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Take a look at New York Giants' two picks on second day of NFL draft:

By Ralph Vacchiano



Saturday, April 24th 2010, 4:00 AM





Pick: 2nd round (46th overall)

College: East Carolina

Position: Defensive tackle

Height: 6-4 Weight: 328

What you should know: He was a late riser as the draft approached, with some scouts projecting him as a late first rounder. He's extremely strong, but battled weight issues (up to 370) and a back injury in 2008, but the Giants believe those issues are in the past. At times he was a dominant presence in the middle of the Pirates' defensive line.

What they're saying: "He's a big man, a powerful point-of-attack player. He doesn't get pushed back from the line of scrimmage. I wouldn't call him a pass rusher, but he is disruptive. This guy is a big anchor. "

- GM Jerry Reese



Pick: 3rd round (76th overall)

College: LSU

Position: Safety

Height: 6-2 Weight: 221

What you should know: He's a big safety with terrific speed and great hands. What he seems to lack is a bit of a nose for the ball, but the Giants believe he'll have a big upside once he plays football full-time. In college, he was also on the baseball team, pitching and playing the outfield for LSU's title team.

What they're saying: "This kid may have some of the best pure hands in the draft at any position. You can really see his baseball skills and his hand-eye coordination. He can really catch it."










Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/2010/04/24/2010-04-24_take_a_look_at_new_york_giants_two_picks_on_second_day_of_nfl_draft_dt_linval_jo.html#ixzz0m1xLwpZt

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  • 3 weeks later...

Giants and Jets go from longshots to favorites in bid to host Super Bowl at new Meadowlands stadium


Gary Myers


Thursday, May 13th 2010, 12:32 PM



The Giants and Jets need 17 votes on May 25 in Dallas to be awarded the 2014 Super Bowl, and since they are voting for themselves, only 15 more precincts need to check in affirmatively so you can place your order for official Super Bowl XLVIII blankets and long underwear, plus secure a home-equity loan to cover the cost of tickets.


In the early exit poll, the new Meadowlands has a 2-1-1 lead on Tampa and South Florida. Double-teaming this bid, a rare show of détente between the Giants and Jets, automatically gives them a one-vote lead before Roger Goodell orders a roll call.


When the 28 other teams check in, there are expected to be at least 15 additional blue and green states.


How surprised would one key NFL source be if New York-New Jersey didn't get the game?


"Shocked," the source said Wednesday.


Bringing the game to New York has transitioned from a silly idea of playing the showcase game in the snow in a $1.7 billion stadium without a name, to being the heavy favorite to host the first cold-weather Super Bowl.


Even though Goodell does not have a vote, it's pretty clear by his comments over the last few months that he not only endorses the New York Super Bowl, he really, really wants it. He has spent his entire adult life in the metropolitan area. When Goodell wants something done, it gets done. Voting no could be deemed a violation of Goodell's all-inclusive personal conduct policy.


Add in the powerful Mara and Tisch families, Woody Johnson and two important franchises, and it would be shocking if this bid falls short, even with some owners who might be afraid of a little snow, sleet and 40mph winds on an otherwise beautiful mid-February day.


"I kind of cringe every time I read we are the front-runners for this thing," Giants co-owner John Mara said. "Until the vote actually occurs, you never know that for sure. As somebody who has counted the votes over the years, I've seen a lot of people change their minds at the last minute."


The NFL never would have waived its 50-degree rule if the 17 votes were not all but guaranteed. The league would never have put itself in position to embarrass the Mara family, one of the most important families in NFL history, if the votes were not there.


Certainly there is going to be opposition. That's why none of the three cities will get the 24 votes (75% of the 32 teams) required for a nearly impossible first-ballot victory.


"I can't remember an occasion where somebody got it on the first ballot," Mara said.


The city with the lowest total will then be knocked out, which surely will be South Florida, which was told by Goodell that it had to upgrade its stadium in order to be competitive with the newer stadiums if it wants to host its league-leading 11th game. There's no plan in place to renovate Sun Life Stadium, so the South Florida bid presents the venue as is. That eliminates Miami.



On the second ballot, only a majority is required: 17 of the 32 votes. Will any owner ever be able to look Mara in the eye if Raymond James Stadium gets its third Super Bowl since it opened in 1998 and the Giants and Jets and the greatest city in the world get turned down?


The decision by Wellington Mara and his family in the early '60s to support sharing network television revenue equally, when the big-market Giants could have commanded a good deal of the money, built the foundation for what is now an $8 billion-a-year industry. Is Mara calling in a few favors? "I don't like to look at it as calling in favors," he said. "I'd like to think the bid is going to stand on its own merits."


Hosting the Super Bowl could help seal the deal for the Giants and Jets on a naming-rights package worth at least $500 million that has eluded them so far. And do the owners want to deprive the metropolitan area of the projected $550 million economic impact? "This is exciting," Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said. "This is a big deal."


There was the ceremonial signing Wednesday of the Super Bowl bid, dubbed "Make Some History," in one of the fancy clubs at the new stadium. The bid was overnighted Tuesday to the other 30 teams.


That gives NFL owners nearly two weeks to figure out their dinner reservations for the Super Bowl on Broadway before hearing the presentation by Mara and Johnson and watching a video presentation and casting their secret ballot.


Goodell told Mara not long ago that he lost his job for this year counting the NFC votes, a job he inherited from his father. It doesn't matter who's counting the ballots. It will be shocking if New York loses this one.


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/2010/05/13/2010-05-13_snowballs_chance_cant_cool_off_momentum.html?page=1#ixzz0o5tg7U00

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Cofield signs up for '10 season »


By Ralph Vacchiano


Barry Cofield, who was nearly traded to the New Orleans Saints on the second day of the NFL draft, has finally signed his one-year, $1.759 million tender with the Giants.


Cofield, 26, was the last of the Giants’ restricted free agents to sign his deal, which was really a formality since he never received an offer sheet from another team during the restricted free agent signing period. But his return to the Giants wasn’t always a certainty thanks to that near draft-day swap.


As you may remember, after the draft was over the NFL Network reported that the Saints and Giants had a deal in place where Cofield would go to the Giants and the Giants would get New Orleans’ second-round pick (64th overall). The Saints, though, wanted to sign Cofield to a new, long-term contract as part of the transaction, but there wasn’t enough time to strike a deal.


Now, according to a source close to Cofield, the defensive tackle has been told he’s in the Giants’ plans even though they appear to be loaded at defensive tackle, where they also have their second-round pick, Linval Joseph, and still have Jay Alford, Chris Canty, and Rocky Bernard.


With Cofield officially signed, the Giants now have 80 players under contract as they get set to begin their organized team activity (OTA) sessions and head towards their mandatory mini-camp (June 15-17). They also have their seven unsigned draft picks, all of whom will be eligible to participate after signing an injury waiver. Each time one of the seven draft picks signs a contract, however, a player on the Giants’ current roster must be waived.




There are less than three months until training camp and the Giants have still not officially settled on a site. But as I’ve told you before, it will almost certainly be in Albany. The team and the university are just haggling over the final details of a new contract, according to several team sources. In fact, on Wednesday - at the press conference/sendoff for the Giants’ and Jets’ bid for the 2014 Super Bowl — when co-owner John Mara was asked if he had a place for training camp yet, he said “We’re inching our way north.”


Expect it to begin on Aug. 2 and last until Aug. 20. Those dates, like the site, aren’t official yet. But that seems to be the direction everything is headed.




Mara declined to comment on the increasingly ugly situation surrounding one of his franchise’s all-time biggest stars. Asked on Wednesday for his thoughts on Lawrence Taylor, Mara preferred not to address the subject. “Obviously it’s very sad and disheartening,” he said, “But beyond that I don’t want to make any further statement.”




If you’ve got a few minutes, you don’t want to miss this column in Sunday’s Daily News — an anonymous column by a veteran NFL player, detailing the drug abuse he believes runs rampant in the sport. In fact, he calls players in the league “a bunch of gifted junkies.”


It’s a fascinating read on one insider’s view of how the NFL’s focus on catching players using performance-enhancing drugs has allowed recreational drug users and pain-killer abusers to escape notice in the league.




