Coach's Big Decision: Diehl's return

November, 4, 2012
11/04/12
9:00
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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.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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