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New Giants O-line coach Rob Sale a big hit with players: 'He's awesome'

Nick Gates of the Giants leads the offensive

Nick Gates of the Giants leads the offensive line during the second half against the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on Nov. 29, 2020, in Cincinnati. Credit: Getty Images/Jamie Sabau

New offensive line coach Rob Sale has received glowing reviews from his pupils so far.

"He’s awesome," center Nick Gates said. "He’s a good teacher and good coach and good person. I can’t wait to keep working with him and keep learning and picking his brain and seeing what he can teach us throughout the year."

Sale is the latest in what was a long line of offensive line coaches in a very short period of time for the Giants. Last year began with Marc Colombo in that role, but he was fired midseason and replaced by Dave DeGuglielmo. In the Week 17 game, DeGuglielmo was quarantined by COVID-19 and replaced by Ben Wilkerson. Then this offseason, Judge hired Sale, who has never worked in the NFL before.

"In college I went through I think it was what, two or three O-line coaches. So I’m used to coaches coming in and out," Gates said. "You’ve just got to build a relationship with them and trust them. Judge hired them for a reason, so if he trusts them, I’m going to trust them."

Sale is not alone in guiding the unit. The Giants restructured their coaching staff with an emphasis on improving that area of play, adding veteran O-line coach Pat Flaherty as a consultant and moving Freddie Kitchens from tight ends coach to senior offensive assistant with, as Judge called it, a "primary responsibility" of working with the front. Wilkerson also remains on the staff.

With all of those offensive line coaches, might there be confusion on whom to listen to?

"Definitely not," Gates said. "All four of them are all on the same page,    and if one doesn’t know the question, he’s going to ask the next guy, and vice versa. As long as they are all on the same page, it’s not that difficult at all. They are all great guys and I love working with each one of them."

Rookies impress Judge

Judge has seen steady improvement from the draft picks in the month since their rookie minicamp and first days at the facility through this week’s OTAs. "I’m pleased with the way they work," he said. "With rookies, a lot of time what you see is a level of improvement week by week more so than the vets because they are so young. It’s like watching a bunch of pups grow up. They come in, they drink from a fire hose in rookie minicamp . . . so you start plugging it all together and moving fast going forward. These guys, it slows down for them every week.""

Williams has big expectations

Defensive lineman Leonard Williams said he expects the Giants’ defense to play with more familiarity early in this upcoming season. "That was our first year together as a team, as a staff, as a whole organization," he said of 2020. "I feel like we finished the year pretty strong. That’s last year and now we are coming into this year knowing each other a little bit more and we have a little bit more time together. I think we’ve just got to keep growing. It’s kind of hard for me to look far into the future and far into the past, but I know it starts right now and it starts next week in minicamp. We’ve just got to keep getting better."

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