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NY Giants need Randy Moss, should coax mercurial WR out of retirement to play with Eli Manning

Tim Smith

 

Friday, September 23rd 2011, 4:00 AM

 

 

Paging Randy Moss! Please pick up the Big Blue courtesy phone!

 

Yes, it's a desperation call. But those are the kind that the Giants are going to have to start making if they're interested in salvaging a season that has been ravaged by injuries.

 

Moss is the only free-agent receiver available with the kind of explosiveness that the Giants need right now. No disrespect to Victor Cruz, the Giants' second-year receiver, or Jerrel Jernigan, the rookie, but no one is going to get their popcorn ready to see them dance in the end zone.

 

It's too early to panic, with 14 games remaining. But the Giants are in terrible straits on offense. Receiver Domenik Hixon is lost for the season due to a torn ACL and fellow wideout Mario Manningham is suffering from concussion symptoms and iffy for the meeting with the Eagles on Sunday. If the Giants can get Moss out of retirement, they have to do it.

 

Moss' agent could not be reached Thursday to give an update on the mercurial receiver or whether they expect a call from the Giants.

 

The loss of Hixon and potential loss of Manningham cut into the Giants' receiver depth and limit their versatility on offense. The rushing attack is stuck in neutral. Expect the Eagles to crowd the line of scrimmage and dare the Giants to beat them through the air.

 

Without a running game, no one is going to respect the passing game. The potency of Hakeem Nicks, the Giants' biggest deep threat, is minimized with the injuries to Hixon and Manningham. How much double coverage do you think Nicks will see against the Eagles on

Sunday?

 

That's where Moss comes in.

 

He would help the Giants stretch the field and give them another receiving threat. He'd force defensive coordinators to respect the pass, something that isn't going to happen as the Giants are currently constituted.

 

General manager Jerry Reese didn't rule out a call to Moss, who retired from the NFL on Aug. 1. But Reese didn't rule it in either.

 

"We investigate everything," Reese said following practice Thursday afternoon. "He (Moss) hasn't been in our building so it would be unfair to make an evaluation of him. We don't really know him. He's a terrific receiver as we've seen from his time in the league. Our offense is predicated on reads, which is hard for some guys to pick up. But it's not something that a veteran like him would have trouble with."

 

It is a passing league, which has been demonstrated by what Tom Brady and Panthers rookie Cam Newton have done in this season's first two weeks. NFL legislation has put a bubble around the quarterbacks and receivers to help keep the pass at the forefront. If you don't have quality receivers, you're finished.

 

Without another big-play threat on the field, it won't matter how skilled Eli Manning is. He could morph into Brady and it wouldn't help him now. A quarterback is only as good as his receivers. Right now Manning doesn't have many great options.

 

What Manning needs is a complement to Nicks. Moss, if he's right, qualifies.

 

He had an off year last season when he had on 28 catches for 393 yards and five TDs with the Patriots, Vikings and Titans. His 2009 season when he caught 83 passes for 1,264 yards and 13 TDs with New England, was more typical.

 

That's the Randy Moss the Giants need. And that's why the Giants need to explore the possibility of bringing in Moss, who is the only veteran receiver out there right now who fits the bill.

 

Free agent veteran Terrell Owens is reportedly in South Korea getting stem-cell treatment to speed the healing on his knee, which was injured when he tore an ACL in March. He's not going to be ready quickly enough to help the Giants.

 

There are a million reasons why the Giants wouldn't want to add Moss to the mix. He is 34 and was on three teams with limited success last season. He tends to sulk and pout, and Tom Coughlin has had his fill of diva receivers.

 

If Coughlin and Reese could coax Moss out of retirement and if he would accept the second receiver role, he'd be a scary asset on a team that desperately needs someone who will keep defensive coordinators up at night.

 

The Giants probably won't sign Moss. But they should.

 

Having Moss would at least change the conversation about the Giants. They could go from the cursed New York football team with all the injuries to a team that has a chance to make the playoffs with a proven big-play threat on the field.

 

One more plus: There is a very good chance he's not going to shoot himself in the thigh at a nightclub and crush any playoff hopes.

 

That has to count for something.

 

 

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/2011/09/23/2011-09-23_giants_ought_to_grab_moss.html#ixzz1YlVQguN1

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NY Giants, Justin Tuck, Antrel Rolle want Eagles' Michael Vick to play Sunday to exact revenge

 

Gary Myers

 

Thursday, September 22nd 2011, 4:00 AM

 

 

It's just another nasty week of the Giants and Eagles overdosing with venom. Jeremy Maclin told the Giants to shut up Wednesday and suggested Antrel Rolle is either insecure or scared. And the Giants continue to beg Michael Vick to play Sunday so the Eagles won't be whining they didn't have the most electrifying player in the league on the field when they got beat.

 

The Giants have lost six straight games to the Eagles, suffered a historic meltdown against Philly in December that cost them the NFC East title and now have sent a unified - and bizarre - message down to South Philly this week.

 

"We Want Vick."

 

And it looks like the Giants will get Vick. He took a major step Wednesday in his recovery from the concussion he suffered in Atlanta on Sunday night by participating in the Dream Team's walkthrough.

 

"I want him to play," Rolle said Wednesday. "I don't want any excuses at the end of the day. I want Michael Vick. He's the best guy to give them a chance to win and I want to go against the best."

 

Of course, the Giants' chances would increase significantly if Vick wasn't torturing them with his legs and his arm like he did when they collapsed last year. But the Giants foolishly insist they don't want to see Mike Kafka or Vince Young. It's all about winning, and they have a much better chance if Vick doesn't play.

 

There's nothing quite like Giants-Eagles week.

 

"It's a new season, it's a new year," Maclin said. "We understand that we have to go out there and play the game. On the other hand, they have no business talking because they haven't done anything the last six times."

 

But as Steve Smith pointed out on Twitter in June when he got in the middle of the Osi Umenyiora-LeSean McCoy feud and when his allegiance was still to the Giants, the Super Bowl trophy is all that matters. Smith intervened after McCoy said Umenyiora was "soft" and "overrated" and Umenyiora called him "Lady Gaga."

 

Smith showed creativity with some photos linked to his Twitter post: On the left, Eli Manning is holding up the Vince Lombardi Trophy with Tom Coughlin by his side. On the right, confetti is coming down on Smith following the victory over the Patriots. In the middle is an empty trophy case with the Eagles logo superimposed. Now that Smith has switched sides, he hasn't had much to say. The Eagles are 6-0 in the last six games. But the Giants lead in Super Bowl trophies 3-0.

 

And should Maclin really be talking this week? Despite his prolific night in Atlanta with 13 catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns, he was wide open when he dropped Kafka's perfectly thrown pass on fourth-and-4 from the Falcons' 22 with 1:41 left, ending Philly's chance of a comeback after blowing a 31-21 fourth quarter lead. The Eagles got the ball back only for one desperate Hail Mary pass from the Falcons 45 and lost 35-31.

 

The Giants have been yapping that they want Vick to play since the moment they walked into the locker room following their sloppy 28-16 victory over the Rams on Monday night. But the comment that hit a nerve with Maclin was from Rolle, the starting free safety who has been playing a lot of nickel, saying he could handle DeSean Jackson, the lightning quick Eagles wideout.

 

"You know, I'm no stranger to the cornerback position," Rolle said Tuesday on WFAN. "I have handled DeSean Jackson one-on-one before and I don't see why I can't handle him again."

 

So, with all Rolle had to say, Maclin fired back.

 

"A lot of times when people talk, they're either insecure or scared," he said. "You guys choose. I don't know what he's trying to do but he's not going to intimidate, not going to scare nobody in this locker room. He's talking. That says something."

 

Jackson on Rolle's comments: "I don't get into things like that."

 

What about the trash-talking? "It adds a little fuel to the fire," he admitted. "But you've still got to go out and perform and play."

 

Considering McCoy's out-of-nowhere comments about Umenyiora and Maclin, it's funny that Jackson said, "We don't trash-talk. We're better than that."

 

You almost expect the Giants to break the defensive huddle at the end of practice this week chanting, "We Want Vick. We Want Vick." And, of course, there's that old saying: Be careful what you wish for.

 

"How can that come back to bite us? If you're a competitor, you want a chance at the champ," linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka said. "You want a chance to be able to claim a real victory. You don't want it to be you knocked somebody out there, they weren't looking. You want it to be a real victory."

 

The Giants' bravado in wanting Vick to play could obviously be something they regret by late Sunday afternoon. They need to halt this slide against the Eagles, which is the longest since they lost 12 straight to them starting in the late '70s. That was when the Giants had some horrific teams.

 

Included in that dirty dozen was The Fumble, which is now just the second-most damaging Giants collapse against the Eagles. Back then, the Giants were so bad that losing that game hardly made an impact. But when the Giants blew the 31-10 lead to the Eagles with 8:17 left on Dec. 19 and lost the game on Jackson's 65-yard punt return as time expired, it cost them the division title and eventually a wild-card spot as well.

