EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - NOVEMBER 10: Nick Gates #65 of the New York Giants in action against the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 10, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Nick Gates is seemingly looking forward to working with New York Giants offensive line coach Marc Colombo during the 2020 campaign.

The New York Giants entered this offseason coming off yet another year in which their offensive line proved to be unsuccessful. Having allowed a total of 43 sacks and 119 quarterback hits, the unit was a big reason for the offense’s underwhelming performance (finished 23rd in the NFL in total yards per game).

And when you have a group that’s struggled as much as Big Blue’s “hog mollies” did, changes must be made. The organization certainly kept that notion in mind this offseason, drafting three offensive linemen and hiring a new offensive line coach in Marc Colombo. The former Cowboys O-line coach came over to East Rutherford with new Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, and despite the fact that a single game or in-person practice has yet to occur, he’s already impressing one of his young players.

“Colombo is a really good coach,” offensive lineman Nick Gates told Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post. “I like that he played [in the NFL] for 10 years. He understands that sometimes, when it gets tough, you just have to get the block — and that’s kind of how it happens. He loves teaching technique.”

In Dallas, Colombo worked with a group that allowed 23 sacks last year, the second-best total in the league. The Cowboys evidently proved that a solid offensive line plays a huge role in a successful offense — Dallas led the league with 431.5 total yards per contest.

Colombo and Garrett will certainly help this Giants offensive unit improve in 2020. Nonetheless, there are still questions regarding the offensive line itself. Nate Solder will likely remain at left tackle in spite of his below-average play much of the last two years. There’s additionally no concrete answer to the issue at the center position, a spot that Gates will actually work out at once the training camp and preseason periods commence.

Spencer Pulley is an inconsistent option at that spot, Jon Halapio is still a free agent after tearing his Achilles last December, and you still don’t know how rookie Shane Lemieux will fare. Regardless of the fact that he’s more of a tackle, Gates could expand his versatility and ultimately be the solution at center, at least in the short term.

Last year, Gates appeared in all 16 games with starts against the New York Jets (Week 10), Miami Dolphins (Week 15), and Philadelphia Eagles (Week 17).

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.