New York Giants: Sean Locklear

Giants awarded compensatory pick

March, 18, 2013
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The New York Giants were awarded a seventh-round compensatory pick, the league announced.

The Giants will receive the 47th pick of the seventh round -- which is the 253rd overall pick in the draft -- based on losing Aaron Ross, Mario Manningham and Dave Tollefson and signing Martellus Bennett, Sean Locklear and Shaun Rogers in free agency last year.

Under the rules, any team "losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires" is eligible for compensatory draft picks.

Compensatory free agents are determined "by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors," according to the NFL. It does not include every free agent lost or signed by a team.

The Giants and Colts each received a compensatory pick despite not suffering a net loss of compensatory free agents last year. Under the formula, the free agents lost by the Giants were ranked higher than the ones signed due to a specified point differential based upon salary and performance.

So Jerry Reese will have one more late pick to play with in April. Of course, Reese signed one of the free agents he lost last year when Ross opted to return and sign a one-year deal with the Giants last week.

Positional analysis: Offensive line

February, 8, 2013
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We’ve been taking a look toward 2013 with a position-by-position breakdown of the Giants leading into the scouting combine and free agency.

So far, we have analyzed quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end. Today is offensive line.


OFFENSIVE LINE

2012 depth chart:
LT Will Beatty, LG Kevin Boothe, C David Baas, RG Chris Snee, RT David Diehl, T Sean Locklear, T James Brewer, C Jim Cordle.

[+] EnlargeWill Beatty
Howard Smith/USA TODAY SportsThe Giants will need a new left tackle if they don't re-sign Will Beatty.
Overview: After finishing last in the NFL in rushing in 2011, the Giants finished 14th in rushing with 1,862 yards in 2012, up from 1,427 yards the year before. The offensive line allowed Eli Manning 19 sacks, down from 28 in 2011. And the line did this despite shuffling Diehl and Locklear in at right tackle during the season due to injuries. Locklear was one of the Giants’ best offseason signings until he suffered a season-ending knee injury late in the year. Beatty overcame back issues during the offseason and was solid. Baas and Snee battled through injuries. Profootballfocus.com recently ranked the Giants' offensive line 11th overall based on three categories: pass protection, run and screen blocking, and penalties.

Free agents: Beatty, Boothe, Locklear, Cordle (exclusive rights free agent).

2013 personnel preview: The outlook for this coming season is uncertain, with the entire left side entering free agency. Beatty might be the Giants’ highest priority among their own free agents. Boothe’s versatility is a plus. There’s also uncertainty surrounding the right tackle position. The Giants may be ready to throw Brewer into the mix, after talking about wanting to see what he could do as a starter last offseason. Snee will be coming off hip surgery, and the Giants will need him and Baas to get healthy. Depth could be a concern. Brandon Mosley and Matt McCants, two draft picks from last year, will have to show what they can do in camp. Tackle Selvish Capers is another player the Giants have been keeping around, hoping he develops.

Salary cap situation: The Giants have been clearing cap space to keep some of their own free agents. Bringing back Beatty and Boothe would ensure continuity and likely would make financial sense, rather than spending big bucks on big-name free agents. Remember, the Giants need money to spend on other areas of their roster, such as keeping both Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz long-term, and finding another defensive lineman and possibly another cornerback. They also need money for their upcoming draft picks. Diehl is entering the final year of his deal, worth $4.475 in base salary, and the Giants have been releasing longtime veterans to clear cap space. But the Giants may be better off waiting to see what happens with Beatty and Boothe before doing anything with Diehl –- if they opt to do anything with the veteran’s contract. Diehl can play both tackle and guard, and that’s valuable considering the injuries the Giants have experienced on the offensive line in recent years. The Giants don’t have much depth at the moment. It’s possible the Giants could draft an offensive lineman as well.

Tell us what you think of the Giants’ offensive line going into 2013 and what you want to see happen in the offseason.

Five Giant steps back: Offensive line

January, 28, 2013
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A year ago, the Giants were preparing to play in the Super Bowl and going through everything the Ravens and 49ers are experiencing this week.

So with it being Super Bowl week, we are exploring five things the Giants need to do to get back to the big game next year. Today, we look at fortifying the offensive line.


The numbers: The offensive line improved in 2012 after a down year in 2011.

The Giants rushed for 1,862 yards and finished 14th in rushing in the NFL, up from 1,427 yards the year before, when they finished last.

