Giants’ Nicks Gates: O-Line still has a ‘little bit of a ways to go’

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There’s a lot of optimism surrounding the New York Giants as they head into the 2021 season. Many still doubt, however, that the team has turned the corner and is ready to start winning again.

Those doubts start with the offensive line, a unit that has had its issues the past few years and is being blamed for the Giants’ poor output on offense.

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In the middle of the mix is Nick Gates, who is beginning his second full season as the team’s starting center.

Gates had been a swing tackle and a fill-in guard his first several season with Big Blue before the shifted him to center, a position he had never played on any competitive level. Needless to say, he struggled at first but then began to acclimate to the job.

This year, Gates has got a full season of experience under his belt and ready to lead the line into battle. He’s not alone in this. Three of his other four line mates are also entering their second year on the job.

“We’re all one year older,” Gates told reporters on Friday. “We all have one more year of experience. We all played together last year. Towards the end of the year, we picked it up, hopefully we pick up where we left off last year.”

And that was on a high note. Regardless of what pundits have been writing, the Giants’ line improved vastly over the course of last season. Gates grew into the job and rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas managed turn his season around after an abysmal start.

Gates and his line mates aren’t buying into the public narrative that they are the Achilles heel of this roster.

“Try to block out the outside noise and just kind of keep to the room, and just stay with everybody,” Gates said of the criticism. “Keep grinding, keep on practicing and trying to get one percent better every day. Keep working towards that goal and just get better.”

The group will play at lest the first half in Sunday night’s preseason finale against the New England Patriots. Gates admits there is still much to improve on and is aiming to get some synergy in this game.

“We’ve come a long way since the beginning of camp, but we’ve still got a little bit of a ways to go before the season starts. This game will be good for us to all finally get together and work more than just 19 to 20 plays. It’ll be good. We’ve come along, but we’ve still got some to go,” Gates said.

Gates is known as a hard worker who has always proved his detractors wrong. This year is no different. He has been doing everything in his power to improve this offseason.

“Just working on my technique and just getting better, like I said. Just coming together as a group, just communicating well and just making sure everybody is on the same page,” he said.

The Giants will need that to happen if they plan on making some noise this year.