John Jerry, currently the starting right guard for the New York Giants offensive line, has a message for people who remain worried about the unit after Friday’s preseason opener.
“It’s one game. We are not going to let two-three series deter us,” he said. “We are going to stay focused. We looked at the tape this morning, went out on the practice field and corrected it already and just keep it moving.”
Despite Jerry’s attempt to reassure the fan base that all will eventually be well with the offensive line—the starters allowed two sacks with pressure coming from up the gut while the backup units weren’t that much better against the Steelers—the fan base as well as the coaching staff continues to be in a “wait and see” mode.
In Friday’s preseason opener against the Steelers, the starting offensive line seemed to pick up where it left off last year in terms of being inconsistent. Starting quarterback Josh Johnson was sacked twice behind that line by Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt.
Upon further review, the first sack occurred when the Steelers won the battle against the Giants interior offensive line, pressure that forced Johnson out of the pocket. Unfortunately, instead of throwing the ball away, he stepped right into the arms of Watt, who slid off Ereck Flowers’ block.
On the second sack, there was a blatant miscommunication on what was supposed to be a screen play. No one from the Giants has said who was at fault, but clearly someone blew his assignment, resulting in Watt having a clear path to the quarterback.
Sacks aside, head coach Ben McAdoo wasn’t happy with the Giants running game, which averaged 3.2 yards per carry. In his conference call with reporters Saturday, McAdoo agreed that there were some inconsistencies.
“We wanted to try to get some outside zone going in the ballgame just to work it, and it’s always tough to do that when you’re playing a 3-4 (defensive alignment) team,” he said.
“When they’re a two-gap mentality, it’s a challenge, but that’s what we decided to do, to put our guys to the test. We had some positives and some negatives to go with that, but we got a good evaluation on them.”
Despite what’s on tape, Jerry believes the offensive line has been more physical. However, he also acknowledged there is room for improvement, such as sustaining blocks, finishing plays, and improving pass protection.
“I just think we have to keep hammering at it,” Jerry said. “One thing about this league, you can start a game and runs are not going to be looking good; they are just going to be two-three yard carries, but if you continue that throughout the game, those two-three yard gains turn into bigger gains later in the football game.”
It’s time for the offensive line to finally start delivering.