The Shaun O’Hara Foundation is holding an online raffle for a spot in the foundation’s Celebrity Golf Outing on May 24. The winner gets a foursome in the field, complete with an NFL player, at the Liberty National Golf Course in Jersey City, NJ, roundtrip flights to New Jersey, accommodations and tickets for O’Hara’s celebrity yacht cruise on May 23.


Tickets are $2 each and proceeds benefit the Shaun O’Hara Foundation which helps create awareness of life-threatening diseases.




Boys and girls ages 7-14 can now sign up for Justin Tuck’s inaugural football camp at Mahwah (N.J.) High School on June 12-13. It’s a non-contact camp and the cost for the two days is $191.




That’s it from me for at least the next week or so. The Giants will open their doors to the media for the first access of their organized team activity (OTA) sessions on Friday (The OTAs actually begin on Tuesday, but the media is only invited to witness every third session). Kevin Armstrong, the newest member of Team Daily News, will take you through that day of fun.


Don’t forget to also keep checking the Daily News Giants page for any breaking news, and keep following @TheBlueScreen on Twitter for information, too.


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/giants/2010/05/cofield-signs-up-for-10-season.html#ixzz0o5tslgs8

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  • 2 weeks later...

Pierce says Coughlin on hot seat

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By Ohm Youngmisuk




Former New York Giants middle linebacker Antonio Pierce made a living out of anticipating and evaluating plays on the field. And Pierce's assessment is that his old team better start winning again, pronto.


The Giants' ex-defensive captain says head coach Tom Coughlin and many others in the organization are feeling the heat from last year's 8-8 debacle.


"He's on the hot seat," Pierce said of his former head coach during an interview with NFL Network. "I think everybody in the organization is on the hot seat. You are talking about a team three years removed from the Super Bowl. There are some fires lit underneath people's butts now in that locker room and in that organization. Everybody is on high alert. It is going to be a very interesting 2010 season."


Pierce said that when owner John Mara ripped the team to the media following the season, Giants players heard the message loud and clear in the locker room.


Pierce, who was released in February after five seasons with the team following a season-ending neck injury, cited a few reasons why the Giants collapsed after a 5-0 start.


He pointed to the season-ending injuries he and safety Kenny Phillips suffered last year and the Osi Umenyiora-Bill Sheridan spat that lingered for months. Umenyiora's issues with the then-defensive coordinator began in late August, when the player unexpectedly left the team building after a meeting. The rift had a lasting impact on the defense.


"That, I think, trickled down to the rest of our season," Pierce said. "That's still on everybody's mind because everybody remembered that. Osi walking out of the team meeting. And he left the building. He came back and apologized and we moved on. We went 5-0 after that but it had an effect."



Umenyiora's benching later in the season also played a role in the Giants' disastrous season, according to Pierce.


"All those things ... that is a trickle-down effect," Pierce said. "Now you are affecting other guys on the team, because you are messing with the chemistry. If one guy is unhappy, you are talking about one of your main leaders, if he is unhappy, some other guys' feathers are getting wrinkled as well."


Sheridan was fired after the Giants' defense surrendered 427 points -- the third-highest total in the NFL last season, behind the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams -- and replaced by Perry Fewell.


Players have said throughout the offseason that the defense didn't believe in Sheridan's scheme after spending the previous two seasons under the popular and successful Steve Spagnuolo.


"You've been doing things a certain way for two years and it was just fine," Pierce said of playing for Spagnuolo. "It was right. And now you are being coached and that's not right, that's not correct. And that became the problem."


Now the Giants' biggest concern is finding a replacement for Pierce at middle linebacker. Pierce was the quarterback of the defense and the Giants hope to find a successor from a cast that includes Jonathan Goff, rookie Phillip Dillard and others. So far during the Giants' offseason training activity practices, Goff has worked with the first team although Coughlin says it is still early and there will be a rotation of linebackers.


As for Pierce, the former Giants captain says his last game as a Giant may have been his final game in the NFL. Pierce, 31, suffered a herniated disc in his neck in Week 9 against San Diego and missed the rest of the season.


"It is healing but I am going to need surgery to continue playing," said Pierce, who played nine seasons for the Giants and Redskins. "That's not an option I am looking forward to. It is looking like it is going down that [retirement] path. First offseason I am having away from football and I am enjoying it."


Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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  • 2 months later...

Giants' Justin Tuck calls Jets 'second fiddle' as Gang Green challenges G-Men for New York supremacy


Gary Myers


Friday, August 6th 2010, 4:00 AM




ALBANY - The Jets are a few hours away in Cortland, but the breaking news has made it in a hurry across upstate New York to Giants camp: There apparently has been a hostile takeover regarding which football team owns New York.


The way the Jets are talking, the regular season and playoffs are just a formality as they fast forward into Super Bowl XLV.


The three-time Super Bowl champion Giants are not quite ready to concede the greatest city in the world to a team that has managed to miss the Super Bowl 41 years in a row just because it is starring on "Hard Knocks," has a team full of big talkers and has an outgoing, quotable and very funny coach who talks about the Super Bowl all the time.


"You know what?" Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said Thursday. "If I was in the Jets' position and kind of playing second fiddle to us as many years as they have, I think I would try to do something different, too. You can't fault them for that."


That's a nice shot to Ryan's midsection.


"Listen, when they win the Super Bowl, I'll relinquish our hold on New York City," Tuck said. "Right now, it's a Yankees town. They are the last one to win the championship. I wish the Jets all the success in the world. I hope they make it to the Super Bowl and lose to us. I disagree with the fact that they run this town. I don't know if we run this town. I think it's Mayor Bloomberg's town."


The Jets are doing all they can to create a more visible brand. They are making a not-so-subtle statement by holding their inaugural Ring of Honor ceremony at halftime of the preseason opener on Aug. 16 against the Giants in the first football game at the New Meadowlands Stadium.


The Giants and Jets are 50-50 partners in the $1.7 billion building. I look at the Ring of Honor celebration that night as the Jets asserting themselves by proclaiming that this is their stadium after 26 years playing at Giants Stadium.


It is the Jets' turn to host the annual preseason game and the NFL moved it up from the third game to the first so they could open the stadium together.


But why honor the six inductees (Weeb Ewbank, Winston Hill, Joe Klecko, Curtis Martin, Don Maynard and Joe Namath) at a meaningless preseason game instead of the Monday night opener or sometime during the regular season?


The answer: The Jets wanted to guarantee they would unveil their Ring of Honor before the Giants, who have not yet decided on a date for their ceremony. The Jets didn't want to wait and take a chance on the Giants holding their Ring of Honor party on the opening Sunday of the season Sept. 12, especially when the Jets were bitter about losing Roger Goodell's coin flip and were given the Monday night game as a consolation prize. The Jets also lost a coin flip to the Giants when they were picking out their home team locker rooms.





Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/2010/08/06/2010-08-06_giants_justin_tuck_calls_jets_second_fiddle_as_gang_green_challenges_gmen_for_ne.html#ixzz0voulw400

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The Jets didn't want to wait and take a chance on the Giants holding their Ring of Honor party on the opening Sunday of the season Sept. 12, especially when the Jets were bitter about losing Roger Goodell's coin flip and were given the Monday night game as a consolation prize. The Jets also lost a coin flip to the Giants when they were picking out their home team locker rooms.


When you can't win the opening day 'secret' coin flip, OR the coin flip for your own locker room.........good luck winning a Superbowl, top banana. :banana:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Giants-Steelers observation deck

August, 22, 2010





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By Matt Mosley

You don't want to read too much into a preseason game, but Perry Fewell's unit looked pretty solid in the New York Giants' 24-17 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Perhaps inspired by his starting role, defensive end Osi Umenyiora was dominant against the run. Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka teamed up to cause some big-time minus plays against the Steelers' first-team offense.


Here are my quick-hit observations from Saturday's rumble in New Meadowlands Stadium:


* I don't think the final numbers for quarterback Rhett Bomar -- 13-of-26 for 167 yards -- tell the whole story of his evening. Though he had one awful interception on a tipped ball, I liked the way he used his legs to extend plays. Bomar's capable of making something happen when a play breaks down, and that's the main reason the Giants should keep him around at least one more season. He obviously has a lot more upside than Jim Sorgi, but you'd have a hard time trusting Bomar if Eli Manning was out for more than two weeks in the regular season.