[+] EnlargeWill Beatty
Richard A. Brightly/Icon SMIRe-signing Will Beatty should be an offseason priority for the Giants.
Eli Manning was sacked 19 times, down from the 28 sacks he took in 2011. So the offensive line improved last while also dealing with injuries to David Diehl and Sean Locklear at right tackle.

Profootballfocus.com recently ranked the Giants' offensive line 11th overall based on three categories (pass protection, run and screen blocking, and penalties).

Breakdown: Despite the statistical improvement in the trenches, the Giants enter a pivotal offseason for their front line. The left side faces uncertainty, with tackle Will Beatty and guard Kevin Boothe set to become free agents.

Beatty, 27, is probably the Giants' biggest free agent; solid left tackles are not easy to find. Boothe also has proven his worth with his versatility.

Chris Snee, fresh off his Pro Bowl appearance, will soon undergo surgery on his hip. Snee and center David Baas, who played through a couple of injuries, need to get healthy.

And then the Giants need to figure out what they will do at right tackle. Diehl, 32, is entering the final year of his deal worth $4.1 million in base salary. The Giants, who are projected to be $4.7 million over the cap, have always liked his versatility since he can play both tackle positions and guard. But Jerry Reese, Tom Coughlin and the staff were talking about James Brewer, a fourth-round pick in 2011, as a possible starter last summer in camp, so they could decide it might be time to see what he can do.

Locklear was one of Reese's best free-agent signings last year, but he will be a free agent and his future is uncertain after suffering a season-ending knee injury.

Giant possibilities: If the Giants are going to be Super Bowl contenders again, they have to protect Manning and open up holes for David Wilson, Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown.

This is a chance for the Giants to lock down a solid left tackle in Beatty and maintain stability if they can also re-sign Boothe. The Giants don't often spend big money on free agents, so you have to figure they will try to keep Beatty at a reasonable price.

The Giants will have to figure out what to do at right tackle. They could draft a starting tackle with their 19th overall pick, but Reese typically will go best player available, and that could be a defensive player.

The Giants still should think about drafting another offensive lineman at some point, since the average age of the starting five is 30. Adding a veteran lineman in free agency for depth, like Reese did with Locklear, will also help.

If the Giants are going to contend again, the offensive line has to be a priority, starting with their own free agents.

Tell us what you think the Giants need to do with the offensive line below.

Giants '13 free agent list

January, 1, 2013
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Happy New Year! It's 2013 and the New York Giants can officially start looking forward to this upcoming season.

GM Jerry Reese believes the Giants still have a championship contending core but he also promises that the roster will look slightly different next season.

Here is the unofficial Giants' unrestricted/restricted/exclusive rights free agent list:

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

T Will Beatty -- Hard to find starting left tackles. Might be most important Giants free agent.
DE Osi Umenyiora -- Won't rule out return but sounds ready to move on.
G Kevin Boothe -- Versatile and solid. Giants should bring him back.
TE Martellus Bennett -- Should only get better but will another team offer more money?
S Kenny Phillips -- Would like to see him back but for right price.
LB Chase Blackburn -- Solid vet is an asset but is NYG ready to go with Mark Herzlich?
LB Keith Rivers -- When healthy, showed glimpses of speed and athleticism.
K Lawrence Tynes -- Best NFL kicker until shaky finish. Should still be re-signed.
DT Rocky Bernard -- Cheap and reliable but Marvin Austin needs snaps.
WR Domenik Hixon -- Solid veteran provides depth and a punt returner.
WR Ramses Barden -- Shined in start vs. CAR but didn't get many other opportunities.
QB David Carr -- Knows system and works well with Eli.
TE Travis Beckum -- Injuries hampered Giants career.
T Sean Locklear -- Great until suffering ugly knee injury.
CB Justin Tryon -- Invite to camp?
RB Kregg Lumpkin -- Saw some third-down duties.
DT Shaun Rogers -- Blood clot kept him out of '12.
CB Brian Witherspoon -- Has to come back from another ACL tear.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

WR Victor Cruz -- Time to pay the salsa.
S Stevie Brown -- The surprise of 2012 could be starting safety next season.
RB Andre Brown -- On the mend after broken leg derailed best season.
TE Bear Pascoe -- Versatile and needed for blocking.
RB Ryan Torain -- Didn't play much.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS

DE Adrian Tracy -- 'Yosi' (Young Osi) might see bigger role.
C Jim Cordle -- Good for depth/special teams.
DE Justin Trattou -- Giants like his potential.

