With the exception of young tackles Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal, Bobby Johnson wants his New York Giants offensive linemen to play a number of positions. And when it comes to that, four-year veteran Ben Bredeson leads the bunch.
Since the Giants opened training camp last month, Bredeson has played center, left guard and right guard. The 25-year-old Michigan product is contending for the starting job at center with rookie John-Michael Schmitz. He also is contending for the left guard spot with second-year pro Josh Ezeudu and recently he has been taking snaps at right guard, where Mark Glowinski is the incumbent.
While coach Brian Daboll isn’t anywhere close to announcing his starting lineup, it seems likely that Schmitz will be the center and Bredeson will be the left guard.
Glowinski, who started every game last season except for being rested in the regular-season finale for the playoffs, could be the right guard. Having Bredeson work with the first team there recently raised some eyebrows, but it also could have been a “just in case” scenario to give Bredeson a feel for the spot.
“It’s nothing really new,” Bredeson said after practice on Wednesday. “You know, there’s a big emphasis on play position, flexibility. And it’s something I’ve always worked on, something I’ve always tried to do. This camp had a great opportunity to get a lot of work in a lot of different spots. So I feel like it’s beneficial across the board.”
While he is good friends with Glowinski, Bredeson doesn’t feel strange playing with the starting unit at right guard.
“We’re always mixing the lineup,” Bredeson said. “I think having that ability to gel around multiple people, around multiple players is key for an O-line because, as we know, things happen during the year. Some guys got to get popped in, some guys are going to miss some time.”
Johnson said he is willing to do whatever is best for the team.
Bredeson played 11 games at left guard last season, starting the first seven before being sidelined by a knee injury. Ezeudu replaced him until he was lost to a neck injury. Nick Gates took over and he and Bredeson alternated at left guard after Bredeson returned in mid-December.
“You ask any of my guys in the room, versatility adds value,” Johnson said. “If you are not Andrew Thomas or Evan Neal, you better be able to play more than one spot. And that’s just the nature of offensive line throughout the league. If you are not a clear-cut bona fide everyday starter, you have to have versatility because you’re going to need that as a group during the season.”