Giants’ Jon Runyan offers high praise for John Michael Schmitz

Giants’ Jon Runyan offers high praise for John Michael Schmitz

New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen knew after last season he needed to upgrade the interior of the offensive line.


Schoen quickly inked two veterans — Jon Runyan Jr. and Jermaine Eluemunor — to solidify what was a glaring weakness in 2023. Runyan will likely be asked to play in between second-year center John Michael Schmitz and third-year left tackle Evan Neal.


Head coach Brian Daboll did not completely confirm that on Thursday at the team’s ninth OTA session but did talk about how well Runyan has been acclimating to his new teammates.


“He’s played in multiple spots. He’s a pro,” Daboll said of Runyan.


“(Director of pro scouting) Chris Rossetti and his staff and Joe have done a good job of identifying smart and tough. He communicates well. I think that’s important between Jon and Evan to have a good communicator. It’s important on the left side with Eluemenor and (Andrew Thomas) as well.”


Runyan spoke extensively about both Schmitz and Neal, reminding reporters that they “are two young guys, but they’re really mature for their age” and how impressed he was with both of them.


“It has really been amazing playing next to John Michael. If I would’ve came in here not knowing his background, I would’ve thought he was a five-year veteran. He comes in here and he takes it serious. He is on top of his stuff. He rarely makes a mistake, he gets everybody set on the offensive line,” Runyan said.


“Having a center like that is awesome. It helps everybody out, the five across. Helps out the quarterback, helps out the running back when everybody is set, so having John Michael in there has been really important.


“Evan, I don’t know what Evan is dealing with, but he hasn’t been in there any of the team periods. He’s been in there in walk-through. I think he’s been taking his time getting his body right, understanding our scheme. When we are in there in walk-throughs together he’s been on top of his stuff. He’s been helping me out because this is still kind of a new scheme, something I’ve never done before. He’s helping me. He’s in my ear about it, too.”


The Giants allowed 85 sacks last year, the most in the NFL since 1986. With new unit coach Carmen Bricillo more in tune with Daboll’s way of doing things plus the new additions, the Giants should see much better results from the offensive line in 2024.


Despite low outside expectations, Jalin Hyatt believes 2024 Giants are a playoff team

Things didn’t quite go as planned for the Giants last season.


After scratching and clawing their way to a playoff spot and Wild Card round victory over the Minnesota Vikings during the first year of the Joe Schoen-Brian Daboll era, New York fell short last season.


Daniel Jones took a step back playing behind a makeshift offensive line before suffering a season-ending ACL injury, and local undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito stepped up and played hero for a few games, but it simply wasn’t enough.


So now heading into year three under the new regime with a relatively new look, it’s hard to figure out what to make of this Big Blue roster.


Schoen attempted to revamp the offensive line again with several new pieces, he acquired another top-tier pass rusher in Brian Burns in a trade with the Panthers, and he landed Jones a legitimate No. 1 weapon by taking LSU’s Malik Nabers with the sixth-overall pick.


Despite that, many people are still down on them after losing a pair of key starters in running back Saquon Barkley to the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles and safety Xavier McKinney to the Green Bay Packers over the offseason.


While the expectations are relatively low heading into this season, second-year wide receiver Jalin Hyatt is still confident in the group as currently assembled.


“I always set high expectations,” he said. “Looking at our team we have a good chance to do whatever we want to do. As a team goal, we have a playoff team here and that’s what we’re going to do, that’s our focus and we’re going to get there.”


Hyatt had a relatively quiet rookie campaign, but after working to get bigger and stronger over the offseason, he’s been drawing some high praise from the coaching staff early on during Big Blue’s OTA sessions.


“His growth so far is tremendous,” WR coach Mike Groh told reporters. “All of the work that he put in investing in his game, learning the what how and why, he’s just a different guy. He’s gotten stronger here in the offseason.”


“You can tell he’s been in the system for a year now,” Brian Daboll added. “He’s playing with confidence in terms of the pre-snap stuff which allows him to play faster post-snap. He’s improved from year one to year two, and he’s improving each day at OTAs, so we’re pleased with where he’s at.”


It remains to be seen if this will lead to an increased role during his sophomore campaign.


While the presence of a superstar talent such as Nabers figures to take away some targets from guys like Hyatt and Wan’Dale Robinson, the 22-year-old isn’t worried and he likes the potential of this much-improved receiver room.


“It’s a new year with new opportunities and new goals,” he said. “There’s a lot of excitement bringing in Malik, he’s an elite guy. Everything he did at LSU is elite and he got here and everything he’s done so far is the same.


“And then not only that, but we brought [Darius] Slayton back, we still have Wan’Dale [Robinson] so I think it brings confidence to that whole room, we’re ready to throw it. Dabes can see it, I think our receiver room is stacked and we’re ready to prove what we can do.”

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