* Nice interception by cornerback Corey Webster against Ben Roethlisberger. Webster has his confidence back, and he's playing with a swagger. Those are the types of plays that galvanize a defense. I think Fewell's done an excellent job of restoring confidence in all of these cornerbacks.


* Hakeem Nicks can't get drawn into a fight four plays into a game. Football fights with helmets on seem so redundant. And when you get tossed from a game that early, it can put your teammates in a bind. I'm sure Tom Coughlin will have a long visit with Nicks about that play.


* The Giants gave their old pal Flozell Adams fits at his right tackle spot. Tuck gained a small measure of revenge for that shoulder injury that Adams gave him last season by blowing past the aging player at least twice, once with a nice spin move. I liked how Fewell kept moving players around before the play. I think it confused the Steelers' offensive line.


* Steve Smith made a Victor Cruz-like catch along the sideline for 45 yards from Bomar. He turned what could've been an interception into a big gain. Cruz entered the game in the second quarter to a loud "Cruuuuuuz!" chant. But he struggled against the Steelers. The muffed punt inside the 10-yard line was tough to watch. Looked like he let the ball bounce off his knee. Just a really clumsy effort. But this will give him a chance to bounce back from a little adversity.


* Linebacker Keith Bulluck was only in there for a handful of plays, but I liked when he came racing through to drop Rashard Mendenhall near the line of scrimmage. Bulluck had two tackles and looked good calling out the signals during his short time on the field.


* It's fun watching Ahmad Bradshaw run the football now that he's healthy. He has a nice blend of power and speed. As I said last week, Bradshaw's the feature back on this team. He and Brandon Jacobs seem to have a great rapport, so hopefully things won't be too awkward. But I think it will be tough for Jacobs to watch Bradshaw get 18-20 carries in a game while he receives 8-9. That's going to happen.


* Excellent job by defensive tackle Rocky Bernard on the goal-line stand at the end of the first quarter. He showed a lot of power on that play, and I think it's something Fewell can build on.


* Aaron Ross' 44-yard punt return was a thing of beauty. And don't be too worried about Steelers punter Daniel Sepulveda fighting off blockers to make the tackle. As a Ray Guy Award-winner at Baylor, Sepulveda was known for his punishing hits.


* Jason Pierre-Paul can't break contain with Byron Leftwich. The lumbering Leftwich eluded Pierre-Paul in the open field, and there's no excuse for that.


* I'm hoping Bruce Johnson was supposed to have help from safety Michael Greco on that 68-yard touchdown. That was way too easy, and it brought back memories of matchups against New Orleans and Philly last season.


* Adrien Tracy was pretty active down the stretch and ended up with nine tackles. Regarding safety John Busing, I'm not overly impressed. He's always arriving a split-second late, and I'm being generous with that estimate.


* Phillip Dillard's a little eager at times against the run, and you'll see him overpursue. But I do like the energy he brings to the field.


* The thing I like about Bomar the most is that he gets the ball out of there quickly. He'll change arm angles and fire a ball into a tight window like he did to Sinorice Moss in the second half. The numbers weren't that great, but I sort of admired how he stood in there and took some hits. And he was fearless when it came to running for first downs. Maybe a bit too fearless for Coughlin's taste.


* I saw rookie defensive tackle Linval Joseph run a nice little twist with Kiwanuka on one play in the first half. Joseph's going to be starting by the end of the season.

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  • 3 weeks later...

NFL Preview 2010: New Meadowlands Stadium is about all Jets and Giants have in common


Gary Myers


Wednesday, September 8th 2010, 4:00 AM



The Jets will finish this season in the Super Bowl. How do we know? Rex Ryan has been telling us non-stop for the last six months. Tom Coughlin's goal should be to first restore Giants pride, fix his defense and then with the once-powerful NFC East in transition, hope for a quick turnaround from last year's meltdown.


About all the brash, big-talking Jets and the businesslike Giants have in common is the New Meadowlands Stadium they built together. These organizations don't particularly care for one another - it's always been a Giants town - but they agreed to the ultimate marriage of convenience to become co-owners of the stadium because the Jets couldn't get a shovel in the ground on the West Side and the Giants couldn't afford the $1.7 billion on their own.


The stadium has created more of a buzz than most new stadiums simply because of the hated PSLs that each team used to help finance the place. Every Giants seat has a PSL attached. The Jets exempted the 27,000 seats in the upper deck from PSLs.


It's been a struggle to get the PSLs sold, but no home games are expected to be blacked out for either team this season. There are still club seats available for each, but the premium seating does not have to be sold to avoid a blackout.


So, once you get past the PSLs - and for those who couldn't afford to keep their season tickets, they may never forgive the Giants and Jets - what will the new stadium mean to the teams?


It should energize the players, especially early in the season, when everything will be so new.


Giants Stadium didn't have much character, but it was not a run-down building at all. It just didn't make enough money for the teams. It had nice locker rooms for the players and good sight lines for the fans and traffic problems for everybody. The new stadium is state-of-the-art with all kinds of technology - the four huge video boards are as clear as the TV in your living room - and is a comfortable place to watch a game. We'll see about the traffic.


There is something special about the first season in a new building - well, at least, every now and then. The Yankees won their 27th World Series last year in the first year of the new Yankee Stadium. The Mets? Citi Field didn't exactly give them a shot of adrenaline in 2009 as they finished 70-92, and they are not headed to the playoffs this year, either.


Until some corporation decides to spend $25 million per year on naming rights - the 2014 Super Bowl eventually should help get a deal done - the Giants and Jets stadium will go with the generic name New Meadowlands Stadium. For the Jets, that's much better than playing in Giants Stadium. In fact, until there is a naming-rights deal, the Giants are calling it New Giants Stadium and the Jets are calling it New Jets Stadium.

Because the Jets made themselves so miserable driving up to the old place and seeing the big blue Giants Stadium sign on the stadium wall above where they parked, I think the Jets will be more invigorated by the change of scenery than the Giants. The Giants already had a stadium to call their own. The Jets did not. At least now, they are equal partners.


When the Giants are at home, there will be no sign that the Jets even play there. And when the Jets are home, the Giants might as well be in Anchorage.


"I think this is a beautiful stadium," Joe Namath said. "It's not worth a flip if you're not winning. If we're not winning, then who cares about the stadium? We got to win."


How much does the new stadium mean to Woody Johnson's team?


"I think it is absolutely incalculable at this point," Johnson said. "They have a sense of pride when they go into the locker room. It's their locker room. I don't know to put it into terms other than it is very, very positive for the team. Now and in the future. That is their ground now."


The new stadium really accentuates how much the Jets felt they were missing. "I would rather look at it as something going forward," Johnson said. "There is a sense of pride, ownership. Those kind of positive thoughts help."


Certainly, the Jets feel complete as they start their 51st season. This is their third season training in Florham Park after moving over from Hofstra. When the Jets were based on Long Island, the players dreaded fighting the traffic on the ride home on Sunday nights. Especially after another dreary loss. Now they live in New Jersey and work full-time in New Jersey. That has cut down on the wear and tear.


Ryan has put the Jets in the ultimate Super Bowl-or-bust situation. He brags about his team more than any coach since his father was coaching the Eagles more than 20 years ago. But he already leads his father 2-0 in playoff victories. Ryan has boasted so much about his team that the season truly will be considered a failure if the Jets don't end up in Super Bowl XLV. Obviously, Darrelle Revis' return in time for the opener bolsters Ryan's prediction.


The Jets have emerged as the best team in the AFC East. The Patriots are going through a lot of changes (they still have Tom Brady throwing to Randy Moss and Wes Welker), the Dolphins have an unproven quarterback in Chad Henne and the Bills might be the worst team in the NFL.


If Coughlin and Perry Fewell can fix the defense - which mostly amounts to fixing the pass rush, which covers up for other

deficiencies - then the Giants can compete with the Cowboys in the NFC East.


