Snee out, Boothe In, Again

Kevin Boothe (Geoff Burke/US Presswire)

Kevin Boothe plays his third position in two weeks Sunday as he fills in at right guard for Chris Snee. The question is, can the Giants run the ball despite all this movement on the line?

The good news is that the Giants' offensive line won't have to worry about veteran pass rusher Shawne Merriman Sunday against Buffalo. He's been downgraded to out with an Achilles injury.

That should come as some relief to Kevin Boothe, who will now play his third position in two weeks as he replaces right guard Chris Snee, whose concussion will cause him to miss his first game since 2004. In a dizzying spin around the offensive front's interior, Boothe will have filled in at center for Kevin Baas and at left guard.

And now he goes into his first career start at right guard against a defense that offers multiple looks up front, including use of a two-man line. It can all be very confusing, even for a sixth-year veteran out of Ivy League Cornell.

"I've never started there," Boothe said. "But the communication with me and Kareem (right tackle McKenzie) is just fine. I know we're on the same page.

"Let's face it, Chris is a great player. My goal is just not to get noticed."

If Boothe can do that, there's a good chance Eli Manning will keep his uniform clean and a running game that has stagnated into the league's 28th-worst attack (83.8 yards per game) will regenerate even as Brandon Jacobs misses his second game with a strained MCL.

And if that happens, he might even make a friend in Ahmad Bradshaw, who left no doubts about his frustrations in the Giants' up-front work this week.

"It's all about coming together, working together," Bradshaw said. "I think we're good. We're all right. We just gotta sustain blocks and finish.

"It's different now. We used to have guys, Richie (Seubert) and Shaun (O'Hara), they lived together and worked together. Now we've got new guys, but it's got to be the same routine.

"Look, I get aggravated anyway. I don't like to lose, and when things aren't going good, that's how I get. I speak. It's not about yelling. It's about explaining to everybody what it's going to be and what I'm going to do."

To Boothe, the process of generating an effective offense is consistency, something the offensive line has lacked because of the varied injuries. Even Baas, who is expected to start despite a lingering neck injury and limited practice, could be out of there early if somebody hits him the right way.

That's not a good way to run an offensive line, but the situation is what it is. And Boothe, even in a brand new position, will become a lynchpin as to its effectiveness.

"It all goes back to consistency," Boothe said. "It's about wearing out a defense, and we're not being consistent. It's all leading to long distances on second and third down, which makes it tough on us.

It's about getting it done play in, play out instead of once every three plays. That's the key. Get a rhythm going."

If Boothe can help this patched-up line achieve that, the Giants will have a real shot to exploit and eminently exploitable (29th ranked) run defense.

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