Tell us what you want to see happen with the Giants' free agents below.

Diehl ready to step in for Locklear

December, 5, 2012
12/05/12
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It's not often that an NFL team loses a starter, and can insert a player with 145 career starts under his belt.

That's the luxury the Giants have, putting David Diehl in the lineup to replace Sean Locklear.

"I'm feeling the best I've felt all season, so just excited to get out there and play football," Diehl said Wednesday.

Locklear, who had started 10 of the Giants' first 12 games this season, playing mostly right tackle, suffered a serious knee injury in the Giants' loss to the Redskins on Monday night. Locklear was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, ending his season.

"Unfortunately Sean hurting his knee, that’s a blow to all of us," Diehl said. "He’s a guy that’s worked extremely hard -- he came in here since the offseason, fit right in with our offensive line, and you never want one of your guys to fall and go down. But like I said, I'm ready to step up."

Diehl has been a cornerstone of the Giants' O-line since he was drafted by the team, starting 140 of a possible 144 games from 2003 to 2011. But he has played in just nine games, and started just five, in 2012.

Diehl has missed time with a sprained knee, and a burner in his neck/shoulder. He also had a hard time winning his job back from Locklear, who performed well.

The veteran lineman admitted Thursday that it was tough to watch the action from the sideline. "I've played in so many games, you never want to sit back and be a spectator. ... That’s a role that I'll never get used to," Diehl said. "But when your opportunity comes back, you come back and you come back strong, and most importantly, you play as best as you can."

Quarterback Eli Manning gave Diehl a vote of confidence on Wednesday.

"He's a guy who's been a starting player for us for nine years," Manning said. "Obviously he's been banged up a little bit this year. But he's back, he's healthy, and we feel that our offensive line, our offense shouldn't miss a beat with him out there."

Pre-practice injury report: Sash sits

December, 5, 2012
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tom Coughlin said Tyler Sash will not practice due to a hamstring injury.

Sean Locklear, who will undergo season-ending surgery on his knee, also will not practice. Coughlin said the team plans to go through a glorified jog-through late Wednesday.

Coughlin said tight end Travis Beckum (knee) will practice. He also said "we'll see" when asked whether Kenny Phillips (knee) will be able to play more this week after logging just 20 snaps against the Redskins due to a combination of his knee injury and the game plan according to Coughlin.

Here's a look at the players listed on the pre-practice injury report. We'll post the official injury report later.

C David Baas (shoulder)
TE Travis Beckum (knee)
LB Chase Blackburn (ankle)
LB Michael Boley (shoulder)
RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot)
WR Domenik Hixon (ankle)
T Sean Locklear (knee)
DE Jason Pierre-Paul (back)
S Kenny Phillips (knee)
S Tyler Sash (hamstring)
LB Jacquian Williams (knee)

A look back: Coughlin 'O.K.' with Diehl

November, 5, 2012
11/05/12
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tom Coughlin made a lineup change to his offensive line by starting David Diehl back in his spot at right tackle and replacing Sean Locklear.

After losing 24-20 to the Steelers, Coughlin was asked how he thought Diehl looked in his first start since Week 2 when he injured his MCL.

"He did O.K.," Coughlin said. "He had the one false start that hurt."

The offensive line surrendered two sacks against Pittsburgh. Eli Manning had been sacked just six times entering the game. The Giants also were only able to rush for 68 yards on 22 carries in the game.

Coughlin was asked if the offensive line did not play as well as it had been in previous weeks.

"I don’t know," Coughlin said. "The first-half run game was pretty good. I think the protection was O.K. I didn’t see anything really dramatically wrong with that and there was some pressure here or there, but by and large it wasn’t a huge factor."

Will back: Safety Will Hill was back in the team facility after serving a four-game suspension for taking Adderall. The Giants have until Monday to make a roster move if they decide to keep Hill on the active roster. If they want to use him on Sunday, they have to make a move by Saturday afternoon.

"We’ll see," Coughlin said.

'Soft' middle: Coughlin didn't mince words when he talked about the middle of his defense after seeing Isaac Redman rush for 147 yards and one touchdown and the Steelers receivers run unchecked across the middle at times.

"It was soft, no question," the coach said. "It was soft early. We came back and played a little bit better and then they had their breakout there at the end of the game, but that was also a third down and 9 that was converted. So we got mushed a little bit up front. Their big bodies knocked us back and time-to-time we got a little bit better. We didn’t tackle well. We missed 12 tackles in the game."

