Giants' blocking depth becoming serious issue

Posted Oct. 08, 2010 @ 11:53 a.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

We wrote last week about the Giants' situation at offensive tackle, where starters Dave Diehl and Kareem McKenzie were not off to their best starts this season. But they are not the Giants' only concerns when it comes to their offensive players who are most asked to block.

C Shaun O'Hara has been battling through an ankle injury since August, and it has cost him some time on the field. It doesn't appear that O'Hara will be able to go Sunday against the Texans after it initially looked like he would try to get back onto the field.

Making matter worse is that his backup and replacement, Adam Koets, has suffered a sprained MCL. Although all signs point to him being able to start again for O'Hara this week, the Giants are one injury away from having to make a major shuffle up front.

The break-glass-in-case-of-emergency situation would involve moving OLG Rich Seubert to center, sliding Diehl to left guard and inserting Shawn Andrews at left tackle. Seubert hasn't played much center in recent years. And though Diehl is a former jack-of-all-trades who has played four different positions, Andrews never has played left tackle in the NFL.

With top backup OT Will Beatty likely sitting out the next month or so with a foot injury, the Giants are a few plays away from being extremely shorthanded on the offensive line.

And it's not just up front, either. FB Madison Hedgecock, a good lead blocker, could miss time with a hamstring injury. That has left TE Bear Pascoe as the team's new fullback if Hedgecock can't go. Although Pascoe has no real experience at the position, he volunteered to play there if needed.

The Giants clearly want to be respected as a power-running team. They still throw the ball frequently, but one of the hallmarks of a Tom Coughlin-coached team is the ability to run the ball — even in would-be passing situations — and make first downs. They like to churn the clock, exert their physical side and make opponents sell out to defending the run. But the team's recent string of bad health at key blocking positions threatens that identity somewhat.