Will Beatty did not play in any of the Giants' four preseason games, but coach Tom Coughlin today expressed optimism that his left tackle will be able to suit up for the regular season opener Wednesday night against the Dallas Cowboys.
Beatty has been sidelined with a back injury he suffered lifting weights in the spring. Sean Locklear, a nine-year veteran and first-year Giant signed in April, has started at left tackle in Beatty's place. Locklear has played right tackle most of his career.
"I think Sean has played well and he's come in here, he's accepted that situation, he's played on the left side," Coughlin said on a conference call today. "He's played well for us in these preseason games and we like the fact that when Sean came with us, we thought we had three tackles (David Diehl is the third) and he's certainly done a good job in preseason. I'd like to have Beatty back without a doubt to put us back in at least a three-tackle situation and we'll have to see how Beatty is. I think if he continues to make progress, then we should be able to get him back for the game."
The Giants concluded their 2-2 preseason last night with a 6-3 victory over the New England Patriots in MetLife Stadium. They will begin full-scale preparations for the Cowboys on Saturday.
"(Beatty) practiced a little bit at the end of the week last week and it was encouraging," Coughlin said. "He's continuing to work hard on his core and his conditioning and he seemed to be okay after having a few snaps in practice. I'm really looking forward to seeing the continuation of this routine, this physical strengthening session that Will has started and he's making some progress and I'm looking forward to seeing him on Saturday."
*Coughlin avoided specifics when asked about the NFL's new rule regarding injured reserve. It was announced today that each team will be permitted to designate one short-term I.R. player this season. Unlike other players on injured reserve, that player will be eligible to return to the field after eight weeks. The player must be on the 53-man roster at 4 p.m. Tuesday, at which time he can be placed on I.R.
"It's up to the club to have one designation," Coughlin said. "Who do you choose to use it on and when?
"Every case is under consideration. As I said, it just depends on the team and the injury. Each club has the same designation, every injury that is a reasonable length of time is probably being considered by all the clubs."
*Coughlin said he does not have a time frame for the return of Terrell Thomas, who aggravated his surgically-repaired knee early in training camp.
"I wouldn't even guess," Coughlin said. "I'm not capable of that. Medically, it has not been indicated to me."
*The condition of Marvin Austin (back), who played only the preseason opener in Jacksonville, also remains a mystery.
"I don't have any more clarity," Coughlin said. "I know that there's optimism. I don't know how long for Marvin, that they would feel it's necessary to hold him. I can understand the longer the better. It's a little bit frustrating, because of the lack of time he had to spend on the field during preseason, and that definitely, definitely, is going to prevent him from being where he should be once he comes off of the injury. There are some issues that have to be dealt with there."
*The Giants, like all NFL teams, must reduce their roster from 75 to 53 players by 9 p.m. tomorrow. Coughlin conceded that some of the toughest decisions will be at defensive end and tackle.
"That's a good thing for us," Coughlin said.