Jack Anderson film study: Did Giants find a starter on waivers?

Incessant training camp injuries plagued the interior offensive line New York Giants. Big Blue placed starting left guard Shane Lemieux on short-term IR, they lost fifth-round rookie Markus McKethan to a torn ACL, and several veterans missed time for various ailments throughout the summer. Both Ben Bredeson and rookie Joshua Ezeudu have missed time, as well.

The offensive line took a giant leap forward after the awful 2021 season, but the line is still a work in progress.

Offensive line coach Bobby Johnson did a good job cross-training back-end roster tackles to play inside, and it looks like Devery Hamilton may be versatile enough to handle guard duties in the NFL. Adding depth, or potential starters, through waivers was a must for GM Joe Schoen and the Giants’ front office.

After final cuts, Schoen and Daboll added a familiar face in Jack Anderson to the Giants. The Buffalo Bills selected Anderson in the seventh round of the 2021 draft. Bills’ general manager Brandon Beane put him on the Bills’ practice squad. Howie Roseman and the Eagles signed the former Texas Tech offensive lineman to their active roster after Week 2.

Anderson hurt his hamstring and landed on IR. He was activated for the season’s final three weeks and played against the Giants and Cowboys, starting against the latter.

Anderson is a former four-star recruit who was the 10th-ranked prospect coming out of Texas in 2017. He opted to play for Kliff Kingsbury at Texas over schools like Penn State, Alabama, Baylor, Texas, UCLA, Ole MissFlorida, USC, Arizona, and Duke.

Here’s a compilation of impressive blocks from Anderson’s 2021 tape:

Coach Brian Daboll stated that Anderson could effectively play every interior offensive line position, which is valuable given the Giants’ current circumstances. Anderson has short arms, but his athletic profile is solid, and I would argue he looked more athletic than some of the numbers he posted at the combine:

Anderson operated well in space for the Eagles’ heavy RPO system. The Giants will likely run a much more significant percentage of RPOs under Daboll than they could ever have thought about doing under former offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

There are solid traits to appreciate with Anderson. He could be a valuable waiver wire acquisition by Joe Schoen, and he could find the field sooner rather than later. Let’s get into the tape:

(Jack Anderson is No. 76)

In space

Anderson has good foot speed and body control operating in space, which assists his ability to locate defenders.

(right guard)

Anderson has a 3-technique that explodes into the B-Gap, allowing the right tackle to reach him effectively, giving Anderson a free release up to linebacker Leighton VanderEsch (55). Anderson stabs with his outside hand and climbs, taking a very precise angle to VanderEsch; he matches the linebacker, stays square, and lands both hands with power to force VanderEsch out of his responsibility. Running back Jason Huntley (32) sees the block and cuts upfield for a solid gain. Not only did Anderson remove VanderEsch and open a running lane, but he also made second contact with the linebacker and forced him to the deck.

(right guard)

The Eagles run a third-and-2 against a Dallas pressure look. Anderson pushes the slanting defender inside and releases into space. He does a great job getting upfield and looking for defenders to block. Anderson looks quick, explosive, and does a good job positioning himself to contact the linebacker and remove him as a threat. This ability to move in space will be leveraged by the Giants’ current coaching staff on slip-screens, stretch zone, and pin-pull running concepts.

(right guard)

The screen read well by Neville Gallimore (96), and it ultimately goes nowhere, but Anderson’s ability to match VanderEsch as he attempts to get outside and box is impressive. He stays square and keeps angling himself to the outside shoulder of the linebacker. Anderson’s a smooth mover in space, and he doesn’t waste time locating defenders, even through the chip.

(right guard)

The Eagles align in the wildcat and attempt a slip pass to the sniffer Tyree Jackson (81) who is following his lead blocking backside guard (Anderson) on the pin-pull concept. Jackson bobbles the pass, so the timing was off. Still, watch how Anderson has his target lined up; he sees the wide receiver come down and remove his initial target, and Anderson adjusts and quickly squares up with the defensive back. Cowboys from the backside are able to make the play, but Anderson positioned himself in a manner that would have given Jackson the entire field from the hash to the sideline. Smart angles, good adjustments.

(right guard)

Looking familiar? It’s the next play; the same concept from a different formation with quarterback Gardner Minshew II in shotgun. Jackson gets in the end zone this time, and Anderson eliminates the scraping linebacker in pursuit.

Running game

(right guard)

Anderson does a superb job maintaining grip on Cowboys’ edge defender Demarcus Lawrence (90). Lawrence peeks to the inside while engaged and low, and Anderson uses good core strength to shift his weight inside, opening up the fourth hole for rookie running back Kenneth Gainwell (14). See the weight transfer by Anderson onto his inside foot as Gainwell presses the line of scrimmage and explodes into the open.

(center)

Anderson showed craftiness after losing to a well timed club/swim from Carlos Watkins (91). Anderson recollects quickly gets his inside shoulder on Watkins and uses his momentum against him to open up a rushing lane. Crafty block from Anderson.

