It’s absolutely astounding that the New York Giants won the Super Bowl last season, despite a horrific offensive line. The talk around the league has always been about Eli Manning, the wide receivers and the unstoppable defensive line.
What always surprised me in the playoffs was that not many people seemed to focus on the Giants’ subpar line. This line wasn’t just bad; it was downright awful—Pro Football Focus rated the Giants as the 32nd ranked pass-blocking offensive line in the game, nearly twice as bad as the Chicago Bears, the NFL’s next-worst team.
David Diehl, last year’s left tackle, was moved to right tackle for 2012, which is a good step, considering Diehl rated as the single worst offensive lineman in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. Actually, Diehl’s season was the worst season by any position player in the league since the site was founded in 2008. He surrendered nine sacks in the regular season and then four more in the postseason, allowing 61 quarterback pressures on the season.
Moving him to right tackle should buy Eli Manning more time from his blind side, but that means the inexperienced Will Beatty will man the left tackle spot. Beatty has started just 16 games at left tackle in his career, although that will be an upgrade over Diehl. At left guard, the team will go with Kevin Boothe, a player that has played sparingly since he joined the NFL in 2006.
David Baas is an average NFL center who won’t make or break the season, but what the team really needs is for former All-Pro guard Chris Snee to rebound from a down year in 2011. Snee is a three-time Pro Bowler and one of the league’s best guards when healthy and on his game, but he struggled last year. At right tackle, Kareem McKenzie was awful last year, but Diehl likely won’t be much better in ’12, and that’s a problem for the Giants, especially since they barely made the playoffs last year.