The Giants have spent much of the preseason getting rookie Weston Richburg accustomed to playing multiple interior line positions. It's a good thing, because a major injury will necessitate him stepping into the starting lineup.
Head coach Tom Coughlin hasn't officially named the rookie out of Colorado State as the starter at left guard, but the team is acting that way.
Geoff Schwartz, who the Giants signed to a four-year, $16.8 million deal this offseason, dislocated his big toe in Friday's preseason game against the Jets and is out indefinitely. Coughlin called the injury "pretty serious" after the game.
Richburg was a college center, but was drafted largely because of his versatility. He's played both guard positions and was competing with veteran J.D. Walton at center.
"As an offensive lineman, you have to be ready for something like that," Richburg said Sunday of Schwartz's injury. "The starters are playing a lot. We’re in there more. We don’t rotate as much as some other positions do, so you have to be ready for any kind of injury or anything like that that happens. I was ready for whatever came at me."
The 6-foot-3, 300-pounder was drafted in the second round and should be ready to step in immediately with opening night just two weeks away.
"He’s a good, physical lineman," running back Rashad Jennings said. "He’s a guy that always wants to finish his blocks. There’s no question that he can get the job done."
The rookie was playing during the Giants' final drive of the first half against the Jets, when the offense finally seemed to hit its marks. Eli Manning drove the team 91 yards, mostly out of the no-huddle, and hit Rueben Randle for a 15-yard touchdown with five seconds left.
"It was more of a two-minute situation, obviously, so we were kind of going at a faster tempo. But in our no-huddle type of offense, we want to get the tempo to be what it was there at the end of the first half," Richburg said. "It keeps the defense from being able to line up and get comfortable in their defense, so it was a good drive and we were really happy about that one."
Richburg said he'd already spoken to Schwartz and said the veteran's spirits were high despite the question mark as to when he'll be able to return.
"You have to be positive," Richburg said. "He’s going to rehab it really hard and he’s a hardworking guy. He’ll be back to help us soon, I think."
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.