|Giants offensive lineman David Diehl is fully healthy but lost his starting spot while recovering. (US Presswire)|
Former Pro Bowler David Diehl says he's 100-percent healthy for the first time since spraining his MCL in Week 2, but although he's off the injury report, he has no guarantee that he'll be back in the starting lineup. And since he's played five positions in his career (TE, LT, LG, RG, RT), he could literally back up anyone on the offensive line -- even C David Baas.
“Well, I don't know,” Diehl said when asked when he'd learn what his role will be this week. “This is the first time I sat out like this.”
Diehl began the season at right tackle, but because Sean Locklear has played so well in his place, coach Tom Coughlin is reluctant to shake up the offensive line (QB Eli Manning has been sacked a league-low six times). Diehl has filled in as a blocking tight end the past few weeks, and although Baas sat with an ankle injury Wednesday, Diehl slid in at left guard and Kevin Booth moved to center.
But Baas was back to work Thursday, which meant Diehl is again without a spot in the starting lineup.
“Sean has done a great job and we're winning football games,” Diehl said. “That's the most important thing.”
Diehl did struggle in Week 1 in a 24-17 loss to the Cowboys, and OLB DeMarcus Ware had two sacks, but his experience along the offensive line is second to none.
That's why Diehl can be useful even if he isn't starting Sunday.
“Out there on the field, I was watching to see if I could help the coaches, help the guys on the sidelines,” Diehl said.
Diehl was emphatic about proving that he's not complaining, but even if he did, not too many people would hold it against him.
He doesn't even seem to mind that he lost his starting spot while dealing with an injury.
“I would love to be starting, I would love to be back out there, that's what I'm here for, that's what I've always done,” Diehl said. “But, like I said, if that doesn't happen, it's not going to change the way I feel about Sean. It's not going to change the way I feel about our coaches and our staff. I've been hurt. I've been out. There's nothing I can do to change that. It's not like I lost my job. I got hurt and lost my job.”
And with the way the NFL goes, the Giants will undoubtedly suffer another injury along the offensive line, and given his and Boothe's ability to play multiple spots, Diehl will again be back in the starting lineup.
Giants look to remain undefeated at Cowboys Stadium: The Giants have never lost at the new Cowboys Stadium (3-0) thanks, in part, to a blocked field goal by DE Jason Pierre-Paul in last season's 37-34 win.
JPP also had two sacks (including a safety) and a forced fumble in that game, so defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is hoping to coax a similar performance out of his star pupil.
“I thought he dominated,” Fewell said. “It seems like every run play he was there to make a tackle. I think he just played at a high level and he was in one of those zones that he just played lights out. I'm just hoping we can put him back into that zone when we go back into that stadium and he can play that way again.”
Fewell did admit that putting up those stats again would be “unrealistic.”
Secondary makes adjustments: Tony Romo threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns against the Giants in a Week 1 Cowboys' win. That puts the pressure on New York's defensive backs.
“I remember that game quite well,” S Antrel Rolle said Thursday. “I don't need the film to remember those games. It just wasn't a good game. I think the first half we came out pretty good and the second half, we just stunk up the whole entire second half. So we definitely need to change as a defensive unit and we will.
“We talked about it. We have to learn from our mistakes,” he said. “That's the only way we're going to get better. We go and view the film and correct where we went wrong and move on from there.”
The Giants appear to have already made some corrections having 11 interceptions since that game.
To run or not to run: Ahmad Bradshaw wasn't happy with his 12 carries Sunday, but his touches are directly related to how the Giants are running and what the defense is showing.
After a slow start in Week 6, Bradshaw broke the 100-yard mark against the 49ers because the defense began focusing on the pass. But in Week 7 against the Redskins the defense kept enough personnel in the box to defend the run.
"Have you met a runner that doesn't want the ball more?" offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. “You want to be balanced. In the perfect world, that's what you do. In an effort to do that, all of a sudden the game gets away from you. ‘Well, I got my balance, but we got our rear-ends kicked.' That doesn't make any sense.”
The Cowboys have the NFL's third-ranked pass defense and 14th-ranked run defense.