Seubert injury forces Giants to reshuffle offensive line

Updated: October 23, 2003, 11:23 AM ET
ESPN

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants are reshuffling their offensive line for the fourth time in seven games, and coach Jim Fassel hinted Wednesday that there might be changes every week.

The Giants (2-4) are changing the line for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings (6-0) because of a horrific leg injury to starting left guard Rich Seubert.

The three-year veteran broke his tibia, fibula and ankle in his right leg in Sunday's 14-10 loss to the Eagles and is out for the season.

Fassel would not detail this week's changes, but left tackle Luke Petitgout let the plan slip when he said rookie Wayne Lucier would be playing next to him and Chris Bober would be back at center.

Bober moved from center to right tackle in the second week of the season after Ian Allen played poorly in the season opener. Lucier, a seventh-round draft pick, took over at the center spot. Bober was the starting center in 2002.

"I like Wayne," Petitgout said. "He is a try-hard guy and an unselfish guy."

Having Bober back at center also should help the line with its calls.

The question mark will be the starting right tackle, where Fassel can either play Allen, rookie Jeff Roehl or second-year pro Jeff Hatch.

Roehl played most of the season opener and all of the second game at left tackle after Petitgout was sidelined with back spasms. He also played the final three quarters at left guard Sunday after Seubert left the game.

Allen has not seen any action on the line since the season opener. Hatch has been active for three games, but has not played.

Whatever Fassel decides, he said he will not change the way the Giants do things on offense.

"My attitude right now is, you have to do your job," he said. "I have my job to do, and you have to do your job. We have to protect the quarterback. If it comes to that, Kerry (Collins) may be looking like a 15-round fighter at the end of the game. But we have to do some things."

Fassel said upcoming opponents might cause him to adjust his line.

"It may go game to game," he said. "We may not have an injury this week and I might move guys next week for matchups, which is highly unusual, very unorthodox. But we're at that point. I have to be careful who is on who when they line up."

The changes might not bother rookies such as Lucier and Roehl, or veteran Bober. All have played different positions this season.

"The possibility of shifting is there," said Lucier, who played center as a junior in college and guard as a senior. "We have to do what is best for the team."

The people who might have to adjust to most are Collins and the running backs, Tiki Barber and Dorsey Levens.

Collins hasn't had much time to throw deep in the past few weeks. It's unlikely another forced change will help.

But the running game prospered last week with the new line. New York gained 180 yards against the Eagles, one of the league's top run defenses.

"You have to be a little more patient," Barber said. "Sometimes things don't happen as consistently or as cleanly as they had in past so I can't get frustrated. I am sure I am going to get frustrated, but we have to work it out."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index