There's so much pressure on the Cowboys to be the first team to play the Super Bowl on their home field that you have to wonder if they can handle it. Tony Romo has yet to prove he plays his best when the pressure is the greatest. Can you imagine the look on Jerry Jones' face if the Giants are playing in the Super Bowl in his new stadium? Or the Redskins? Or Eagles? Priceless.


I don't think that is going to happen with Kevin Kolb (two career starts) taking over for Donovan McNabb in Philly, and Mike Shanahan and McNabb still learning about each other in their first year in Washington and so many questions about the Giants.


Here's how I look at the Eagles' surprising trade of McNabb within the NFC East: If Andy Reid thought he had a lot left, if he was afraid of facing him twice a year, then he never would have traded him to Washington.


Predictions: The Jets finish 11-5 and I am going to stick with picking them to get to the Super Bowl, just to be consistent with what I've been saying since February.


The Giants should challenge for the playoffs, but ultimately they look like an 8-8 team to me.








Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/2010/09/08/2010-09-08_myers_no_place_like_home_for_jets__giants.html#ixzz0yvwuwGTr

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NFL Preview 2010: Heat's on Tom Coughlin to avoid repeat of New York Giants disappointing 2009


By Ralph Vacchiano



Wednesday, September 8th 2010, 4:00 AM



The Giants' locker room was bracing for big changes after the way their miserable 2009 ended. Big Blue wasn't even competitive in its final two games. Their owner was furious. Management could've torn apart everything and nobody would've blinked.


Yet as angry as he was, as embarrassed as he was, Jerry Reese refused to join the panic.


"We were 8-8," the Giants GM said. "Not 1-15."


Maybe that's true, but what hovers over the 2010 season is the fact that the Giants' 8-8 record "felt a lot more like 2-14" to co-owner John Mara - a record that would cost most GMs and coaches their jobs. Still, before training camp began, Mara told the Daily News that he had faith in both Reese and coach Tom Coughlin. And he insisted that neither of them would be on "the hot seat" this year.


But it's hard to imagine that another embarrassing season won't cause him to change his mind. Even the players admit that a shake-up could be in order if they flop again this season. But barring a disaster, the Giants are still a young team with most of their key players signed to long-term contracts.


If all goes well, the championship window for this group could still be open for years to come. "I think we're still young," said defensive end Justin Tuck. "I think we've got a few more years together here. After a while, yes, the window will close. But I think our organization did a great job of bringing in new people, new faces."


"We brought in youth," added defensive tackle Barry Cofield. "And as long as you continue to build through the draft, stay healthy, and you have that franchise quarterback, the window's not closing on us."


That quarterback, of course, is Eli Manning, who despite last year's team struggles is coming off his finest statistical season, with career highs in yards (4,021), touchdowns (27) and completion percentage (62.3). He also is only 29 years old and signed through 2015. And the Giants are convinced he's the biggest piece to any championship puzzle.


"Honestly, when you have a franchise quarterback like we have, I think that window stays open for a while," Cofield said. "I think this is a quarterback-driven league. As long as we have a guy like Eli healthy I think we're going to be competitive."


And it's not as if Manning is all the Giants have. They have a talented group of receivers, led by the 25-year-old Steve Smith, who is the elder statesman. Their top two running backs (Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw) are 28 and 24. The oldest player on their vaunted defensive line is Rocky Bernard (31). The oldest player in their secondary is Deon Grant (31). And no one else is older than 28 at either position.

The only position with age questions is offensive line, with three starters over 30. But even that unit managed to hold off an expected shake-up and return with all five starters intact.


"I don't see any old guys in this locker room," said guard Chris Snee. "The oldest guy on the offensive line is 33. The quarterbacks are young. The running backs are young. I don't see any aging going on around here."


That's why, in true Giants style, Mara and Reese preach patience and stability. Mara has often talked admiringly about the stability in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers have had three head coaches (and six Super Bowl championships) in the last 41 years. He envisions the 64-year-old Coughlin as the man to bring that stability to his franchise for as long as he wants to coach.


And Reese has often talked of a long-term plan designed to build a New England Patriots-like dynasty - hopefully in terms of championships, but at the very least in terms of staying competitive year after year.


"I believe every year is a championship window," Reese said. "The league is built that way. All 32 teams have a legit chance. That's a beautiful thing and what makes the NFL such a great league.


"We try to keep our team in that window every year by building through the draft, keeping core players, grabbing a few free agents when the time is right and always looking for players via trade or wire. This is not a special formula. I believe most teams use a combination of this."


That also may be true, but it's not always successful - just like it wasn't successful for the Giants last year when they ruined their 5-0 start with a 3-8 finish and humiliated themselves by losing their final two games by a combined score of 85-16. More often than not, a finish like that causes teams to panic just like their fans. It gets them forgetting about their long-term plans in favor of a short-term solution for their problems.


The Giants didn't do that last year. They made a few changes - signing safety Antrel Rolle for $37 million, bringing in Grant alongside him and veteran linebacker Keith Bulluck - but they decided a major overhaul wasn't needed.


Still, they know there's always the chance bigger changes are coming if they fall apart like they did last year.


"Changes come during every off-season regardless of your final outcome," Reese said. "So if you work in the NFL you should always have a sense of urgency, because if you don't your profession will change quickly."


"Changes definitely happen when you're not successful," Cofield added. "It's a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league."

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Jets, Giants have steepest hikes

Email Print Comments Associated Press


NEW YORK -- It's costing more to watch the NFL in person this season, especially for fans of the Giants and Jets.


The Team Marketing Report said Friday that average ticket prices for NFL games increased 4.5 percent this year to $76.47, up from a 3.9 percent hike last season.



NFL ticket prices

New England has the highest average ticket price, Cleveland the lowest. Want to see where your team ranks? List


The New York teams had the steepest increases after moving into the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.


Jets non-premium tickets went up 31.8 percent to $114.64 on average, and the Giants rose 26 percent to $111.69. New Orleans raised its average 20.5 percent to $74.99 after winning the Super Bowl.


New England's prices stayed flat, but it still has the highest average cost -- $117.84. Dallas is fourth at $110.20, also with no increase.


Cleveland has the lowest average ticket price at $54.51, a drop of 0.3 percent. Twenty-one of the 32 teams kept their average ticket cost the same or lowered it.


Among premium seats, the Patriots also were first at $566.67, followed by the Giants ($464.75), Chicago Bears ($372), Cowboys ($340), Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($295) and Jets ($287.41).


There were pockets of empty club seats at the Meadowlands for the first regular-season home games of the Giants and Jets -- but the games were not blacked out in local markets because premium seats aren't included when the NFL counts sellouts for blackout purposes.


The NFL's premium average was $238.94, an increase of 5.6 percent.


Eric Grubman, NFL executive vice president for business ventures, said this month that season ticket sales declined for the third year in a row and will be down between 1 percent and 2 percent.


In comparison, the average non-premium ticket for Major League Baseball was up 1.5 percent to $26.74 this year. The average was $48.90 last season in the NBA and $51.27 in the NHL.



Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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New York Giants cornerback Aaron Ross makes 2010 NFL season debut against Indianapolis Colts

BY Ralph Vacchiano



Originally Published:Saturday, September 18th 2010, 4:00 AM

Updated: Saturday, September 18th 2010, 11:14 AM



Pace for NewsNew York Giants defensive back Aaron Ross will be tested immediately in his 2010 season debut, facing Peyton Manning and the high-octane Indianapolis Colts offense. Related NewsSorgi knows Peyton, doesn't know if it'll helpBig Blue ground game looks to get in gearA wide array of receivers for Eli to choose fromNFL live chat with our Vegas oddsmakerEli ready to face big bro Peyton in IndyCamp Stunners: 10 guys who are turning heads

The Indianapolis Colts have a pass-happy offense that several Giants players have likened to the "run and shoot." Their quarterbacks and receivers are so good and their offense is so explosive that the Giants cornerbacks will be constantly tested.


And Aaron Ross can't wait.


It's been a long time since the fourth-year corner has felt ready for a test like this, but he said he definitely is now, despite the still-painful, partially torn plantar fascia in his right foot. He has been cleared to make his 2010 debut Sunday night in Indianapolis, where he likely will be the nickel corner - the first time he has played cornerback since 2008.


