Credit the Giants for adjusting to several injuries along their offensive line this season. It has not been a prolonged weakness, which is saying something considering the changes they have had to endure.
Sunday's game against the Cowboys likely will mark the seventh OL lineup the team has used this season, with Rich Seubert again having to fill in for C Shaun O'Hara, who hopes to return soon from a foot injury. It's looking as if Kevin Boothe, a valuable reserve who was just activated from the PUP list, will be asked to start at left guard. It's not his natural position, but it's one he has played a little in the past. Rookie Mitch Petrus also could get a look there.
Boothe has been practicing for several weeks, so he's not coming in from the cold entirely. But most of his regular-season action in the past has come at right guard and right tackle. Petrus made his offensive debut in Week Nine in some mop-up duty against the Seahawks, which earned Tom Coughlin's praise this week.
Considering the way injuries have gone up front, Petrus should be on ready alert. The most recent shuffle saw Dave Diehl moving to cover for Seubert at left guard and Shawn Andrews starting at left tackle. Andrews wanted the chance to play tackle, his college position, and asked teams as a free agent whether he might get a chance there after the Eagles released him. The Giants were open to the idea, and they broke in the career NFL right guard by using him as an additional tackle on heavy-set plays earlier in the season.
Now with Diehl and backup Adam Koets down for extended periods (Koets is done for the season), the group up front must jell together as best it can — again. The regular line that for the past several years has been a bedrock — from left to right: Diehl, Seubert, O'Hara, Chris Snee and Kareem McKenzie — might not line up as a group for quite a while, we hear.
OL coach Pat Flaherty has been credited with doing an excellent job with the players up front, prepping the young guys to step in at a moment's notice and making sure all the linemen can fill in at multiple spots, and QB Eli Manning has done a good job adjusting his pass protections and making his calls at the line to help his ever-shifting group.