Sunday, August 2, 2009

Giants: Training Camp Preview - IV

Offensive Line

There will be some very close and interesting competition in the OL this year. You might scoff at that statement, because the Giants have what is reputed to be one of the best OL's in football. The starting positions on the OL are all but locked down: Diehl (LT) Seubert (LG), Pro bowler O'Hara (C), Pro bowler Snee (RG) and MacKenzie (RT). The interesting battles will be for the backup positions. Last year the Giants carried 8 OL-men, with the substitutes behind these 5 starters Grey Ruegamer, Adam Koets and Kevin Boothe. Guy Whimper showed some promise and potential in the Super Bowl year of 2007, but was on IR last year and did not take up a roster spot. I hope you recall - Whimper had a strong game at LT when Diehl went out with leg cramps in the 4th quarter of the opening playoff game against Tampa Bay. Whimper played very strongly on the big drive that started with a converted 3rd down on the last play of the 3rd qtr and took about 10 minutes off the clock, ending in a TD and 24-7 lead for the Giants. That drive essentially iced the game for the Giants and Whimper played in that stretch, blocking fiercely for the run and protecting Eli's blind side well in the passing game.

Last year, Ruegamer was a very effective backup and a very important player for the Giants. He was both a backup of O'Hara at C and could play either G position as well. That gave the Giants great flexibility and they did not necessarily dress all 8 OL-men every Sunday because of the flexibility he provided. Now Ruegamer is gone and the Giants have to figure out the reserve situation; particularly because they do not have a natural backup C on the team. Seubert was taking some snaps at C as was Koets. If Seubert proves to be the most effective answer as the backup C, it could push Koets off the team entirely. The Giants have the following players fighting for the 3 reserve OL positions: William Beatty, 2nd round draft choice from U-Conn, Adam Koets, Kevin Boothe, Guy Whimper and veteran FA pickup Tutan Reyes. Since Beatty was a high draft choice and is the designated LT of the future, he will surely make the team, which leaves the other 4 players to battle out for 2 reserve spots.

In backup action last year, Boothe was adequate. He has average speed and size, but can fill in at both G and T which gives him an advantage. Whimper is a T and has not really played any other positions on the OL, so he will have to show excellent skills to make the team. If Seubert emerges as the backup center, that could give Whimper more of a shot. But it does mean that if O'Hara goes down with an injury and Seubert takes over his spot, two starting OL-men will be displaced from their normal spots on the OL which could be disruptive. Tutan Reyes is an unknown quantity. Clearly he was brought in because the Giants want to see if his experience will be useful behind the young reserves that the Giants will have on the team. Reyes would not have signed with the Giants if he did not have a strong indication that he had a good chance to make the team, which means that Whimper, Koets and Boothe are in a very tough battle for roster spots.

The best configuration would be to have Beatty as a backup LT and RT, Koets as backup C and T and Reyes backup both G positions. That means that Whimper and Boothe do not make the team. If possible to carry an extra OL-man, depending on roster spots elsewhere, I would keep Whimper as the 9th OL-man.

No comments: