Offensive line, minus one, gets job done

September, 16, 2012
9/16/12
8:01
PM ET
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."
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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