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Tuck Rules: Giants' DE sounds off on '09 season

August 13, 2009 12:15 PM

 

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

 

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Giants Pro Bowl defensive end Justin Tuck can no longer hide in the shadows. A season-ending knee injury to Osi Umenyiora in last year's preseason forced Tuck to accept more of a leadership role, and it's one he's flourished in.

 

Rich Kane/US Presswire

Justin Tuck doesn't want to take any plays off.

 

On Wednesday, the shy (seriously) young man from the state of Alabama joked about how glad he was to see dozens of reporters surrounding Umenyiora early in this training camp. Tuck may have emerged as one of the best quotes on the team, but he's never minded sharing the attention.

 

"I told one reporter that I'd be OK if [the media] stayed at Osi's locker all year long," said Tuck. "I'll just give them the occasional sound bite and then go on about my business."

 

But while Tuck may be able to avoid more cameras, he won't escape the attention of opposing offensive coordinators. On what could end up being one of the top defenses in the league, Tuck has emerged as the best player. Players feed off his energy, and that's why he never wants to leave the field. On Wednesday afternoon in a bug-infested courtyard on the University at Albany campus, Tuck spent some time with the NFC East blog. Here are some excerpts that may be of interest to you, the valued reader of the Beast.

 

I know you have a literacy program (R.U.S.H. for Literacy) in New York that you and your wife (Lauran) spend a lot of time on. So what are you reading this summer?

 

Justin Tuck: I'm on sort of a non-fiction kick right now. I'm reading "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell and Lauran's reading his newer one, "Outliers."

 

Last year, you guys sort of wore down on the defensive line in December and January. Are you looking forward to playing fewer downs this season?

 

JT: To be honest with you, no. I'm selfish. I want to be on the field all the time. [Michael] Strahan used to tell me that he never wanted to come off the field. He thought other players needed to see him out there. And plus, you don't want to be on the sideline when someone makes a big play. I know it's a good concept (to rest players), but everyone I know wants to stay out there.

 

When you look around the NFC East, is this as strong as the division has ever been?

 

JT: I think you could say that. You look at Dallas, they could be really good -- especially if they had kept T.O. They have Jason Witten, (Marion) Barber and Felix Jones. The Redskins have (Brian) Orakpo and (Albert) Haynesworth. And we loaded up in the offseason, too. I think it's going to be an intriguing year. I don't see a clear-cut favorite. And I haven't even mentioned the Eagles. It's like playing in the SEC or something. There's never a break.

 

How banged up where you coming down the stretch last season?

 

JT: Do you have enough paper? My legs got worn down, my foot, the outside of my knee and my lower back. But it's football. You're not going to feel normal. I just tried to get in the weight room this offseason to make sure I did everything to prepare myself for a long season.

 

What's it like not having Plaxico Burress around?

 

JT: It's a gift and a curse. It's a tremendous talent that we lost. And actually I never minded all the drama that much. In my mind, (Burress) took all the attention away from other things. He handled the drama personally, and I never felt like it affected the rest of us that much. I know it sounds crazy, but I still say he was a good teammate. But that chapter's over now, so we have to move on. I wish he were here, but it's not going to happen.

 

Does the three-man rotation of you, Umenyiora and Kiwanuka sort of remind you of the '07 version?

 

JT: Absolutely. We get Osi back in there, and with Kiwanuka, it's a three-headed monster. I think it's a rotation that could be awesome. I remember back in '07, we would be so fresh in the fourth quarter. I might play 60 plays, but I wasn't tired because you'd get a break every now and then.

Are you pretty interested to see what DeMarcus Ware's new contract will look like?

 

JT: Yeah, I want to see it. I'm excited for him. He's an extremely talented player -- and he's a fellow Alabama boy. I give him a hard time and say that he puts up big numbers against tight ends and running backs, but he's a great player.

 

Do you ever watch film of him?

 

JT: Sure I do. I like to watch the guys that are trying to block him. Every pass-rusher has a signature move. I look closely at what he does to counter certain blocks. I look at Ware and Jared Allen and all the really good ones to see what they're doing.

 

I think it's safe to say the Giants got a pretty good deal on you when they signed you a week or so before the Super Bowl. When you see these other big contracts, do you get frustrated at all?

 

JT: You know, I look at it differently than a lot of guys. Every guy is going to have his day. The Giants gave me a $30 million contract after one good season. I'd come off a season-ending foot injury the year before, so they had to have a lot of faith in me.

Have any of these young guys caught your eye?

 

JT: (Ramses) Barden is making a lot of plays and I'm looking forward to seeing more of Hakeem Nicks. Did you know he wears 4X gloves? I wear a 2X. He's got the biggest hands I've ever seen. I'm anxious to see what some of these guys can do in the games.

 

Source: ESPN

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Fucking Piece of Shit Matt Mosley.... He can't stop talking about the cowboys. The only reason his doing an article on the Giants is because he got rimed on the radio for only having Cowboys articles, and not enough on the rest of the NFC East teams.

 

It's nice to see Ramses' name be mention again.

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