 

"I'm not answering any questions about last year," Rolle said.

 

But he was happy to talk about Vick. He wants to see him on the field with the rest of the Dream Team.

 

 

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/2011/09/22/2011-09-22_watch_what_you_vick_for.html?page=1

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NY Giants' banged-up defense has tough task with Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick

BY Ralph Vacchiano

DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

 

Saturday, September 24th 2011, 2:35 PM

 

PHILADELPHIA - DeSean Jackon's heartbreaking punt return is the image that will live in infamy from last year's collapse by the Giants against the Philadelphia Eagles, but that's not what Perry Fewell sees when he looks at the film.

 

He sees his defense in the midst of smothering Michael Vick and the Eagles' high-powered offense. Then he sees them suddenly, inexplicably forgetting how to tackle, cover, and even pressure the quarterback.

 

He sees Vick and his dangerous array of weapons running open and untouched all over the field.

 

"There were a number of opportunities," Fewell recalls. "We had a chance to tackle Vick or tackle (running back LeSean) McCoy or tackle (receiver DeSean) Jackson or whomever and get off the field. The memories are so vivid that I don't want to recall them because I'm looking forward to this next opportunity. But just our ability to tackle and finish what we started."

 

Sunday, nine months after they threw away a 21-point lead, the NFC East and their playoff hopes in perhaps the most devastating eight minutes and 17 seconds in franchise history, Fewell and the Giants' defense get a second chance.

 

In easily the most anticipated game on the Giants' schedule, they'll face the "Dream Team" Eagles Sunday afternoon with revenge on their minds. They tried all week to downplay what happened last Dec. 19, when they blew a 31-10 lead at the Meadowlands and lost 38-31 on Jackson's game-ending punt return for a touchdown, but that collapse has loomed over everything the Giants (1-1) and Eagles (1-1) have done since.

 

Their ability for revenge and chance to snap the Eagles' six-game winning streak in this series, have been hampered by injuries to a defense that will be without three starters - cornerback Terrell Thomas (knee), linebacker Jonathan Goff (knee) and defensive end Osi Umenyiora (knee). The Eagles, meanwhile, spent the offseason adding to an all-star roster that already included Vick (who should play despite the concussion he suffered last week), Jackson, McCoy, tight end Brent Celek and receiver Jeremy Maclin.

 

They have the perfect offense to stretch an already thin defense, and exploit a struggling secondary - a secondary that in the four games since that Eagles disaster has allowed every quarterback they've faced to throw for more than 300 yards.

 

"We've had some problems," Fewell says. "Some of the issues (last week) were the same in Week 1. Some were different. I felt like we got better last week. I saw some improvement in our secondary play. But then I saw some lapses in our secondary play. We're a work in progress."

 

Balls are being caught everywhere," adds cornerback Aaron Ross, who was briefly benched in the Giants' 28-16 win last week over the Rams. "We have to tighten up on the coverage and get a better rush. Everything goes together. We have to play better as a defense."

 

There's no doubt that's true, but at least the Giants gave themselves a blueprint for how to do that against the Eagles. In the first 51:43 of the game last December, the Giants effectively blitzed Vick and rendered him ineffective. To that point, he had a combined 157 rushing and passing yards.

 

To do that, they used safety Antrel Rolle as an outside blitzer, usually in an attempt to force the left-handed Vick to roll right where he'd have to twist his body awkwardly if he wanted to throw. That only works, though, if the secondary covers Vick's targets and if the Giants are able to keep the pressure up.

 

In the final 8:17 they weren't able to that. Vick, in that span, threw for 143 yards and ran for 72 - 215 yards of total offense. He threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Celek, ran for a touchdown, and set up another one with a 33-yard run on 3rd and 10. The collapse can't completely be blamed on the Giants defense, but one stop in those final, fateful minutes could've stopped Philly's momentum and sealed the win.

 

What it looked like was that the Eagles' offensive speed simply caught up to the slower Giants. They didn't seem to have the speed on the line to catch Vick, or the speed in the secondary to keep up with Maclin and Jackson, especially when they were sitting back in Fewell's soft, read-and-react zone.

 

"The outsiders may look at it that way, but we don't look at it that way," Rolle says. "We look at them as guys. We're aware of their speed. We have speed as well. We're aware of Michael Vick's ability. But it's nothing that we haven't taken care of before."

 

"We know they have some fast guys," Phillips adds, "but we can run just like they can run also."

 

Maybe that's true, but the receivers on the Redskins and Rams seemed to find a lot of room to run inside the Giants' secondary in the first two games of this season, whether they were in man-to-man or zone coverage. Fewell acknowledges the Eagles' offense is probably faster, but adds "I think we have a good plan to try to combat that team speed."

 

If they do, they'll need it to work for the entire game – not just for the first 51 minutes. Because against an offense as speedy as the Eagles, the Giants know things can fall apart fast.

 

"You can never relax with the Philadelphia Eagles," Fewell says. "Never relax. Really. Never relax."

 

 

 

 

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/2011/09/24/2011-09-24_ny_giants_bangedup_defense_has_tough_task_with_philadelphia_eagles_qb_michael_vi.html#ixzz1YxckaX9p

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GIANTS AT EAGLES,

at LINCOLN FINANCIAL FIELD, 1 p.m.

VITALS

 

LINE: Eagles by 7 1/2

 

TV: Ch. 5 (Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa).

 

RADIO: WFAN-660 AM (Bob Papa, Carl Banks), Nationwide on Westwood One (Howard David, Tony Boselli)

FEATURE MATCHUPS

 

RBs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs vs. and Jamar Chaney and the Eagle LBs: The Giants' only way to stay in this game is to hit the Eagles' weakness head-on and Big Blue has that capability with their running game. The Eagles rank 30th against the run with their inexperienced linebackers giving yards up the middle, and have moved Chaney inside for rookie Casey Matthews. Jacobs is an obvious matchup problem between the tackles but Bradshaw's cutback ability will come into play if the Eagles remain so undisciplined.

 

 

INJURY IMPACT

 

It looks like Michael Vick will play after suffering a concussion in Atlanta with Mike Kafka in the wings. Mario Manningham likely won't be cleared to play after his concussion and with Domenik Hixon out for the year, the Giants are short at WR, with just-signed Brandon Stokley most likely getting the start. TE Travis Beckum could be activated this week. DE Osi Umenyiora hasn't ruled out a return against the hated Eagles, but he's more than likely a week or two away.

 

 

SCOUT SAYS

 

"The Giants are going to be bringing a corner or safety often against Vick and leave one safety deep. That's what they did last year (Antrel Rolle, especially) when Vick completed just over 40% of his passes (13-of-31) against the blitz. They just can't afford to sit back in zone coverage. But that's also playing with fire because it just takes one shot downfield. Eli (Manning) has to be both smart and patient and take the underneath stuff, attacking the Eagle backers, then safeties. He could sure use something out of his tight ends. They'll also have to account for (DE) Trent Cole and his wide sets. He's been a beast so far."

 

 

INTANGIBLES

 

The Giants are vowing revenge for that 31-10 lead they blew last year, which amounted to the Eagles' sixth straight win in the series. It's not that the Eagles have dominated every game but they just find that way to win. If anything, this is the biggest advantage they've had on paper since the streak began. It's the Eagles' home opener and their fans first look at their "Dream Team" with eight starters new to the rivalry. It's not likely the Giants are going to take the fans out of the game no matter what they do.

 

 

PREDICTION

 

EAGLES 31-21: Who's going to cover these guys? - Hank Gola

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Justin Tuck a symbol of NY Giants' toughness as players battle through injury

 

Tim Smith

 

Thursday, September 29th 2011, 12:00 AM

 

 

Before practice Wednesday, defensive end Justin Tuck (groin and neck) rode a stationary bike, rookie cornerback Prince Amukamara (foot) did some running on the side, receiver Mario Manningham (concussion) ran routes and caught passes and defensive end Osi Umenyiora (knee) worked in drills.

 

They are the Giants' walking wounded with the prospects of being on the field soon. There are nine other players on injured reserve, giving Big Blue as much knowledge about playing with injuries as any team in the NFL right now.

 

For Tuck, a team leader who can single-handedly alter the course of a game, playing with a lingering neck injury and now a groin injury is the order of the day. He played last week against the Eagles. On a team that has been beset by injuries since the start of training camp, Tuck is an inspiration to his teammates and a symbol of the Giants' toughness.

 

"When you talk about neck or shoulder injuries you take your hat off to a guy who will stick it out with that," said linebacker Michael Boley. "Obviously he knows his body and he knows what it can take. But it says something that he's willing to put it on the line for us, his teammates."

