Nick Gates, Shane Lemieux & Will Hernandez join podcast
Training camp is right around the corner.
Before things kick off at Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Tuesday, several of the Giants' interior offensive linemen stopped for a chat with Giants.com's John Schmeelk on the Giants Huddle Podcast.
Will Hernandez is entering his fourth year as a member of the Giants. After starting every game at left guard over his first two seasons, Hernandez played in 13 games with seven starts last season. This offseason, the 25-year-old has been getting reps at right guard, a position he has not played since high school.
"The transition wasn't as bad as I thought, and it wasn't as complicated," Hernandez said about practicing at right guard. "The first couple of days once you get some reps in you and you kind of start getting out there and moving around, you start adapting to it just like you would anything else."
With Hernandez shifting over to right guard, the door is open for second-year offensive lineman Shane Lemieux to try to grab hold of the starting left guard position. Lemieux was a fifth-round pick of the Giants in last year's draft and wound up playing 12 games with nine starts at left guard, with most of his starts coming later in the season.
"Anytime you can get in-game experience, it's extremely valuable," Lemieux said about seeing the field as a rookie. "Just learning the speed of the game because it's a lot different than practice. We got to play in an important December football game that meant a lot, so obviously the speed of the game sped up. Getting those in-game reps just made me feel more comfortable out there."
Nick Gates saw action in all 16 games during the 2019 season while starting three of those contests. However, the 2020 campaign was the first in which the offensive lineman started at the center position. Despite not having a normal offseason and training camp to prepare for his new position, Gates started all 16 games at center for the Giants last year.
"I was learning a whole new position coming into the season," Gates said on the podcast. "The first five games, everybody watched, they weren't great on my part. There was a little bit of a learning curve in there for me. But once I kind of figured it out and got comfortable, I was ready to roll.
The other interior offensive linemen currently on the roster are Zach Fulton, Jonotthan Harrison, Chad Slade, Kenny Wiggins, Jake Burton and Kyle Murphy.
Pressing questions facing the Giants in 2021
Activities at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center are about to get underway as training camp is right around the corner.
Before the full roster reports for the start of camp on Tuesday, let's check out some of the most pressing questions facing the Giants heading into the 2021 season.
Will the offense be more explosive?
The Giants went into the offseason with a clear goal - to add pieces in order to make the offense more explosive. Well, we can now look back and say they certainly brought more firepower to Jason Garrett's side of the ball with their moves over the last few months.
Kenny Golladay was the team's first big splash in free agency, providing the offense with a 6-foot-4 receiver who thrives on the deep ball. Despite missing most of the 2020 season, Golladay still ranks fourth among all receivers in deep receiving yards over the past three years. He also has the second-highest contested catch rate (63 percent) of any WR in the league (min. 50 targets) since 2018.
In addition to Golladay, the Giants signed veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph and speedy receiver John Ross in free agency. Rudolph did not miss a game from 2015-2019, and over the last four seasons has dropped only two of 233 targets. Meanwhile, Ross is a former first-round pick who registered a 4.22 in the 40 at the 2017 NFL Combine. This still stands as the fastest official 40-yard dash at the Combine.
Following free agency, the Giants then went and spent their first-round pick on WR Kadarius Toney. The former Florida Gator performed well on the collegiate level, especially on the deep ball, where 10.7 percent of his targets were on passes 20+ yards downfield. On those plays, Toney graded an incredible 99.6 with a perfect 158.3 passer rating when targeted.
These four pickups, along with the return of star running back Saquon Barkley, should provide a big boost to the offense in 2021.
View photos of the New York Giants' active 53-man roster as it currently stands.
Best of Mic'd Up: Training Camp Edition
Check out the video below to view some of the best mic'd up moments from Giants training camp.