Depth along the offensive line is the one obvious weak spot for the New York Giants headed into the 2023 NFL regular season. Fortunately, head coach Brian Daboll could solve the problem by reuniting with one of his former players.
Ike Boettger played four seasons for Daboll when the latter served as offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills. Their familiarity makes the recently released guard a good fit for the Giants in free agency, according to Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine.
Although Boettger “isn’t a world-beater by any stretch, but he did make 17 starts for the Bills when Giants head coach Daboll was there,” per Ballentine. The latter also cited Pro Football Focus to reveal Boettger “gave up only one sack between the 2020 and 2021 seasons combined.”
That’s the kind excellence in pass protection the Giants need from those in front of quarterback Daniel Jones. The Giants gave Jones a four-year, $160-million contract this offseason, to go with a host of new weapons, including Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller, so they need the QB1 to make significant strides this season.
Giants Have Room for More O-Line Help
As Ballentine pointed out, there are question marks about both of the Giants’ prospective starters at guard, Ben Bredeson and Mark Glowinski: “Bredeson has never played a full season, and Glowinski is 31 years old.”
Glowinski gave up five sacks across 1,045 snaps, according to PFF. While he was generally solid, when Glowsinki struggled, he became a liability, like against NFC East rivals the Washington Commanders in Week 13, per Empire Sports Media’s Alex Wilson.
Bredeson fared better, not giving up a single sack, but the 25-year-old appeared in just 11 games, making only eight starts. What Bredeson offers when healthy is the ability to play multiple positions along the front.
That level of versatility is usually reserved for backup linemen, but the Giants are hoping Bredeson locks down the spot next to standout left tackle Andrew Thomas. If Glowinski’s on the right, the Giants will have two suspect starters bracketing rookie center John Michael Schmitz, who has already won the job to anchor the front five.
Adding another big body to the depth chart would give the Giants options if Glowinski or Bredeson falter. If the depth candidate already knows the Daboll playbook, they’ll be less time needed in transition.
Giants Need Stronger Depth
Joshua Ezeudu and Shane Lemieux are the only names pencilled in as backups on the depth chart. There’s room for another guard, especially since Bredeson is also listed as the immediate deputy to Schmitz.
Boettger’s addition would provide cover at both spots. It would also inadvertently bolster the options at center, leaving Bredeson free to play over the ball if needed, without Daboll having to worry about losing too much at guard.
Boettger is a player the coach knows well, but as Ballentine put it, the lineman is also no “road-grader in the run game.” That’s bad news for Pro Bowl running back Saquon Barkley, who is still the engine powering this offense.
Barkley might benefit more from Ezeudu taking over as a starter. The Giants’ third-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft knows how to move people in the run game, the way he did against the Tennessee Titans in Week 1, springing Barkley for a touchdown with a block highlighted by Nick Falato of SB Nation’s Big Blue View.
Ezeudu hasn’t played his way into the starting lineup this offseason, but he can be counted on to offer quality strength in depth. All Ezeudu needs is another competent guard alongside him in reserve, and Daboll knows Boettger fits the bill.