The biggest issue for the New York Giants last season was their offensive line. They attacked that position early in free agency, adding OG Geoff Schwartz and C J.D. Walton. They later added OG/OT John Jerry, and today, they have added former New Orleans Saints LT Charles Brown.
Brown is not even 27 years old and has already started 22 games in his NFL career. He was a second-round pick of the Saints out of USC in 2010. Most recently, however, he was benched following an awful start against Robert Quinn and the St. Louis Rams. Brown never recovered his starting spot, missing the last two games of the regular season and the playoffs.
But Brown wasn’t brought in to be the Giants’ starting left tackle; Will Beatty was paid handsomely to perform that role just last offseason. Instead, Brown comes in as insurance, and to add depth to a unit that clearly had none last season.
Right now, the Giants’ starting offensive line (from left to right) is projected to be Beatty, Schwartz, Walton, Chris Snee and Justin Pugh. That leaves Jerry and Brown as depth.
Depth is going to be a big thing for the Giants, as there are question marks all over their line. Beatty struggled mightily last season, and is still recovering from a broken leg in the season’s final game. Walton hasn’t played in a game since early 2012, and Snee has had injury issues for a few seasons now and almost retired.
With Brown and Jerry in tow, the Giants have options if one or more of those players suffers and injury, or fails to perform up to expectations. Last season when injuries hit, the Giants were forced to turn to James Brewer and Jim Cordle — two names that hardly inspired confidence.
Have the Giants fixed their offensive line? Probably not. It would be great if all these moves work out, but right now there are too many question marks. But what they Giants have done is create depth and possibility for the line. An early-round lineman would still be a welcome addition, but at the moment, the Giants have the pieces to at least get by in the upcoming season, and that’s certainly better than where they were when the offseason started.