David Diehl isn’t waiting to see.
The veteran offensive linemen who missed the first four games with thumb surgery (he was active last week but did not play) trampled over Tom Coughlin’s line of “we’ll see” when he was asked about changes in the lineup for Sunday, pancaking it like a defensive lineman with a blindspot. Diehl made it clear that yes, there will be changes from last week, and yes, he will be starting at right guard.
“It’s like riding a bike,” he said of returning to the lineup. “This isn’t the first time this has ever happened so I’m excited.”
The last time Diehl played right guard was as a rookie in 2003, when he started all 16 games there. The following year Chris Snee came in and Diehl moved to right tackle. Now, with Snee injured, Diehl is back where it all began.
“The circle of life? Lion King? Ask my daughter, she’d love that,” Diehl said when asked about coming full circle. “This is a great opportunity for us. I’m just excited to be back. I’ve worked extremely hard to come back all offseason, to work as hard as I did to get my knee healed, physically get myself ready and make the changes that I did to come into camp physically the best I’ve ever been in my life and then to have a setback like a thumb, it’s tough. It isn’t easy for anybody.”
Diehl will be working next to rookie Justin Pugh at right tackle and Jim Cordle, who figures to be making his second NFL start at center. Last week the Giants had James Brewer at right guard, which added to the inexperience on that side of the ball.
Now Diehl is back and he can provide the leadership that Snee was giving, and do it with the physical ability to play (Snee was hampered by a hip injury he suffered in the opening game and has missed the last two).
“Like anything, you really appreciate when you’re out and you’re sitting on the sidelines, you really appreciate how special it is to do what you do,” Diehl said. “It’s my 11th season and I’m still living the dream. I’m still playing and doing what I love to do. It’s still so exciting to come here each and every morning preparing for these games. Most importantly, for me, being able to get back out there and fight, I’m just pumped up. I’m ready to go.”
So will Diehl be the one who can fix the problems on the offensive line?
As Tom Coughlin would say: “We’ll see.”