Another week, another edition of the Big Blue Breakdown. As has been the case for the last month, BigBlueInteractive.com brings together some of the Giants’ best beat writers in one place to answer fan questions regarding the team.
Remember, if you’d like to have your question answered by our panel, simply email it to Connor Hughes (Connor_Hughes@bigblueinteractive.com) and it could be featured next week.
From Dave in East Windsor: I know it’s still early, but I can’t help but get uneasy thinking of the health of guard Chris Snee. If he can’t go during the regular season for injury reasons, who do you believe steps up in his place? Will not having Snee in the lineup bring the same kind of offensive line failures as we saw last year?
CONNOR HUGHES/Big Blue Interactive
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When your team’s offensive guard is coming off an injury-riddled season, surgery-filled offseason and then can’t make it through the contact-free portion of the offseason conditioning program without being sidelined…you have every right to worry.
Throughout his tenure with the Giants, Chris Snee has been the ultimate example of everything the team could want in a player. He’s been great within the community, stayed out of trouble and was a staple on the Giants’ offensive line for a decade. But in sports there is one undefeated: Father Time.
Snee’s body isn’t the same and his play has reflected it. He’s beat up, worn down and no where near the player he was when the Giants selected him in the second round out of Boston College. Did the Giants hope he could return in some form this year? Yes. Did they know there was a chance he couldn’t? Yes to that, too.
Should you be uneasy about the health of Chris Snee? Yes. Should you be worried about a possible backup plan? No. To be honest, some of the guys waiting in the wings may be more help to the team than a healthy Snee this year anyway. John Jerry, while nursing an injury of his own, is considered a solid lineman that was in dire need of a scenery change. Brandon Mosley has impressed coaches this offseason. Weston Richburg was drafted in the second round. All three can fill in for Snee if he can’t go and potentially provide an upgrade in performance.
Will not having Snee in the lineup bring the same issues as last year? No, because Snee wasn’t in the lineup in the first place. After the Giants lost to the Carolina Panthers, Snee removed himself from the game and never stepped foot on the field again. The struggles last year were a result of lack-of-depth, an issue the Giants hope to have solidified this offseason.
Snee will be given every opportunity to return to the right side of the Giants’ offensive line during training camp and he’s earned that right, I just don’t think his body will take him there. It’s been a great run for Snee, but I think this is the end of the road.
ED VALENTINE/Big Blue View
You are absolutely correct to have an uneasy feeling about Snee. This is a topic I addressed on Sunday at Big Blue View and we will delve into it again here.
If Snee can’t go, or if he is in and out of the lineup, the Giants are in much better shape this season than last to handle his absence. Last season they tried a fading David Diehl and an under-whelming James Brewer. Neither really held up very well.
This season the Giants have more offensive line depth. John Jerry is a starting-caliber NFL guard, and has started every game the past two seasons. Brandon Mosley continues to develop, and looks like a guy who might be an NFL-caliber lineman. Second-round pick Weston Richburg has been working at both guard and center. In all honesty, all three are probably better options than Brewer. If you are wondering, Brewer has been working at left tackle behind Charles Brown while Will Beatty rehabs.
So, sure, you have to worry about Snee. The Giants, though, are much better prepared to handle his absence this time around.
CONOR ORR/The Star-Ledger
Chris Snee looked awfully trim to me during OTA’s, even to the point where I thought he might be more than 10 pounds underneath his goal weight. If his hips don’t keep him down, it seems the elbow might, which adds to the difficulty of gaining good weight and lifting. If he’s not able to go, I think Pat Flaherty obviously recommends a competition between Brandon Mosley and Weston Richburg for that starting spot.
Mosley has been impressive in camp so far and, after RE-watching some of his snaps against Detroit and Seattle, I can see why the Giants spent a fourth-round pick on him. He makes adjustments naturally and is light on his feet for a 315-pound guard/tackle. He was injured during his rookie year so he’s really in his second season. No sense in rushing Richburg if he’s still developing.
I don’t think Snee is necessarily the key to a successful offensive line. Maybe in years past, when he was a graduate-level scholar in Kevin Gilride’s offense, things would be different. But this is a new offense with new veterans (J.D. Walton, Geoff Schwartz) who can fill that void.
The real question mark, in my opinion, is Will Beatty. If the Giants don’t have a left tackle, there needs to be some serious re-arranging with more than a few players working outside their comfort zones
ART STAPLETON/ THE RECORD
If the Giants made the same mistakes with depth up front offensively as they did last season, that would be the definition of insanity.
Chris Snee’s heart is into making a return. We can’t say for sure whether Snee will be able to go until there’s some contact in camp. While I’m not ready to say Snee is done, his absence in the spring could turn out to be a blessing for Brandon Mosley.
I’m not buying the conspiracy theory some have floated regarding Snee and how the Giants have expected him to retire all along, and they’re just going through the motions. That’s ridiculous. So the big question: is Mosley the heir apparent to Snee at right guard? He’ll get the chance this summer to show he can handle the job. I also wouldn’t rule out Weston Richburg as an option at RG, especially if J.D. Walton impresses at C. And even though his presence this spring has been a mystery, John Jerry has also been rumored to be in the building. We’ll see if he’s healthy enough to make a run at pushing the young guys off that spot.