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Giants Must Answer Offensive Line Questions on Friday Night

Both tackle spots provide issues the Giants have to solve

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    The Giants keep trying to replace him, but Diehl won't go away.

    There might be one more preseason game left on the schedule, but the Giants will have their last chance to answer questions about their team on Friday night against the Bears.

    Bill Belichick won't play anyone who qualifies as an established NFL player next week, which means the Giants wouldn't be able to trust any results from the Patriots game even if they played their starters every minute of the game. That's not any different from any other year, but the Giants would probably be happy to have an extra game to sort things out on their offensive line.

    With Will Beatty missing just about everything the Giants have done this summer because of back issues, the team still has no idea whether or not he can be a good NFL left tackle. Beatty wasn't one last year, but it was his first year as a starter and it ended early because of a detached retina.

    That uncertainty is a problem because the Giants already know that neither David Diehl nor Sean Locklear is a good NFL left tackle. If they were, they would be starting at left tackle and not quasi-competing with one another for the job filling in for Beatty and/or the starting right tackle job.

    Diehl still has his uses, but his play has steadily declined in recent years and he looks to be headed for the Kareem McKenzie treatment once this year comes to an end. Locklear washed out in Seattle and couldn't convince the Redskins to keep him around even though they have a ton of offensive line questions of their own.

    It's not exactly what you'd like to put in front of Eli Manning, the one player that the Giants can't even pretend to replace without missing a beat this season. Given the import of the position, the Giants would surely like to be sure that they aren't risking sending their golden lamb into the slaughter by seeing as much as possible from the tackle candidates.

    Alas, that's not possible even if the Giants will be charging their fans full price to watch a glorified scrimmage next week. The only upside is that the Bears figure to give their line a good test. 

    Defensive end Julius Peppers and rookie Shea McClellin are strong pass rushers who will make it pretty easy to tell how good the tackles are at protecting Manning. If they can get through the game without pressure affecting Manning, the Giants will at least know that the two veterans will be able to hold their own if necessary.

    If they can't, the Giants won't have much chance to find someone who does when they start the season in less than two weeks.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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