Giants' O-line losing battle in the trenches

September, 8, 2012
9/08/12
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Chris Snee put it bluntly, when asked to assess the Giants' performance Wednesday night against the Cowboys.

"We got outplayed yesterday," Snee said Thursday. "I’m not proud to say that, but that’s what happened."

The Giants' starting right guard was talking about the entire team -- but he just as easily could have been talking about his unit in particular. The offensive line as a whole struggled to create running lanes -- as they did last season, when the Giants finished dead-last in the NFL in rushing, averaging just 89.2 yards per game.

Wednesday night, the Giants rushed for just 82 yards, on 19 carries. Their average yards per carry -- 4.3 -- wasn't bad. But when you take out Ahmad Bradshaw's 33-yard scamper in the fourth quarter, Big Blue averaged just 2.7 yards per rush.

"We had some opportunities in the run game," said coach Tom Coughlin. "We just didn’t seem to be able to push the line of scrimmage enough to crack the runner through the line of scrimmage, and we’ll continue to work on that."

Offensive line was a concern of the Giants coming into the regular season. The team jettisoned starting right tackle Kareem McKenzie in the offseason, moved left tackle David Diehl over to the right side, and planned to elevate Will Beatty to the starting left tackle position.

But Beatty missed much of the preseason with a back injury, so journeyman Sean Locklear got the start at left tackle Wednesday night.

"He did OK," said Coughlin, when asked about Locklear's performance against the Cowboys. "If you went right down the (offensive) line, you’d probably use the same term. 'He did OK. He didn’t do great, he didn’t do bad. He had his good plays, he had his bad plays.'"

Snee gained some insight from watching film on Monday. "There weren’t many mental errors yesterday -- guys know their assignment, they know what they’re doing," Snee said. "Now it’s technique, and we’ll do our best to clean that up in the coming weeks."

Coughlin made it sound even more simple.

"At some point, somebody’s gotta move somebody to create a hole to give us a chance to go through," the coach said. "Once in a while, we would have a poor cut. But the majority of the time, it was just, you gotta win. When you’re one on one, you have to make something happen."

We'll see if the O-line can make more things happen a week from Sunday against the Buccaneers.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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