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Sent: 08-03-22

E-GIANTS
Dave Klein was the Giants' beat writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books and he was one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls up until last year. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.

DABOLL STILL TRYING TO 'FIX' THE O-LINE. PREFERS ROTATION

By Dave Klein
Head coach Brian Daboll is still wrestling with his team, and it appears most noticeable with the offensive line.

In practice yesterday, center Jon Feliciano was only somewhat available (dehydration) and he practiced about half the time. He was replaced by the obvious second teamer, veteran free agent Max Garcia.

But Daboll's second team offensive line, as currently constituted, cannot help but raise questions concerning depth. That unit, at least the five who practiced yesterday, consists of LT Joshua Ezeudu, a rookie; LG Ben Bredeson; Garcia at center; RG Matt Gono; RT Marcus McKethan, a rookie.

This unit is absolutely flexible, and not one of the positions has been certified as of yet.

Speaking of the offensive line, the Giants waived as injured tackle Korey Cunningham.

Daboll was asked whether he prefers a fixed starting unit on the offensive line or, as was done in Buffalo (his last stop) he wants to have a flexible group of six or seven in order to establish a rotation system.

"Yeah, this is usually a hot topic every summer when we're talking about offensive linemen," he responded. "We're going to keep rotating the players. There obviously are certain guys [who will always be the starters] - like Andrew Thomas is our left tackle. But I think the more guys who can get reps, you know, if Thomas comes out in a preseason game, then who's going to go in for him?

"And the more position flexibility they can create - maybe you find something, a good combination that works - but right now we're going to mix and match. And eventually we'll settle on the five out there; I think that's important to have some effective communication with one another. But I think when you work with other guys, that helps the communication process as well."

Quarterback Daniel Jones, who continues to show improvement, completed nine of 10 passing attempts in the practice and wasn't intercepted at all.

"I think he's steadily improved since we got here," Daboll said. "He's learning a whole new language. It's any young quarterback or new quarterback in a new system. There's a lot to learn. There's a lot to handle. So, he's making progress. But we're constantly teaching, we're trying to figure out what we do well.

"There might be a certain route concept that we ran yesterday where after we tried it three or four times, I'm telling (OC) Mike Kafka like, 'Let's just move on from that play.' But we need to practice it to see if that's something we're good at. And the quarterback has to have some input on that as well. So, he's making improvement each day."

Running back Saquon Barkley drew the wrath of Daboll when he ran the wrong direction on a short pass pattern. Daboll yelled out his criticism so that the entire team was able to hear him, but Barkley also drew praise for a long run generated by a nifty move through the line.

EXTRA POINTS - The first preseason game is just a week away, Aug. 11 vs. New England (a nostalgic reunion with Joe Judge, too). ... Then come two more summer games, Aug. 21 vs. Cincinnati and Aug. 28 vs. the New York Jets.?

davesklein@aol.com

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