Atlanta — Donovan McNabb was sacked a dozen times by the Giants. Joey Harrington might want to consider taking out some extra insurance before tonight's game against New York.
The Atlanta Falcons' quarterback will be protected by a banged-up offensive line that has two new starting tackles, including undrafted rookie Renardo Foster, who'll have Harrington's blind side.
Foster fell into his first career start when left tackle Wayne Gandy went down last week on the next-to-last offensive play of an Atlanta loss. Compounding the problems up front, right tackle Todd Weiner will be out several weeks after arthroscopic knee surgery, handing off the job to second-year player Tyson Clabo (who wasn't drafted either, by the way).
"It's quite a tragedy," Giants offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie said. "That's tough, to lose the two bookends of your offensive line. Man, I've never heard of that, ever. But you know what? If you've prepared them well, it shouldn't be that difficult. It's just like changing a spare tire."
What if the spare turns out to be flat, too?
Foster, who followed coach Bobby Petrino from Louisville to the Falcons, is certainly big enough at 6-foot-7, 338 pounds. Clearly, he wouldn't have been passed over in the draft by every team, Atlanta included, if there was an indication he would be ready to start in his sixth pro game.
"I know it will be a large task," Foster said. "We've all seen the Philadelphia game, so we know what we have on our hands."
Ahhh, the Philadelphia game.
Two weeks ago, Osi Umenyiora had a team-record six sacks and the Giants (3-2) tied the NFL mark by taking down McNabb 12 times in a victory that rekindled memories of Lawrence Taylor terrorizing quarterbacks.
Not that the Falcons (1-4) can devote all their attention to Umenyiora. New York's other starting end is Michael Strahan, who just happens to be the NFL's active leader in sacks.