EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It's getting to be about that time where "Let's see what he can do" turns into "I think we've seen enough." With three weeks left until the regular season, the New York Giants need to figure out what their offensive line is going to look like. And so far in the preseason, it hasn't looked like much.
"I think the way we are here is, the best five guys are going to go out there," right tackle Justin Pugh said Monday. "I don't think it's a set five right now, where you can say, 'These are the five guys.' If you're not playing well enough and someone behind you is playing better, they should get the opportunity to play."
Since veteran Chris Snee retired the day before training camp, Brandon Mosley has worked in his place as the starting right guard. But second-round rookie Weston Richburg was playing guard with the first team more in Saturday's preseason game than he had to that point, and there's a possibility that he could be muscling his way into a role as a starting lineman.
Richburg is a center by trade, but the Giants have worked him at both guard spots as well as center this preseason. He could still be a threat to J.D. Walton, who's taken the first-team snaps at center all camp, but Richburg's more likely path to the starting lineup at this point is at one of the guard spots. He could push Mosley out at right guard or, if they prefer him on the left side, they could play him at left guard and move Geoff Schwartz to right guard.
"That was my goal, to come in and compete," Richburg said. "If you go to a team and don't want to compete for a starting role, you're cheating yourself. I want to be here. I don't want to be a guy who's not playing. I want to contribute, be reliable and be a guy that people can count on."
The Giants have historically not rushed their rookies or asked too much of them right away. But Pugh assumed the starting right tackle spot last year as a rookie when David Diehl got hurt in camp and started all 16 games there. The experience with Pugh, combined with a continued need for improvement on the line, could convince the Giants to give Richburg a shot as a starter right out of the gate.
"I didn't necessarily deserve it," Pugh recalled. "David Diehl went down and I had to play. So with that mentality, you have to go out there and earn it. I was a first-round pick, Weston was a second-round pick. But when you go out there, you have to earn that right to be out there playing. Obviously, I got in the position because of where I was and the injuries. But at the end of the day, the best five guys are going to be out there playing."