If the New York Giants are going to shuffle the offensive line that started Friday's preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, that shuffle is almost certainly going to involve veteran lineman Geoff Schwartz. The six-year veteran returned to practice on Sunday after missing nearly two weeks of workouts to rest left ankle, broken in a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.
Schwartz, holding a cup of coffee while talking to reporters, sounded optimistic.
"I thought yesterday was good, considering I've been out. I feel great today. I'm a little sore just from practice in general, but otherwise the body feels pretty good," he said.
OL @geoffschwartz says he's a little sore but feels good after returning to practice yesterday. #GiantsCamp pic.twitter.com/109bxBu8uI— New York Giants (@Giants) August 17, 2015
Schwartz felt like the time away did him some good.
"They wanted to give me that time. They could of brought me (to cincinnati) if they thought I was going to be able to practice. I used the week off to physically get right, mentally get ready to go and I thought it paid off for me," Schwartz said. "I thought I went out there yesterday not having practiced in two weeks and did a decent enough job to get by."
Now, the question for the Giants is whether Schwartz will end up at right guard, his natural and preferred position, or right tackle, a spot where he also has considerable NFL experience. Schwartz worked at both spots earlier in camp, and that continued on Sunday when he took first-team tackle reps after an overheated Marshall Newhouse left practice early.
"It's not a big deal if you go right guard to right tackle," Schwartz said. "It's different if you go from side to side. I've played tackle a lot in my career, it's not a big deal.
"I feel comfortable either place."
Unless the Giants make a roster move to add another potential starter to the mix, the question appears to come down to which combination are they more comfortable with:
RG John Jerry/RT Schwartz or ..
RG Schwartz/RT Newhouse
Head coach Tom Coughlin said Schwartz will play "wherever we need him." Coughlin just wants to see Schwartz play.
"I'm not thinking of any restrictions, I'm thinking of where he can best help us," Coughlin said.
"Whatever happens we'll manage. Whether he can go without anybody being concerned, whether he does have concerns and he gets a restricted amount that's all to be seen. For now, after the time that he's been away from the field he's ready to practice and we need him to practice to get going to see whether we can count on him."
Schwartz hopes to do that this week, and expects to play Saturday against Jacksonville.
"If I practice all week I don't know why I wouldn't play," Schwartz said. "I'm approaching this week as I'm playing Saturday until they tell me otherwise."
That's good news for the Giants, who need to get the right side of the offensive line figured out as soon as possible.
Which alignment would you prefer, Giants fans? Vote in the poll and let us know.