Former Giants Running Back Says O-line is Key to Team’s Offensive Identity


Former Giants Running Back Says O-line is Key to Team’s Offensive Identity

The Giants need to find a new offensive identity, which former RB Brandon Jacobs believes hinges on the offensive line

When now-retired New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs roamed the backfield for Big Blue in eight of his nine NFL seasons, there was no mistaking what those teams were all about.


Tough, gritty, resilient—a team that punched opponents in the mouth for 60 minutes of football.



That was the Giant’s identity, which helped the team win two Super Bowl championships in 2007 and 2011 during the To Coughlin-Eli Manning era, of which Jacobs was also a part.


These days, however, it’s a different story for the Giants, who have been searching for a new identity, especially on offense, under head coach Brian Daboll, who enters his third season at the team’s helm.


After a surprising 2022 season that saw New York return to the postseason for the first time since 2016 and win a postseason game for the first time since the 2011 postseason, the Giants took a step backward in 2023 as a rash of injuries exposed several holes on the roster.


Nearly six months after the 2023 season ended, there is hope that the roster modifications made by general manager Joe Schoen in free agency and the draft will get the franchise back on the right track as it enters its 100th year in existence.


“Every time somebody asks me about the Giants and where I think they are headed, I think they’re going in a good direction,” Jacobs told the Locked On Giants podcast.



“We got (quarterback) Daniel Jones, who some people, for some reason, are still unsure about. He hasn’t had these knock-down drag-outs. He’s coming back from an injury. He has a pretty good wide receiving corps this year—guys that can flat out go ball, make plays, catch the ball in space, and get yards after the catch.”


Still, there are a fair number of people who feel the Giants fumbled the ball by not drafting a quarterback this year from a deep talent pool and that their willingness to run it back with Jones, who is coming off a torn ACL, is a risk they might end up regretting.


Jacobs, who, along with several dozen current and former Giants, will appear in the Dexter Lawrence II Celebrity Softball Game Saturday at Clover Stadium in Pomona, New York, doesn’t necessarily agree with that view.


While he did allow that Jones has, at times, played with a lack of confidence, Jacbos is in the camp that fixing the offensive line will help Jones get back on track and help the Giants find an identity on offense.


“We keep sitting up here, and we talk about this New York Giants football team, and one thing that we consistently point the finger at every year is the offensive line,” Jacobs said.


“We got two top 10 picks on the offensive line ( right tackle Evan Neal and left tackle Andrew Thomas). You have a center (John Michael Schmitz) drafted in the second round last year. So, three of the five guys (are) high draft statuses.”


In fairness, Thomas has been a stud for the Giants, though last season, a hamstring injury suffered in the Week 1 loss to the Dallas Cowboys caused Thomas to miss seven games and caused him to struggle when he did play.


Schmitz, whom the team will be the long-term answer at center, also suffered injuries that caused him to miss four games. That, plus the constant revolving door at both guard spots couldn’t have been much help to a rookie looking to plant his feet firmly on the NFL ground.


Neal, like Thomas and Schmitz, has also dealt with injuries—he suffered a season-ending ankle injury for which he needed surgery—and has struggled with consistency when healthy, never really appearing to be fully comfortable playing on the right side.


Then there was the matter of the guards, who, again because of injuries, forced the coaches to put a different lineup on the field nearly every week for the first half of the season. Not surprisingly, the Giants interior offensive line allowed 27 sacks, more than the entire offensive lines of 20 other NFL teams.


The offensive line play has Jacobs, like so many others, perplexed.


“Are we not drafting guys that fit the scheme? Are we not drafting guys that fit the mentality of the team? Like, what are we not drafting?” he asked.


Schoen poured a lot of resources into fixing the offensive line this past off-season. Two of the five players he signed, Jon Runyan Jr and Jermaine Eluemunor, are projected to be the starting guards.


The team also changed position coaches, replacing Bobby Johnson with Carmen Bricillo, formerly of the Raiders.


Jacobs believes that once the Giants sort out the offensive line, it can focus on figuring out its offensive identity.


“That’s what I think the New York Giants have lacked the last few years,” he said. “We don’t know if (the team) is gonna come out and run power or come out and sling it 50 times a game. That’s where we are now.


“Anybody can obviously put the ball in their hands, run hard, and try to make plays. But it’s a mindset, a mentality that guys have to have—it’s not something you can coach; it has to be in you when you come out of the womb.”

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *