The Giants‘ already thin offensive line depth just took another hit on Monday, as they placed backup guard/center Kyle Murphy on Injured Reserve.
Murphy logged just seven snaps during Saturday’s preseason game with the New York Jets, before suffering an ankle injury, which ended his night.
In addition to Murphy, the Giants also placed T.J. Brunson (torn ACL) and Joshua Kalu (torn pectoral muscle) on I.R. earlier today as well.
The Giants signed Murphy as an undrafted free-agent following the 2020 NFL draft. Murphy made the Giants’ practice squad out of camp last summer and was promoted to the active roster in mid-November. However, he did not appear in a game for the Giants during his rookie campaign.
Murphy was a standout at the University of Rhode Island, where he played all over the offensive line for the Rams, starting 21 games at left tackles, nine at left guard, five at right tackle and one at center. The Giants were deploying him as a backup at both guard and center, prior to his injury.
And Giants head coach Joe Judge was very impressed with Murphy last season, which is why the team chose to call him up in the middle of the season.
“He’s been able to really use the first half of the season of kind of getting on track, get used to the speed of the game, and really show some improvement for us on a daily basis in practice,” said Judge in November of 2020. “I think Kyle is a good, young player that’s worth developing. We enjoy having him in the program. He’s a guy that’s worked very hard with Fitz (Craig Fitzgerald) and his crew and has changed his body a good bit.”
“I see him moving, I see some athleticism, has some power, he has some nasty to him in how he plays,” he said. “He’s a guy right there that we just think in terms of a young guy, worth developing, and giving us some depth on the roster moving forward.”
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Thin OL Depth
With Murphy out, the Giants’ offensive line depth gets even dicier. While Shane Lemieux (sprained MCL), Nate Solder (shoulder) and Jonotthan Harrison (hamstring) recover from their injuries, backup guard Kenny Wiggins was forced to start in the Giants first preseason game and was badly exposed by the Jets’ defensive line.
The Giants also saw veteran linemen Zach Fulton and Joe Looney retire during training camp, as they felt their bodies were not up to the challenge of the NFL any longer.
In the wake of several injuries and early retirements, the Giants went out and added journeyman Ted Larsen last week to compete for a backup spot on the roster. And head coach Joe Judge also hinted that there is a “good chance” that more depth moves along the line could be in the works, as his team heads to Cleveland this week for joint practices with the Browns.
The Giants’ starting offensive line is currently projected to be (From left to right): Andrew Thomas, Shane Lemieux, Nick Gates, Will Hernandez and Matt Peart.
Make or Break
It is no secret that the offensive line is crucial to the Giants’ success in 2021. And they are one serious injury away from disaster due to a lack of priority in beefing up their “hog mollies” during the offseason. Now, they are starting to see the affects of neglecting this vital position group.
Two key players who could also see this aspect hurt them are quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley. If Jones doesn’t have time to stand in the pocket and make throws, it will be tough to develop in his third season as the quarterback of the Giants, despite being able to make plays with his legs. Patrick Mahomes’ performance in the Super Bowl was exhibit A, as a lack of protection led to just nine points from the Kansas City Chiefs‘ high-powered offense in this matchup.
As for Barkley, he received zero openings in the running game in Week 1 of 2020, rushing for a mere six yards on 15 carries (0.4 yards per carry) in his only full contest of the season, before suffering a torn ACL the following week.
If the Giants’ offensive line can’t stay healthy, they could be in big trouble next season, as they look to snap their four-year playoff drought.