Giants’ offensive line changing again heading to Washington
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Change has been a constant for the New York Giants’ offensive line this season, and it seemingly is happening again.
Right guard D.J. Fluker injured his right foot in Sunday’s win over the Kansas City Chiefs and it is highly unlikely that the Giants (2-8) will have him on Thanksgiving in a game against the Redskins (4-6) in Washington.
Fluker has not practiced this week and he was walking around the locker room on Tuesday with his right foot in a boot.
“There are some things you can’t fight through sometimes,” Fluker said.
Coach Ben McAdoo won’t say that the five-year veteran is out, but he is facing the prospect of starting his eighth different front five in 11 games.
The most recent change came a week ago when free agent rookie Chad Wheeler started his first game, replacing the injured Justin Pugh (back) at right tackle. It was a seamless change with the 23-year-old playing well against Justin Houston, a pass-rushing linebacker.
The likely choices to replace Fluker are 10-year veteran John Greco or first-year player Jon Halapio.
Greco was signed last week and was inactive for the Chiefs’ game. He seems a little more comfortable with the offense now after getting a crash course over the past two weeks.
“I’m excited about it,” said Greco, who started the first 12 games for the Browns last season before being sidelined by a foot injury. “I think we will see if it happens.”
Greco, who was cut by the Browns at the end of training camp and signed by the Saints for a month, said all offenses are similar. What is different is the terminology and a player’s ability to translate a call in a new offense into one that he is familiar with from an old one.
“They did a great job of getting the system, and the playbook and now I just have to translate it to language I know,” the 32-year-old said.
If he does start, Greco and Wheeler will be playing next to each other for the first time.
A Southern California product, Wheeler played so well on Sunday that he was not noticed much.
“I used to go against Wheeler every day in practice,” said Giants linebacker Devon Kennard, a USC product. “I know what he is capable of. He is a hard worker so it does not surprise me. He was an All-American tackle in college so to see him have some success does not surprise me.”
Fluker, who played next to Wheeler, helped the rookie out by giving him a scouting report on Houston, whom he has faced in his first four seasons with the Chargers.
“He’s a young kid who wants to play,” Fluker said of Wheeler. “He’s got a lot of energy and a lot of love for the game. He eats and breaths it.”
Wheeler, who made the Giants’ 53-man roster out of training camp, said he got “a lot of love” from family and friends after the game.
The difference this week is the Redskins will know a little about Wheeler, who created some holes for the running game, sustained his blocks for the most part in the passing game and didn’t get called for any penalties.
“I just can’t come out of nowhere now,” Wheeler said. “So I have to fix the flaws in my game in a short week. It’s tough.”
Pugh has no idea when he will return. He hurt his back against Seattle, missed the Rams game and then came back for the Niners, but had to leave after aggravating it again.
“I am real happy for Chad,” Pugh said. “He has talent and getting thrown into the fire like that, he responded.”
Pugh then smiled, remembering he had to move from left guard to right tackle because of injuries and poor play on the right side.
“We’ll see, maybe I’ll be able to go back to guard,” he said.
NOTES: Pugh is going to host a Thanksgiving dinner on Friday for the linemen, their families and friends. He is having his personal chef prepare 65 pounds of turkey, a fried turkey that Fluker won, some hams, and a turducken that guard John Jerry requested. There also will be cornbread, stuffing and appetizers. They are putting plywood over his pool table and bringing in six tables for 35 to 40 people. Fortunately for the players, the team weigh-in is Wednesday.