Communication breakdown: Manning has one touchdown pass in his last three games and the terrific chemistry he had with Victor Cruz has waned a bit.

"Hopefully, we’ll get back on the same page," Coughlin said. "There was one [play], right at the end of the game yesterday. It looked like they weren’t on the same page. That’s all got to get ironed out. There’s no way you can have a lack of communication and be effective in the passing game."

"That word is covering a lot of sins now when you say communication," Coughlin added. "You’re also talking about execution and efficiency and beating the guy who’s defending you. We’re using that word to cover a multitude of sins here. It doesn’t describe adequately every bit of the problem and I probably can’t explain every bit of the problems either."

Start up Nicks: Coughlin did say that the Giants have to get Hakeem Nicks going.

"Well, I certainly hope so," he said when asked if Nicks is healthy and capable of playing a bigger role. "That’s what we depend on. We haven’t seen that and it hasn’t happened in the last couple of weeks. That’s another area that we have to get going.

More Rueben: Over the last two games, the Giants have been sprinkling in Rueben Randle into the mix. He played nine snaps against Dallas and came up with two catches for 68 yards. Against Pittsburgh, Randle played seven snaps and was targeted three times but had no receptions.

"Based on the week before, we felt like he could contribute more," Coughlin said. "And we still do. He’s got to make the plays when he’s put in position to do so."

Coughlin said there has been no issue with Randle's work ethic or effort -- something that became a topic earlier in the season.

"I think he did [give effort]," Coughlin said. "I think, technically, he was wrong on a couple of occasions. I didn’t see any reason to think that he didn’t compete."

Domenik Hixon remains the third receiver as he seen 22 and 18 snaps the last two games.

Coach's Big Decision: Diehl's return

November, 4, 2012
11/04/12
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The Giants have already made their big decision for this week as they will re-insert David Diehl as the starting right tackle Sunday against the Steelers. Diehl will take the place of Sean Locklear, who had started the past six games since Diehl suffered an MCL injury in his right knee.

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin all but said the Giants are re-inserting Diehl back into the lineup because a starter can’t lose his job due to an injury. Diehl has played as the team’s extra tight end in jumbo packages the past three weeks, playing 25 snaps.

“We brought David along trying to make sure that he was okay, and that his strength was there, his confidence was there,” Coughlin said Friday. “He started out in the same role that Sean will be in this weekend. That’s where we are on that.”

This decision is certainly going to be scrutinized if the offensive line struggles with this change. Locklear has played well in Diehl’s absence and the team had its two best rushing efforts of the season with him as the right tackle. The line has also done well in pass protection with Locklear in there.

Diehl has certainly earned his role with the Giants for all he’s done for the team over the years, but his play has slipped over the past two seasons. There could certainly be a healthy debate as to which of the two tackles is better at this point.

The Giants chose to go to their tested veteran for Sunday, and Diehl has shown over his career he can be trusted, playing a key part in helping the team to two Super Bowl titles. If everything goes smoothly, it’s a decision that will rarely be mentioned. A tough game by Diehl, though, could lead to a few questions.

Diehl back as right tackle

November, 2, 2012
11/02/12
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Giants will use David Diehl as their starting right tackle Sunday against the Steelers, according to Giants head coach Tom Coughlin.

Diehl started the first two games of the year before suffering an MCL injury in the second week against Tampa Bay. Veteran Sean Locklear took over at right tackle and has started the last six games, including the last three when Diehl has served in the team’s jumbo packages as a tight end.

Coughlin commended Locklear for the job he did as the starter the past six weeks and did not mention any inefficiencies in Locklear’s play that led to the switch. While Coughlin did not outright say that this is a case of an injured player not losing his job due to injury, his comments seemed to indicate that's why the team is making the move.

“Sean has done a great job, a great service to our team. He came to be the third tackle, if you will. He was elevated to the role that he has played in and played so well, be it left or right. He helped us win, and will continue to do that,” Coughlin said. “We’re going to need all of these guys as we go forward. We brought David along trying to make sure that he was okay, and that his strength was there, his confidence was there. He started out in the same role that Sean will be in this weekend. That’s where we are on that.”

Diehl has played in just 25 of the team’s snaps over the past three games against San Francisco, Washington and Dallas. This will be his fourth game since he returned from his injury.

