Diehl back on starting line for champion Giants
Veteran offensive tackle David Diehl is back in the New York
Giants’ starting lineup, except it wasn’t the way he wanted.
Diehl was thrust back into the front line in the fourth quarter
of Monday night’s 17-16 loss to the Washington Redskins when Sean
Locklear suffered a major knee injury that will sideline him for
the rest of the season.
Locklear had been one of the most productive free-agent
acquisitions this season. Signed to back up Will Beatty and Diehl
at the tackle positions, he started nine games. Two came on the
left side because Beatty had back problems early, and seven on the
right side after Diehl had an early knee injury and then a shoulder
Locklear played so well, that some wondered whether the
30-year-old Diehl might lose his job to the injuries.
That’s not an issue anymore with Locklear on injured reserve.
Diehl is back and excited to be playing in the stretch run as the
Giants (7-5) look to nail down their second straight NFC East
The job resumes Sunday against the New Orleans Saints (5-7) at
”I’m just excited to get out there and play football and feel
good, feel ready to play and help our football team win games,”
Diehl said. ”We’ve got a four-game stretch and it starts this
Diehl isn’t your average backup taking over for an injured
player. He’s a 10-year veteran who started every game for the
Giants from the time he was drafted in the fifth round in 2003
until late in the 2010 season when hip and hamstring injuries
forced him to miss four in a row.
He started every one last season as the Giants won their second
Super Bowl since 2007. He even moved from left guard to tackle late
in the season when Beatty had an eye injury.
”You know he is going to be prepared,” offensive coordinator
Kevin Gilbride said Thursday. ”You know he is going to know
exactly what to do. He is going to compete and you know he is going
to be physical. Thank God we have him. We are about as thin as you
can possibly be.”
The injury leaves second-year pro James Brewer as the backup
tackle and the jumbo blocker in goal line situations. He has only
played in two games in his career.
Diehl returns with the Giants in a very familiar situation.
They’ve been inconsistent of late and need a late run to guarantee
a chance at repeating. Heading into Sunday, New York has a one-game
lead over Dallas and Washington in the NFC East with four games to
”Obviously we’ve been in this situation before, so people are
always going to say that,” Diehl said. ”Did we want to put
ourselves in this position? No, absolutely not. Last week was an
opportunity that we lost and we can never get back, but the only
way to bounce back from it is this Sunday.
”To come out and play this game the best we can, play smart
football and come away with a win. Keep building from here. We
believe in one another. We believe in the guys in this locker room.
When we play our game and we’re at our top, we think that nobody
can stop us.”
Diehl isn’t bitter about not starting last week. His shoulder
limited his practice time and Locklear deserved to play. Diehl
instead played special teams and watched the offense most of the
”It’s a role that I’ll never get used to,” Diehl said. ”When
your opportunity comes back, you come back, and you come back
strong. Most importantly, you play as best as you can to secure
Beating the Saints isn’t going to be easy. New Orleans has won
the last three against New York, with the last two games being
blowouts. The difference this time is the game is being played in
New Jersey instead of the fast, indoor track of the Superdome.
”We haven’t played them at home in a while,” Diehl said. ”To
go there, it’s a tough place to play when you go out there and play
in the Superdome. They play extremely well at home, so it’s nice
to, number one, have home field advantage; playing them here, in
our house. Most importantly, we need to feed off the energy of the
crowd and give them something to cheer about.”
NOTES: Running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), receiver Hakeem Nicks
(knee), safety Tyler Sash (hamstring), tight end Travis Beckham
(knee) and safety Kenny Phillips (knee) did not practice Thursday.
… Coach Tom Coughlin said linebacker Jacquian Williams (knee) is
close to playing for the first time since mid-October. …
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said the Saints kicked the
stuffing out of the Giants – or something like that – in a 49-24
decision last year in New Orleans.
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