If you have been paying attention this week you know that the New York Giants offensive line is a mess heading into Sunday's NFC East game at New Meadowlands Stadium against the Dallas Cowboys.
The situation, though, is not nearly as dire as it could be. And I think you have to give general manager Jerry Reese and coach Tom Coughlin some credit for that. Their foresight, and willingness to be patient, at least leaves the Giants with some viable options at this point.
Think about it. Kevin Boothe is likely to step right from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List into the starting lineup at left guard this Sunday. Wouldn't it have been easy for the Giants to simply reach an injury settlement with Boothe and let him go when he suffered a torn pectoral muscle last summer rather than keep around on the off chance he might be useful this season?
Boothe is hardly a great player, we joke about the considerable width of his backside all the time. But, heading into Week 10 of the NFL season would the Giants be able to pick up a decent 'plug 'n play' guard anywhere else with NFL starting experience who already knew their offense, could walk in off the street, start on Sunday and actually know what was going on? No, they would not.
Wouldn't it have been easier for the Giants to place tackle Will Beatty on injured reserve after he broke his foot in Week 1, rather than keep him on the roster in the event he was needed in the latter part of the season? Beatty isn't back just yet, but he should be shortly. And there will be snaps for him at either tackle or as an extra tight end, and maybe both, when he returns.
We know Beatty struggled at times in the preseason, but it's the same with him as with Boothe. Where would the Giants find a guy capable of playing either tackle at least adequately at this point in the season, especially one who did not need weeks of study to learn the offense? There aren't any to be found.
So, yes, the Giants hope Shaun O'Hara is able to return soon from his Lisfranc injury. Yes, they hope David Diehl can recover quickly from his hamstring injury. Yes, believe it or not, Adam Koets' season-ending knee injury hurts them.
None of those injuries hurts nearly as much as they could have, however, if the Giants had not anticipated the likelihood of needing some help for their aging offensive line.
We can argue that maybe the Giants should have done more in the draft than take Mitch Petrus in the fifth round. We can anticipate that the line will deservedly get attention in next April's draft. For now, though, I think we should be thankful that Reese and Coughlin had the prescience to be as ready as they could be for the situation the Giants now face.