The line is the question mark on the Giants' offense
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) If there's anything that's going to slow down the New York Giants' offense this season, it's going be their offensive line.
Getting big yards from a passing game that features Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz seems to be a given.
Having a running game to support that attack is not as certain. The line couldn't establish the run last year and three of the five players are back this year, although at different positions.
Justin Pugh has moved from right tackle to left guard. Weston Richburg has shifted from right guard to center, and Geoff Schwartz is the right guard after missing almost all of last season with a toe injury.
The biggest change is at the tackles. First-round draft pick Ereck Flowers had replaced the injured Will Beatty (pectoral injury) on the left side and journeyman Marshall Newhouse is on the right side after signing as a free agent.
For now, the line is a work in progress.
The group is hard working, optimistic and they talk a good game. They want everyone to know they plan to be tough unit.
The question is can they get it together, protect Eli Manning and open up holes for Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen and Andre Williams?
''Well, offensively you kind of go where your offensive line goes, I think, especially running the ball,'' Schwartz said. ''We have to run the ball better, there's no question about that, and we know that. We're going to do what we can to kind of bring that part up.''
There are advantages to the changes in the middle of the line.
Richburg will be returning to center - his college position - after playing his rookie season at guard. Pugh and Schwartz, who was limited to two games last season because of toe and ankle injuries, add size to the guard spots, with both being former tackles.
The tackle spots are the iffy ones.
There is a lot of hope for Flowers, the ninth pick overall in the draft. He has the size and the tools. The issues will be learning a new offense and protecting Manning.
''We all have to be ready to go and so does he,'' Schwartz said. ''It's an accelerated process when you're a rookie and things are coming in fast, but he's got a lot of things great things going for him. He's tough, he's athletic, he's smart. He's got a lot of good building blocks to get him to be ready for the first game.''
Newhouse started five games for the Cincinnati Bengals last season. He spent his first four seasons with the Green Bay Packers, starting two years at right tackle, which gives him a working knowledge of coordinator Ben McAdoo's offense.
The concern though is he couldn't hold the starting job with the Bengals.
Line coach Pat Flaherty has some depth. John Jerry is back after starting all 16 games at guard last season. Beatty, who is currently on the physically unable to perform list, also hopes to be back for the second half of the season.
''Confidence is high,'' Jennings said. ''We have a group of guys that is clicking quick. We changed some guys around and everybody is feeling comfortable in their positions. Really we are just focusing on day to day, not looking too far ahead.''
There is a deadline. Most offenses like to have their starting lines set by the third preseason game, which gives the Giants until the end of the month to get their line in gear.
NOTES: TE Jerome Cunningham and WR Preston Parker both were carted off the field because of cramping and dehydration. ... Jerry returned to practice Saturday after missing the previous day because he was feeling ill. ... CB Jayron Hosley, the unproductive third-round pick in 2012, had a couple of pass breakups. ... Beckham failed to come up with a deep pass during the workout. ... Former Packer and Raider WR James Jones, who was signed Friday, practiced with the Giants for the first time. ...Coach Tom Coughlin had no update on injured defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who was hurt in a fireworks accident on July 4.
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