 

No one knows what long-term price Tuck will play for playing with such injuries, but the immediacy of winning appears to outweigh it. It is the strongest message the Giants can send - they are bloodied, but unbowed.

 

The Giants are 2-1 and heading to Arizona with the thought that they can weather almost any adversity that comes their way, particularly with some of their reserves coming through in place of the injured players.

 

"Hopefully it provides us with more players (in the future)," Tom Coughlin said, regarding the backups stepping up. "More players with confidence that they can perform in big games under that kind of scrutiny and perform well."

 

That is the best-case scenario for the Giants in a season that has begun under a cloud of misery. Dealing with injuries and the mentality of toughness it takes to play with injuries has become as much a part of the Giants playbook as run formations and blocking schemes.

 

Ray Lucas, a former Jets and Dolphins quarterback who is an analyst on the SNY program "Jets Nation," said athletes don't concern themselves with the consequences of long-term injuries in the heat of the moment.

 

"I was playing for Miami and I separated my shoulder against Buffalo," Lucas said. "I ran into the locker room and the doctor looked at it and said it was bad. Someone with the team, and I won't say who, said we really need you to go. The doctor said he could give me shots in the shoulder and I could go back in. I took the three shots in the shoulder and I threw four picks in the second half. That was a case where I wasn't thinking for myself. I wanted to play."

 

Lucas has had surgery to repair damage to his neck and has gone through rehab to kick an addiction to painkillers. But those were not thoughts that occupied his mind when he was playing hurt.

 

"When you're playing, it's a family," he said. "You'll do almost anything for those 10 guys standing around you. You don't want to let anybody down. You take the reps during the week and if you can walk you're going to be out there come game time."

 

That is the message that Tuck got from Michael Strahan, former Giants standout defensive end and now Fox Network football studio analyst. Strahan told Tuck in a Tweet last week that unless he was missing a limb he needed to be on the field every time the Eagles were at the 40-yard line.

 

Chris Canty, Tuck's defensive line mate, said playing with injuries is self-imposed pressure, but it builds currency with teammates.

 

"You don't want to leave your guys out to dry, but you have to be smart," he said. "There is the business side of things so you have to be cognizant of that, too. At the end of the day you do it because you love it and you do it for your teammates."

 

While Canty said no one doubts whether any of their teammates are dogging it with regard to injuries, perceptions form throughout the NFL. When Bears quarterback Jay Cutler took himself out of the NFC Championship Game with a leg injury last season he was ripped for being soft, even though a bad leg would have left him as a sitting duck for pass rushers.

 

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo suffered a fractured rib and a punctured lung against San Francisco on Sept. 18 and played on Monday night against the Redskins. Romo's esteem as a player rose tremendously throughout the league.

 

"I'm not going to sit here and say now that makes him tough. We're all tough or we wouldn't be sitting here," Boley said.

 

 

 

 

 

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/2011/09/28/2011-09-28_as_giant_motivation_tuck_hurts_so_good.html#ixzz1ZLc4M46e

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Eli Manning's patience pays off as NY Giants offense hits stride despite shifting parts and youth

 

BY Ralph Vacchiano

DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

 

Wednesday, September 28th 2011, 11:39 PM

 

 

Eli Manning understood why everyone was in such a panic this summer. He knew the offense was struggling and that most of the worries were about him.

 

He also knew something else - that eventually he'd be fine.

 

"Yeah, you just know as a quarterback, you're still finding out what your best personnel is, what's the best thing that's going to work for us, what's going to be our best way for finding completions," Manning said. "Sometimes it takes a little longer or you've got to work at it."

 

That patience is a trait Manning has always had, and it's one that looks like may have paid off again after his slow start to the season. He certainly seemed to shake off his summer doldrums with an excellent performance in Philadelphia on Sunday, going 16-for-23 for 254 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions - good enough for his first NFC Offensive Player of the Week award in five years.

 

Since starting 2-for-11 in a win over the St. Louis Rams the previous week, Manning has completed 32 of 41 passes (78%) for 435 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions - good for a passer rating of 150.4 over 6-1/2 quarters.

 

But as he prepares for this Sunday's game in Arizona, he doesn't agree that he's finally found his groove, even though he appears to be in one.

 

"I always feel good," he said. "I always feel confident in what we're doing. No matter if at first you have a few incompletions or something happens, I always feel 'Hey, this series, this will be the one where I can complete every pass.' "

 

Why did it take until nearly midway through the second game of the season for that to start happening? The easy answer has to do with all the turnover and unfamiliar faces. Early in training camp, Manning lost two of his favorite targets to free agency - receiver Steve Smith and tight end Kevin Boss - and thanks to the lockout there was no offseason for him to work in the new faces.

 

He is without two other familiar faces due to injuries - Domenik Hixon, out for the season with a torn ACL, and Ramses Barden, out until at least Week 7 while recovering from ankle surgery. Tight end Travis Beckum missed the first two weeks with a hamstring injury, too.

 

That forced Manning to develop chemistry quickly with receiver Victor Cruz (who had three catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns in Philadelphia on Sunday) and tight end Jake Ballard, while also working in newly signed receiver Brandon Stokley as fast as possible.

 

Given all that, maybe a slow start by the quarterback shouldn't have come as such a surprise.

 

"I'd say there was some caution in there based on perhaps the new people around him and how they were going to react to what he thought they were going to do and what they did," Tom Coughlin said. "That takes time."

 

Said Manning: "When you lose guys and you've got new guys stepping in, there is some of that where it might just take a little bit to get into a rhythm. I think we've gotten better every game. We've just got to keep taking strides. We're not exactly where we need to be."

 

They're closer, though, and so is Manning. He is "building confidence" in his new-look receiving corps. His hope is that for all of them, this recent hot streak is just the start.

 

"We have young guys and new guys doing it, but they're making improvements," Manning said. "We're getting better as an offense every week and that's got to be our goal."

 

 

 

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/2011/09/28/2011-09-28_eli_feels_complete.html#ixzz1ZLcYtJcV

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NY Giants have been living on the edge, but vs. Seattle Seahawks, they finally go over it

 

Tim Smith

 

Monday, October 10th 2011, 4:00 AM

 

 

The Giants had become New York's own Cirque du Soleil football team the last three weeks. They perform on a high wire without a net. They have jugglers who bounce balls between defenders and run for touchdowns when they're not making catches off their fingertips. They have contortionists on defense who twist and turn and get to the opposing quarterback.

 

But mostly the Giants (3-2) had proven to be great fourth-quarter escape artists in comeback wins at Philadelphia and Arizona. And it looked like their fourth-quarter sleight of hand was going to work for a third week in a row against the Seahawks. But this time Seattle (2-3) got the late bounces and pulled off its own brand of fourth-quarter magic to defeat the Giants, 36-25, before a stunned crowd of 78,650 at MetLife Stadium Sunday.

 

"You know in the NFL that you have to play well if you expect to win," said Eli Manning. "You can't play mediocre or make mistakes. We can't afford to be down and keep coming back. Eventually that's going to bite you and that's what happened today."

 

 

With a brutal schedule looming in the second half of the season, the Giants can no longer live on the edge. They're not good enough to overcome five turnovers - not many NFL teams are - even against a marginally good opponent like Seattle.

 

Truth is, the Giants haven't played well in the last three weeks. The faults on offense - lack of a consistent rushing attack and ineffectiveness on third down - have been obscured by fourth-quarter pyrotechnics and the emergence of Victor Cruz, who caught 11 passes for 161 yards and one spectacular juggling 68-yard TD catch between two defenders in the fourth quarter Sunday.

 

Manning, who had been the ringleader to the comebacks, flamed out against the Seahawks. He offset his three TD passes with a lost fumble and three interceptions - though the big one, which was returned 94 yards by Seattle cornerback Brandon Browner for the game-clinching touchdown, wasn't really his fault. It was tipped by Cruz and bounced into Browner's hands along the right sideline.

 

And just like that, the Giants' fourth-quarter fortunes turned. Before that they had a first-and-goal at the 5 going in for the go-ahead TD before a false-start penalty backed them up to the 10.

 

Two plays highlighted their problems Sunday: D.J. Ware got tackled in the end zone for a safety on a blown blocking assignment in the third quarter, and the defense let up after Osi Umenyiora was flagged for being offsides, allowing Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin to run free in the secondary and score the go-ahead TD on a 27-yard pass play. Umenyiora and safety Antrelle Rolle said they heard a whistle, but they've been taught to keep playing on a defensive penalty. "This is about as miserable a feeling as we've had around here in a long time," Tom Coughlin said.

 

It was a major letdown, considering the Giants were back home after being on the road for the last two weeks and riding a three-game win streak. "It is embarrassing as good as we have been playing the last couple of weeks to come out here and lay an egg," said DE Dave Tollefson.

 

Coughlin took the blame for the loss and because of the team's poor performance he said the Giants didn't deserve to win. He also called the loss an "aberration" rather than a step backwards because he believes the Giants have the talent and skill to win. They certainly should have beaten the Seahawks, who normally get their wings clipped when they fly east.

