Joe Judge sees ‘improvement’ in Giants O-Line despite tough showing vs. Jets

Giants Jets
New York Jets defensive end Bryce Huff (47) sacks New York Giants quarterback Clayton Thorson (17) during the second half at MetLife Stadium.

If you’re into the foreboding that sometimes comes with the preseason, look away if you’re a Giants fan. 

A team that has struggled mightily to piece together an offensive line and subsequent protective depth had quite the difficult start to its exhibition slate on Saturday night in a 12-7 loss to the rival Jets at MetLife Stadium.

Giants quarterbacks were sacked five times, including a fourth-quarter safety, hit 10 times, and had multiple passes batted down at the line of scrimmage.

It was hardly a banner day for the unit that general manager Dave Gettleman originally promised to address upon taking over in late 2017.

“Well, I think as a team, we started slow on both sides of the ball. I saw some improvement as we went on, we were able to move the ball a little bit, get down there in scoring position,” Judge said. “Obviously, we can’t shoot ourselves in the foot and expect to have success, so there are some things that we can highlight in terms of the offensive line, in terms of the direction we have to go and there’s obviously a lot of things we can clean up, as well.

“I saw some positive things and some things that we’ve got to clean up. Obviously, some of the sacks and pressures on third-and-long situations — you don’t want to end any game with a safety, I mean that’s something you don’t want to do.”

The Giants’ depth took another hit when Kenny Murphy was forced to leave the game in the second quarter after his leg was rolled up on. Kenny Wiggins stepped in for him and struggled throughout the evening, though he was forced to undertake the difficult responsibility of playing a full game during the first week of preseason.

“Kenny is a tough dude and he’s a football player and having to answer the bell right there and play 60 minutes, I don’t think there’s anyone out here right now in shape for 60 minutes of football,” Judge said. “And Kenny is the kind of guy that’s not going to turn anything down.”

A silver lining, certainly, but something that could have been avoided with the Giants signing veteran Ted Larsen last week. However, Judge did not want to put him in after not practicing with the team at all; an entirely understandable choice.

“I thought as a unit, the communication improved as we went on there,” Judge continued. “I thought some of the adjustments they were able to make on the sideline with [offensive line coach Rob Sale] and those guys, in terms of handling what they were given, was positive. But ultimately we have to be fundamentally sound and play more consistent.”