"It feels great," Ross said. "I practiced every day this week, full practice. My foot felt fine. There's no more exciting week to play than to play against the Colts."


The Giants certainly need the 28-year-old Ross, their first-round pick in 2007, since they likely will be in nickel and dime defenses - with extra defensive backs - for much of the game. The Colts don't have a very good rushing attack so they ride the right arm of their Hall of Fame-bound quarterback.


And Peyton Manning, who threw for 433 yards in a loss to Houston last Sunday, has an array of talented targets to throw to, including Reggie Wayne, tight end Dallas Clark, Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie, who had 11 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown last week.


With Bruce Johnson, who filled in as the third corner in the Giants' 31-18 win over the Panthers, battling knee issues of his own, the Giants need Ross to quickly return to his 2008, pre-injury form. Last year, he played in just parts of four games as he tried to deal with three different injuries to his hamstring. And because the Giants were struggling so much in their secondary last season, Ross was forced to play safety in those four games.


"It's something I've been waiting for for a whole year now," Ross said. "I didn't get to play much last year, and none at corner. I'm really excited about it."


Still, Ross doesn't know how ready he really is. His injury probably won't completely heal during the season, unless he's given an extended period of rest. He can get daily treatment, rest it between practices and put extra padding in his right shoe. And Ross insisted that "I can get through it."


But there is no telling how his foot will respond or how much he'll be able to tolerate during a game.


"I'm trying not to (worry)," he said. "But this will be the first game, so I'm going into it with my mind ready. I practiced hard and it didn't bother me. The trainers did a tremendous job in getting me back.


"I'm all the way in."


Now, the key for the oft-injured Ross is to stay in. After a relatively injury-free training camp he was hoping he would be on the field for the opener, but as usual for him things just didn't work out. Then he was "praying" that he'd be cleared for Week 2.


His prayers, obviously, have been answered.


"I felt like I was ready to play," he said. "I was ready to go. I felt that it was my time and my number was being called. So I'm ready to step up."

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'Manning Bowl II' shows us that Eli isn't as good as Peyton Manning, and there's no shame in that

Hank Gola


Monday, September 20th 2010, 4:00 AM




INDIANAPOLIS - It's over and now Peyton and Eli Manning can get back to rooting for each other the next four years. Hopefully, people will stop comparing them until the next time they meet.


Manning Bowl II wasn't a fair fight. Peyton set the terms of the duel and that was it, a 38-14 blowout.


Afterward, Peyton was glum as if he'd lost the game. He spent time consoling his brother outside the Giants' locker room.


"I told him good game. I told him I loved him. I think they'll be fine," he said. "They play the Titans next week and we'll be pulling hard for him. They can help us out. We're going to do our best for them when we play these other NFC East teams."


There was no doubt which son Archie and Olivia Manning needed to find afterward. They got to Eli as he came through the tunnel. His mom kissed him, then patted him on the cheek as if to say, "Hang in there."


Somebody asked the matriarch of football's royal family about the game.


"We're glad it's over," Olivia said.


And this one was over before it was over. Nothing against Eli. It wasn't his fault. The Giants just ran into a typical Colts operation Sunday night, which said everything about why the great debate on whether Eli will ever be Peyton should henceforth be closed.


It's simple. You have to figure out a way to beat Peyton. You don't have to figure out a way to beat Eli.


The Giants figured the way to beat Peyton was to sit back in nickel and dime defenses and were stuck with their choice, unable to change personnel because of Indy's no-huddle offense. The Colts can't always run on these packages but they did easily Sunday night, which just made it that much easier for Peyton and his play action.


Big brother manipulated the Giants expertly for a 24-0 halftime lead. The opening TD drive - 80 yards in 12 plays - was too easy. The second TD drive - 98 yards - was Peyton playing the puppet master, setting up a 50-yard play-action TD to Dallas Clark. The third came on a two-minute drill after Eli had failed to run his.


The chain reaction was that the Giants' offense panicked under Eli, whose two first-half turnovers set up 10 points on a platter for his big brother, and whose third-quarter strip/sack fumble was recovered in the end zone for six more.


While Peyton threw for 255 yards and three TDs, Eli completed just 13 passes - including one great longball for a 54-yard TD. But once the Giants got behind, Eli was under siege as Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney devoured tackles Kareem McKenzie and David Diehl.


"When things go our way, when our offense gets those leads, it plays into our hands," Freeney said. "When I get in my stance, I'm getting fastballs and now I can make things happen."


Eli got the brunt of it and unless these teams meet in some Super Bowl, he'll have to live with it for a while.


It was then-GM Ernie Accorsi who anointed Eli as soon as he spent all those valuable picks to work that trade with the Chargers in a 2004 draft in which either Ben Roethlisberger or Philip Rivers was going to be readily available.


"Bloodlines," Accorsi proclaimed as if he were a horse breeder. And whether Accorsi meant it or not, from that day on, Eli was expected to be as good as Peyton. If not better.


And so we came to Manning Bowl II, with the unfair comparisons being forced upon us for the second time in four years - and some contending that Eli may yet surpass his big brother.


Eli isn't as good as Peyton and never will be. There is no disgrace in that. It merely puts him into the same category as 98% of all the quarterbacks who ever played the game.


Eli Manning is a Top 10 quarterback in the league. There are days, like Super Bowl XLII, when he can beat the best.


Sunday night was not one of them.

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  • 3 months later...

Man I cant wait for this! We're gonna pummel the shit out of the Colts with our new DC and great running game.


I can't wait for Luggy to unpin and delete this thread like last year. The ensuing uproar was more exciting than an Eli slide.

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Giants center Shaun O'Hara facing a long rehabilitation process after foot surgery on Monday


BY Ralph Vacchiano



Friday, January 21st 2011, 4:00 AM



Shaun O'Hara, the Giants' 33-year-old center, underwent the first of two surgeries on Monday to fix the foot and ankle injuries that forced him to miss 10 games this season.


The 11-year veteran had a screw placed in his injured right foot, according to a source familiar with his situation, to stabilize the sprained Lisfranc joint. The hope is the screw will help his foot heal faster, the source said. Once it does, doctors will operate again to remove a bone chip that has been embedded in his left Achilles.


The injuries hampered O'Hara since August, when he began suffering what team doctors diagnosed as tendonosis of his left Achilles. In October, O'Hara sought a second opinion; that's when the bone chip was discovered and doctors called it bursitis of his ankle.


The doctors, according to the source, believe the right foot sprain was caused by O'Hara trying to overcompensate for the left ankle when he attempted to come back during the season.


It's not known when O'Hara, who will make $3.45 million next season in the last year of his contract, will have surgery on his ankle or how long he'll need to recover. The source said the hope is he would be ready for the Giants' minicamp in June.



Zak DeOssie, the Giants' long-snapper, was added to the NFC Pro Bowl team as the "need" player. It's the second Pro Bowl for DeOssie (2008), who will be joined in Honolulu by three other Giants - G Chris Snee, DE Justin Tuck and S Antrel Rolle. O'Hara was selected to the NFC team as well.

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Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell says NFL 'Rooney Rule' for minority coaches is 'great'


BY Ralph Vacchiano



Sunday, January 23rd 2011, 4:00 AM



When Perry Fewell started his NFL coaching career in 1998, all his previous experience was at the college level. He wanted to be an NFL head coach someday, but knew he didn't know the right people to make it happen.


As a black man in a league run by mostly white owners and general managers, he also knew there was a chance he never would.


Thirteen years later, Fewell, the Giants' defensive coordinator, was one of the hottest coaching candidates on the market. Three teams - the Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos - brought him in for an interview this month. A fourth, the San Francisco 49ers, expressed some interest.


Was he just being used because of the NFL's "Rooney Rule," which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for every head coach opening? Fewell doesn't think he was. Regardless, he said the eight-year-old rule has definitely served a purpose.


In fact, he added, it still does.


"I think the Rooney Rule is a great rule," Fewell told the Daily News last week. "As a young assistant coach entering into the National Football League in 1998, you wonder: How do you go about meeting the owners and general managers if you aspire to be a head coach? The Rooney Rule is a vehicle that gives you an avenue to put yourself in front of them and make them think about you. I think it's a great tool for minority coaches to have the opportunity to sit in front of an owner or a GM to present who you are and what you represent."