 

Coughlin has been searching for that elusive 60 minutes of football from all phases of his team. It might not be in the Giants' DNA. The offense doesn't attack with the same purpose and ferocity as the defense - until the fourth quarter. The Giants' backs must be firmly planted against the wall with no visible means of escape possible before the offense decides to play with any intensity. But you can only play MacGyver on offense for so long, as the Giants discovered Sunday.

 

The Giants should consider doing what Seattle did Sunday - open in the no-huddle to get the offense jump-started. It would help get the offense in a quicker rhythm and possibly knock an opponent on its heels. The downside of that is if you flame out too many times, your defense will be burnt to a crisp by the fourth quarter.

 

With a defensive front as deeply talented as the Giants, it's worth a shot. It was the defense that kept Big Blue within striking distance, registering six sacks and three turnovers - until, that is, they let Charlie Whitehurst drive the Seahawks down the field for the go-ahead score. In the end the Giants could not absorb their own mistakes and pull out another fourth-quarter comeback. Now that they know they can't keep living on the edge, maybe they will fix the problems that put them there in the first place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/2011/10/10/2011-10-10_no_escape_this_time.html#ixzz1aN0UNH4k

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Antonio Pierce calls out injured Giants

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By Ohm Youngmisuk

ESPNNewYork.com

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Antonio Pierce believes that the New York Giants need their injured players back on the field.

 

And the former Giants defensive captain says that Justin Tuck and Brandon Jacobs should not be on the sideline unless their injuries require surgery.

 

 

"The Giants need their guys out there," Pierce said on "Mike & Mike in the Morning." "Justin Tuck, Brandon Jacobs ... they (the Giants) already have enough injuries but how long can you go throughout the NFL season without some of your top players?"

 

"To me if you don't have an injury that needs surgery, or that's severe, you need to be out there," added Pierce, who is now an ESPN NFL analyst. "I don't really know and I don't want to question guys but if you are one of the leaders on the team, which Brandon Jacobs and Justin Tuck are, and you say you know what, the Seattle Seahawks, maybe we don't need to play this game and you miss out, that is what's going to come back to bite you in the tail."

 

When told that Pierce said Tuck should be on the field if he doesn't need surgery, Tuck said his former teammate can call him to discuss the matter.

 

"Tell Antonio he knows my cell phone number, if he has anything to say about me, about how I play the game," said Tuck, who ended his interview session with reporters after the comment.

 

Tuck missed his second straight game on Sunday with pain in his neck lingering from an injury he suffered during the preseason and a strained groin. Jacobs missed the game with what a source says is a sprained MCL.

 

Pierce tweeted later Monday: "Love ya @JustinTuckNYG91 ... Get your a-- on the field .. You know how it's done!!! #Captain."

 

Without the two, the Giants were stunned by the Seahawks, 36-25, and had a three-game winning streak snapped.

 

Tuck did not want to field any questions about his injuries. The defensive end said last week that he has contemplated shutting it down until after the bye week which comes after this Sunday's game against Buffalo. He also tried practicing with new equipment, using different shoulder pads and a new facemask to help with his neck pain and prevent opposing linemen from going after his injury.

 

 

Speaking on his weekly appearance on WFAN radio, Tuck said he voiced his displeasure to Pierce and now "it is water under the bridge."

 

"In a way he's right, in another way he's wrong," Tuck said. "I'm the captain, I need to be on the football field. (Where) he's wrong is that I can't be on it where I can help this football (team) right now. I understand what he said as far as they need my leadership and things of that nature on the football field."

 

"(But) maybe he should check his facts about what my injuries are," Tuck continued on his Monday chat with WFAN's Mike Francesa.

 

Without specifying whether the neck or groin injury is more serious, Tuck said he can make his situation worse by playing.

 

"I definitely can make it worse, it is something that is very tricky and we are trying to play a fine line with it," Tuck said during the radio interview. "Does it require surgery? To what Antonio said, right now, it doesn't. But if I go out there before I should go, it could lead down that road and that is something we are trying to avoid."

 

When asked why Pierce thinks Tuck can play through his injuries, the defensive end replied, "I don't know. I can definitely remember him missing some football games. I think when people say, well it doesn't require surgery, it can't be that serious. Well, we will see."

 

Coach Tom Coughlin said that Tuck suffered a setback last Thursday in practice with his groin and was held out of practice after that.

 

"He says he feels a little bit better today," Coughlin said Monday.

 

Coughlin, though, added that the Giants need to see Tuck out on the field running before gauging his availability to play. Jacobs' status will likely be updated on Wednesday when the team practices.

 

"You got to play every one, every one is important," Pierce said. "You can't say we are going to go into a bye, we are going to take it easy."

 

Tuck shot down the notion that he did not play on Sunday because the Giants were expected to be able to beat the Seahawks without him.

 

"I have played many games hurt and we didn't probably stand to gain or lose anything," Tuck said. "When I am able to play and help this football team out again, I am going to be on the football field regardless if we are playing the Christian Blind school, it doesn't matter."

 

Earlier this season during the Giants' 29-16 win at Philadelphia, Tuck had to briefly leave the game due to his neck injury. Former teammate Michael Strahan, now an analyst on FOX, tweeted during that game that the Giants needed Tuck on the field.

 

"I luv u @JustinTuckNYG91 but unless u R missing a limb U need 2 B in ths game," Strahan tweeted. "Everytime the Eagles R inside Giants 40 u need 2 B out thr."

 

Tuck and Strahan talked afterward and everything appeared to be smoothed over.

 

"Being someone who has been on IR multiple times, I mean, you can't comment on someone else's injury, that's just something that I wouldn't do," linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka said when told of Pierce's comments. "I feel like health-wise (Tuck) needs to do what is best for him and his family to protect himself and make sure he can play going forward and come back at full strength."

 

"Maybe other guys would've gone out there in the condition that he's in, but you can't sit there from the outside and say he should be out there because you're not in his body," he added.

 

Tuck says he and Pierce are fine and still good friends.

 

"It was no argument," Tuck said. "Me and Antonio will be good friends and we will always be good friends. A lot of people are going to look at this and think they are beefing and fighting. It is nothing like that. At the end of the day, I know A.P. and I know where he is coming from. He just wants to see myself and the Giants succeed and it is nothing but love between us two. It really isn't that big of a deal."

 

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.c

 

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http://espn.go.com/new-york/nfl/story/_/id/7085246/ex-new-york-giant-antonio-pierce-calls-injured-justin-tuck-brandon-jacobs

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Despite victory, Giants defense gave up too many big plays to Buffalo Bills, like Fred Jackson's run

 

BY Ebenezer Samuel

DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRTER

 

Tuesday, October 18th 2011, 4:00 AM

 

 

Let's talk about an 80-yard rushing touchdown by Fred Jackson.

 

Ask linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka about the Giants' defensive performance in Sunday's 27-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills, and he will point to that first-quarter breakdown - and wideout Naaman Roosevelt's 60-yard catch-and-run TD later in the period - as reason for the team to focus on run defense during the off week.

 

"It is always disappointing (to give up big plays)," he said. "It is not necessarily a big surprise, because those things are going to happen. But it is our job to minimize them . . . obviously we have to stop the big plays, and that will be the thing that we focus on during the bye week."

 

The defense did improve after its early mistakes, holding the Bills to just 10 points after the first quarter and limiting the explosive Jackson to 3.5 yards per carry after his big run. But to Tom Coughlin, that was little consolation. The coach said Jackson's big run occurred because of "an alignment issue" and that the Giants must be more disciplined.

 

"It all started at the line of scrimmage with an error," Coughlin said. "A gap responsibility was not fulfilled."

 

Coughlin said the Giants' woeful third-down conversion rate will be another point of emphasis. Big Blue went 5-for-11 on third down on Sunday, but for the season, the team has converted just 27.3% of their opportunities, ranking 27th in the NFL.

NICKS CLICKS

With 508 receiving yards in six games, Hakeem Nicks is off to the best start of his three-year career, and he is on pace to finish with 1,354 yards. That would break Amani Toomer's nine-year-old single-season team record of 1,343.

 

And the wideout would like to thank his teammates for making it possible. Early in the season, Nicks drew safety help wherever he roamed. But the Bills left him "one-on-one a lot," he says, which allowed him to draw several pass interference calls and rack up 96 receiving yards.

 

He said opponents can't focus on him because of the emergence of Victor Cruz and tight end Jake Ballard.

 

"The guys, everyone had a chance to make plays (Sunday)," he said. "And that's what we need. Everybody needs to contribute."

