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Nate Solder's embarrassing performance on 'Thursday Night Football' shows Belichick was right again

Alex Reimer
October 12, 2018 - 9:46 am

There was lots of predictable handwringing when Bill Belichick allowed Nate Solder to sign with the Giants in free agency last offseason. The Patriots reportedly made Solder a competitive offer, but it fell just short of the Giants, who inked the left tackle to a four-year contract worth $38.4 million guaranteed that makes him the highest-paid offensive lineman in football. 

While the money was steep, it was worth second-guessing the Patriots, considering they didn’t have an in-house replacement to protect Tom Brady’s blindside. But six weeks into the season, Belichick has been proven right again. Solder has been a colossal disappointment in New York, whereas the Patriots’ offensive line has been just fine without him.

Solder was routinely embarrassed in the Giants’ 34-13 loss to the Eagles Thursday. The game was so bad, Odell Beckham Jr. headed to the locker room before the first half was over. New York has lost 18 of its last 22 games, by the way. It's time for Eli Manning to hit the exits. 

It was apparent early on the Eagles were going to thrash the G-Men, intercepting Manning's second pass of the game and scoring a touchdown on their first drive of the game. And amazingly, it only got worse from there for the Giants. Midway through the first quarter, Michael Bennett turned Solder into a turnstile, and strip-sacked Manning on the one-yard line. 

Manning was sacked four times in the loss and hit all night long. The Giants’ offensive line has been an abomination through the first six weeks, despite the fact they brought in five new starters, including Solder. First-round bust Erick Flowers was unceremoniously released earlier this week. 

Solder was brought in to help matters, but so far he’s failed. Sporting News rates him as the fifth-worst free agent signing of the offseason so far.

Meanwhile, the Patriots’ O-line is excelling. They’re ranked ninth in Pro Football Focus’ offensive line rankings, with Trent Brown and Joe Thuney protecting Brady on the left side. Keep in mind, they’ve accomplished this without first-round pick Isaiah Wynn, who’s on injured reserve.

Belichick the GM has struggled drafting players over the last few years. But in terms of knowing when to let veterans walk, he’s still at the top of his game. The Solder decision, though presumably difficult given his contributions to the franchise, was the right call.