The New York Giants played some of their worst football of the season this past Sunday. That's not to say this is a bad football team or there is something inherently wrong with their style of play. However, Big Blue stunk up the joint last weekend. There were several players on the roster who did not do their jobs. One of those players was starting right tackle David Diehl.
Diehl has been a lightning rod of discussion through the offseason and into Big Blue's 2012 campaign. Although the statistics say Diehl was the absolute worst pass blocking offensive tackle in the NFL last season, many of Diehl's staunch supporters, Giants coaching staff included, insist that the film does not tell the same story. However, there is no defending Diehl's performance this past weekend. Even head coach Tom Coughlin did not give Diehl a ringing endorsement.
"He did O.K.," Coughlin said. "He had the one false start that hurt."
It took Diehl just 54 snaps to give up his first sack since coming off of injury. Granted he had not seen extended playing time in several weeks, but Diehl was blown off the line with consistency against the Pittsburgh Steelers defense. He was unable to effectively engage his defender at the point of attack and inhibited the play of the Giants offense.
However, the issue with David Diehl is not that he's playing bad. Obviously, his poor play is disconcerting, but it would not be as big of an issue if there were not a better option on the roster. Sean Locklear took over at right tackle after Diehl went down with a minor knee injury and the offensive line play improved drastically. In fact, heading into Sunday's matchup, the Giants had given up the least amount of sacks in the NFL. In particular, Locklear has not given up a sack in his previous 542 snaps.
David Diehl's pedigree is unquestionably sufficient to place him among the better Giants offensive linemen to ever step on the field. He is a former All-Pro and a two-time Super Bowl champion. In fact, his illustrious accomplishments are the only thing between him starting at right tackle and sitting on the bench at this point of the season. Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty is on record as saying such.
However, Diehl's play has been in consistent decline for years now. The Giants are in the process of trying to repeat as Super Bowl champions, and it's not going to happen unless the team puts the best 11 football players out on the field each and every Sunday. Replacing Diehl at right tackle in no way guarantee any future success, but it would help the Giants run their offense with more efficiency then we have seen in past weeks. It's time for Tom Coughlin and Co. to put Diehl's ego aside and do what's best for this football team.
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