Giants have offensive line to thank for hot streak

Center David Baas has anchored a much-improved offensive line that has given up just two sacks in the past six games.

The Giants’ offensive line, a once-maligned and patchwork unit, has done a 180-degree turn since last season, and quarterback Eli Manning is reaping the rewards.

Manning has 12 touchdowns this year and has been sacked a shockingly low two times in his last six games.     

“The team overall has played well, guys have gotten open, but the offensive line has blocked really well,” Manning said. “We’ve been put in good circumstances and made plays when we needed them. … We’ve made plays when we needed to, and I have a feeling that we’re going to have that same type of game.”

The Cowboys’ 3-4 defense will put the Giants’ offense to the test, as they are solid across the board. Dallas ranks fourth in the NFL in total defense (379.7 yards a game), 15th against the run (126.4) and third against the pass (253.3). That was with linebacker Sean Lee in lineup. Lee, who was the team’s leading tackler (77, including 61 solo), was placed on injured reserve this week with a right big toe injury that required surgery. He will be replaced by Dan Connor, a five-year veteran who joined Dallas as a free agent this year, and has mostly been a career special-teamer.  

Giants’ head coach Tom Coughlin said as good as Lee was, he doesn’t expect a huge drop-off to Connor.    

“You know, Connor is a good player. He’s played in this league [and] played in their scheme all year,” Coughlin said. “When they go to a three-linebacker scheme, he plays. He’s physical, a veteran, and good instinctively. Obviously, Sean Lee is their leading tackler, [but] Connor is a good player.”  

Manning said despite Dallas’ lineup change, he thinks it “won’t change their philosophy that much,” adding Big Blue’s familiarity with their NFC East rival certainly helps.  

What also helps the Giants’ offensive line is their depth, and the fact that they’re getting healthy at the right time. Former starter Diehl could start for just about any other team, yet he’s now plugged into the lineup as the “extra tight end” in “heavy packages,” but can also certainly fill in for either of the tackle and guard spots.   

Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said he’s been very pleased with the offensive line play, and thinks that unit’s depth and skill will hold up against the vaunted Cowboys’ attack.      

“[Diehl’s return] is encouraging [and] gives us tremendous depth. Little by little we’ll play it out where we can lean on him full time,” said Gilbride. “Right now, I like the way we’re playing. We have additional flexibility in both depth and what we call, ‘big tight end’ or ‘big regular personnel group.’ Those were personnel groupings that we didn’t have [without Diehl], and I think it’s obviously benefited us and has given us an advantage lately.”  

Big Blue notes 

» Bradshaw (foot) didn’t practice again on Thursday, a somewhat alarming event for the Giants, considering they were expecting him to get on the field. Bradshaw instead was seen working the stationary bike. Bradshaw used to only practice once a week, due to his ailing foot, but this week he hasn’t even gone once.   

» Linebacker Jacquian Williams (knee) also didn’t practice, and looks doubtful to play on Sunday.   
Not all was lost, as Baas (ankle), wideout Hakeem Nicks (foot/knee), safety Kenny Phillips (knee), defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (quadriceps) and tight end Travis Beckum (knee/PUP) all participated in position drills.

Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Turkey: Voting begins in country's first direct presidential…

Some 53 million people are able to vote in the election, including 2.8 million citizens abroad. Until now, Turkish presidents were elected by parliament.

News

Libya seeks ceasefire as south Tripoli a militia…

By Patrick Markey and Aziz El YaakoubiTRIPOLI (Reuters) - Black plumes of smoke marked shell blasts and bulldozed earthen barricades mapped out the frontlines around…

Breaking: News

Russia mad about sanctions, says U.S. contributing to…

Russia reacted angrily on Saturday to additional sanctions imposed by the European Union over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis, saying they would hamper cooperation…

National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Television

'Game of Thrones' livens up Comic Con with…

By Piya Sinha-RoySAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Laughter and death did battle on Friday at HBO's "Game of Thrones" panel at Comic Con, one of the…

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.