The Giants learned today that they have lost backup C Adam Koets for the season, due to a torn ACL he suffered in the Giants' thrashing of Seattle yesterday. While that may not seem like a huge setback, Koets is a quality backup on a team that has the 2nd oldest offensive line in the NFL. Their starting center, Shaun O'Hara, has missed 5 games this season with a couple different foot injuries - He missed 4 games earlier this season with bursitis in his left foot, and he missed the Seahawks game due to a mild sprain of the dreaded Lisfranc ligament in his right foot.
When Koets went out yesterday, the Giants shifted LG Rich Seubert to C, LT David Diehl to LG, and wait for it... our old friend Shawn Andrews filled in at LT. Chris Snee and Kareem McKenzie manned their usual spots at RG and RT, respectively.
Diehl also went out with a sprained hip joint, and rookie 5th round pick Mitch Petrus filled in at LG. Diehl's injury isn't believed to be overly serious, although he's having an MRI today. Diehl also had to leave the Giants' game against Houston earlier this season due to "cramps."
Having 3 players along your OL filling in at positions they're not accustomed to playing is not ideal, by any stretch of the imagination. Andrews actually played well at LT against Seattle, but it would be interesting to see him play a full game against a competent pass rush.
The entire offseason, I harped on the Cowboys' age and lack of depth along the offensive line. As a quick recap, 4 of their starters will be 32 by the end of this season. It caught up with them in a big way this season. If the Giants have to go with a lineup of Andrews-Diehl-Seubert-Snee-McKenzie for any sort of extended period of time, they face several issues:
- They have no depth whatsoever in that scenario. The only real depth of note would be swing tackle William Beatty. Beatty broke his foot in September, had surgery, and is scheduled to return sometime this month. Even when he's ready to return, if he's called into action how effective could he possibly be after missing so much time? Giants fans may contend that Mitch Petrus played well yesterday in his limited action, but I'm not so sure I'd put a lot of stock into a fresh, eager player stepping into action against a demoralized defense in a second-half blowout.
- How well can Shawn Andrews really play at LT for an extended period of time?
- How much help will the Giants need to give their OL, and how will the extra attention to the opposing pass rush affect the strength of their offensive, which is their deep and talented receiving corps?
If Shaun O'Hara can return and play well, most of those issues are resolved. But O'Hara is 33 years old and is 2 foot injuries deep already this season. Add in the fact that Diehl is 30 (and also battling some minor injuries), McKenzie is 31, and Shawn Andrews has a long history of debilitating physical and mental setbacks. The Giants' OL situation is beginning to look very familiar to me.
[Update by JimmyK, 11/08/10 6:01 PM EST ] - No sooner do I post this, and I learn that there's breaking news that David Diehl has a partially torn left hamstring and will miss several weeks.
Let's go ahead and change "Giants have OL issues" to "Giants have major OL problems."
I'd have to imagine that if O'Hara can't go at C, their lineup against Dallas this week will be Andrews-Petrus-Seubert-Snee-McKenzie. That's a recipe for disaster.