If the Giants are going to turn things around on offense, then it is likely that the signings of guard Kevin Zeitler and tackle Mike Remmers will play a big part in the process.
For the first time in quite a while, the Giants have the components for a rather solid offensive line. A sore spot on the team over the past several seasons, the line has been rebuilt over the past two years, with two likely starters coming via free agency this offseason in the aforementioned Zeitler and Remmers.
Though he played guard with the Minnesota Vikings last year, Remmers is likely this team’s starting right tackle come Week 1. The veteran helps solidify the other side of the line following the signing of left tackle Nate Solder in free agency before last season.
Last year, the Giants allowed 47 sacks and 97 quarterback hits, not terrible numbers but certainly not good. That quarterback Eli Manning has had among the fastest release times in the NFL the past two years is indicative of a player often throwing quickly by design to avoid getting pummeled in the pocket.
The switch back to tackle, Remmers said, will come with knowledge gained from having been thrust into the role as a guard last year.
“I have the most experience at tackle, from high school, to college, to pros,” Remmers said Monday following offseason workouts. “Last year I played all guard. The year before that mainly tackle and a few games at guard. It was different playing guard. I feel like my experience there will help me though going back to tackle. I learned a lot there but I am looking forward to playing tackle again.”
Remmers had visited the Giants earlier in free agency but didn’t sign with the team at that point. Having had offseason back surgery, the Giants are now optimistic that he can be on the field sooner rather than later.
The 30-year old offensive lineman, known in particular for his run blocking, has played for eight teams during a career that has already spanned seven years. He’s gotten to know the Giants brain trust at two of his previous stops: with the Vikings, where head coach Pat Shurmur was on the offensive staff, and the Carolina Panthers, where general manager Dave Gettleman had the same role.
Both Shurmur and Gettleman know Remmers as a player and a person and like what he brings to the table.
“I worked with Mike for two years,” Shurmur said Monday. “He is a real pro, and he played winning football for us in Minnesota. I knew a lot about Mike and then he started last year every game and played well. We were in talks with him, took a couple of physicals, just went through the process and signed him.”
The hope is that Remmers, a lunch pail veteran, can help usher in a new feel around the Giants. It isn’t a secret that the locker room was a toxic one at times last year, the byproduct of losing and some big, oftentimes difficult, personalities.
Remmers, not the type to grab headlines off the field, is part of what Shurmur and Gettleman are hoping will be a rebuild of the team’s chemistry and locker room following a purge of personalities this offseason.
“You’re working with coaches and players all day every day, and you don’t want a guy that is maybe a jerk or something like that,” Remmers said. “You want to have someone that you can work well with and I guess they think that I work well with them. I’m here to learn, I’m here to be coached, and I’m trying to improve as a player.”