Excerpt: ""You would love to say itís this one thing or one person or one aspect, but it doesnít work out that way," offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. "Believe me when I tell you this, itís all of us. We all have to do better."
That was the case Sunday, as the entire offensive line had trouble keeping defensive tackle Geno Atkins and the rest of the defensive line off of Manning. Atkins didn't register a sack, but according to Pro Football Focus he hit Manning four times and added five hurries. The Bengals racked up four sacks as a team.
Offensive line coach Pat Flaherty said the game situation didn't make it easier against the Bengals' potent pass rush. Down 14-0 early, the Giants were forced to pass the ball more than they had planned and Bengals brought the pressure.
Flaherty said Diehl, who sprained his MCL in the first quarter of the Giants' Week 2 win over the Buccaneers, was given his job back because "you don't really lose your job because of an injury." Diehl returned as the team's jumbo tight end for three games before he was given back the starting spot at right tackle against the Steelers. Locklear, because of Will Beatty's emergence at left tackle, was relegated to jumbo tight end duty.
After the Steelers' win, Diehl took the blame for surrendering a sack to Lamarr Woodley on third-and-10 that resulted in a Manning fumble on what proved to be Giants' final drive.
Flaherty admitted that Diehl, a 10-year veteran, is still transitioning to right tackle after spending the last seven seasons exclusively between left tackle and left guard. Diehl hadn't focused on right tackle since his second season in 2004 when he started all 16 games there. He started 16 games at right guard his rookie year.
"I think the time he was injured set him back in terms of his techniques and fundamentals, and he needs to get continue to catch up with those," Flahety said.
"I think the mental part of it is easier, knowing what to do within the framework of the offense is easy. The technique's not. It's not," Flaherty later added about switching positions on the offensive line. "Because you got a guy who's playing left defensive end everyday and he's going to pass rush. You're the right tackle. You have to do that everyday. Now, can you get your technique, your fundamentals down within certain amount of time? Yeah, you can. But the change is challenging."
Flaherty said Locklear, a nine-year veteran signed over the offseason, handled the switch from left tackle -- where he played during training camp and started the first two games -- to right tackle "as good as any professional I've been around." But even Locklear squashed the notion that his play was as pristine as the numbers indicate.
"When I was in there I bet you there were four or five times where's Eli gotten rid of the ball before I let him get hit," Locklear said. "There was twice in Dallas where I couldn't hear and they came almost free untouched, but he got rid of the ball. That's just the difference in games. And I said it before, I think we went three or four games without giving up a sack and I said eventually it's going to catch up where he's not getting rid of the ball or guys aren't getting open but it was going to happen." Read more...