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Thursday, December 8, 2011
Giants' offensive line remains banged up

By Dan Graziano

The New York Giants have been dealing with offensive line problems all year, and in advance of this week's key divisional showdown with the Dallas Cowboys, things aren't getting any better on the health front. Center David Baas, who missed Sunday's game with what he reported to the team as headaches, remains sidelined. And Giants coach Tom Coughlin told reporters before practice today that Baas' ailment isn't quite that simple.

New York Giants offensive line
New York's battered offensive line held up well against Green Bay, but the unit will face tougher pressure when it goes up against Dallas' pass rush on Sunday.
"It is much more serious than a headache, obviously," Coughlin said. "That was what he brought to the medical people on Sunday but there is a lot more to it. As a matter of fact, he is having tests today and he has spent the last few days doing tests. A lot of that is to try to eliminate things as well. I really don't have any information other than that and until I am sure that we are going to be talking about the right thing, I will wait and not speculate. I really can't tell you anymore."

Obviously, that sounds scary, and the most important thing is that Baas doesn't have anything too seriously wrong with him. The Giants will surely give him whatever time he needs to figure out what's going on and recover from it, and will move on with their backup plans in the meantime. Same with left tackle, where Will Beatty is out of the mix following eye surgery he had two weeks ago. The Giants' starting offensive line Sunday was as follows:

LT David Diehl (the starting LG for the first 10 games of the season)

LG Mitch Petrus (first career start)

C Kevin Boothe (reserve lineman who'd played LG the week before)

RG Chris Snee

RT Kareem McKenzie

It appears as though they'll have to go with the same alignment Sunday night in Dallas, but it's not the end of the world. Sunday's performance was, oddly, one of the best of the year by the Giants' offensive line. They weren't sound in pass protection, but quarterback Eli Manning helps with the quickness of his release. And Sunday was the best job the Giants have done all year opening holes for the running backs. Yes, the return of Ahmad Bradshaw to the backfield helped, but even Brandon Jacobs was finding room.

"Like I said the other night, we will battle," Coughlin said. "Our guys felt good about going into the game last week and this is a very good front. [Jay] Ratliff, I think [Jason] Hatcher is playing better than I have seen him play, and Sean Lee is having a pretty good year so they will come after you. They do a lot of things up front. We will practice hard and make the adjustments that we have to make and certainly be prepared to go"

Coughlin also said Manning "has a lot of confidence in Boothe" as a center, and there didn't appear to be any issues there Sunday.

Come Sunday night in Dallas, we'll see whether the Giants' line can hold up against that tough front Coughlin was talking about and keep Dallas' great pass-rushing linebackers off of Manning. If they do, it'll be a testament to their depth.