Giants GM Jerry Reese will deflect praise as quickly as anyone in the NFL, but it's clear he made a couple of savvy moves the past few offseasons when it came to depth. First, he built up a strong two-deep on defense and also protected his aging offensive line, which has not fallen apart despite major injuries.
Reese drafted William Beatty in 2009 and took a flier on Shawn Andrews as a free agent. Although Beatty missed the first month of the season and Andrews currently is out, both players stepped up when their number was called because of other injuries. It has been that kind of season up front: Despite changes, the line barely has missed a beat.
Reese credits OL coach Pat Flaherty, one of the best in the NFL at his job, for the success up front. The Giants have not allowed a sack in five straight games and have re-established the power run game with the tandem of RBs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.
"I can't remember how many combinations he has had," Reese said of the Giants' five different starting OL combinations. "That is the reason why we didn't put (Beatty) on I.R. Where are you going to find a left tackle in November?"
Flaherty has had to take more of a hands-on approach with Beatty and Kevin Boothe manning the OLT and OLG spots, respectively, than he did when the line of Dave Diehl, Rich Seubert, Shaun O'Hara, Chris Snee and Kareem McKenzie lined up as a unit for several seasons consecutively. Not wanting Beatty to be the only other left tackle on the roster, Reese moved to sign Andrews, who stepped in nicely before going down.
With a clean pocket, QB Eli Manning has cut down on his interceptions, even with a few of his key receivers shelved, and Bradshaw's fumbling issues of a few games ago have seemed to go away, as well. Getting Boothe and Beatty back up to speed has been huge. They were not even on the active roster as recently as November, so having them able to start and contribute readily at this stage of the season has been a big development buoyed by good coaching.