It didn't work out this time around for the 48-year-old Fewell, who was passed over for all four jobs. His only other previous shot at a head coaching gig came in January 2010, when he got a "courtesy" interview in Buffalo after serving as the interim head coach of the Bills.


When the Bills passed him over, he joined the Giants as their defensive coordinator and quickly turned their defense into the seventh-ranked unit in the league. He believes the job he did with them, far more than the Rooney Rule, was what attracted interest from so many teams.


"Did I feel like I was being used in any way? No I didn't," Fewell said. "I thought the interviews were very legit. I thought there was a genuine interest. And I think I met people and developed a relationship with people that if they didn't help me now, they could possibly help me down the road."


That was always the intention of the rule, which the NFL adopted in 2003. It forced NFL owners to give minorities a look - not necessarily to hire them. Young, talented, overlooked coaches such as Lovie Smith (Chicago), Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh), Raheem Morris (Tampa Bay) and more recently Leslie Frazier (Minnesota) have benefited from the opportunities, which raised their profile and stock.


Fewell hopes he'll experience that benefit for himself in the future, because he's "more determined" than ever to be an NFL head coach.


"There's only 32 of these things," Fewell said of coaching jobs. "So I'm more determined now. I'm not really discouraged. I learned a lot in the process. It's an education you get when you have an opportunity to go to the other organizations and interview with them. But I found out that I am prepared in many ways. I think I'm qualified. I think I'm ready."


All he needed was the opportunity to show the right people. He believes he did.


"You could tell when they are seriously interested by the questions they asked and their body language," Fewell said. "I was very fortunate in that I felt all three teams were very interested and wanted to know who I was and what I represented."

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Hines Ward says he wants Plaxico Burress to return to play for Steelers when he gets out of jail

Gary Myers


Wednesday, February 2nd 2011, 4:00 AM



Hines Ward, the Steelers' all-time leading receiver, sent a strong message from the Super Bowl Tuesday that surely will reach Plaxico Burress, who has four months remaining on his prison sentence at Oneida Correctional Facility in upstate New York.


He wants Burress to come back to play for the Steelers when he resumes his career next season. Burress was the Steelers' first-round draft choice in 2000 and played four years in Pittsburgh with Ward before signing with the Giants as a free agent.


"Plax is still our guy," Ward said Tuesday. "He's always going to be a Steeler, regardless if he won the Super Bowl with the Giants. There are still fans in Pittsburgh who wear his jersey. We love everything about him. We will accept him with open arms if that's the case."


Thursday is the three-year anniversary of Burress catching the winning touchdown pass for the Giants with 35 seconds remaining to beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. The Steelers on Sunday are going for their third Super Bowl championship in the six years since Burress left.


It all changed for Burress on the night of Nov. 28, 2008, when he accidentally shot himself in the leg at a midtown Manhattan nightclub with a gun he was carrying for protection. He pleaded guilty to felony gun possession charges, was incarcerated on Sept. 22, 2009 and is due to be released June 6.


Burress has already said he plans to play again. And there will be plenty of teams that will consider him, including the Giants. Ward wants Burress to return to Pittsburgh.


"Hell, for all I know we will end up getting Plax on our team. He'll be welcomed with open arms if he wants to come back," Ward said. "If that presented itself and the Pittsburgh Steelers did bring Plaxico back, I would give him a big hug and we'll be right out there playing together."


Ward said he has not had any contact with Burress since the night he shot himself. But they were close friends when they played together.


"I wanted to go visit Plax in prison but I was a little shaky," he said. "I really didn't know how to approach that. I really just didn't want to get involved because I can't tell you how to live life. I love him to death, though."


Roger Goodell has already cleared Burress to play when he gets out. There is the potential lockout that could delay Burress' ability to sign with a team, but as long as he's in good shape and can still run and jump and the rust from not playing the last two seasons can be chipped off, somebody will sign him, for sure.


He will be 34 by the time the 2011 season starts, but 6-5 receivers who can make a quarterback look a lot more accurate with his gigantic wingspan are hard to find. And you have to figure Burress will be extremely motivated. If the Eagles were willing to absorb the backlash for signing Michael Vick, who was in prison for illegal dogfighting, then Burress deserves to get another NFL chance. Ultimately, he hurt only himself.


Ward said he will not lobby Steelers management to sign Burress.


"I'm not that type of guy," he said. "Who am I to tell the owner or the organization what to do?"


The Steelers, like the Giants, are one of the cornerstone franchises of the NFL. They are extremely image-conscious. And their image was damaged in the last year by Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes.


Roethlisberger was accused of rape by a 20-year-old college student. He was never arrested or charged. Holmes was accused of throwing a glass full of liquor at a 21-year-old woman in an alleged nightclub incident. Not long after that, the Steelers found out Holmes was going to be suspended the first four games of the 2010 season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.


There was no way the Steelers could keep them both. Roethlisberger is a franchise quarterback. Holmes is a very good receiver, a Super Bowl MVP. Quarterbacks are harder to find. Big Ben stayed. Holmes was traded to the Jets.


The Steelers might not be willing to take on Burress. Or perhaps they will think they are taking care of one of their own.


"I'm not into making hypothetical statements about potential free agents, to be honest with you," said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who was hired in 2007, three seasons after Burress left. "That is not our policy. That is not how we handle business."


Ward says it was "an unfortunate incident" that got Burress in trouble.


"Hindsight, you got to go in a place with a gun, maybe you shouldn't be in that place," Ward said.


It surely will make Burress feel good to know Ward wants him back in Pittsburgh.


"How great would that be? Plax comes back with the Steelers and helps us win another Super Bowl," Ward said. "That would be a great story."






Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/2011/02/02/2011-02-02_steelers_hines_ward_says_he_wants_plaxico_burress_as_a_teammate_again_when_he_ge.html#ixzz1CnYoUiMf

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As NFL goes to court, Mara stuck on jury duty


BY Ralph Vacchiano


The Giants are busy preparing for the NFL draft and NFL owners are still locked in a labor war with their players, but John Mara has more pressing concerns at the moment.


He’s stuck on jury duty.


Never mind that he owns an NFL franchise and is one of the lead negotiators for NFL owners in their battle with the NFL Players Association. Those weren’t good enough excuses when the 56-year-old Mara was named the fourth alternate on a jury in U.S. District Court in Manhattan earlier today. He asked to be excused, according to The Associated Press, but Judge Jed S. Rakoff declined, forcing Mara to spend the next three weeks on a jury hearing an international drug case.


According to the AP story, shortly after he was seated as a jury alternate, Mara – a graduate of Fordham Law School – asked to approach the bench and speak with the judge. He then asked to be dismissed because of the expected length of the trial.


"My only issue, your honor, is the third week in here because we're approaching the NFL draft. It is a big, big period for us, and I need to be at my place of employment during that period," Mara said, according to the AP. "That's my only issue. If it was just two weeks, I would be OK, but the third week is problematic for me."


When the judge dismissed that concern, noting that the third week of the trial would be short due to Passover and Easter, Mara played the “lockout card”.


"My only other issue with that is we're in a lockout situation right now, which may or may not end at some point in time," Mara said. "I'm one of the lead negotiators for the owners' side, so if for some reason negotiations start again, that causes -- that causes me an issue."


The judge again declined to dismiss Mara, but said he’d reconsider if there was “a real emergency.”


Barring any hard-to-fathom draft-related emergencies, it’s hard to imagine an emergency would occur in the NFL’s labor war, which is headed to U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn., tomorrow morning. Though Mara had been an integral part of the failed Collective Bargaining talks, his presence in Minnesota isn’t necessary.


Also, a decision on the NFLPA’s request for an injunction to block the current lockout likely won’t be handed down for a few weeks. It’s possible, if not likely, Mara’s tour of duty on the jury will be over by then.


For now, though, the Giants’ co-owner will be sitting in a jury box with 12 jurors and three other alternates. He won’t be asked to deliberate at the end of the trial unless four regular jurors are dismissed by then.







