It is not an absolute, of course, but Patrick Omameh does believe it to be a truism:
“I think the beauty of offensive-line guys, we’re all, typically, every level I’ve played at, we’re all just generally pretty good guys,’’ Omameh told The Post.
Signed and stationed at right guard, Omameh is part of a totally rebuilt Giants offensive line, where it looks as if every one of the five starting spots will be manned this season by a newcomer or a player in a new position from the wreckage that was the 2017 season.
Nate Solder, 29, is the big man, the big-ticket free agent from the Patriots, imported to hold down left tackle. Rookie Will Hernandez, 22, taken in the second-round of the draft, is the left guard, with images of Chris Snee dancing in the heads of the Giants.
Jon Halapio, 26, a natural guard who began last season on the practice squad, for now has overtaken Brett Jones at center. Omameh, 28, undrafted, has started 45 NFL games for the Buccaneers, Bears and Jaguars, arriving as the under-the-radar free agent. Ereck Flowers, 24, is the holdover starter, the No. 9 pick in the 2015 draft, moved from left to right tackle in a last-ditch effort to salvage his foundering Giants career.
Already, this new unit is talking about togetherness and chemistry, attributes last year’s group failed to achieve. Justin Pugh (Cardinals) and Weston Richburg (49ers) got nice money elsewhere; the Giants had no interest in retaining either of their former high draft picks. John Jerry, a starting guard for the Giants the past four years, is trying to make the team as a reserve. Bobby Hart, the starting right tackle in 2017, was the first player general manager Dave Gettleman jettisoned after he was hired; Hart is currently with the Bengals.
The new group is entrusted with keeping Eli Manning upright, allowing him to play with all those toys (Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram) at his disposal. The new group insists it will get the job done as it blends together. This is usually the conversation in July and August, with the real proving ground coming once September hits.
“I just feel the urgency,’’ Halapio said. “I feel the excitement and I feel the bond we have, not only the first five, but the whole room. I feel we’re so close-knit this year, we literally do everything together, whether its going into the players lounge together, eating together, in the spring we went to eat dinners every week. It’s important for everybody to be on the same page, to hang out, get along, because ultimately we work together.
“Last year we weren’t all on the same page. Now we’re here and learning from our past, just trying to move forward with the guys we have, which are great guys, great leaders. Nate’s been awesome, Pat’s been awesome.’’
As the only rookie, Hernandez has yet to undergo much welcome-to-the-NFL indoctrination. The “worst thing I’ve had to do,’’ he said, is to bring donuts to the morning offensive line meeting. He got up early and purchased two dozen donuts for the 16 players in the room, which does not sound like enough of a spread to put out.
“They didn’t complain,” Hernandez said.
The Giants made Solder the highest-paid (four years, $62 million) offensive lineman in the league before the Titans recently beat that deal (five years, $80 million) for Taylor Lewan. The 6-foot-8 Solder is a huge man, even by offensive lineman standards, and he towers over most of the group. After seven seasons in New England playing for Bill Belichick, Solder brought much of the Patriots Way approach to his new team. He speaks mostly in generalities and will not delve deeply at all when asked about any of his new teammates, who describe him as “solid.’’ He prefers his leadership contributions to take place and remain out of the spotlight.
“I don’t think there’s any one player that makes that much of an impact,’’ Solder said. “It’s all about the team, so whatever’s best for the team, we all work together. It’s all about locking arms and fighting for each other, caring for each other and working the best you can together.’’
Halapio says Solder “has been awesome for how he leads in his own way. It’s not a rah-rah speech kind of guy. He’s an extremely hard worker, he’s a great teacher. He’s helping Will out tremendously, I hear him talking all the time to Will, ‘This is what I want on this set, this is what I want on this double block.’ ’’
Omameh, Halapio said, brings “the juice’’ every day. “The energy,’’ Halapio said. “I can feel the energy from Pat.’’
Omameh grinned when he heard that.
“Every now and then it’s good to have someone in there to give the guys a kick,’’ he said.
Hernandez is “a very physical guy, extremely hard worker, he cares about his job, he cares about being here,’’ Halapio said. “It’s exciting to see a young player have that.’’
As for Flowers, well, thus far in training camp he has not yet made himself available to the media. Halapio was his teammate last season and says he notices a different guy, somewhat.
“He’s in a new position, I think it’s a refreshing feeling for him,’’ Halapio said. “There’s a lot of things Ereck wants to prove to people. What I see from him, from last year, how much he’s opened up, he feels comfortable with everybody in the room, which is really cool to see him change as a person.’’
Omameh and Flowers will work the right side of the line together.
“I didn’t know too much about Ereck going in and even when I got here, I wanted my feel for him to be based on my personal interaction with him,’’ Omameh said. “I’ve seen nothing but a good guy that wants to win games and be a football player that can get the job done.
“When he first came out this spring maybe he was a little quieter, but who isn’t when meeting somebody for the first time? I’d say he’s as open as anybody else in the O-line room.’’
After Barkley, Hernandez is the most hyped newcomer to the team, with his easy smile of the field and a nasty streak on it.
“That’s the cool thing about these guys, I feel like I’ve known these guys for a long time now,” Hernandez said. “Just the way we got close in such a short time is pretty cool and it’s pretty amazing, honestly.”
It all sounds good right now. Sounds great, actually. The camp battles with the defensive line have been spirited. Check back on Sept. 9, when the heavy-breathing Jaguars defensive front is frothing at the mouth to get a piece of Manning before he can hand the ball to Barkley or pass it to Beckham.
“We got all these special players — if we can’t get the play started, if we can’t get the play finished, we can’t score points if we can’t block our guys,’’ Halapio said. “Eli feels confident in us, which is a good thing. We got to put it together once the games come in. Nobody’s tackling Eli now. We got to do it in games, when they got the green light to go.’’
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