NFC championships, two of which were precursors to Super Bowl titles.
He later revealed that two of his Big Blue hog mollies from his first stint with the Giants, guards Rich Seubert and Chris Snee, offered him congratulations via text, while another Shaun O’Hara, may have playfully hinted at an NFL comeback during Gettleman’s opening remarks.
— Shaun O'Hara (@ShaunOHara60) December 29, 2017
“Those guys knew how to win,” Gettleman recalled fondly. “And it was special to be part of that and just to know that I have that kind of support from them is really meaningful.”
Over Reese’s final two offseasons, the Giants were big spenders, welcoming in pricey veterans like defensive end Olivier Vernon, defensive tackle Damon Harrison and cornerback Janoris Jenkins, additions that led them to an 11-5 record in 2016. Offensive line, however, has been generally ignored.
The team drafted Pittsburgh tackle Adam Bisnowaty in the sixth round of last spring’s draft, but he failed to make the team out of training camp, spending the entire season on the practice squad.
Veteran DJ Fluker and rookie Chad Wheeler, both rookies, were added via free agency, but Wheeler has struggled, while Fluker put in a few solid performances before an injured toe landed him on injured reserve.
“In terms of building the entire roster, you’re going to use every avenue,” Gettleman said. “You’re going to build through the draft. You’re going to use trades, waiver wire transactions. You’re going to use every avenue necessary. It’s just the way of the world.
“Building quality depth is critical. Is critical. Everybody plays today. Everybody. You start. You get your first cut down to 53. You got 63 guys on that field. I promise you, all 63 are going to have a varsity suit before the season is over unless you are stupid lucky, so you have to build quality depth. It’s critical.”