 

SAFETY ZONE

Coughlin said safety Kenny Phillips, who took a cleat to the ribs on Sunday, was "fine." . . . Guess who's back? The Giants re-signed QB Ryan Perrilloux to the practice squad. He replaces DT Dwayne Hendricks, who was elevated to the 53-man roster Saturday

 

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/2011/10/18/2011-10-18_despite_victory_giants_defense_gave_up_too_many_big_plays_to_buffalo_bills_like_.html

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Tom Coughlin sells NY Giants on Sunday's game amid Miami Dolphins' 'Suck for Andrew Luck' campaign

 

BY Ralph Vacchiano

DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

 

Thursday, October 27th 2011, 4:00 AM

 

 

The sales job couldn’t have been easy, but Tom Coughlin sure was trying. He told his team how many games the Miami Dolphins have almost won this season. He trumpeted their lack of penalties. He said they were a good road team - in 2010.

 

Coughlin did stop before he reminded everyone that the Dolphins were also undefeated in 1972, mostly because he wasn’t trying to be funny. He wants to be sure that his Giants are taking the 0-6 Dolphins seriously this week.

 

“‘Respect all and fear none’ is the approach we take,” Coughlin said. “What we are trying to do is be concerned with our team and making sure that our team takes our execution to another level. We want to eliminate any lull in our play.”

 

That won’t be easy against one of the worst teams in the NFL, led by a coach – Tony Sparano – who has a job only because Dolphins owner Steven Ross was unable to hire then-Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh last winter. He almost certainly won’t have a job next season, and the Dolphins will likely have a new quarterback, too.

 

In fact, unimpressed by starter Matt Moore, many Dolphins fans have already embraced the “Suck for Luck” campaign – hoping and imploring their team to tank the season so it can get Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft.

 

That hasn’t exactly created an environment for success, and the Dolphins have lived down to the expectations. They are averaging just 15 points per game (30th in the NFL) while giving up 24.3 (22nd). They have seven total touchdowns, including just two rushing. Moore, who replaced the injured Chad Henne, has thrown one touchdown pass (and three interceptions) in three games. Their turnover ratio is minus-7.

 

Yet even with the New England Patriots looming on the Giants’ schedule just 10 days from now, Coughlin’s message about Miami appears to have been received.

 

“They could easily have several wins,” said quarterback Eli Manning. “Little things have prevented them from winning some tight games. A lot of them have come down to the wire. They’ve played teams tight. They’ve played hard. They have a lot of talent.

 

“A lot of teams have had trouble with them.”

 

That’s true. In fact, the Dolphins almost beat the now 2-4 Denver Broncos last Sunday. They even led, 15-0, with less than three minutes remaining. But then they became the first team since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to blow a 15-point lead in the final three minutes, and they lost to Tim Tebow and the Broncos in overtime, 18-15.

 

The Dolphins also almost beat the 3-3 Cleveland Browns on Sept. 25 (losing 17-16) ... and the Browns beat the Seattle Seahawks, 6-3, last Sunday ... and the Seahawks beat the Giants, 36-25, three weeks ago at the Meadowlands.

 

So, you know, there’s that.

 

“We don’t think about any of that,” said safety Deon Grant. “We look at it like they’re coming to win a ballgame. I ain’t never played a team with a bad record that didn’t come to play.”

 

In the end, that may be the biggest reason for the Giants to pay attention to the Dolphins – something the Giants learned when they played an 0-7 Dolphins team in London in 2007 and walked away with a narrow, 13-10 win.

 

They are dangerous because they are winless, which makes them desperate.

 

And while the six-game slide to start the season may have taken its toll on the Dolphins, Coughlin reminded his players that “it only takes one spark.”

 

“Anybody can win,” said cornerback Corey Webster. “They haven’t put it together yet, but that doesn’t say that they’re not going to be prepared and put their best foot forward.”

 

 

 

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Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/2011/10/27/2011-10-27_tom_coughlin_sells_ny_giants_on_sundays_game_amid_miami_dolphins_suck_for_andrew.html#ixzz1c3thmjQc

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NY Giants barely beat Miami Dolphins, must play better against New England Patriots

 

 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

 

Sunday, October 30 2011, 10:03 PM

 

 

The Giants nearly ruined their Super Bowl reunion with the Patriots next Sunday by playing down to the sorry level of the winless Dolphins, who continue to Suck For Luck.

 

There was the typical postgame buzz that you always find in the winning locker room. The idea each week is to survive and move on, even if it’s against the winless Dolphins, who can’t get out of their own way, even if the Giants were so lethargic and disinterested that their loyal fans were booing after Miami scored TDs on its first two possessions and the receivers were making Eli Manning work too hard by dropping at least four of his passes.

 

“We came in here wanting to be 5-2 and we are 5-2,” Tom Coughlin said.

 

 

 

That’s about the only good that comes out of the 20-17 victory Sunday.

 

Now they get Tom Brady and the Patriots in Foxborough.

 

Brady has won 31 straight regular-season home games - the last one he lost was to Brett Favre and the Jets in 2008 - but if the Giants play like they did against the Dolphins, they are going to get blown out. Especially with the Patriots likely to be cranky after losing in Pittsburgh Sunday.

 

Coughlin should make sure he shows his players lots of tape of the Giants’ 17-14 victory in Super Bowl XL II. Although only 14 Giants who were on the active roster for the Super Bowl played yesterday, the formula must be the same: The pass rushers have to get in Brady’s face and knock him around. That’s what Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck did in the Super Bowl and that’s what Tuck, Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul must do next Sunday.

 

Brady was sacked five times in the Super Bowl and lost a fumble. Tuck said after Sunday’s game that the Giants had Brady rattled.

 

“Yeah, I think so,” Tuck said. “I think we did probably the best job of getting to him as far as any team has probably done in his career. That’s what it’s going to take next week because everyone knows how good Brady is. Everybody knows if you allow him to sit back there, he’s going to throw for 500 on you.”

 

No doubt Brady was rattled in the Super Bowl, Tuck said, but it wasn’t like he was ducking and chucking. “I think Brady is one of the tougher quarterbacks we have ever faced,” Tuck said. “We hit him a lot in that game. He kept standing in there.”

 

That game was a long time ago, but it’s sure to be a big topic in both locker rooms this week. “That’s years ago now,” guard Chris Snee said. “We’re looking to just go up there and play. They are a different football team. We are a different football team. I don’t think anyone is going to reminisce about it.”

 

Of course, it has no impact on what will happennext week , other than the Giants develop ing a blueprint for the rest of the NFL on how to beat Brady. Even the great ones don’t like pressure.

 

With the tough six-game stretch that starts next week, the Giants are not going to be staying in first place in the NFC East when they come up for air if they don’t play on a different level than they did against Miami. “Clearly, we have to play better,” Snee said.

 

In the next six games, the Giants must stop Brady, Aaron Rogers and Drew Brees, the three best quarterbacks in the NFL, and also deal with Michael Vick and Tony Romo. They also have to play the 49ers, who have lost just once. Coughlin didn’t want to think about it.

 

“Let’s just enjoy this one first,” he said. “One game at a time.”

 

The Giants fell behind the Dolphins 14-3 and although they waited until 5:58 was left in the game to score the game-winner on Victor Cruz’s 25-yard touchdown catch — their first lead of the game — the only mystery was how the Dolphins were going to find a way to lose another one, not if they were going to lose. The Giants’ pass rush picked up four of its five sacks on the Dolphins’ final two possessions after Cruz’s catch.

 

The Giants talked up the Dolphins last week and they had nice things to say about them after the game. Tuck even called them a “talented football team.” Maybe the Giants were just trying to rationalize waiting to turn it on and put them away.

 

T hat’s not going to work over the next six weeks. Coughlin is not going to go for it on fourth-and-9 from the Miami 34 on the first possession of the game against teams like the Patriots. It didn’t work when Manning threw incomplete and then the Dolphins went 66 yards the other way for their first TD. He won’t be giving a relatively short field to Brady. He will punt in that spot and try to make him drive 90 yards instead of 66.

 

“Obviously, we can play better,” Tuck said. “We are just going to continue to mosey along and hopefully we can continue to get some wins. Our schedule gets tough with a big game up in New England next week. We ll see where we are real soon.

 

They will be in Foxborough, where Tuck and Umenyiora need to have a nostalgic Super Bowl reunion and meet right in Brady s face.

 

 

 

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/ny-giants-barely-beat-miami-dolphins-play-better-england-patriots-article-1.969543#ixzz1cLiVCA5C

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This might be the last shot for NY Giants running back Brandon Jacobs when he faces New England Patriots

Brandon Jacobs might not get many more chances to prove himself

 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

 

Originally Published: Friday, November 4 2011, 1:12 AM

Updated: Friday, November 4 2011, 1:12 AM

 

 

The Giants' Brandon Jacobs figures to get more playing time on Sunday because of Ahmad Bradshaw's foot injury.

 

The biggest man in the Giants’ backfield has been mostly a big noisemaker the last 2 1/2 years. He has cursed out fans and reporters, thrown his helmet into the stands, complained often about his role and whined that his days with the Giants were numbered.

