The Giants had only one player on their roster who knew what Pat Shurmur was like as a head coach. And now that player is set to return.
Veteran offensive lineman John Greco, who was with the Cleveland Browns during Shurmur's tenure there in 2011-12, re-signed with the Giants on Wednesday. The soon-to-be-33-year-old journeyman joined the Giants last November, when injuries were ripping apart their offensive line. He never started a game, but he added some much-needed depth.
That's likely why Greco is coming back in 2018, too. His signing won't necessarily help new GM Dave Gettleman achieve his goal of fixing the Giants' offensive line problem, but depth up front can be enormously important. Last season when the injuries started, the Giants' already-thin line was forced to turn to undrafted rookies like Chad Wheeler, players off their practice squad like Jon Halapio, or veterans off the street like Greco. They had to scramble for help, and the help they found wasn't always good.
So now they have a player in reserve who had started 66 games in five seasons with the Browns from 2012-16. He wasn't a star by any means, but he was a solid and relatively durable player until his final season in Cleveland ended with an injured foot.
Really, he's just a slightly older, slightly less accomplished version of John Jerry, who has been a fixture in the Giants' starting lineup for the last four seasons, and might be their starting guard again next season if he's not a salary cap cut. Greco probably isn't a threat to start, but he could in a pinch. He's reliable depth, and that's important, too.
It's also significant that he played for Shurmur in the past, including with the St. Louis Rams in 2009-10 when Shurmur was their offensive coordinator. Also, during Greco's last season in Cleveland, 2016, his offensive line coach was Hal Hunter -- who is now the Giants' offensive line coach. And it can be very helpful for a new coaching staff to have a few guys in the locker room that know them and how they coach.