Flaherty lays it on the line

Giants OL coach Pat Flaherty was thrilled to report that he's feeling fine and ready to start another season overseeing the key unit on the Giants. He made news when he stated that although the starting five is set, Rich Seubert would also get first-team snaps at left guard, sharing time with David Diehl. Here's more of what Flaherty had to say to TGI as camp began:

Q: Do you think this year you can create the identity of this offensive line being able to take over games?

PF: We want to make sure that each and every game we're going to take it to the defense, which is what our strength is. Last year Tiki did a tremendous job running the ball; of course, the guys up front had to give him some space to run. They were a very, very good compliment. This is a whole new season so we have to reestablish what we're going to do each and every game. Running the ball is a priority, it's a priority to Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants and we take a lot of pride in that and that will be something that we're looking forward to doing this year whatever plays that it might be, but yeah, we're going to work hard on that in training camp and this is the first time that we have an opportunity to work at them because you can't do it when you're in shorts and a t-shirt, you need to do it in pads.

Q: Do you think this offensive line will be able to build some chemistry because guys won't be moving left guards and right guards? Guys are basically going to be where they are from the beginning of camp to the end, right?

PF: Yeah there will be a few guys that might be jumping around to fill in where we need them. One thing about playing in the NFL, as most of us know is that you have to have some flexibility from position to position, in particular with the guys that are going to be backups for you. They have to be able to play either guard position or the center position; tackles have to be able to go from side to side, which isn't easy because they have to change their footwork and that's a challenge for them but we'll get settled down when time gets near for the first football game. We'll get this chemistry down where we need to be and make sure we're going full steam ahead come Week One.

Q: How excited where you when you heard about Kareem McKenzie joining you?

PF: Well Kareem, I was very excited. There's a guy that we were looking for at the right tackle position. A big strong veteran that can come in there and help us and move some people around and be able to pass block for Eli and we're excited to have him and look forward to him bringing a lot to our offensive line.

He brings size and strength to the right tackle position and proven experience as a good pass blocker. He's still a relatively young player and his arrow is pointing up. If he continues to work on his techniques and fundamentals, he can continue to become a better player as time goes. We're challenging him from that standpoint.

Q: Everyone talks about McKenzie's work ethic. Do you see a lot of that too, a very hard-working blue-collar guy?

PF: Yeah I do. I really think we're going to challenge Kareem. Keep in mind this is a guy that's been in the league played four years going into his fifth year. There's another guy that's played 13 years like Bob Whitfield for example. Kareem's arrow is pointing up. He's got a lot of upside to him; he can be better, he can be a better football player, he can work harder, he can get his technique and fundamentals down better. We've talked about that; he will do that. We'll challenge him each and every day to do that. He's a guy, what you like about Kareem is he's obviously got physical strength and mental attitude to be a good right tackle in this league. He also sees enough that he likes the challenges: "Hey I can be better. Help me become better."

Q: How about Chris Snee in year two, what do you expect from him as he continues to develop?

PF: Well I think when you go from year one to year two you should see some real positive changes. Chris really missed, not a whole half of the season, but he missed a lot of football games, which meant he had to go back and reestablish his footwork and so forth this offseason so in pads it's going to be important for him each and every day to be able to continue to work on his fundamental play. He's got to learn the experience. Being a rookie last year he kind of learned on the job, he was thrown in there right away; did some good things, did some not so good things from week to week. I really think that he'll improve coming into this season as time goes.

Q: About the stability of the starting lineup coming into camp

PF: Your starters are Kareem and Chris Snee and you have Shaun O'Hara and left guard David Diehl and Richie Seubert coming back from his injury is really the guy that makes it six. You have six starters on your offensive line and Bob Whitfield brings a tremendous amount of experience to that left tackle position to help us there.

Q: Other than Seubert and Diehl, you're pretty much set?

PF: Yeah, that's right. They played there the past year but it's not like any of them can sit back. When you have guys coming in lined up as your second unit that have NFL starting experience, it's very difficult for a starter to relax. He's got to keep his job every day, which we all do.

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