Sean Locklear is the only offensive tackle that has started for the Giants in all eight games of the season so far. That looks like it’s finally going to change in Week 9.
According to Jenny Vrentas of The Newark Star-Ledger, offensive line coach Pat Flaherty broke the news to Locklear that veteran David Diehl will reassume his starting position against the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday. Locklear was not caught off guard by the switch, as he explained to Vrentas:
He said, "You're not being benched because of your play. You’ve been playing good; you’ve done everything we’ve asked. It’s just the guy can’t lose his job from minor injury." I kind of expected it; I just didn’t know when it was going to happen. He’s been here 10 years; he’s started virtually every game. So I understand where they are coming from.
The Steelers game will be Diehl’s first start since Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Diehl has waited patiently to be inserted back into the starting lineup over the past few weeks. During that time, he has been used sparingly as an extra blocker on running plays.
Safety Kenny Phillips may not be as lucky; backup Stevie Brown has been incredible in his absence. Brown had two interceptions and a fumble recovery against the Cowboys last Sunday, which helped him earn NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
According to Jorge Castillo of The Newark Star-Ledger, Phillips is ready to strap the pads on against the Steelers. That doesn’t mean he’ll immediately usurp the starting position, though.
“Because Stevie (Brown) has come on like this, it gives me more ideas to have the three-safety package and now we can go forward with that,” defensive coordinator Perry Fewell told Castillo.
The Giants defense is very familiar with three-safety sets; they ran that a lot with Deion Grant both last year and the season before.