- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 22, 2014

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Nothing is more important to the New York Giants’ championship chances than protecting Eli Manning.

Nothing is more jumbled in the Giants’ lineup as training camp opens than the offensive line.

Not the best formula for success. Of course, it’s still only July.

“The Giants have a proud tradition on the offensive line,” second-year right tackle Justin Pugh said Tuesday. “There will always be questions and the only way to stop those questions is to go out and play and win and change people’s opinions.”

Until they kick it off in the Hall of Fame game on Aug. 3 against Buffalo, the Giants won’t have an opportunity to truly test their blockers. The next week of practices aren’t likely to determine a whole lot.

At some point, though, coach Tom Coughlin and his staff must sort out who will be the starters and backups, and at which positions?

With veteran guard Chris Snee, a four-time Pro Bowler, having retired on Monday, and versatile David Diehl and Kevin Boothe also gone, the line will have a new look regardless of who is where. The Giants brought in six veteran linemen, several others with a little experience, and drafted center Weston Richburg of Colorado State in the second round.

They are considering Brandon Mosley, a 2012 fourth-round pick, for Snee’s spot - Mosley left practice early Tuesday with what Coughlin referred to as something heat-related. Richburg worked at both center and guard in the first practice session of camp.

Geoff Schwartz, who was with Kansas City last season, has been projected at guard, probably on the left side. J.D. Walton, last with Denver, then Washington - he didn’t play a game last season - can play center and guard.

John Jerry, a starting guard in Miami the past two seasons who was discarded after the bullying scandal, is slowly recovering from knee surgery.

Charles Brown, DeMarcus Love and Troy Kropog are tackles who could challenge the incumbent on the left side, Will Beatty. The Giants have Beatty on a “limited schedule,” he said, as he recovers from a broken right leg.

“We got a lot of new offensive linemen this year,” Manning said. “We need that group to play well and step in to play at a high level for us.”

Beatty believes it will happen, even if no one has a clue who will line up where when the season opens at Detroit.

Asked about the turnover up front, the six-year veteran admitted “it is the most since I have been here.”

“The hard thing is to get five guys working as one,” Beatty added. “But if we make sure we focus on working together, we’ll get it done. I think it will be a fun year for us because of all the changes. We have a whole new crew and how are we going to handle that? We’ll work hard, learn.”

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