You don’t have to scroll too far down the list of Dave Gettleman misfires before you stumble upon the name Nate Solder. The decision to commit $34.8 million guaranteed to an already declining and aging offensive tackle was frowned upon initially and has not received much more — if any — fanfare as time has gone on.
However, despite not living up to his massive deal, Solder has remained a fixture along the Giants’ offensive front — even after sitting out the entirety of the 2020 campaign and mulling over retirement this past offseason. Solder has started all 43 of his games in a Giants uniform, managing to keep once-highly touted 2020 draft pick Matt Peart glued to the bench.
It wasn’t all that long ago that Peart was viewed in some NFL circles as the superior long-term answer over Andrew Thomas at left tackle for the Giants. Instead, Thomas has progressed leaps and bounds in his second season, while Peart struggles to see the field as he looks up at a 33-year-old Solder ahead of him on the depth chart.
‘Put Your Hands Around Somebody’s Neck and Freaking Choke ‘Em’
Pressed with the question of why Solder is starting ahead of Peart at right tackle, offensive line coach Rob Sale gave a fairly blunt response: “Plain and simple, you watch every play when Andrew [Thomas] was out, body of work, Nate’s the better player right now,” via Dan Duggan of The Athletic.
Sale further elaborated on the matter, claiming that Peart needs to be “more physical,” noting it’s a violent game and the UConn product needs to learn to “Go out there and put your hands around somebody’s neck and freaking choke ‘em. Plain and simple.”
These comments essentially align seamlessly with what former Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes noted on the “Blue Rush Podcast” on November 30th. The two-time Super Bowl champion turned New York Post podcaster said he reached out to an unnamed source who claimed that Peart has shown a “lack of intensity at practice” and has made “far too many mental mistakes” leading to him entering the dog house.
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Joe Judge Weighs In
Joe Judge took a different route when delving into the Solder-Peart debate. When asked directly why Solder is starting over Peart, the second-year head coach didn’t knock the latter for any specific faults but rather applauded Solder for what he perceives as progression from the wily veteran:
We’re pleased with the way Nate’s really progressed throughout this year and how he’s playing for us right now. He’s a guy who comes out and works tirelessly. Matt’s doing a good job progressing in his career, as well. We look to involve him, as well.
We’re using Matt in a lot of jumbo tight end type of situations. He’s expanded on his roles there. We’ve worked with him early in the year in terms of some guard stuff. Really, his home at tackle is where he’s progressing, but he’s given us contributions along the way as we go. Talking specifically about Matt, we do expect him to play throughout different situations and different games. Nate’s taken the lion’s share of a lot of the reps, but Matt’s always going to be prepared and expect to play.