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Gilbride: Diehl would play left tackle

New York Giants Pro Bowl offensive lineman David Diehl was in pads during the early portion of Thursday's practice going through some individual drills. The folks I've talked to in the Giants organization today have been pretty optimistic that Diehl (hip/hamstring) could play Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride indicated that Diehl would likely return to left tackle if Shawn Andrews isn't able to recover from a back injury that kept him out of the Jacksonville game.

"Depends where Shawn Andrew is in the mix," Gilbride told reporters Thursday. "If Shawn gets back, that gives a quandary or dilemma that you’d like to have -- you have two quality football players and we’ll keep David inside, but until that happens we’ll probably move David back outside."

So it looks like Andrews had won the left tackle spot permanently before he ended up in the hospital last week.

In other news, Gilbride was effusive in his praise for Mario Manningham, who has taken on a lot more responsibility with Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks out.

"He is as explosive or dynamic of a guy as we have," said Gilbride. "They key is we’re constantly working on consistency with him and that is the area that we are always looking to get better at. But in terms of a guy that you put the ball in his hands and he can do a terrific job running after the catch, he’s exceptional, so we try to manufacture opportunities for him, whether it’s a go screen here or there or some short route where we try to get him the ball underneath where we can almost guarantee that the ball will be thrown to him and then also down the field because of his speed. We’ll try to take advantage of him. He’s a bubbly personality. I think his explosiveness is one of the important reasons why we’re so high up in big plays as an offense and then I think guys feed off of the energy, off the personality as well as off the big plays that he makes."

I think the Giants desperately want to hit a big play to Manningham early in this game to set the tone. They've watched film of that 88-yard touchdown that DeSean Jackson had to start the game against the Redskins and they'd like to do something similar. But the Giants haven't had as much success as the Eagles early in games this season.