On Sunday, the New York Giants lost for the first time this season, falling 48-27 to the unbeaten New Orleans Saints. But in addition to the game, Tom Coughlin?s team also lost a key member of its stout offensive line.
Veteran right tackle Kareem McKenzie suffered a groin injury in the Big Easy rout, and it appears that he will need at least a week of rest to fully recover. Since the G-Men do not have their bye until Week 10, the 30-year-old McKenzie figures to miss at least this week?s Sunday night showdown with the Arizona Cardinals.
If McKenzie cannot play through this ailment as he did with a knee sprain earlier in the year, the Giants? remarkable streak of 38 consecutive games with the same offensive line will come to an end. David Diehl, Rich Seubert, Shaun O?Hara, Chris Snee, and McKenzie (from left to right) have protected Eli Manning and opened up holes for the rushing attack together each of the last two regular seasons. Assuming the 6-foot-6, 327-pound McKenzie is unable to go on Sunday, rookie second-round pick William Beatty will join the seasoned blocking crew.
Beatty replaced McKenzie late in the second quarter, after the starter was injured in a pile following a Manning fumble. Beatty played adequately the rest of the game but was beaten a few times by the Saints? potent line.
?I got a hit on the [quarterback], can?t let that happen,? Beatty told the New York Post. ?The little things matter. I have to work on the little things for next week.?
Beatty, a 24-year-old out of UConn, certainly does have plenty to work on because the Cardinals have a formidable defensive front, led by Darnell Dockett and Karlos Dansby. Arizona?s defense leads the NFL in yards per rushing attempt allowed, with opposing backs picking up a paltry 2.8 yards a carry, so the Giants can ill afford to have shoddy blocking if Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw are to contribute.
McKenzie, a mauler in the run game, will certainly be missed, unless Beatty makes an impact in his first NFL start.