“What we want to do is have as many players play and help us win as we possibly can. Sometimes when a player comes back from injury, it takes a little time for them to get the position they’re in to where we think they can, again, be as effective as they were in the beginning,” Coughlin said. “I think it goes case-to-case. I understand what’s best for our team, and sometimes it’s to bring someone along in a limited role while they strengthen and gain confidence. That’s basically where we are right now.”

W2W4: Giants vs. Steelers

November, 2, 2012
11/02/12
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Whenever the Giants and Steelers –- two proud franchises filled with tradition –- face each other, it promises to be a slugfest.

Here are five things to watch for on Sunday:

Eli versus Big Ben: The two 2004 draft classmates have faced each other just twice before, splitting the head-to-head series. So enjoy this rare meeting of the two quarterbacks who were atop the Giants’ 2004 draft board.

The Giants traded a bounty of picks to the Chargers for Eli Manning. But if a trade could not be made with the Chargers, the Giants were prepared to take Ben Roethlisberger. In the end, everything worked out just fine for both QBs and franchises.

But it certainly will be fun watching the two for the remainder of their careers, and seeing who ends up with more Super Bowls. Both have two rings, with Roethlisberger playing in three Super Bowls and Manning winning both of his trips to the big game.

Bag Ben: The Giants have faced all sorts of mobile quarterbacks this season in Cam Newton, Michael Vick, Tony Romo and Robert Griffin III. But Roethlisberger may be the strongest and hardest to bring down of them all.

“Yeah, it’s been no easy task being a Giant D-lineman this year,” Justin Tuck said. “We’ve had some different animals out there.”

The Giants have to make sure to keep Roethlisberger from making plays while in the grasp of a defender. They've got to wrap him up when they can. Tuck has also noticed that Roethlisberger is getting rid of the ball faster than he used to. If there’s a time for the Giants’ trio of defensive ends –- Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora –- to have a really good game all together at once, this wouldn’t be a bad time.

Protect and serve: The Giants' offensive line has been excellent this season in pass protection, only allowing Manning to be sacked six times. Only three of those six sacks have come after the season opener.

The Steelers love to bring pressure, and the Giants' O-line will be tested this week. The Giants will put David Diehl back at right tackle after Sean Locklear held the position when Diehl went down with an MCL injury in Week 2. Diehl has been eased back in and will start according to Locklear, who told the Newark Star-Ledger and Newsday of the change.

It’s imperative that the Giants keep Manning from getting hit.

No Heath after Halloween: The Giants have to do a much better job of slowing down the tight end this week, after Jason Witten had a career game against them on Sunday, with 18 catches for 167 yards.

Heath Miller leads the Steelers with six touchdowns.

“We definitely don’t want a repeat of last week from the tight end position,” safety Kenny Phillips said. “We’re definitely going to give him some different looks, get some different guys on him and if I have to cover him, I’m up for the task.”

Whenever Phillips returns from a MCL injury, it’s quite possible that defensive coordinator Perry Fewell could bring back his three-safety wrinkle with Phillips, Rolle and upstart Stevie Brown playing together.

Fewell will have some different combos out there on Sunday, with Mark Herzlich set to fill in for the injured Chase Blackburn at linebacker.

No November swoon: The Giants are 6-2 again, and you know what could be coming –- yet another midseason funk.

The Giants have often stumbled after Halloween. However, if they can handle their business in these next two games against the Steelers and Bengals, they could go into their bye week at 8-2. That would put them in terrific position to win the NFC East and defend their Super Bowl title.

But first, they must defend their home turf against the Steelers, a team that has only won once on the road this season. It’s no easy task, but the Giants can make a statement against the Steelers at home, where their best win so far has been a dramatic victory over the Redskins. Their two most convincing wins have come on the road, against the Panthers and 49ers.

Giants' O-line dominant against 49ers

October, 18, 2012
10/18/12
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You ask Eli Manning why his offensive line is playing so well of late, and he doesn't really have an answer.

"I'm not sure," the quarterback said on Wednesday. "But I'm not complaining about it.

"They're playing great, pass protection's been good, receivers have been getting open. Things are going well. Everybody's doing there assignments well. ... It's been pretty smooth and hopefully we can keep it that way."

[+] EnlargeEli Manning
AP Photo/Kevin TerrellThe offensive line kept Eli Manning clean against the 49ers' defense on Sunday.
Smooth might be an understatement. The Giants' offensive line was down right dominant against San Francisco.

Manning was hit just once and was not sacked in the Giants' 26-3 win.

Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw broke the 100-yard barrier against San Francisco, something that an opposing running back hadn't done in 23 games. Furthermore, the Giants scored a rushing touchdown, something San Fran hadn't allowed in 14 games.

Impressive stuff.

But with Washington in town Sunday, the line knows they don't much time to celebrate, nor would they.

"You congratulate each other for good play. But it's not, 'Oh look what I did,'" Will Beatty said. "We're a team. As our coaches say, we're 11 as 1."

Offensive line may be one of the most unheralded positions in pro sports. But, right now, it may be the most important for the Giants.

"We don't even like (giving up) quarterback hits," tackle Sean Locklear said.

That's great. But can it continue?

David Diehl came back from an MCL injury last week, spending several plays at jumbo tight end. There has been chatter that he will return as a tackle at some point, taking either Beatty or Locklear's spot.

Locklear admitted that there was some concern the chemistry may be disrupted.

"Sure," he said. "We can't expect to be perfect."

They can't. But lately, it seems like they have been.

A look back: Coughlin the day after

September, 17, 2012
9/17/12
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Tom Coughlin didn't offer much in detail about his injured Giants other than David Diehl has an MCL injury.

But the head coach did touch on a few other subjects. He liked what he saw from his offensive line and how Will Beatty and Sean Locklear responded after Diehl went down.

"Our pass protection held up very well most of the day," said Coughlin's, whose team did not give up a sack against Tampa Bay. "Eli [Manning] bailed us out a few times on his ability to maneuver a little bit, get the ball out quick, so when Will came in, I thought that was continuous.

"Sean moved over to the right side and we were able to continue to play at a high level with our pass protection," Coughlin continued. "Our runs occasionally were spotty, but I thought we got some things done with that as well. I'm sure there's some rust there for Beatty, but I think it was a good experience to get him back in there. He played probably more than we anticipated, but seemed to respond well."

Halftime rally: Trailing 24-13 at the break, Coughlin said he did not wait until the end of halftime to address his team after adjustments were made. He brought the team together as soon as they walked into the locker room.

"I was really impressed by our people," Coughlin said. "I didn't wait for the end of the halftime because I wanted to make sure that everybody understood that we were two scores down and we had overcome this before, and the chanting and the little chirping from the players all indicated that they felt that way.

"It's not like we hadn't been here before and that type of thing and I liked the way they responded, even though the turnovers put us in really bad shape," he added.

Rush grade: So far through two games, Jason Pierre-Paul is the only Giants defensive end with a sack. The Giants do have a total of four sacks, but the other three have come from Linval Joseph, Rocky Bernard and Chase Blackburn.

"I think that we did get some pressure," Coughlin said. "We did play hard. A lot of what they did was very quick, which ... whether it was five-step or three-step, they did a nice job chipping and keeping people in and then they did a pretty good job when we only rushed four.

"But I thought at the end of the game we were still coming hard," Coughlin continued. "And the play at the end on Jason's continuous attack on the quarterback is what created the opportunity for us to have that interception late in the game, forcing the quarterback to release the ball without being totally set or before he really wanted to. I take from that guys are humming and trying. Sometimes you're getting home more than others, but the playing hard and the trying to get there was all a part of it."

Tell us what you guys think of the pass rush so far below.

Offensive line, minus one, gets job done

September, 16, 2012
9/16/12
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The bad news is, the Giants' lost starting right tackle David Diehl to a knee injury in the first quarter Sunday, and his status for the team's next game and beyond is unknown.

The good news is, the Giants' offensive line adapted well under the circumstances in the team's 41-34 win over the Buccaneers. In fact, Eli Manning dropped back to pass 51 times Sunday, and the O-line did not relinquish a single sack.

[+] EnlargeNew York Giants
Jim O'Connor/US PresswireThe Giants' O-line did a fine job against the Bucs on Sunday.
"We had worked various rotations throughout the week," said left guard Kevin Boothe. "It’s unfortunate that Dave couldn’t come back, but we were comfortable all playing next to each other."

With Diehl out, the Giants shifted starting left tackle Sean Locklear over to the right side, and inserted Will Beatty in his place. Fortunately, Locklear has spent the majority of his nine-year NFL career playing on the right side.

"You just gotta flip things," Locklear said. "It took a few snaps, to kind of get ready -- the technique and everything is different. But once you get some plays in you, it kinda goes back to what I’m used to."

Beatty actually was slated to be the team's starting left tackle at the beginning of the preseason, before a back injury slowed his progress.