 

Throughout all that discontent, Brandon Jacobs’ one common theme has been the familiar line he gave a magazine last week:

 

“I just can’t wait to get a true opportunity to get out there and show myself again,” Jacobs said.

 

Well guess what, big guy? Your opportunity is here, and if you’re not careful, this chance to fill in for the injured Ahmad Bradshaw might turn out to be your last chance in the league.

 

“What would be better than the opportunity he’s going to get now?” said Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. “He’s been clamoring for a chance.

 

“This is an opportunity. You want to show what you can do,” Gilbride continued. “I’m looking forward to seeing the way he plays. I think he’s going to respond very well. I’m excited about seeing him play.”

 

It’s been years since we’ve seen the real Jacobs — or at least what he keeps telling us is the real Jacobs. He used to be a dangerous, 6-4, 260-pound running back with 4.4 speed, one who recorded consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in 2007-08. But injuries took their toll, as everyone always seemed to know they would. He had knee surgery after the 2009 season and was forced to take a $1.75 million pay cut just to remain with the Giants this year.

 

His decline has been startling: he has just two 100-yard performances in his last 36 games. He is almost certain to be cut in March before a $500,000 roster bonus kicks in (not to mention a $4.4 million salary in 2012).

 

Jacobs, 29, has always been an angry young man, but with him now on pace for just 352 yards this season (42 carries, 126 yards so far), he looks more like an attitude problem, too.

 

If he blows this opportunity now, no matter how long it lasts, who is going to take a chance on a mouthy, aging, injury-prone back with a knack for creating negative headlines? Running backs are expendable in the NFL. Yes, Jacobs vowed earlier this week to “turn it around” with a new attitude after the latest in a string of heart-to-heart talks with family members and friends. But if that doesn’t translate into actual production, the entire league will see he’s more trouble than he’s worth.

 

He at least has this chance, however. Even Gilbride, who certainly appeared to have grown tired of Jacobs’ whining, isn’t dismissing the possibility that the veteran can return to the form that made him a No. 1 back in the past.

 

“We hope so,” Gilbride said. “We’ll see. I go by what I see, not the conversation. But I think during the past he’s been a physical guy. He’s been a physical blocker. He needs to do that Sunday or we’re not going to have much of a chance. I think he will.”

 

Jacobs, for what it’s worth, wasn’t in a chatty mood on Thursday, especially not after he had a conversation with Tom Coughlin, who gave him some much-needed advice on how to deal with the media. For a change, he didn’t sound angry or upset, nor did he talk about what he had previously called his “aggravating” and “frustrating” situation.

 

He simply conceded, “It looks like I will get my opportunity to play more,” adding, “I just want to go out there and help the team as much as I can.”

 

He can do that by making some noise — on the field, for a change. He says he is healthy now, and after averaging only 8.4 carries per game this season, he is certainly fresh. He’ll likely get the majority of the workload in the running game on Sunday, whether Bradshaw is available or not.

 

So here is Jacobs’ opportunity, the one for which he has been lobbying, for what has seemed like an eternity. If he wants to play “three more years,” like he insisted last week, then this is his shot — his only shot — to make it happen.

 

 

 

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/shot-ny-giants-running-back-brandon-jacobs-faces-england-patriots-article-1.972114#ixzz1cij8rRrg

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Everything is on Eli Manning if NY Giants have a chance to beat Tom Brady and New England Patriots

 

 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

 

Originally Published: Saturday, November 5 2011, 8:30 PM

Updated: Saturday, November 5 2011, 8:30 PM

 

 

In order for the Giants to beat the Patriots, Eli Manning (c.) needs to call all the right shots.

 

David Tyree won’t be there to make a spectacular helmet catch, which turned out to be the last reception of his career. Steve Smith is in Philadelphia waiting for his turn on the poorly named Dream Team. Amani Toomer is retired and Plaxico Burress is busy catching 3-yard touchdowns — and not much else — for the Jets.

 

All of Eli Manning’s friends who caught passes on the dramatic Super Bowl drive that beat the Patriots are gone.

 

And with Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw not making the trip for for Sunday’s game in New England, in a quasi Super Bowl rematch, it’s safe to say:

 

It’s all on Eli.

 

Manning declared this summer that he was in Brady’s class. The Giants need him to be right to have a shot at winning this game. It’s not hard to figure out the game plan: the Giants have the No. 3-ranked quarterback in the NFL, who is on pace to throw for nearly 5,000 yards, and he will be going against the No. 32 ranked pass defense, which is giving up 323 yards per game.

 

Besides, the Pats have the No. 9 rush defense and the Giants are No. 28 running the ball — and that’s when Bradshaw was healthy. Manning is not only the face of the Giants’ storied franchise, but there’s more of a burden on him to be in Brady’s class than at any point in his eight-year career, other than the incredible four-game Super Bowl run of 2007.

 

Once he finishes playing against Brady this week and the 49ers next week, he can look forward to playing Michael Vick, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers in consecutive games.

 

The Giants don’t need Manning just to be efficient. They don’t need him just to manage the game. They need him to be great.

 

He’s a better player than he was in 2007, but it’s going to be hard for him to play any better than he did in those three playoff games and the Super Bowl.

 

“Eli’s done a tremendous job,” guard David Diehl said. “He’s a true professional. He does so much for our offense that I don’t think he gets credit for, he doesn’t get the recognition that he deserves. He’s just playing great football for us. For us, being guys that are around him all the time, it’s no surprise.”

 

He’s had to adjust to a new supporting cast over the last four years. Manning will still have Brandon Jacobs in the backfield and Jacobs did have a crucial 2-yard run on fourth-and-1 to the Giants’ 39 with 1:38 left that kept the Super Bowl dream alive. But he’s a declining player whose mouth has been producing more than his legs the last few years. If Bradshaw doesn’t play or is limited, then Jacobs gets the ball and it’s time for him to prove he’s been deserving of more carries.

 

But tight end Kevin Boss, who had a crucial 45-yard catch early in the fourth quarter to set up the first touchdown, is with the Raiders. And Bradshaw, who was the Giants leading rusher in the Super Bowl as Jacobs’ backup and is now the starter, broke a bone in his right foot last week and won’t play in Sunday’s game against the Patriots.

 

So, it’s all on Eli in New England. Who can blame him for feeling a little lonely, especially with Nicks, his No. 1 deep threat, unable to play after suffering a hamstring injury last week.

 

The Giants begin a brutal nine-game sprint to January with a 5-2 record and a two-game lead in the NFC East over the Cowboys, Eagles and Redskins, all underachieving at 3-4. But the Giants, in Tom Coughlin’s eight seasons, have been 5-2 seven times and 6-1 once. They’ve made the playoffs four times. They were 4-0 in the 2007 playoffs and one and done the other three years.

 

If Eli is truly elite, then he needs to play as well if not better over the last nine games against superior competition than he did over the first seven games against inferior competition.

 

“We know every game is important,” Manning said. “As you get later in the season, they all become big games. People start to fight for playoff spots and see where you stand in the division.”

 

Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are the three best quarterbacks in the NFL. Manning has to keep up with them for the Giants to have a chance in these games. He beat Brady the last time he faced him in the Super Bowl, but last year he lost to Rodgers 45-17 and two years ago, when the Giants were 5-0, they got blown out of the Superdome 48-17.

 

It’s not Manning’s fault the Giants gave up 93 points in those two games, but he did throw just three TDs and five INTs in those two games with QB ratings of just 61.2 against the Saints and 63.6 against the Packers. His QB rating in the Super Bowl was 87.3.

 

Burress is not around to catch 11 passes as he did in the NFC title game against the Packers and Tyree won’t be making any more helmet catch, so this it’s time for Manning to show if he’s really in Brady’s class.

 

 

 

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/eli-manning-ny-giants-a-chance-beat-tom-brady-england-patriots-article-1.972786#ixzz1cv3sh2nB

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Eli proves he belongs in 'elite' class

 

Alex Marvez

 

 

Updated Nov 7, 2011 8:37 AM ET

FOXBOROUGH, Mass.

 

Eli Manning isn’t the type of guy who will ever say, “I told you so.”

 

In this case, he doesn’t have to.

 

Manning’s biggest show of hubris during his seven-plus NFL seasons — a surprising preseason proclamation that he ranked among the league’s elite quarterbacks like New England’s Tom Brady — created intense debate that still lingered heading into Sunday’s game between his New York Giants and the Patriots. There were even numerous signs in the Gillette Stadium stands mocking Manning’s statement.

 

“I don’t make a habit of looking into the stands or reading their signs,” Manning said when asked about them. “If I did, I don’t think I would have thought they were the expert to make that decision.”

 

The media at Manning’s postgame press conference began to chuckle. Manning, though, is enjoying the last laugh.

