Yeah, we took the easy way out. Instead of placing each individual lineman on this list, we are grouping them as one indispensable unit. And while this may seem insulting to each individual lineman, it just drives home the fact that an offensive line is about five men working together as one. Or as one of the bearded Patriots linemen once said (I don’t remember which one) ‘we're five knuckles on a fist.’ Although Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward get all the credit for leading the NFL in rush yards and for recording 1,000 yard seasons, the O-line is as responsible for these feats as anyone.
If any one of the Giants’ starting linemen has to miss an extended period of time, the drop off in talent from starter to backup will be drastic, especially now that Grey Ruegamer is no longer with the team. Opposing defenses will make sure to target the weakness on the line caused by the injured starter and the Giants offense will suffer; when Kevin Boothe replaced the injured Kareem McKenzie last season, the results were not pretty. Second round pick William Beatty should turn into an excellent lineman one day, and may be an upgrade at backup O-line right now. But the fact remains that if he, or any other backup offensive lineman is forced into action, the Giants offense will be playing with a serious handicap.
Of course, one member of the offensive line may be more valuable than another. For instance, Chris Snee is the most talented athlete, while David Diehl plays the most important position, and Shaun O’Hara is the glue that holds the unit together. Kareem McKenzie and Rich Seubert are no slouches either. But the point is that five talented offensive linemen does not necessarily equal a great offensive line. More than any other position, the offensive line must develop chemistry through familiarity and teamwork in order to protect the quarterback and establish the running game. This unit has taken years to develop, but it has finally blossomed into one of the team’s greatest strengths. Removing any one of the starting five would not just make the line weaker in one spot; it would have a trickle-down effect, weakening the entire line. After all, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.