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Giants revamp o-line, insert rookie Pugh

The SportsXchange

Plagued by injuries and poor red zone production through the first half of the preseason slate, the New York Giants are experimenting with their offensive line.

With center David Baas sidelined by a sprained left MCL, guard Kevin Boothe has been moved to center. Struggling right tackle David Diehl was moved to left guard and rookie first-round pick Justin Pugh has been inserted in Diehl's spot.

Rather than list inexperienced Jim Cordel at center, the Giants opted to move Boothe, who worked at center during the offseason program while Baas was recovering from multiple injuries.

"It's the best way for us to play right now," said Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. "We, fortunately, have some guys that can play in a lot of different spots and David Diehl has played in a lot of spots in the course of his career and he'll go inside there and do a fine job. We're trying to get a group on the field now that can work together, hopefully to prepare for the regular season."

Pugh, who has recovered from a concussion, made his preseason debut on Sunday night against Indianapolis at left tackle. The goal is to have Pugh work next to Pro Bowl right guard Chris Snee as he learns the ropes.

"Obviously we have a lot of confidence in him or he wouldn't be here, or his pick," said Coughlin. "Certainly he's got plenty to work on, he's a young kid, but hopefully you put him in there now and we bring Chris Snee along, and Chris is there to help him; it's a good move. The more they can work together, the better off we'll be."

Pugh has long been seen as a good fit at right tackle who could eventually move to the blind side. He started all 34 of his career games at Syracuse on the left side.

"I'm willing to play any position, it doesn't really matter to me where I'm at," Pugh said. "Right tackle, left tackle, guard, I think I can play both positions.

"I just wanted to get an opportunity to play, definitely love the opportunity to go out there and compete."

The odd-man out in the long run could be Diehl, who was expected to start one more season but has appeared slow-footed during the preseason. Coughlin said he also has a thumb injury.

Baas said Tuesday that he intends to return in time for the regular-season opener, which could slide Diehl out of the starting lineup altogether. Diehl allowed a sack of Peyton Manning against the Colts, which he said was a technique error, and not the result of a mental error.

"I'm not sitting here hiding from anything," he said. "I'm not ever going to hide from anything, like I said, I know I need to make the improvements, the whole entire team needs to make improvements, otherwise, we would have won that last game, and we didn't."
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