COMBO

(center)

This is a very nicely executed ACE combo block by Anderson against Gallimore at 3-technique. He gets hip to hip with his guard and explodes low to high into contact, winning the pad-level battle and getting Gallimore fully extended upwards with his chest exposed. Anderson churns his feet and shifts his hips towards the outside portion of Gallimore, establishing control and sealing the defensive lineman away from the run.

(center)

Anderson initially gets his hands inside David Moa’s (96) chest. He then sees Raymond Johnson III swim over the top of the play side guard, so Anderson punches with his play side hand and halts the penetration that would have likely happened. This helped create the open path in the three-hole off the backside of the guard where Tae Crowder (48) tackles Boston Scott (35) for a solid gain.

(center)

The Eagles run split inside zone, and Gainwell hits the A-Gap, right behind a combo and climb from Anderson. The former Texas Tech star aggressively helps his right guard with a strong punch to displace the 3-technique before flashing his eyes in on VanderEsch. Anderson punches VanderEsch and drives him down the line of scrimmage to create a huge hole. Luckily for Dallas, Osa Odighizuwa (97) made a great individual play.

(right guard)

Anderson is able to get underneath David Moa (96) and maintain positioning on Moa as Landon Dickerson (69) drives through the side of the Giants’ nose. Anderson finishes the play on the ground with Moa on this short yardage run. Anderson absorbed the initial contact from Moa and was able to regain control and leverage with the help of Dickerson.

(center)

The Giants coaching staff preaches about players’ intelligence, and it appears that Anderson possesses sound mental processing and awareness. Having a nose tackle directly over the top of you (as a center) can be intimidating and could lead to tunnel vision. The Giants disguise this Crowder blitz well, but Anderson realizes the penetration and quickly comes off his block versus Moa to locate Crowder. Logan Ryan (23) makes a good tackle down the line of scrimmage, but Anderson did well to take Crowder out of the play.

Reach block

(center)

Anderson reach blocks Gallimore at the 2i-shade on the wide zone rush. He quickly gets in position – hip to hip with the guard – which allows the play side guard to climb and locate the linebacker. Anderson easily positions himself between Gallimore and the outside, creating the necessary seal to remove him as a threat. Good athletic ability to reach, great angle, and good footwork.

(center)

The Cowboys are in a TITE front, with Gallimore directly in front of Anderson at the nose. Anderson chipped Gallimore and reached Carlos Watkins, who penetrated inside the A-Gap with a clean and swift swim move. Watkins gets his inside shoulder into Anderson’s chest with an advantageous angle of approach to the running back’s path, but Watkins is slowed by the traffic, and Anderson is able to get his hips in front of Watkins to give Gainwell a cleaner rushing lane.

Pass blocking

(right guard)

A lot of Anderson’s pass blocking reps were on quick RPOs. Here we see a traditional pass set where he is in a great position to absorb the rusher with center help from Jason Kelce (62). Anderson has a good punch with solid locating skills; he keeps his feet and eyes active. He is there to transfer his assignment to Kelce while watching an inside slant from the outside rusher. He showed good balance and awareness and was sturdy enough to hold up against the rush.

(center)

Speaking of sturdiness, he anchors against Gallimore and flushes him towards the right where there is help – not that he needed it here. Anderson sinks into contact and explodes low-to-high with a solid base and good leverage.

(center)

Odighizuwa attempts to use power against Anderson, and he successfully gets his hands inside the center. Anderson steps back and arches, staying square to Odighizuwa. The rookie pass rusher tries to work to the half-man to create separation, but that gives Anderson an opportunity to impose his power. Anderson shoves Odighizuwa away from the pocket, showing good strength and an ability to know when to take advantage of a defensive player’s movement.

(right guard)

The 2i-technique releases outside as Anderson steps inward; the guard strikes with his outside hand to slow the rush down, but Odighizuwa lands the rip underneath the punch and attempts to rise Anderson’s center of gravity. Anderson keeps his feet moving, his weight low, and rides Odighizuwa’s momentum up and away from the pocket. Very impressive recovery displayed by Anderson.

(right guard)

First, look at that chip by Gainwell. Secondly, Anderson sees the twist, quickly passes his initial assignment to the tackle, and positions himself to absorb the slanting defender. Anderson gets beat to his half man and doesn’t protect his edge, but I do like to see the awareness exercised by Anderson.

(center)

Anderson has to handle most of Dexter Lawrence (97) because of the slanting defender inside and Crowder creeping around the edge. Reaching Anderson from the center position when he’s the 3-technique – good luck. Anderson gets bullied, but he wins, and Scott is able to find rushing room.

Negative

It’s not the biggest deal, but Anderson leaned on a few different occasions that made him susceptible to club/swim and other quickly employed counter moves.

Final thoughts

The Giants need offensive line help, and their moves since final cuts suggest as much. The signing of Jack Anderson is a smart move with high upside. Anderson’s range, intelligence, adaptability, and versatility are just some reasons why he can have a solid impact if called upon. New York also added former Baltimore Ravens guard Tyre Phillips; I wouldn’t be shocked if one of those two interior offensive linemen play sooner rather than later.

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