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Dave DeGuglielmo looks to keep Giants' O-line moving in proper direction

OFFENSIVE-LINE
Nick Gates (65), Shane Lemieux (66), Daniel Jones (8), Andrew Thomas (78)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Dave DeGuglielmo joined the Giants amid less than ideal conditions, but he said today his arrival and the task before him are both quite simple.

The man known throughout the NFL as Guge was named the team's new offensive line coach during the Giants' bye week on Nov. 18. He replaced Marc Colombo in a change of position coaches. But DeGuglielmo believes the focus should be on his job and not the events that led to him obtaining it.

"I guess it would be the equivalent of a plumber called to a different company to do a plumbing job," he said on a Zoom call in his first public comments since joining the team. "Generally speaking, this is what I do. Sometimes the circumstances are more advantageous for me personally, but I think there's a solid system here. (Coach) Joe Judge and (offensive coordinator) Jason Garrett have a solid system in place. I'm coming in to just do my role as a line coach and try to keep things moving in the proper direction. That's all.

"It's not overly complicated or anything like that. And I'm doing the adjusting. I'm having to learn a new language, if you will. It's like taking a job in Spain and I don't know Spanish. Well, I still know how to do my job, I just don't know the language of it. That's all and that's really been the adjustment."

DeGuglielmo, 52, has 28 years of coaching experience, including 15 in the NFL. This is his second go-round with the Giants. He was an assistant offensive line coach under Pat Flaherty on Tom Coughlin's staff from 2004-08, a period when the Giants earned four playoff berths and won two NFC East titles and Super Bowl XLII.

DeGuglielmo spent the 2019 season as the offensive line coach with the Miami Dolphins – his third turn on their coaching staff. He replaced Flaherty, who was fired just four days into training camp by then first-year head coach Brian Flores.

Judge and DeGuglielmo worked together on Bill Belichick's coaching staff in New England in 2014-15. After first bringing in his former colleague as a consultant, Judge decided to hire DeGuglielmo as the O-line coach.

"I came in and was in Covid protocol," DeGuglielmo said. "I was in a hotel room watching film and trying to get acclimated to the system. Then the role changed from consultant to line coach. Again, I just kind of follow the lead of the head coach. This was the direction he wanted me to go, and I went with it."

He's been doing that for a long time. Since 1991, Guge has coached, in order, at Boston College (under Coughlin), Boston University (his alma mater), the universities of Connecticut and South Carolina, the Giants, Dolphins, Jets, Patriots, Chargers, Dolphins, Colts and Dolphins.

Though he spent "most of the fall moving my mom to Florida," DeGuglielmo knew he'd return to a sideline at some point. So, he prepared for the opportunity.

"When you're a coach, you kind of never leave the game," DeGuglielmo said. "I found myself watching a lot of tape on many teams. You never know where you're going to end up or what systems or what you could pick up by watching tape. ... You want to stay fresh and abreast of the new things that are going on in the game. The game is always changing and evolving, and as a coach, you need to do the same thing. That's basically what I was doing, studying that and putting together a plan in terms of you're always anticipating the next opportunity, whether that be something like this where it happens on short notice, or something further down the road where you go through the process of a new coach and hiring and all that stuff. I was just keeping myself ready to go."

DeGuglielmo takes over a line that starts two rookies on the left side, first-round draft choice Andrew Thomas at tackle and fifth-round selection Shane Lemieux at guard. Nick Gates hasn't missed a snap at center despite never playing the position before training camp. Veterans Kevin Zeitler and Cam Fleming play right guard and tackle, respectively.

Their new coach wasn't prepared today to offer a detailed analysis on their performance.

"I haven't been with these guys for very long," DeGuglielmo said. "I have gone back and watched all of the video tape. I think (Thomas is) doing a good job of trying to work on the problems he had early in the year. That's the big thing with all of them. If you find a perfect play somewhere, point it out to me because I don't see that anywhere in the National Football League. Guys are going to make mistakes, and they're going to grow throughout a season.

"I think this line is growing. I don't have the same concerns about rotating guys in as other people might have because this is an opportunity for us to take a look at a bunch of players. I think we have some players who are quality players that are sitting on the bench. I believe what Coach Judge believes in, and that's trying to get guys experience. Guys get injured these days. You're going to need those other players, those backups, down the road. But in the week I've been here with them, I haven't encountered one guy that resists drill work or resists coaching or resists instruction. I think that's the key. Every day, we just need to work on little things. We have one or two points a week that we emphasize. If we can do that, whether I was the line coach in the beginning or the line coach in the middle or the end, we'd still be doing the same thing. We'd be emphasizing the points that need to be addressed and just focusing on them and getting better every day. That's all we can do, and they've done a great job doing that. What more could I ask?"

*The Giants, 4-7 and sitting atop the NFC East, made a series of roster moves today. They will return to the practice field tomorrow to begin preparing for their game Sunday against the Seahawks in Seattle.

Most notably, linebacker Kyler Fackrell was placed on injured reserve and will miss at least the next three games. Fackrell suffered a calf injury in the Giants' 19-17 victory Sunday in Cincinnati.

Fackrell is tied for second on the team (with Dexter Lawrence) with 3.0 sacks. He also has one of the team's nine interceptions and is the only defender to return a pick for a touchdown (46 yards at Dallas on Oct. 11). Fackrell, who has played in all 11 games with eight starts, has 31 tackles (20 solo).

Fackrell becomes the third outside linebacker to go on injured reserve. He joins Lorenzo Carter (Achilles) and Oshane Ximines (shoulder), both of whom underwent surgery and are out for the season.

The Giants waived defensive back Montre Hartage and kicker/punter Ryan Santoso. Hartage has been on both the active roster and practice squad this season and played in one game, Nov. 15 vs. Philadelphia. Santoso was signed last week off the practice squad as insurance in case Graham Gano was unavailable for the Cincinnati game. Gano was on the Reserve/Covid-19 list but was activated Saturday and kicked four field goals vs. the Bengals.

Tight end Kaden Smith, rookie tackle Matt Peart and wide receiver/return specialist Dante Pettis were activated off the Reserve/Covid-19 list. They are eligible to practice tomorrow.

Wide receiver Derrick Dillon and tight end Nate Wieting were terminated from the practice squad.

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