Giants Planning Mystery Changes To Struggling Offensive Line
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — For the first time this season, the New York Giants seemingly will make changes on their struggling offensive line. Coach Tom Coughlin just isn't letting everyone know where.
Whether it helps the anemic running game also remains to be seen.
The obvious spots are at left guard and right tackle. The players involved are second-year tackle Justin Pugh and veteran guard Geoff Schwartz, who has missed all 10 games with a toe injury.
Pugh aggravated a leg injury in Sunday's loss to San Francisco. He did not practice Wednesday for Sunday night's game against Dallas and refused to discuss his quad injury.
Charles Brown played poorly after taking over for Pugh, so the options for this weekend would be either Schwartz or James Brewer at right tackle.
If it's Brewer, Schwartz probably will play left guard. If Schwartz plays tackle, Weston Richburg stays at left guard on a line that has remained the same since the season opener.
"I'll be fine. I have done this before," Schwartz said. "I have played sometimes sparingly and then had to play right away, like I did last year. You find ways to do it, and I'll be fine."
Schwartz, who took all the snaps with the scout team last week, said he worked with the No. 1 line at times on Wednesday, only saying he "moved around."
Brewer, who has been inactive for all 10 games, also didn't want to say much. He said he prepares to play every week and will be ready if needed. He started eight of 16 games last season.
The current line features Will Beatty at left tackle, Richburg at left guard, J.D. Walton at center, John Jerry at right guard and Pugh next to him.
As a whole, the unit has struggled, especially during the current five-game losing streak that has all but wiped out playoff hopes for the Giants (3-7).
The running game has been horrible. New York, which has prided itself on running the ball with Coughlin as coach, has had one 100-yard game in the losing streak. It came against Dallas in a 31-21 loss on Oct. 19.
Part of the problem has been the absence of top back Rashad Jennings, who missed the first four games in the losing streak with a knee injury. He returned last week and had 59 yards on 18 carries.
"He was feeling his way back," Coughlin said. "There's no way around it. He hadn't played in a game for quite some time. He'll improve in this week's game because of having an opportunity to play and feel good about coming through the game last week."
Richburg believes the line has to be more physical for the running game to get going.
Fullback Henry Hynoski said the offense as a whole has to get on the same page in the run game and have everyone focus on the fine details. It needs to understand how the defense will flow on certain plays, what angles need to be attacked, whether to hit the opponent on the left side or right side. It's the little things.
"We need to get over 100 yards every week," Hynoski said. "Our goal is the 150 range and anything less we feel we failed if we hit below that mark."
Pugh said the key is getting more than 2 or 3 yards on first down. Being in third-and-long never helps.
"We have to win, whatever it takes," Beatty said. "We have to come together. A perfect game may not be possible, but we can get a lot closer to it. We're not looking at this (the changes) as a negative thing. We went through camp and had guys come in and it was just be ready to go if you are called upon."
Schwartz said the Cowboys play hard on defense.
"Their defensive line, especially, they move a lot,' he said. "They have linebackers that can run and make plays in the passing game. Just like we saw the first time around, we are going to get a lot of movement from them. They are going to bring it, and we are going to have to be ready for it."
NOTES: DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) and LB Jacquian Williams (concussion) did not practice, along with Pugh. ...Halfback Peyton Hillis, placed on injured reserve with a concussion last week, is feeling better, Coughlin said.
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