As the Giants prepare to defend their Super Bowl crown, there are questions up and down their roster that need to be answered. That could be said every summer, but this year more than ever. The main unit of concern in my eyes is the offensive line.
I think the Giants realize this as well. The unit, which once was the steadiest in the league, is now in danger of imperiling the club's immediate future. Gone are Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert and Kareem McKenzie. In are David Baas, Kevin Boothe and Will Beatty.
The only two mainstays - Chris Snee and David Diehl - are entering their ninth and tenth years respectively and Diehl may be switching positions. The team has been augmenting the line each year via the draft and free-agency, but many are nervous that things aren't going according to plan.
Yes, they won the Super Bowl with the line playing inconsistently most of the year. And yes, they have some interesting prospects in the fold, but can they compete with the San Franciscos, Green Bays, New Orleanses, Philadelphias and Washingtons in 2012? All four of those teams dominated the Giants in the trenches twice each in 2011. All of those teams are on the Giants' schedule again this year, along with Pittsburgh and Baltimore - two of the league's most physical defenses.
OC Kevin Gilbride is extremely concerned about Will Beatty's back. If Beatty can't play, Gilbride says that would make four starters lost over the past two seasons and leaves them exposed at tackle....
"I’ll be very concerned if he (Beatty) can’t play. We have Sean Locklear and hopefully he was going to be a backup for us. We were hoping James Brewer is going to come. Those guys still have to come into play. But we are thin. We are not thin numerically but with experienced, proven guys that you can say, “Hey, we feel real good about.” Hopefully we are going to say, just like we did with Jake Ballard, just like we did with Victor Cruz – after the fact that they emerged, they played. We couldn’t have won without them. We are going to need some guys that do that for us in the offensive line.I agree with him. Rookies Matt McCants and Brandon Mosley may develop into solid pros over time and Mitch Petrus is as tough as nails, but offensive line is the one unit on a football team where cohesiveness is imperative. Let's also not lose sight that Brewer has never played a snap in an NFL game. I'm sure OL coach Pat Flaherty (pictured) will figure it out, but he's got his work cut out for him.
Who they are right now – you are hoping this guy or that guy – but some of that gray hair comes from that concern, there is no question. You can’t lose that many guys in one spot – especially that spot – and not be concerned. Somebody has to step up. Lose Will Beatty – that would be the fourth starter in the last two years. That is too many; that’s too many..."
Beatty's back, Diehl's legal problems and the inexperience of Mosley (who is only suited for right tackle), McCants and Brewer give me a queasy feeling right now. I have only seen Sean Locklear play a few times, and quite frankly, I'm not sure how he fits in other than for depth purposes. Eli has to be nervous....I know I am.
We're interested in hearing your thoughts.....