- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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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.”