Giants’ run game is fizzling, ranked 28th in NFL

Veteran New York Giants offensive lineman David Diehl looked at

the NFL’s latest statistics for the running game and felt a little

queasy.

The Giants, who have prided themselves in their ability to run

the football in the Tom Coughlin era, are ranked near the bottom of

the league after five weeks. Their 83.8 yard average is 28th out of

32 teams, and their 3.17-yard average per carry is next to

last.

No Giants running back has rushed for 100 yards this season, and

things may not improve much this week with Pro Bowl right guard

Chris Snee’s status uncertain because of a concussion.

”For us to be like that makes me sick to my stomach,” said

Diehl, who has been a constant on the line the past nine seasons.

”The only thing you can do is work to improve it. It’s all

correctable. It’s things that can be done. In order for us to win

football games we have to rush for more than 100 yards a game. We

gotta do that. We gotta get the run game going. It’s something we

are consciously thinking about.”

While the lack of a running game has been surprising, it

probably really shouldn’t be that surprising considering the

changes in the offensive line in the offseason.

Longtime starters (center) Shaun O’Hara and (guard) Rich Seubert

were both released after the new CBA was reached in moves related

both to the salary cap and injuries. O’Hara missed most of last

season with foot and ankle injuries and Seubert suffered a major

knee injury in the final game of the regular season.

New York signed center David Baas once free agency opened, moved

Diehl from left tackle to left guard and put third-year pro Will

Beatty at left tackle. Snee and tackle Kareem McKenzie stayed on

the right side.

It seemed like a good group, but they have not come close to

matching last year when the Giants (3-2) averaged 137.5 yards and

4.583 per carry.

Coughlin said the new line has yet to mesh in the run game.

”It amazes me and that’s why I’m not very quick on the draw

with your question about that because it’s a stumbling block for me

in most situations to have to talk about how far we are down in the

run,” Coughlin said. ”Nevertheless, that’s the way it is. What

happens with it is there is a technique error, an assignment error,

a breakdown of some type and you what we have which last week was

2.8 was our average rush last week.”

Coughlin has no intention of dumping the run and letting Eli

Manning air it out all the time, even though the quarterback threw

for a career-high 420 yards and three touchdowns in the 36-25 loss

to Seattle.

To a man, the offensive linemen feel the running game will get

back on track as soon the missed blocks and missed assignment are

cleaned up.

”We just haven’t broken as many long runs as we have in the

past,” Manning said. ”That’s where the yards add up. We used to

pound it and get 3 or 4 yards and eventually we’d break that 30 or

40 yard, and we were among the top in the league the past three or

four years on those runs. For whatever reason we don’t seem to be

getting those. We just have to hang with it and hopefully we can

get back on track.”

Going against the Bills this week might help. Buffalo (4-1) is

giving up an average of 138.4 yards rushing.

Kevin Boothe, who probably would start at guard if Snee were

unable to play, said the line needs to be more consistent. Some

plays are blocked perfectly, he said.

Others are totally botched, like the safety the Seahawks Anthony

Hargrove recorded when he broke through the line clean on a first

and 10 from the Giants’ 5 and tackled D.J. Ware in the end

zone.

”We’re definitely not satisfied,” Boothe said. ”If you look

at our track record, we know we should be a lot higher. There are a

lot of games to be played and we can get to where we need to be

with hard work.”

While the Cardinals and Seahawks both played eight defenders in

the box to take away the run, Diehl and Boothe both said that’s no

excuse not to run.

”Regardless you should be able to run the ball,” Boothe said.

”Everyone on our offense believes we should be able to run the

ball even they have eight or nine guys in the box. There is a way

to run the ball. It is a matter of executing and getting it done.

We haven’t been terribly successful the first few weeks of the year

and we will get better.”

Baas, who missed last week’s game with a burner and was replaced

by center by Boothe, said the Giants need to get going with the

run.

”It’s the sixth week of the season,” he said. ”We have to

have that stuff straightened out. We can’t be having mistakes like

that. That’s definitely something that we need to get corrected and

do a lot less of moving forward.”

NOTES: Defensive ends Justin Tuck (neck-groin), Osi Umenyiora

(knee), G Chris Snee (concussion), long-snapper Zak DeOssie

(concussion), RB Brandon Jacobs (knee) and FB Henry Hynoski (neck)

did not practice on Wednesday. … LB Michael Boley (knee) was

limited. … CB Prince Amukamara (foot) hopes to play after the

bye.