5 New York Giants in Danger of Losing Their Starting Spots

Benjamin J. BlockCorrespondent IIOctober 17, 2012

5 New York Giants in Danger of Losing Their Starting Spots

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    Tony Bennett's "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" ends with him saying that 'the golden sun will shine for me.' but in the New York Giants win over the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday, it didn't shine on all the G-men.

    The Giants' 26-3 assault on the 49ers was clearly the best win of their Super Bowl-defending 2012 season, but you can't lose sight of the guys who aren't pulling their weight.

    Let's take a closer look at some Giants starters that could possibly be in danger of relinquishing their starting gig.

Tuck Sackless?

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    There were six sacks on Alex Smith last Sunday, and Justin Tuck didn't register any of them.

    In fact, he hasn't gotten his first sack of the season yet, and no, that is not a typo.

    Captain or no captain, Tuck needs to impose his defensive presence and keep pace with Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul.

    The Giants website did report that Tuck remains optimistic.

    “I think we all are kind of puzzled by the fact,” said Tuck, who had 1.5 sacks in the NFC Championship against the 49ers. “It’s not like we forgot how to rush the passer. We’ve been doing it all our lives. It’s something strange, but we’ll figure it out.” 

    Production from the versatile veteran Mathias Kiwanuka and first-year man Adrian Tracy has been increasing, and Chris Canty was just activated off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

    Tuck hasn't complained of any lingering neck or shoulder issues that he dealt with last season, but the Giants do have plenty of defensive end depth, so he needs to pick up his production.  

Sean Locklear

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    Tom Coughlin opted to start Sean Locklear against the 49ers, and the nine-year pro was part of a Giants offensive line that didn't allow a sack for a third straight game.

    While Locklear held his own, usual starting lineman David Diehl played 13 snaps as an extra tight end.

    Locklear didn't do anything significant to lose his starting job, and Diehl did "OK" on Sunday, according to Coughlin. 

    Via ESPN.com:

    “He came into the game and it was good for him to play, it was good for him to work and be in the competitive aspect of it,’’ Coughlin said. “I think it answered a lot of questions for him.”

    In Coughlin's true form, he wouldn't commit to Diehl starting in place of Locklear next week, but Diehl had previously started at tackle for 142 regular-season games.

    Locklear did great, but his starting job could be in jeopardy.

Markus Kuhn

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    It appears that Markus Kuhn might lose his starting job and be headed back to the practice squad.

    Kuhn is likely going to have to make way for either Canty, the higher-valued Marvin Austin or the questionable Rocky Bernard.

    Kuhn did a decent job in Bernard's absence, but Austin was the Giants' second-round pick from a year ago and Giants brass want him to see more snaps.

    Kuhn is likely the odd man out, as his short-lived starting role is on thin ice. 

Hakeem Nicks? Really?

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    Is it crazy to have Hakeem Nicks on a list of Giants who are in danger of losing their starting spot?

    Maybe. OK, probably. Ultimately, there's no guarantees in football and you just don't know about knee issues.

    He makes this list in large part to the outstanding efforts that namely Domenik Hixon has put forth, as well as the contributions of Ramses Barden and Rueben Randle.

    For the foreseeable future, the starting role will always be Nicks to lose, but we should get some clarity on the shape he is in when he goes up against the Washington Redskins in Week 7.

    Last year against the Redskins, Nicks caught a combined 12 balls for 195 yards in their two meetings.

    It may be a little too early to tell if Nicks is in real jeopardy, but Hixon has certainly made a case for the argument.

    Albeit a small one. 

Corey Webster

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    With Antrel Rolle winning defensive player of the week, and Prince Amukamara showing improvement each week, it has put a lot of attention on Corey Webster as someone whose starting role could be challenged.

    Kenny Phillips has disappointed fans with his injury problems, and Webster is looking more and more like the elder statesman of the secondary.

    The broken hand he suffered against the Carolina Panthers has certainly impacted his play more than he led on to believe.

    Rookie Jayron Hosley has also been showing flashes of tenacity, and now that Justin Tryon is back from injury, he is proving his value.

    Webster needs to channel the Corey Webster from five years ago if he wants to keep his starting role.