Giants offensive line raising major red flags after Week 1 debacle vs. Cowboys

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Giants Cowboys O-line
Dallas Cowboys’ Osa Odighizuwa, left, celebrates a sack during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones’ start to life working under his new four-year, $160 million contract could have started any more inauspiciously, completing just 15-of-28 passes for 104 yards with two interceptions in a 40-0 beatdown at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium.

Yet it wouldn’t have mattered if it was Jones, Phil Simms, or even Tom Brady under center because the quarterback unfortunate enough to be behind the Giants’ offensive line was never going to have a chance. 

New York’s protection unit was “skunked,” as head coach Brian Daboll described it, by the Cowboys’ talented defense, allowing seven sacks of Jones while yielding 23 pressures on 37 dropbacks. The 62.2% pressure rate was the fourth-highest in a regular-season game since 2019, per NFL Next Gen Stats

“It wasn’t good enough,” Daboll said. “No area was good enough tonight, from protection to coaching, to running, to tackling. Whatever it may be, you name it, it wasn’t good enough.”

Daniel Jones Giants Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys’ Micah Parsons, right, sacks New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

For a line that already had an abundance of question marks surrounding it heading into the 2023 season, Sunday night only exacerbated those concerns. 

The right side of the line in guard Mark Glowinski and tackle Evan Neal were exposed — an especially alarming fact considering Neal has to take a step forward in 2023 after being selected seventh overall last year. 

He’s just a singular part of the group in which the Giants had invested significant capital. Glowinski was brought in on a three-year, $20 million deal to shore up the line this offseason. Center John-Michael Schmitz was a highly-touted second-round pick that seemingly fell into New York’s laps at this year’s draft. 

Put them with second-team All-Pro Andrew Thomas, who was drafted fourth overall in 2020, and the Giants’ O-Line shouldn’t be nearly as bad as they looked against Dallas. Even more concerning is that Glowinski and left guard Ben Bredeson were the concise choices of Daboll to start the season rather than instituting a rotation with Joshua Ezeudu, suggesting that there is little depth to pull from within the organization.

But given how shambolic their performance was, Daboll has no other option but to entertain the idea of shaking the line up after just four quarters of play.

“When you play a game like that and coach a game like that, there’s nothing that’s good enough,” he said. “Our job is to go back and look at it with a critical eye, just like we would do in any game, but 40-0 is not a good score, obviously. So, a lot to work on, and that’s what we’ll do.”

As much as the performance was an indictment on the players themselves, it’s also worth focusing on offensive line coach Bobby Johnson, who clearly is not getting enough out of a line that at the end of the day has an All-Pro and three top-100 draft picks within its ranks. It’s one thing for a young group that lacks depth to struggle. It’s something entirely different for them to put on the kind of showing they did on Sunday night.

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