Giants O-Line: rushing for 200-plus yards the norm Print
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Saturday, 22 November 2008 08:58
NFL Headline News

 EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -When the New York Giants offensive linemen walked into their group meeting a day after gaining 207 yards against Ray Lewis and a Baltimore defense that was the best in the NFL against the run, they didn't start by patting each other on the back.
That's not their style.
Instead, they teased each other about missed blocks and other missteps before getting serious and talking about the topic that is seemingly always on their minds: How to improve after leading Brandon Jacobs and stable of running backs known as ``Earth, Wind and Fire'' to a third straight 200-yard rushing game, something the Giants had not done in more than half a century.
Don't know this group that helped the Giants win the Super Bowl? Maybe it's time to learn their names, starting from left to right:
David Diehl, Rich Seubert, Shaun O'Hara, Chris Snee and Kareem McKenzie. They are tight-knit, hard-working, fun-loving and young enough to have a nice future in the NFL.
e Seubert and McKenzie each are 29.
``It's a lunchpail-type group,'' said backup tackle Adam Koets. ``We hang out together. We do things together and there is that respect for one another. You go out and play for that guy next to you. You tell someone there is free food, and we are all going to show up.''
NBC color analyst John Madden has already called them the NFL's best offensive line.
``Collectively those five guys are as good as any Pro Bowl offensive line you can put together,'' added Bart Oates, who was the center on the Giants' Super Bowl champion teams in the 1986 and '90 seasons.
What the line is doing this season is one for the books, literally.
New York (9-1) has rushed for 1,727 yards, a league-leading average of 172.7 yards. On the current pace, the Giants will gain 2,763 yards, breaking the team mark of 2,451 yards rushing set in 1985. They also are averaging a remarkable 5.3 yards per carry, which would be another team mark.
``They work as well together as any group I have ever seen,'' said coach Ken Whisenhunt, whose Arizona Cardinals will face the Giants on Sunday.
The game against the Ravens last weekend was special. Baltimore came into the weekend giving up an average of 65.4 yards. Jacobs got more than half that amount on the second play from scrimmage and the Giants finished with their fifth 200-yard game.
ensive end Trevor Pryce. ``If you give any NFL back holes like that, he's going to look like Gayle Sayers.''
The day after the game, the statistics were forgotten.
``To be honest, the first thing we talked about with each other were the plays we did wrong, the things we could have done better or gotten more yards,'' said Snee, who is coach Tom Coughlin's son-in-law. ``I guess in that regard we are greedy. We want to get as many yards as possible and to do that you have to be hard on yourself.
``We have guys who don't need anyone to tell them what went wrong,'' Snee added. ``We know if our guy is the one who came off a block and made the tackle 30 yards downfield, we are kicking ourselves because it would have been a longer run.''
With the exception of one or two games, the line has started intact almost every game for the past two seasons. Four of the five have been in the starting lineup since 2005, with Seubert being the exception. He missed almost two seasons after suffering a horrible broken leg in 2003.
``The biggest thing is they play as a unit,'' said Karl Nelson, a tackle on the Giants' first Super Bowl champion. ``Back in '86, we had been together for 2 1/2 years and I can't say enough about knowing what the guy next to you is thinking, and knowing what he is going to do before he does it. You don't have to say a lot to communicate. You just know.''
more important with opponents constantly moving players into gaps, blitzing and disguising their defenses.
Oates said once a play is called in the huddle, there can be anywhere from three to 10 looks a defense can show that could force the line to make an adjustment.
For example, a nose tackle could be straight up on the center or shade to the strong side or the weak side. The line has to adjust with each. The same thing with the linebackers' positioning.
The goal is to get the best angle to block the defender. So far, the angles have been excellent.
Jacobs is 121 yards short of a second straight 1,000-yard rushing season and his 11 TDs rushing are tied for the league lead. Derrick Ward (531 yards) has a shot at giving the Giants two 1,000-yard rushers and Ahmad Bradshaw is averaging 6.7 yards on his 45 carries.
``It all comes down to film work,'' Ward said of the line. ``You can have all the strength in the world and if you don't know who you're supposed to block, everything goes out the door. It's more a mental game than a physical game. That's our O-line. They take pride in being mentally ready every week. It makes them happy for us to get the recognition because they know, like we know, it's really all on them making this offense go.''
rush to pass or pass to run.
``He is the course director,'' McKenzie said. ``He directs us in which way we are going, whether it's the high note or the low note or whether we are changing the tempo or whatever it may be. He leads it all.''
And the line protects him like a little brother, veteran halfback Reuben Droughns said.
So far, Manning has been sacked 10 times in 10 games.
Oates said the current line is a cross between the Giants' lines of '86 and '90. The first one was more of a finesse line. The second was one that let everyone know they were going to run and did just that.
Nelson added this line stays on its blocks as well as any he has seen, noting in football today plays don't go to a specific hole. The line gets the defense going in a certain direction and the back picks the hole to go through.
``You have to get your hands in there, and you have to have great strength and great balance,'' Nelson said. ``One thing people don't appreciate is the size and balance they have. When you are on a guy, you can feel what a running back is doing by feeling how the defensive man is anticipating and trying to get rid of you, and you can use that against him. That's what this line does very well.''
Pat Flaherty is the coach who keeps them in line. He is a technician who likes to point out the subtleties of opposing defenses and the way the line will deal with them.
ing about our line is that none of us is complacent or satisfied,'' Diehl said. ``We know we can do things better. We're going to continue to work, whether it's in the meeting room, working on the field, doing extra drills. Whatever it takes to make sure we get it right and do it right. That's the blue collar attitude of this O-line.''
The only team to hold the Giants under 100 yards rushing was Pittsburgh, who limited them to 83 yards on 35 carries.
``When teams know you are going to try to run and they are putting guys in there to stop it,'' Manning said, ``and you continually are able to do it, it's impressive.''
 

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