A team record was matched Sunday when Julian Love started at safety.
Love became the eighth of the 10 2019 draft picks to start at least one game this season for the Giants. That tied the 1971 team that started eight draft picks as the most since the 1970 merger. Ten rookies have started at least one game, the most since 1980.
So, Pat Shurmur’s contention “this is a historically young team that’s going out there’’ is not wholly unfounded. His defensive backfield is filled with rookies and first-year players but across the board, this is not a bunch of kids. The Giants, after roster cutdowns in early September, were the 18th-youngest team in the league and currently are ninth.
Where the Giants are not young is along the offensive line, with Nate Solder (31), Will Hernandez (24), Jon Halapio (28), Kevin Zeitler (29) and Mike Remmers (30). This unit has underperformed and might represent general manager Dave Gettleman’s worst miscalculation, as he is a “hog-mollie” enthusiast and the results are not there.
Take a look at the start of the 31-13 loss to the Packers. It was third-and-1 on the very first series and Saquon Barkley got stopped for a loss of 3 yards, as nose tackle Kenny Clark easily squeezed between Halapio at center and Hernandez at left guard to drop the running back. After the play, Halapio motioned to Hernandez, clearly expecting help on Clark, as Halapio was engaged with linebacker Blake Martinez.
These are the miscommunications that cannot happen, but occur too frequently on a line that is not terrible, but not good enough and anything but too young.