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Conference call with Coughlin, Eli and Tuck


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New York Giants defensive line working through additions, injuries in offseason

by Jenny Vrentas/The Star-Ledger

Monday March 16, 2009, 12:15 PM

John Munson/The Star-LedgerJustin Tuck, shown here with Plaxico Burress and Osi Umenyiora, plans to hit the bikes -- and weights -- especially hard this offseason.

 

Defensive end Justin Tuck admitted he wasn't expecting the Giants to sign two defensive linemen -- Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard -- in the opening days of free agency.

 

"It was a little surprising obviously considering our D-line has been a pretty good unit for a long time," Tuck said on a conference call with reporters this afternoon. "But I understand why it happened. I think it's a good move, and hopefully it's something that will make us stronger."

 

In addition to assimilating Canty and Bernard, defensive end Osi Umeyiora will be coming back from missing the entire regular season with a knee injury. Defensive tackles Fred Robbins and Barry Cofield, who manned the middle last year, are also both coming off arthroscopic knee surgery.

 

Cofield and Robbins are the main two injuries the team is working through this offseason, coach Tom Coughlin said. He added that Umenyiora has been cleared to participate in many of the team's physical activities and said "it's only a matter of time."

 

Tuck, who said he finished the year with foot, knee and shoulder complications, said he hasn't had any surgeries and doesn't plan to. He added that plans to really grind it out during this year's offseason workouts, because he thinks he took too much time off last year after the Super Bowl.

 

"Having the long season, I wanted to have time to rest and let my body heal," Tuck said. "But I feel like I waited too long to get serious about working out."

 

Come opening day, the Giants are hoping for the same kind of strength on their defensive front that propelled them to a Super Bowl XLII title.

 

"We've always said not enough pass rushers, but after that it's not enough quality football players," Coughlin said. "All you have to do is look at the year before when we did have a solid rotation. We have a good solid example of how that works and I think everyone benefited by that."

 

***

Coughlin remained committed to the team's "best available player" approach in the upcoming NFL Draft.

 

"We do have needs and things we'd like to accomplish," Coughlin said, before adding later that, "you're not going to sacrifice extreme quality if they are sitting there at our position."

 

One need the team could address in the draft, pending a resolution on Plaxico Burress' future, is wide receiver. Coughlin didn't have any comment on recently released St. Louis receiver Torry Holt, though our Paul Needell reported the Giants are not interested.

 

Quarterback Eli Manning, who has communicated with Burress via text during the offseason, said he wasn't disappointed that management has keyed in on defense instead of offense during free agency, but added that he "looks forward" to getting help on offense through the draft.

 

Asked about the team's need for a deep threat, with the uncertainty surrounding Burress, Manning mentioned 2008 draft pick Mario Manningham.

 

"I think we're hoping Mario Manningham can do that for us and be one of those guys and run and make those deep catches," Manning said. "We'll see what happens this rest of this offseason and what happens in the draft."

 

***

These are the main hits from today's conference calls with Coughlin, Tuck and Manning. When the team posts transcripts later, I'll add the link. In other news, Mikey will be back tomorrow, so geeeeemen, make sure you're on your toes down the stretch.

 

http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2009/03...nsive_line.html

 

if plax isnt back i could see manningham stepping up nicely

 

 

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Was Manningham injured most of last season or just slow to earn playtime?

 

the latter

 

 

i think he missed time at training camp too

 

 

plus had plax,toomer,smith,hixon and moss ahead of him

 

 

 

 

 

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well i guess you never know what we already have if they never get a chance to contribute

 

 

 

isnt that sorta how you felt about palmer and currently do about blackburn

 

Yes more or less but I did not see much from these guys when they did get a shot when plaxico went down

 

we need some experience out there

 

if toomer and plaxico cannot come back holt or harrison would be excellent teachers and might thrive in our offense

 

frankly i do not consider eli a consistently accurate passer........thats why burress helped so much

 

he was a huge target with long arms

 

 

 

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something has to be done here

 

I do not understand why we are not bringing in Harrison, and Holt for a look

 

 

I think one of those two guys would be valuable as a "Sam Madison" type... more a coach on the sidelines and role player that can fill in for somebody in a pinch than a viable starter. We have a really young receiving core now... a savvy old guy might not be a bad addition at WR to help those guys develop.

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something has to be done here

 

I do not understand why we are not bringing in Harrison, and Holt for a look

 

Because they're both aged. The Giants build for the future, not so much for the next year, and next year only.. There's a reason both of their teams let them go.. Not worth the money anymore. But they both had solid careers.

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Because they're both aged. The Giants build for the future, not so much for the next year, and next year only.. There's a reason both of their teams let them go.. Not worth the money anymore. But they both had solid careers.

 

Which is why if you can get them at a value contract they are invaluable. Sam Madison was brought in on a value contract that paid him decently but also respected his diminished skills. It is truly unique to find such a player. Harrison and Holt are still within the shadow of their greater years which is why they will demand a greater value than they are worth.

 

Oh and CAYMAN KICKS ASS BITCHES!

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Because they're both aged. The Giants build for the future, not so much for the next year, and next year only.. There's a reason both of their teams let them go.. Not worth the money anymore. But they both had solid careers.

 

 

They are both sure fire hall of famers, Harrison being a first ballot I imagine. I agree with what you said. They aren't going to give the Giants what they are looking for in terms of a difference maker at the position. The idea of having one of them on the team to mentor the other receivers is appealing, but if the Giants were looking for that they would have brought Toomer back. I have a feeling both Harrison and Holt think they have something left in the tank and want to be in a position where they can have a prominent role in an offense.

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If you sign one of them, you have to remember that it is another roster spot, and we will only carry at most 6 WR's on the 53 man roster. As of now, expected to be on that roster, is:

 

Steve Smith

Domenik Hixon

Mario Manningham

Sinorice Moss

David Tyree

 

Personally, I think that we need to make a cut out of that group, either Moss or Tyree. I personally want to keep Tyree because he's been clutch, always has produced when given opportunity, and has been a special teams pro bowler. That would open two spots on the roster for a WR, and it would then be acceptable to sign a Harrison or Holt type of player to help and serve as mentor.

 

But one spot HAS to be left open for a draft pick at the position who has big potential and has the size that these other receivers on the roster don't have.

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The Giants may still want to open the door for Toomer. There seems to be a serious lack of interest out there for him. He could come much cheaper for another year.

 

I think it's more likely that he'll retire booyah. As much as the Giants and us fans appreciate what he's done, I can't think of any rational argument how bringing him back would be an improvement over what else is out there. Toomer may have to go into forced retirement, unfortunately. Really, I think the bridge is burned, because he feels slighted that the Giants DON'T what him back.

 

To be honest, I'd rather roll the dice on Sinorice another year than to bring Amani back for what would certainly be another mediocre WR corps. This unit needs players that not only know how to play WR in the NFL, which I think a couple of them do, but also they need to be more athletic and dangerous, and have that guy, like Plaxico who can cause matchup problems.

 

 

 

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