There were no excuses for Thursday night, not from Nate Solder, as the left tackle made his debut in a 20-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns. In their first game of the preseason, the revamped Giants offensive line did little to inspire confidence and Solder admits it wasn’t his best effort.
The weak point of the 3-13 Giants a year ago was the offensive line and this offseason, general manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur made upgrading the unit a priority. Solder signed a four-year, $62 million contract this offseason that made him the highest paid offensive lineman in the league at the time. Included that contract is nearly $35 million in guaranteed money.
And Solder started Thursday’s preseason game off a bit slow, as did the whole offensive line.
“You always have to have the mindset of needing to improve, I wasn’t happy with the way I kind of slowly oozed into that game. I thought that you have to come out firing, ready to go first snap,” Solder said on Sunday. “I wasn’t happy with my preparation, I think I need to do better preparing for the game coming up. I think that with every year, you have to get yourself in the mindset of playing four quarters. Your condition, your footwork, your fundamentals, all those things need to continue to ratchet up as [Week 1] comes closer.”
This week, the Giants head out west for a couple of days of joint practices with the Detroit Lions. Solder said that for an offensive line featuring three new additions, that this is a good opportunity to continue the process of meshing and growing.
In those joint practices, Solder will see a familiar face from his time with the New England Patriots. Matt Patricia, now head coach of the Lions, was the longtime defensive coordinator of the Patriots until he left the team this offseason.
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So for a couple days this week, Solder will once again go head-to-head with a Patricia-coached defense. He said it will be a good challenge for the line.
“Yeah, Matt Patricia is a great coach, I’ve had the great opportunity to play against his defenses in practice for years,” Solder said. “I have the utmost respect for everything they do. I’m looking forward to it, I think they will expose some things we need to work on, it will show some of the areas we are strong in. That’s always good. It’s a refining process that we all have to go through.”