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Giants quarterback Eli Manning and wife Abby welcome first child, Ava Frances, into the world


BY Ralph Vacchiano





Eli Manning found something to do during the lockout. He became a father.


Abby Manning, the wife of the Giants' 30-year-old quarterback, gave birth to the couple's first child on Monday, according to a report. They have a new baby girl, named Ava Frances, and according to ESPN she weighed in at 7 pounds, 4 ounces.


In case you're planning ahead, she would likely first be eligible for the NFL draft in 2032.


Ava is the first child for either of the two famous quarterback brothers, including Uncle Peyton, the Hall of Fame-bound quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts. Cooper, the other brother, has already provided three grandchildren for Archie and Olivia Manning.


The timing couldn't have worked out better for the Super Bowl XLII MVP. Due to the lockout, he didn't even need to ask Tom Coughlin's permission to skip what would have been "voluntary" offseason workouts this week so he could be there for the birth of his child.


Of course, if the Mannings are waiting for a congratulatory phone call or even a nice gift from Coughlin or the Mara and Tisch families, they may have to wait a while. NFL teams – including all the coaches and executives - are not allowed to have any contact with their players during the lockout.


Then again, it's not clear if those lockout rules apply to players' wives or their heirs.






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Giants' Steve Smith says he feels no pain in surgically repaired knee, but he does have concerns


BY Ebenezer Samuel


Steve Smith says he feels no pain in his surgically repaired left knee. He says his rehab from December’s microfracture surgery is on schedule, and that he could be running by May.


But the Giants’ wideout also admits he has concerns. He said Thursday that when he returns, he may need to alter his style, compensating for his knee.


“It’s a serious injury,” Smith said. “... I’ve got to wait and see til I’m done running. Probably I’m going to have to change a little bit this year, so we’ll see.”


Smith was at Chelsea Piers with former Giant Michael Strahan and Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez, promoting Vaseline Men's new online computer game at keepyourgripchallenge.com.


All three also did drills with children beforehand. Even then, Smith avoided running and cutting, so while he said he was fine, his actions showed otherwise. He said that he recently started “pretty boring” rehab drills, hitting the stationary bike and running in a pool. He wants to run, he said, but he knows better. The nature of microfracture surgery is tricky. An athlete's knee will often feel better shortly after surgery, but the healing process still takes a few months.


Last season, Smith watched teammate Kenny Phillips try to return from a similar injury. The safety played through the season, but he struggled to regain his explosion.


“It looked like to me on a couple plays the old Kenny probably would have got an interception or a big hit,” Smith said. “Hopefully, he’ll come around.


“I feel like I can (run),” Smith added. “But they tell me to take it slow.”


All of this explains why Smith isn’t against the Giants trying to bring back Plaxico Burress. The one-time Giants star will be released from prison in June and Strahan has been lobbying for Burress to return to Big Blue. Thursday, Strahan said that if he were running things and Burress was released at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, "He'd be a Giant by 4:05." Smith bristled ever-so-slightly at the idea that the Giants need Burress. But he also recognizes that depth is not a bad thing.


“We’ve got a lot of talent at wide receiver anyway, so either way I think we’ll be all right,” Smith said. “But it’s a long season. Guys get hurt. So you can never have enough quality players.”



Smith also got a bit wound up - albeit rather jokingly - when I suggested that he wasn't a speedster. I asked him if the fact that he's known more his route-running than his speed might help him when he returns, since he won't rely on pure speed. To which he said "We'll need to see."


Then, he added, "I'll race all of you when I get healthy."


Smith may get his speed back, but he might want to work on his videogame football. He finished last in yesterday's little videogame duel with Gonzalez and Strahan. Gonzalez won the game.



Giants tackle David Diehl has heard the rumors of Big Blue considering an offensive tackle in the upcoming NFL Draft (Boston College's Anthony Costanzo, anyone?). But Diehl said he doesn't mind, especially after the Giants line was decimated by injuries in 2010.


"Our offensive line last year showed with all the injuries, guys coming off the injuries this season," Diehl said."We're really going to need guys to step in and help out and play different roles for us. It's a competition just like any other."


Of course, the fiercely competitive Diehl added that the hamstring injury that slowed him last year is now a non-issue.


"I just know right now physically and mentally I'm 100%," Diehl said, adding that the hamstring injury that slowed him last year is now a non-issue. "I'm running. I'm squatting. I'm doing everything I can."





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Giants defensive lineman Barry Cofield says NFL collective bargaining agreement is a tender issue


BY Ebenezer Samuel



Friday, April 1st 2011, 4:00 AM


Barry Cofield was supposed to be an unrestricted free agent. He was supposed to be in line for a hefty raise. Instead, the Giants defensive tackle's hopes of a big payday are disappearing as the league's labor dispute wears on, and he is growing frustrated.


"I don't know if I could be happy coming to work knowing that I should have been a free agent twice," Cofield said at a Founders Dinner for the Chabad Center of Jewish Discovery in Manhattan Thursday.


Much like last summer, Cofield is poised to cash in on a good year. But the labor dispute is destroying his chances. If the lockout is lifted but players and owners cannot agree on a new CBA, many players - including Cofield and teammate Steve Smith - are starting to believe they will play under last year's labor rules.


"They might not get a full-fledged CBA done," he said.


That hurts Cofield. Under the old CBA, players were eligible to become unrestricted free agents after their fourth year, a guideline that Cofield met last summer. He hoped to explore free agency, but last year's labor rules added two years to the free agency requirements, forcing Cofield to accept the Giants' one-year tender offer ($1.7 million).


He's now entering his sixth year, so he'll be limited to the Giants' tender offer again if a new CBA isn't reached. Cofield said he hopes to agree on an extension - or a pricier one-year deal - with the Giants. If that doesn't happen, he said he might consider holding out.


"I love the Giants," he said, "but if I have to move on, that's the business of it."



WR Smith (left knee) has started light rehab exercises. He hopes to be running by May. ... OL David Diehl (hamstring) said he is 100%. ... Michael Strahan was honored for his fund-raising efforts for the Chabad Center.






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While Eli Manning and Giants offense practice, Justin Tuck and defense idle during NFL lockout


BY Ralph Vacchiano



Thursday, May 12th 2011, 4:00 AM





Another small, but dedicated group of Giants gathered Wednesday at Hoboken High School to play catch and run drills with Eli Manning. And again, it was only quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends.


So where are all the Giants' defensive players? Why aren't they practicing during the NFL lockout, too?


"Just because you don't see us," Justin Tuck said Wednesday, "doesn't mean we're not practicing."


In this case, actually, it does.


Tuck, the Giants defensive end and a team captain, was charged with organizing the defensive players during the lockout and he told the Daily News Wednesday that he's decided not to do it. He cited "safety" concerns, mostly, especially with players now forced to pay for their own insurance.


It's much safer for Manning to play a safe game of catch with a small group of receivers. A bunch of defensive players getting together would likely be more dangerous than that.


"I know how we are," Tuck said. "We kind of have a tendency to get a little competitive when we start working out together. So we wouldn't want anything stupid to happen. The best way to prevent that is to have nothing organized."


That doesn't mean defensive players have been completely on their own during the lockout. Tuck said he knows exactly where each of his defensive teammates are and where they're working out. "I like the fact that Eli has stepped up and gotten guys together," Tuck said. "But for us and for me personally, I just chose to make sure guys are working out and doing the right things for safety reasons."


Insurance concerns are one reason why Manning has struggled to get a sizable group to join him in Hoboken over the last two weeks, according to several NFL agents. Not every player purchased COBRA to make sure they're covered or are like receiver Victor Cruz, who said he's still young enough to get covered under his mother's insurance.


Some players have insurance, but worry they won't have enough if they suffer a serious or even career-threatening injury on a high school field during a lockout. With all those concerns, it's no wonder Manning was joined by only five other teammates Wednesday and attendance has dropped at the camp - which ends today - since there were 11 Giants together for opening day on May 3.


