In 2011, the Giants signed free agent David Baas to a 5-year, $27.5 million deal to replace their Pro Bowl center Shaun O’Hara, who they released after a series of injuries.
The Giants went on to win the Super Bowl with Baas at center that year, but his tenure here with the Blue has been spotty, never really forming a solid rapport with QB Eli Manning and constantly having his name listed on the team’s weekly injury report.
Regardless, Baas is the Giants’ best bet at center. He is scheduled to return this Monday after missing three games with a neck injury. The Vikings have a formidable defensive line and Baas’ return could not come at a more opportune time.
“I think it’s very important,” said Tom Coughlin when asked how important Baas’ return to the lineup was. “They’re very good upfront. The inside people have good size and can play with power. Anytime you can add David Baas to that formation, or that type of front, you’re going to be in better shape…..Jim Cordle has done a heck of a job. He really has. The more working parts we can have, the better.”
OC Kevin Gilbride also lauded Cordle, who has made some strides after getting schooled early on. But Baas is his man at center and now he will reshuffle the deck once again.
“Jimmy Cordle has played very, very well.” said Gilbride. “Obviously David is the starter, so you hope when your starter comes back you’re going to continue to play as well, if not better, and that’s what we will expect and I think David gives you some more experience and a guy that has earned the starting position for us. You’d like to think you’re going to get better, but part of the thing is the changes. All the changes just keep hurting the cohesiveness and the coordination, but David has been there with those guys before. He’s had David Diehl next to him. He’s had Kevin Boothe next to him, so I think the transition will be fairly seamless and fairly quick.”
Baas has been under fire ever since he arrived here. Taken out of Michigan by the 49ers in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft, the former Rimington Trophy winner’s career has been mostly uneventful. Injuries have played a major role in his inconsistent play. None of that is deterring Baas from committing to play his hardest for the Giants going forward.
“I’ve been battling injuries my whole career. It’s nothing new,” Baas told reporters yesterday. “You just have to go out there and push through it and play. You have to play like a New York Giant when you’re out there. I think everybody has to expect to do that. That’s one thing that I definitely have prided myself on is trying to lead by example out on the field. No matter if I’m hurt or not hurt, it doesn’t matter. If I’m out on the field, I’m representing the New York Giants and I plan to play like one.”