 

He has settled the argument not through words but by backing his original claim through stellar on-field performance.

 

By orchestrating the game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter Sunday, Manning invoked memories of when he did the same in New York’s Super Bowl XLII upset of the Patriots in February 2008. Like when New York wide receiver David Tyree made what is known as “The Catch” in that championship contest, another improbable hero emerged Sunday when Manning connected with lumbering tight end Josh Ballard for a 28-yard reception on third-and-10 from the Giants’ 39-yard line. Ballard then invoked memories of Plaxico Burress — albeit with far less grace — by making a one-yard touchdown catch with 19 seconds remaining to give the Giants a 24-20 upset victory.

 

“We could have settled for a field goal,” said Manning, referring to the option of sending the game into overtime. “I’m glad we didn’t.”

 

Such a finish will add more fans to the Manning bandwagon. But in a season with other big name quarterbacks like Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers commanding the spotlight, it’s easy to forget that Manning was already playing at a top level before the Patriots game.

 

He entered the game leading the NFL in fourth-quarter passing. He has guided the Giants (6-2) atop the NFC East despite the uncharacteristic struggles that New York has experienced rushing the football. His passing numbers Sunday — 20 of 39 for 250 yards with two touchdowns and a critical third-quarter interception in the Patriots’ end zone — weren’t phenomenal. But he came through despite injuries that had sidelined New York’s top rusher (Ahmad Bradshaw), receiver (Hakeem Nicks) and starting center (David Baas).

 

 

In many ways, the victory simply reaffirmed what Manning’s teammates and coaches already knew.

 

“To me he’s better than [brady],” Giants running back Brandon Jacobs told the Bergen Record. “[brady] couldn’t get it done today. [Manning] got it done.”

 

Brady almost got it done, rebounding from three rough quarters to put New England in position to win. Brady’s 14-yard touchdown pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski gave the Patriots a 20-17 lead with 1:36 remaining.

 

Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said surrendering the score made him “about to throw up on myself.” But a shaky stomach wasn’t the reason he paid scant attention to Manning’s subsequent heroics from the sideline.

 

“It’s funny,” Tuck said. “Seeing Eli go up and down the field, we don’t even get nervous any more. It’s like we expect him to get a touchdown. I wasn’t even watching the game. I was talking about some plays we missed on defense.

 

“It was kind of like, ‘Damn, Eli is going to get them again.’”

 

 

Manning did just that — and silenced any remaining critics by outshining Brady again in their first head-to-head matchup since Super Bowl XLII.

 

“Call it what it is. He just beat probably the best quarterback in the league in his house,” Tuck said. “I wish you had an opportunity to ask those people who had those signs what they think about our quarterback now.”

 

Those Patriots fans would have to admit what Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said about Manning is true.

 

“He certainly has earned — and deservedly so — the respect that he’s getting,” Coughlin said.

 

 

Video included in link below

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/Eli-Manning-New-York-Giants-New-England-Patriots-proves-himself-110711

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Osi Umenyiora says NY Giants won't suffer repeat of past second-half collapses

Despite tough schedule, DE vows strong finish

 

BY Ralph Vacchiano

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

 

Tuesday, November 8 2011, 1:49 AM

 

They have been here many times before and they know all too well what happens next. Too often the Giants have finished the first half looking like one of the best teams in football. And then, too often, something goes wrong.

 

“We fold?” said Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora.

 

Yes, for the most part, at least in the Tom Coughlin Era, where the Giants have been 6-2 five times in his eight seasons as head coach. They are there again after their outstanding, 24-20 win in New England on Sunday, running Coughlin’s first-half record with the Giants to an impressive 47-17.

 

But almost all of those hot starts have been ruined in the second half of his previous seven seasons, when Coughlin’s record is a dismal 24-32. Sometimes the record hasn’t even told the whole story of the misery, such as last year when they were 4-4 over the final eight games, but that included their dramatic collapse against the Eagles that cost them the NFC East.

 

So yes, the Giants currently lead the NFC East by two games, and yes they are among the biggest surprises in the NFL. But are they just getting everyone’s hopes up again, setting the stage for another winter of disappointment?

 

“Not this time, man,” Umenyiora said. “We’ve been through that too many times. There’s going to be no collapses.”

 

Maybe he’s right this time, but many players have said that many times before. That’s why, less than an hour after the game was over on Sunday and the Giants’ wild post-game celebration had finally quieted down, Justin Tuck sat alone at his locker thinking about what’s coming up.

 

The Giants’ schedule doesn’t get any easier, starting this Sunday in San Francisco against the surprising 49ers (7-1), and continuing with games against the Eagles, Saints and Packers in the next month. Just based on that, a collapse seems possible.

 

That’s why Tuck had no desire to celebrate another successful first half.

 

“We’ve been down this road before, man,” he said. “We started 6-2 so many times, had a good start to the season and kind of collapsed. That’s getting old for me. We’d put some games together, then we’d fall apart. Whatever that reason is, we don’t know.”

 

There have been plenty of reasons over the years. In 2004, the Giants sank when they benched Kurt Warner and inserted then-rookie quarterback Eli Manning into the lineup and he finish 1-7. Manning’s struggles led to several difficult second halves in those early years, too. Injuries have played their part, especially in recent years. And Plaxico Burress’ self-inflicted gunshot wound, and the ensuing chaos, was a big reason a 7-1 start was ruined in 2008.

 

If there is any consistent thread in all the late fades, though, Coughlin wasn’t willing to share them. Instead, he said all he can do is keep reminding his players what he’s been telling them since training camp opened: “You have to finish,” he said. “That’s the point.”

 

“We continuously talk about that,” Coughlin added. “We will continue to (talk about it). The entire concept for us now is keeping both feet on the ground, dealing with praise as well as criticism, and understanding that if you’re going to have any success in this business then your preparation has to be exceptional.”

 

That sounds simple, and maybe it is.

 

“I don’t think there’s any magic potion or some spell we can throw out and it’ll all just be fixed,” Tuck said. “Our history has been start the season fast and kind of slump off at the end. So I think we’re all aware of the fact that no one remembers what you do in November or December. Nobody’s going to remember that when whoever is playing in the Super Bowl is playing.

 

“So we’re not going to get so caught up in the fact that we’re 6-2 and we just beat the Patriots. Yeah, it’s a great win and we’ll use this momentum heading into the next one. But my focus honestly moves to the 49ers.”

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Three-and-out: Giants, 49ers could paint NFC playoff picture

 

 

By Robert Klemko, USA TODAY

Updated 36m ago

 

A brief lookahead to Week 10's N.Y. Giants-San Francisco game:

 

1. This meeting of championship contenders could tell us which, if either team, will challenge the Packers in the NFC. The Giants (6-2) are fresh off a 24-20 victory over New England, in which Eli Manning threw for 250 yards and two scores and the defense forced three Tom Brady turnovers. San Francisco (7-1) has won six in a row and has the NFC West virtually locked up with a five-game lead.

 

2. The 49ers are rolling and getting it done with defense. They've scored just 64 points in their last three but held opponents to 40, limiting the Lions to their second-worst offensive day of the season (19 points). Patrick Willis and second-year linebacker NaVorro Bowman lead the NFL's stingiest run defense, which allows just 70.8 rushing yards per game. The Giants will be without RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), so Brandon Jacobs (18 carries, 72 yards vs. Patriots) faces the fire.

 

3. Matchup to watch -- Frank Gore vs. Giants Front 7: New York is highly susceptible to the run, giving up at least 98 yards to Reggie Bush, Fred Jackson and Mashawn Lynch in three games before the win over New England. Gore is playing some of the best football of his career, topping 100 yards rushing in each of their last five games. Getting Gore going can allow QB Alex Smith to settle into the comfortable game-manager mode in which he has thrived all season.

 

 

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/thehuddle/post/2011/11/three-and-out-giants-49ers-previer/1

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It not Tom Coughlin’s fault that Giants schedule is for the Birds

Giants wear down with Dallas in distance

 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

 

Monday, November 14 2011, 10:20 PM

 

 

 

 

The NFC East finally revealed itself Sunday for what it will become down the stretch - a delayed battle between two fabled franchises that won’t face each other for the first time this season until Dec. 11.

 

The Eagles are dead. Washington, as per usual, has become irrelevant. The Cowboys are revived, and the schedule is mischievous. It is really all about Dallas and the Giants now, marking time and place for three more weekends before the titans clash.

 

What was supposed to be a very tough game Sunday night at the Meadowlands against the Eagles is now little more than a should-win trap game for the Giants versus a staggering foe with an aching quarterback whose status is uncertain.

 

That is the big picture, anyway, which Tom Coughlin understandably and characteristically wishes to ignore.

 

“It is our schedule,” Coughlin said Monday about watching and waiting on the Cowboys. “That’s what’s been dictated to us. You waste a lot of time and thought in that thing. Nothing’s gonna change. Just go about your business. (The Eagles game on Sunday) is in our division and it’s a very big game.”

