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With Beatty out, Giants do the OL shuffle

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Another offseason, another major injury for a key starter, this one in a contact drill.

While lifting weights last week, starting left tackle Will Beatty tore a pectoral muscle and will be out several months. So the Giants must piece together a viable five-man combination on the offensive line to protect quarterback Eli Manning.

As this week’s organized team activities (OTAs) began Weenesday, the initial combination begins with rookie first-round pick Ereck Flowers at Beatty’s left tackle spot and offseason free-agent acquisition Marshall Newhouse at right tackle.

Justin Pugh, the Giants’ starting right tackle each of the last two seasons, moves to left guard, a decision that head coach Tom Coughlin said was made before the Beatty injury.

At right guard, Geoff Schwartz shared snaps on the first unit with John Jerry, the latter of whom started at right guard last season.

Finally, second-year man Weston Richburg, who played last season at left guard, has moved to his more natural position at center.

All eyes, of course, will be on Flowers, the 21-year-old from the University of Miami taken ninth overall in this year’s draft, despite some pre-draft scouting reports that questioned his pass blocking technique.

If the Giants share any concerns about Flowers’ technique, they are certainly not showing any signs of panic yet.

“I don’t subscribe to that, what people think, what people say,” Coughlin said. “He’s our kid, and he’s an outstanding young player who’s going to do nothing but get better.

“Sure, things are going to happen him that haven’t happened before. We know there are a couple of things that we need to clarify and work with on him, but he will do it.”

One of the biggest adjustments that Flowers is going to need to make right away is working with the increase in the game’s speed.

“Whenever you reach the next level, the speed is different,” he said. “When I first got out of college, my first [Giants] practice, I was like, ‘Man, this is fast,’ but I got used to it and it started to slow down.

“As time goes on, things will continue to slow down as you get a better grasp of the plays and the concepts. It will become second nature. Right now, that’s what we’re doing, coming in here early, working really hard and trying to progress every day.”

Flowers, who at times seemed perplexed about all the media attention he received, pointed out that any player who comes in with the attitude that they are where they should be probably is in for a rude awakening.

“Honestly, you can never stop getting better at what you do,” he said.


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