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Cowboys vs. Giants: New York’s offensive line is a “work in progress”

We talk to our old friend who covers the Giants for some intel on the upcoming game.

Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

With the Giants visiting the Cowboys on Sunday night, it’s time to talk to the enemy, in this case it’s our old friend Ed Valentine at Big Blue View.

Blogging The Boys: Lately a weakness of the Giants has been their offensive line. The team addressed it this offseason so how have the results been? Can you give us an evaluation?

Big Blue View: Well, let’s called it “mixed.” Or say it’s a “work in progress.” The Giants line was not good in Week 1. The question is, how much of that was due to the fact they were playing Jacksonville -- one of the league’s best defensive fronts -- and how much is due to the reality that the line still isn’t good enough? Ereck Flowers is now at right tackle, but he is still Flowers. Which means, he still isn’t good. Patrick Omameh at right guard didn’t play well in Week 1. Jon Halapio is a journeyman starting at center for the first time. Left guard Will Hernandez is going to be terrific, but he’s a rookie. Nate Solder is a good left tackle, but not an elite one. This line has to be at least adequate to give Eli Manning a chance. Whether or not it will be remains to be seen.

BTB: I know Giants fans are loving Saquon Barkely and his potential. Talk about his game last week and the different ways the Giants will use him.

BBV: Barkley is a tremendous difference-maker. He’s an absolute home run hitter. You saw the highlight of the 68-yard run. The one thing the Giants weren’t able to do vs. Jacksonville was really use Barkley as the pass-receiving weapon he can be. The one thing the Giants would like to see are more 3-4-5 yard runs instead of -1, -1, no gain, 1-yard ... home run. He’s a guy who, in space, is as good as anyone in the game.

BTB: Should Eli Manning still be the QB in New York or should the team have made the move to someone younger and build for the future?

BBV: Ahh, here we go. Giants fans will argue about this FOREVER. Especially if Sam Darnold, the quarterback many (including myself) thought the Giants should take, becomes a star for the Jets. There is an argument that no matter good Barkley is, if Darnold is a star the only way the Giants can be right to have taken Barkley is to win at least one more Super Bowl while Manning is still their quarterback.

I have always been a supporter of Manning’s. I think he still has enough left to win -- if the guys around him do their jobs. I can absolutely see what Barkley brings to the table. Drafting Barkley instead of Darnold absolutely gives the Giants a better chance to win now. Is Manning still good enough? Have the Giants been able to plug enough holes to be good enough as a team? We will find out.

I look at it this way. Manning has this year and next left on his contract. In retrospect, the second Dave Gettleman became GM Manning was always going to be their quarterback for the next two seasons. So, I love not taking the QB and doing everything possible to try and win. Thing is, now they have to win. And they they have to solve the QB of the future issue. We’ll see how it works out.

BTB: Talk about the switch in defensive scheme and how some players may be in new positions in the front seven.

BBV: Well, it’s funny. Everybody thinks, OMG, a switch from 4-3 to 3-4 is complicated and takes a lot of new personnel. Well, James Bettcher runs a 3-4 in name only. You’ll see 3-4 on first down most of the time. But, you will see a lot of 4-3, a lot of 4-2-5. It’s a hybrid defense. The biggest switch involves Olivier Vernon, who is considered a 3-4 outside linebacker now. But, if he plays on Sunday (he missed Week 1 with an ankle injury) he will have his hand in the ground as pass-rushing DE most of the time when the Giants are in nickel or dime.

BTB: Put together the scenario that gives the Giants a win on Sunday night.

BBV: Offensively, they don’t commit as many penalties as they did last week, staying in better down and distance. They hit a couple of the big plays they narrowly missed on last week, and they avoid the type of breakdowns on the offensive line that led to a costly pick 6. Defensively, they execute their plan and Dak Prescott continues to struggle. The Giants, as everyone else does against Dallas, will focus first and foremost on bottling up Ezekiel Elliott. They want the Dallas offense to have to ride Prescott’s arm. As Landon Collins said, if the Giants can create that scenario and Prescott can’t rise to the challenge, the Giants’ chance of winning improves.

Thanks for the knowledge, Big Blue View.

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