The Giants' much-maligned offensive line may not be as bad as many people think. For years now, they have been the poster children for the Giants' woes, but in actuality, they haven't been as bad as their press.
They have three top draft picks in their starting lineup. LG Justin Pugh and LT Ereck Flowers were first-round selections and C Weston Richburg was a second-rounder. Free-agent pickup John Jerry has been a steadying presence in the middle of the line.
Their pass protection numbers are fairly good on the surface. They have allowed only 12 sacks on the season (29th overall) and QB Eli Manning has been hit 27 times. Only the Oakland Raiders have given up fewer QB hits this season.
The brightest spot on the line has been Pugh, who began his career as a tackle and has been moved to guard in recent seasons. He has found his niche on this team and in this league.
He is finally getting some recognition for his consistency and effectiveness. This week, the website Pro Football Focus has named Pugh to their midseason All-Pro team:
Yes, the Giants' run game is anemic, the league's worst by the way at 68.2 yards per game. But that is not all on the offensive line. The Giants are still trying to find their identity on offense this season. They have a glut of playmakers yet cannot seem to get much cohesiveness in game play.
The play calling appears to be forcing the pass and abandoning the run too early. The run bland run plays are easily defended by opponents. The insertion of rookie Paul Perkins may add some hop to their step, but last week, outside of his 14-yard run, the Giants' ground game continued to be dead in the water.
Unfortunately for the Giants, Pugh suffered an MCL sprain in the game and will miss 2-4 weeks. This will both complicate the Giants' initiative to run the football and to balance out their offense. But make no mistake, Pugh has silenced the critics who questioned the selection of Pugh with the 19th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.