Offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz is eligible to come off short-term IR when the New York Giants return to practice next week to get ready for their Nov. 3 game against the Indianapolis Colts. Whether he will be able to play any time soon, however, is still to be determined.
"Schwartz has a long way to go," head coach Tom Coughlin said. "He has been standing on the sidelines for a long time now. We are going to have to get him on the practice field extensively before that happens."
Schwartz hopes to test his toe on the field next week. Truthfully, he doesn't sound like he expects to be ready to face the Colts.
"I have to be able to practice to be able to play," Schwartz said. "The plan is to be back on Wednesday. That's kind of the plan right now, to test it out next week, or in two weeks.
"It does feel better. I can do a good amount of things without pads on and without people hitting me. Part of the issue is going to be how it reacts when I'm pushing and when I'm anchoring and when I'm playing 50 plays a game. I'm not going to know until I get out there on Wednesday."
Beyond when he will play, the other question for the Giants is where? There really isn't much doubt that the Giants will eventually get the 6-foot-6, 340-pound Schwartz, whom they signed to a four-year, $16.8-million free-agent contract, into their lineup. The question is how will they configure the line once they do insert him?
There are three possibilities:
- Schwartz simply replaces John Jerry at right guard. Right guard is the position Schwartz has played most often during career, and the one where he has played his best football. Ten of the 14 games he played last season for the Kansas City Chiefs, when he compiled a +18.6 Pro Football Focus score, were at right guard.
- Schwartz replaces Weston Richburg at left guard. Schwartz worked exclusively at left guard for the Giants prior to getting injured. He was penciled in there when the Giants though Chris Snee would be able to play this season, and when Snee retired they kept Schwartz on the left side. In this scenario, Richburg heads to the bench.
- Schwartz plays left guard, Richburg replaces J.D. Walton at center. Richburg was drafted as a center, and there is still every reason to believe the second-round pick is the Giants' center of the future. Apologies to Walton, who has done a creditable job, but that future probably starts no later than next season. In this scenario, the Giants start that future as soon as Schwartz is ready to play.
My preference, and the scenario I think is most likely? I think Schwartz replaces Jerry, moving into his natural -- and best -- spot at right guard. Richburg has had his ups and downs, but he is a future anchor of the offensive line and it makes no sense for the Giants to shove him to the bench. At this point, it also does not seem like a good idea to replace Walton. The Giants have been striving for continuity, so why make two changes when you can get the guys who are probably your best five players on the field by making only one?
Vote in the poll and let us know which combination you would like to see.