"I don’t like the fact how it happened, David going down," Beatty said. "But playing there, getting a feel for it, going the long drives down the field -- it’s not practice no more, so you really get to see how your body’s holding up. That was a good feeling -- it’s good to be back there."

The Giants are hoping Diehl -- who has started 142 of a possible 146 games since his rookie season in 2003, missing just four games due to injury in 2010 -- can return quickly. But if not, they are fortunate to have an offensive line full of veterans, and versatility.

"David Diehl, he’s been like an iron man around here and he gets hurt," Coughlin said. "You give Sean Locklear ... you’ve got to give people credit. He starts out playing on the left side, he’s asked to go over on the right side, so some people really did step forward and play really well given the circumstances and give us a chance to win."

The offensive line's biggest gaffe of the day? Beatty, lined up as an extra tight end in a goal-line package, was wide open in the end zone but dropped a sure touchdown from Eli Manning late in the first quarter.

Beatty, who pronounced himself fully healthy after the game -- "I feel great, no problems at all" -- couldn't help but chuckle about the dropped pass after the win.

"You get the chance to catch the ball as an O-linemen, that doesn’t come often," said Beatty, "so you have to take full advantage of it."

Notes: The latest on the O-line, CBs, more

September, 13, 2012
9/13/12
7:30
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It appears Sean Locklear will get his second consecutive start at left tackle when the Giants face the Buccaneers on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

Will Beatty -- the projected starter at LT coming into the season -- is finally healthy and practicing, after missing most of the preseason with a bad back. But Locklear is still listed as the starter on the depth chart.

BuccaneersGiants"There will be no change there unless I let you know," coach Tom Coughlin said Thursday, when asked about the left tackle situation.

ON THE OTHER HAND: It remains unclear who will start at cornerback Sunday opposite Corey Webster. Prince Amukamara and Michael Coe both practiced Thursday, but on a limited basis.

"That's a great question," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "I can't answer that question right now. Prince has practiced this week, Michael has practiced this week. It'll be a game-day thing. We'll have to talk to the trainers, and Tom will have to make that call."

Amukamara missed the Week 1 loss to the Cowboys, still recovering from a high ankle sprain suffered in the preseason. Coe made his first NFL start, but left the game near the end of the third quarter after tweaking his hamstring.

BIG DEBUT? Defensive tackle Marvin Austin pronounced himself ready to play on Sunday against the Bucs.

Austin, the Giants' second-round draft pick in 2011 out of North Carolina, missed all of his rookie year with a torn pectoral muscle. He has been suffering from a back injury this year, but has practiced -- on a limited basis -- the past two days.

"That's definitely the plan," said Austin, when asked about playing Sunday. "I feel good. I'm actually about to get some cardio in, so I can be prepared to go out there and play fast."

"He's looked OK," Fewell. "Marvin's not back yet. But he's looked OK. Again, it's Coach's call."

REPLACING MARIO: Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride was asked Thursday is he thinks the Giants have been able to compensate for the loss of wide receiver Mario Manningham.

Manningham had 39 catches for 523 yards a season ago, serving as the team's third wideout, behind Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. He signed with the 49ers as a free agent in the offseason.

"We're looking for that guy to make the big plays when they load up on everybody else -- when they're doubling Vic and Hakeem, then someone needs to win for you, and it has to be the tight end or the third wide receiver or the (running) back," Gilbride said.

"We've been fortunate when we've played real well to have that third guy step up. It was Mario last year, the last five, six games when he was healthy, and through the playoffs made a lot of big plays for us, and made the most of the opportunities when they were presented to him because of Hakeem and Victor. We're waiting."

Domenik Hixon started in that spot in Week 1 against the Cowboys, and had three catches for 55 yards, including a beautiful 39-yard grab.

"I thought Domenik, the few chances we gave him, he made some plays for us and we had an opportunity for another touchdown," Gilbride said. "His part, he fulfilled what we needed from that position. We just need more from the rest of the positions; that's what we’re looking for."

Breaking down the Giants' run game

September, 12, 2012
9/12/12
6:03
PM ET

Something's got to give. On Sunday, the New York Giants, who had the worst rush offense in the NFL last year, host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who had the league's worst rush defense. I don't know what this means, but from the standpoint of this blog we have to say it offers the Giants a very good chance to get their run game going and put last year's troubles in the past.

