The New York Giants offensive line was a topic of conversation for the past week -- and it had nothing to do with the performance on the field. New York had no depth on a line that was plagued with retirements and injuries. Zach Fulton and Joe Looney abruptly retired while Jonotthan Harrison was out with an injury and Nate Solder was limited in practice.
Heading into Saturday's preseason opener against the New York Jets, the front office had to do something. On Friday, New York signed veteran guard Ted Larsen to help out the offensive line. Larsen spent 2020 on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad, after spending 10 years in the league with the Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, and Miami Dolphins. He's played 137 games and started 88, giving the Giants veteran depth on a line that actually had assistant offensive line coach Ben Wilkerson on the second team in walk-throughs.
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Wilkerson spent three years in the NFL as a player and 2021 is currently his seventh season as an assistant coach, the fourth as the Giants assistant offensive line coach. Shane Lemieux is also banged up, leaving the Giants extremely thin on the line -- thus the need to sign Larsen.
Are the Giants offensive line injuries and retirements related to Judge having a hard camp? The Giants head coach doesn't think that's the case, saying he has a camp that gets his players physically prepared for the season.
"Everything we do has a purpose. So when I talk about old school, I talk about more my philosophy and the fundamentals of the game and how I believe the game is built and how a team has to be centered on discipline and fundamentals," Judge said Thursday. "In terms of using information and the new tools we have, I just think it's a responsibility of the coach and of the organization to do the best thing for the players."
Prior to the Giants pivoting and signing Larsen, Judge was more than comfortable with the offensive linemen he had -- regardless of the lack of depth on his roster.
"Look, it's our job to go ahead and develop everybody on the roster," Judge said. "Right now, with the guys we're working with, we see daily improvement, we've got to keep pushing them forward. In terms of when we get closer to the season, there is going to be a lot of things that go ahead between now and then that change.
"At this point, I would say it's early in camp, but we're phasing to that kind of midpoint right there with the transition in camp. In terms of my focus, it's on how they improve every day and making sure we're put in the right position to be successful."