The NFL rumors are swirling around the New York Giants these days. Defensive tackles Shaun Rogers and Martin Parker are done for the year already. Chris Canty is recovering from knee surgery. Marvin Austin is two seasons removed from playing football. The Giants are certainly in trouble on the defensive line. However, it is their offensive line that
might be the area of biggest need right now.
Heading into this season the Giants were counting on Will Beatty to recover from his eye injury that forced him to miss the last six games of the season and the playoff run. David Diehl stepped in and had trouble at left tackle. The plan was to give Beatty the left tackle spot and shift Diehl into right tackle in place of Kareem McKenzie, who was not re-signed after becoming a free agent. Beatty, however, has thrown a wrench in those plans, or more accurately, his back has. During offseason minicamp, Beatty injured his back and has been a ghost on the field for much of training camp.
When asked about Beatty, head coach Tom Coughlin said, “He’s back on the shelf. He is back in the training room.” When pressed for a possible return date for Beatty Coughlin shot back, “I have no idea.” Beatty’s back injury was not thought to be that serious and Beatty kept downplaying the severity of the injury.
It must be something serious at this point since it has been a few weeks since Beatty has been on the football field for more than
a few snaps. Beatty’s absence has left the Giants offensive line in a state of flux. Sean Locklear, a free agent signing this past offseason who was brought in for depth, started the Giants’ preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars last Friday. That is far from the ideal situation for the Giants in the long-term.
If Beatty is going to miss significant time moving forward, the Giants will need to come up with a contingency plan now. They could move David Diehl back to left tackle but his performance there last season was subpar. They could hope James Brewer, a fourth round draft pick in 2011, lives up to his potential and can contribute this season after spending much of last year on the inactive list. That might be asking a lot from Brewer, who is still raw and might be better suited for the right side. Locklear might be a capable replacement on the right side if Diehl moves over but he only played in 9 games last season for the Washington Redskins with only 4 starts.
There is very little remaining on the free agent market. Kareem McKenzie is still out there but it is not known what his interest level is in playing this season, or if the Giants would have an interest in bringing McKenzie back. If Beatty’s back injury is going to be an issue all year long the Giants will add depth at some point. The Giants were just not prepared for a long-term injury to their left tackle and now they are going to have to reevaluate their offensive line plans.
McKenzie might be the best choice, if Beatty is down for a long period of time and if both sides can agree to a one-year contract. Regardless, Giants GM Jerry Reese will be keeping an eye on the waiver wire as teams start to pare down their rosters as well as keeping a hand on the phone with a direct line to McKenzie’s agent. Until he makes a move expect the NFL rumors to hover around the Giants like mosquitoes around a picnic.