To assess their chances, I consulted the NFL's Game Rewind app, which this year offers users the chance to watch the "All 22" coaches film and see where everybody goes on every play. Pretty useful stuff that should offer plenty of chances for great blog fodder as the year goes along. Here are a few things I learned about the Giants' run game watching it today.

    • Of the 19 run plays the Giants ran against the Cowboys in last Wednesday's opener, 11 went to the left side, seven to the right side and one up the middle (Ahmad Bradshaw's 5-yarder on 3rd-and-16 to end the first half).

 

  • Of those 19 run plays, 11 were on first down, five were on second down, two on third and one on fourth. Bradshaw's biggest run was a 33-yarder on 3rd-and-1 that was a very well blocked play to the side of the line on which the Giants did not have extra blockers. More on that in a second.
  • Bradshaw ran the ball 17 times. Rookie David Wilson ran it twice, and not at all after fumbling on his second carry. No other Giants running back got a carry in the game.
  • Of the 19 runs, 13 were run to the side of the line on which tight end Martellus Bennett was lined up. That includes the first 10 Giants running plays of the game. The first time Bradshaw runs to the side on which Bennett is not lined up is a 2-yard gain to the right side in the second quarter, and on that play tackle Will Beatty was in the game on the right side as an eligible tight end. The play is basically stopped immediately by Anthony Spencer when he gets off the block of Beatty.
  • Right tackle David Diehl had a rough game against Dallas defensive end Jason Hatcher. On the final play of the first half, the Cowboys have only three men on the line and Bradshaw gets the ball and runs right up the middle, but Diehl can't handle Hatcher, who brings Bradshaw down before he can get loose. Not that they were trying to do anything special there, but you never know.
  • There are times when Bradshaw shows indecisiveness and a lack of burst that costs him. The play just before the Wilson fumble is a 1st-and-10 on which Bennett motions to the right and Bradshaw runs that way. There appears to be a hole between Bennett and Diehl on that right side, but Bradshaw is unable to slip through before it closes. That play looked like one on which Bradshaw could have gained more. There's also a 1st-and-10 in the fourth quarter on which he's running to the right side, where Bennett and fellow tight end Bear Pascoe are both lined up, and he seems to have a brief opportunity to turn upfield quickly before Bruce Carter fills the gap and brings him down.
  • Once they started running away from Bennett's side, the Giants actually had more success. I don't know if this is because Dallas was devoting extra attention to Bennett's side (which would make sense, after the Giants ran their first 10 plays to Bennett's side) or if it's a matter of Dallas focusing more energy on pass defense once they had the lead. But Bennett is on the right side when Bradshaw runs left for a 10-yard touchdown to the left. The touchdown is a very well-blocked play that involves no tight ends. Left guard Kevin Boothe shoves the defensive lineman inside and then blocks Sean Lee. Left tackle Sean Locklear takes care of his man. Fullback Henry Hynoski, lined up in front of Bradshaw in the backfield, swings over and makes his block. Hakeem Nicks is trying to make a block near the goal line as Bradshaw jukes the defensive back and slips into the end zone. Good play all-around, and without extra blockers on that side.
  • The other very well-blocked play is Bradshaw's 33-yard run to the right in the fourth quarter. Bennett is lined up on the left side on that play, and Dallas is committing most of its defense to that side. But Diehl blocks his man while right guard Chris Snee gets out and makes a very nice block on DeMarcus Ware to spring Bradshaw for the one big gain of the day in the run game.
  • I need to make special note of the Wilson fumble play, which is all Sean Lee. The Giants load up on the left side with Bennett and Hynoski, and they get everybody blocked and make a nice little bubble for Wilson on that left side. But Lee, who is lined up as the far-side inside linebacker on that play (i.e., the side away from the side to which the play is run), makes an incredible quick and instinctive jump on the ball, slips past all of the engaged blockers and defenders and closes on Wilson with remarkable speed. Wilson of course needs to hold onto the ball, but he is completely blindsided on a brilliant play by a player who got there much quicker than anyone on the field could have had reason to expect him to.

 

I guess my conclusion is that I'd like to see more Wilson. I understand the benching and agree with it, but it does seem, going forward, as though Wilson is better suited to make a big gain out of the minimal blocking the Giants can expect at this point from their offensive line. There are more plays on which they don't block well than plays on which they do, but Bradshaw seems to be doing a poor job of taking advantage of the latter. They're giving him a lot of help by committing extra blockers to the side of the field to which he's running, and he's still not able to find anything. That may be the offensive line's fault most of the time, but it's not all the time.

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