The players who have been attending - Wednesday that included tight end Kevin Boss, receivers Cruz, Darius Reynaud and Samuel Giguere, backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels and receiver Dan DePalma, an undrafted and unsigned free agent out of West Chester (Pa.) University - certainly feel they'll have an advantage whenever the lockout ends and training camp begins. Tuck agreed, but he believes that's more important for offensive players.


"With Eli and his receivers, I think it's more important for them to be on the right page when they come to camp," Tuck said. "For (the defense), I think it won't take us as long to get in our groove."






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Blips, Blurbs and Blasts: 32 Wham



By John Crist

Scout.com NFL Analyst

Posted May 13, 2011






AFC East


Buffalo Bills

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick averaged 230.8 yards passing per game in 2010, better than Joe Flacco (226.4) and Jay Cutler (218.3), and he's only 28 years old.


Miami Dolphins

Yes, second-round running back Daniel Thomas played quarterback in high school and ran some Wildcat at Kansas State, but Miami needs to turn the page already.


New England Patriots

BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 1,008 yards, averaged 4.4 yards per carry and scored 13 touchdowns last season, yet everyone keeps looking for his replacement.


New York Jets

With coach Rex Ryan guaranteeing the Jets will win the Super Bowl this season every chance he gets, is he doing it to motivate his team or sell his new book?


AFC North


Baltimore Ravens

Linebacker Ray Lewis turns 36 years old Sunday, so asking the future Hall of Famer to make his 13th Pro Bowl -- and sixth straight -- in 2011 seems unreasonable.


Cincinnati Bengals

Before the Bengals reward running back Cedric Benson with a hefty contract, they should call the Bears and see what he's like once he gets big money in his pocket.


Cleveland Browns

While the organization is putting a lot of faith in Colt McCoy, his final two starts -- both at home -- were the worst of his rookie year, posting passer ratings of 27.0 and 41.6.


Pittsburgh Steelers

Fresno State linebacker Chris Carter was one of the bargains of the draft in Round 5, so don't be surprised if he makes an impact as a rookie in pass-rushing situations.


AFC South


Houston Texans

It's refreshing that the Texans didn't try to outsmart themselves in the draft, simply going defense, defense and more defense at every opportunity in the early rounds.


Indianapolis Colts

Offensive coordinator Tom Moore is no longer listed at the team's official Web site as a part of the coaching staff, meaning his 13-year run in Indianapolis could be over.


Jacksonville Jaguars

Coach Jack Del Rio maintains that David Garrard is his starting quarterback, just like he did with Byron Leftwich in 2007 shortly before handing him a pink slip.


Tennessee Titans

Sure, quarterback Jake Locker didn't have a very impressive senior season, but if you take a look at his game tape, the young man had zero help at Washington.


AFC West


Denver Broncos

Now there is chatter in the Mile High City that Brady Quinn could be the starter under center, not Kyle Orton or Tim Tebow, which just seems preposterous at this point.


Kansas City Chiefs

Only two quarterbacks had a better touchdown-to-interception ratio this past year than Matt Cassel (27-to-7), and one of them was his mentor, MVP Tom Brady.


Oakland Raiders

Rookie center Stefen Wisnieski was issued No. 61 in Oakland, but his uncle's 76 will be available once guard Robert Gallery officially hits the road.


San Diego Chargers

Linebacker Antwan Applewhite is the latest NFL player given a little too much freedom during the lockout, as he was arrested early Friday on suspicion of DUI.


NFC East


Dallas Cowboys

If you're looking for a semi-sleeper at the quarterback position for your fantasy football draft, Tony Romo might be that guy this season.


New York Giants

It's more important for the G-Men to get a huge year on the ground from running back Ahmad Bradshaw than a huge year through the air from quarterback Eli Manning.


Philadelphia Eagles

When they finally trade quarterback Kevin Kolb, instead of asking for a first rounder in 2012, a pair of second rounders in '12 and '13 may turn out to be more valuable.


Washington Redskins

Something tells me the Shanahans can't be serious about a quarterback depth chart consisting of John Beck being backed up by Rex Grossman.


NFC North


Chicago Bears

Even though coach Lovie Smith hinted at the combine that Charles Tillman could move to safety in 2011, the team didn't address cornerback in the draft.


Detroit Lions

The defensive-tackle combination of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley looks totally devastating on paper, but who's the three technique and who's the nose?


Green Bay Packers

Another five-technique D-tackle in the draft would have been nice, but 2010 second rounder Mike Neal only played two games before heading to injured reserve.


Minnesota Vikings

First rounder Christian Ponder was playing as well as any quarterback in the country as a junior before injuring his shoulder, but he was never quite right as a senior.


NFC South


Atlanta Falcons

Alabama's Julio Jones better be the complement that receiver Roddy White needs so desperately, because the team paid a hefty price to get him.


Carolina Panthers

It's interesting that the Panthers could have passed on Auburn's Cam Newton, taken Alabama's Marcell Dareus instead and still gotten Arkansas' Ryan Mallett in Round 3.


New Orleans Saints

Whether he realizes it or not, the best place for running back Reggie Bush to play is, well, New Orleans, so he needs to swallow his pride and take the pay cut.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Quarterback Josh Freeman and receiver Mike Williams both made NFL Network's list of "The Top 100: Players of 2011," voted on by the players themselves.


NFC West


Arizona Cardinals

With rumors circling he could be trade bait, it's commendable that receiver Larry Fitzgerald is the one orchestrating workouts during the lockout.


San Francisco 49ers

Look for fourth-round running back Kendall Hunter to make an impact right away as a change of pace to Frank Gore, who can't keep taking so much punishment.


Seattle Seahawks

There still is no way coach Pete Carroll can justify taking Alabama's James Carpenter in the first round over Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi to play right tackle.


St. Louis Rams

Receiver Danny Amendola could morph into the second coming of Wes Welker with new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels calling the plays.

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New York Giants QB Eli Manning's unofficial minicamp concludes with six players at final session


BY Ralph Vacchiano



Friday, May 13th 2011, 4:00 AM




The final day of the Eli Manning minicamp drew the smallest group of players yet. Five players, including one undrafted free agent, joined the Giants' quarterback for Thursday's hour-long session.


Only a dozen players total attended during the camp's six days.


It was a surprisingly small group, considering what other teams have done. The Saints drew nearly 40 players to their workouts at Tulane University in New Orleans. The Redskins had almost 30 show up in Northern Virginia. The Cardinals have been drawing 20-30 players to their sessions in Phoenix. Even Mark Sanchez lured 15 players to his "Jets West" California camp.


It's hard to tell if Manning was disappointed since he refused to talk to the media during the two-week camp he held at Hoboken (N.J.) High School. The players who showed up, though, didn't seem upset with the lack of attendance at all.


"No, not at all," said free-agent receiver Michael Clayton. "This is a time right now where guys are on their own schedules. Obviously there are a lot of things going on in the world. Some guys have to take care of a family away, and that's totally understandable.


"This is strictly for guys that can get away, who need to work with their quarterback. It's a plus to be here, but the guys that weren't here still have their everyday regimen in their hometown, so it's good."


Manning didn't invite the Giants' defensive players or the offensive line - though left tackle David Diehl did show up twice - but he is believed to have reached out to all his receivers, running backs and tight ends. Still, not all of them showed and some made only a one- or two-day appearance. Only four players attended each of the six hour-long sessions: Manning, backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels, tight end Kevin Boss and receiver Sam Giguere.


When the workouts began, most of the players seemed to expect a bigger turnout. Thursday they downplayed the importance of the "practice" time.


"I wouldn't really call it a practice," Boss said. "I think you guys are making it more of a big deal than it is. We're just out here throwing the ball around, having fun."


Under a hot sun in 70-degree temperatures Thursday morning, that wasn't easy. Boss, Clayton, Giguere, and undrafted free agent Dan DePalma (from West Chester University, Pa.) were the only receivers. By the end of the hour-long session they looked exhausted from running routes.


"We tried to practice hard, we tried to be efficient," Clayton said. "Not a lot of guys out here so we've got to be cautious about keeping your legs up under you. But the time that we're out here has all been efficient."


Though the "camp" is over, an even smaller group may continue to work out together with Manning at Hoboken High School next week. If the lockout drags on into June, Boss said they may consider trying to organize a bigger group.







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