The addition of one player off of waivers seems to have made a huge difference for the New York Giants the past two weeks, to the point that the offense and the entire team looks different.
During their bye week three weeks ago, the Giants claimed guard Jamon Brown off waivers. The former Los Angeles Rams lineman, a third-round pick of the team in 2015, had 30 career starts before coming to the Giants. His addition to the offensive line has been nothing short of transformational for this team.
Coming into the year, the Giants did attempt to revamp their offensive line by adding left tackle Nate Solder in free agency and drafting guard Will Hernandez in the second round. But it took a player like Brown, a mauler and a physical interior lineman, to help the unit solidify.
In their past two games, both wins, the Giants (3-7) have shown consistency in their run blocking and their pass protection. They’ve been able to move the ball effectively in these two games, something that has been a struggle for much of this season.
The beneficiaries of this improved play are quarterback Eli Manning and running back Saquon Barkley. It isn’t perfect, (Manning was sacked four times last week) but it is certainly miles better than it was before the bye. The fact that the Giants claimed such an influential piece off of waivers is perhaps the most intriguing part of this turnaround.
“I think [Brown] has done a good job coming in here and contributing in a positive way,” Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said this week.
“They found a way quickly to work well together. We still had a couple breakdowns [in the last game], but for the most part, I think they’ve played their best two games as a unit, and we can see the impact it has on a football game. I’ll go back to what I said and you can probably quote it to me, we’ll go as far as that line will block for us, and they’ve blocked better the last two weeks. That’s contributed.”
The running game has gotten flowing to the point that Barkley was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his big rushing day in Sunday’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The wide receivers are getting open down the field because they have time to let their routes develop.
And while Manning is still under pressure, the line is doing a better job of letting him hang in till his receivers get open. It is no longer dunk passes and quick reads.
For the first time all season, the Giants have an offense that is capable of moving the ball, eating up clock and scoring points. Things are finally clicking.
Manning, for instance, completed 17-of-18 for 231 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday in the win.
“I think the last two games, it’s been their best games and obviously there’s just been a lot of turnaround at the offensive line from right tackle to right guard, centers, that whole right side and new players and it’s been different combinations,” Manning said.
“So, finally for the last couple of weeks just had that same combination and those guys working together and working well and they’re passing things off and doing some good things so they can keep playing that way, the run game, pass game should help us out.”
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