 

The Giants likely will win this game against the Eagles, if only because Eli Manning right now is playing on a different plane and planet than Michael Vick - and that was before Vick suffered two busted lower ribs early in the Cardinal debacle. Other than special teams, a chronic thorn in Coughlin’s side, the Giants can hold their heads aloft after very nearly knocking off San Francisco on the road. Their performance in defeat was considerably more admirable than the Jets’ desultory, decisive loss to the Pats.

 

“We left a game out in San Fran we thought we should have had,” Chris Snee said.

 

Coughlin was in no mood to dwell on any negatives or missed opportunities.

 

“Not that we played poorly, not that we da da da da,” Coughlin said. “We didn’t win the game. Does it have anything to do with the second half? No. Ball on the 10-yard line with a minute to play, I felt very good about that. Here we are again. This time it didn’t happen. We have a group of fighters. It doesn’t always go our way. Despite some errors, our effort is good.”

 

Manning’s pass was batted and the Giants lost. No biggie, except the Cowboys won and sliced the lead to a single game. And while the Giants face Philly, New Orleans and Green Bay over the next three weeks, Dallas has Washington, Miami and Arizona on the schedule.

 

With an advantage like that, it’s safe to say the Cowboys will be right there with the Giants, and possibly ahead, by the time they meet in Week 14 at Arlington. The Cowboys may shoot themselves in the cleats with regularity, but they are every bit as talented as the Giants.

 

By now, we know well the Giants’ admirable strengths and Achilles heel. The Giants pressure the quarterback and they have a versatile passing attack. Coughlin does a consistently solid job of organizing his staff and his game plan, with one notable exception - those special teams.

 

When you think about all the problems over the years with punts, with penalties and with kickoff returns, it is a wonder sometimes the team hasn’t thrown away even more games.

 

Special teams arguably cost the Giants the game in San Francisco, failing to cover another onside kick and committing critical penalties on returns. Coughlin insisted Monday those mistakes are correctable and accepted the blame for the onside failure. This one, unlike David Akers’ key onside kick with Philly that sabotaged the Giants’ 2010 season, was not quite as predictable.

 

“We let our guard down,” Coughlin said. “I take responsibility for that. (Akers) is very good at it, nine of 19 in his career. We talked about it all week long, Showed them everything about his approach. That’s correctable, yes.”

 

Everything is correctable, really, except the schedule.

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Victor Cruz may have dodged bullets in nightclub shooting, but not responsibilities to family and NY Giants

Cruz should rethink his nightlife after fatal nightclub shooting during birthday celebration

 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

 

Wednesday, November 16 2011, 10:42 PM

 

 

Giants receiver Victor Cruz has to face a lot of questions after being caught up in nightclub shooting incident that leaves one dead and two wounded.

Corey Sipkin/New York Daily News

 

Giants receiver Victor Cruz has to face a lot of questions after being caught up in nightclub shooting incident that left one dead and two wounded.

 

The first thing Victor Cruz thought about, after he had heard the fatal gunshots from across the room and hurled himself under the table at the Juliet Supper Club, was his unborn child. He and his longtime girlfriend, Elaina, are having a daughter. The due date is Jan. 24, so this was a very bad time to be hiding from bullets.

 

“My baby,” Cruz said to himself. “I got to go home.”

 

The second thing Cruz thought about early Tuesday morning was how he had heard these sounds before as a child, across the street in Montgomery Park from his apartment window in Paterson, N.J. These were not friendly sounds at all. He’d thought his life was very different now and he was rid of them forever.

 

“Not what I want in my life at this time,” he said on Wednesday.

 

The police walked into the Chelsea neighborhood club to investigate the murder of a man, Artis Arthur, unknown to Cruz. Two others, also strangers, had been wounded by the shots. Cruz’s belated celebration - three days after his actual 25th birthday - broke up hurriedly. Friends and acquaintances there, a couple of them Giant teammates, waited four or five minutes, then headed out.

 

“Everybody was in a complete melee,” Cruz said. “I didn’t want to be trampled.”

 

On his way home, finally, the third thing Cruz thought about was how this news would make headlines and create embarrassment for his football team, burned so badly in the Plaxico Burress affair. It was something that probably should have been on his mind long before 2 a.m.

 

“Obviously, the stereotype is going to be there,” he said, about a football player and gunplay. Cruz is no longer just an undrafted free agent. He’s an NFL wide receiver with the kind of visibility that calls for restraint and vigilance.

 

“I’m still kind of naïve to it sometimes,” Cruz said. “I go out and I think I’m this under-the-radar kind of guy and nobody knows me. Something like this happens and my name’s brought up. It’s tough to deal with initially because you know you didn’t do anything wrong. But because you play for the Giants, because you’ve been doing fairly well this year, my name will be brought up.”

 

Just in case this very smart, self-aware athlete had not quite grasped the message, Tom Coughlin sat down with Cruz on Wednesday morning for a talk. Cruz’s father is dead, so Coughlin played dad.

 

“I don’t know what happens good at 2:30 or 3 in the morning,” Coughlin said. He told Cruz to be careful, and Cruz’s mom, Blanca, texted him, too. “You OK?” she asked. “No more clubbing.”

 

No more clubbing. It’s good advice for all of them, these stars who walk and play among us. Sure, a few good things can happen after 1 a.m. A fellow might meet the love of his life, or his night. Then again, he might shoot himself in the leg with a Glock like Burress, or get caught driving drunk, like Braylon Edwards did on another early Tuesday morning in 2010.

 

As clubs go, the Juliet Supper Club is no dive. Then again, a 23-year-old man was stabbed to death outside the same club in September. Again, during early morning hours.

 

Down in Philadelphia, the Eagles released Jarrad Page, who reportedly had been part of the birthday party group. The Eagles denied a connection. Page wasn’t having a great season and Philly needed another wide receiver on the roster, true. But there are coincidences that are simply too coincidental.

 

Outside of cutting a player, NFL teams own little or no leverage to modify players’ activities during four off days per month mandated by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Coughlin said Cruz’s birthday party was not in violation of team rules in any way.

 

“His night,” the coach said, referring to the off day. The Giants aren’t about to release Cruz, who has been a great, pleasant surprise this season. They just want him to know the stakes here, and Cruz seems to get that.

 

“I’m going to take it down with a baby on the way,” he said.

 

Cruz was asked if he now thinks there is anything good that happens after 1 a.m.

 

“There’s one-dollar pizza, that’s about it,” he said.

 

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/victor-cruz-dodged-bullets-nightclub-shooting-responsibilities-family-ny-giants-article-1.978854#ixzz1dx2Gl9T6

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NY Giants hope Eagles have crash landed, look to damage playoff hopes of the 'Dream Team'

Big Blue remains leery of Eagles despite dismal record

 

BY Ralph Vacchiano

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

 

Wednesday, November 16 2011, 10:36 PM

 

 

 

Michael Vick and the Philadelphia 'Dream Team' do not live up to the hype over the first half of this NFL season. The Giants look to continue their misery this Sunday.

 

No one in the Giants organization imagined they’d be facing the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday with a chance to put them out of their misery. No one dreamed the “Dream Team” would be almost out of the division race before Thanksgiving.

 

None of them are gloating or laughing either, because despite Philly’s ugly 3-6 record, nobody on the Giants is giving up on the Eagles in the NFC East just yet.

 

“They’re not out of it. This is still a race,” said Giants guard Chris Snee. “They’ve had strong finishes in recent years. And with the talent they have you cannot rule them out.”

 

“They’re still a team to battle with,” added safety Antrel Rolle. “We haven’t done anything yet.”

 

The standings would seem to say otherwise, heading into what once looked as if it could be the division’s Game of the Year. The Giants (6-3) have seemed to be in control of the division since their 29-16 win in Philadelphia in Week 3. The Eagles (3-6), meanwhile, have lost two straight since what looked like a season-saving 34-7 victory over the Cowboys and are tied with the Washington Redskins in last place.

 

The three-game gap between the teams looks huge with only seven games remaining, but as Tom Coughlin warned his players, that space can be quickly closed. He insisted the Eagles “are better than they were the last time we played them” and he scoffed at the notion that they were anywhere near done.

 

“I don’t believe that at all,” Coughlin said. “I don’t look at it that way. They’re very, very formidable. They have great pride. They’re playing to win. They’re talented. They’d like nothing more than to beat us. We’d like nothing more than to beat them.”

 

The Eagles do still have the NFL’s third-best offense and the No. 1 rushing attack, which averages 171.6 yards per game. They gained 177 on the ground against the Giants on Sept. 25, including 128 from running back LeSean McCoy. That could be a particular problem if, as expected, injured Giants linebacker Michael Boley (hamstring) does not play.

 

The Eagles have issues, too, though. Quarterback Michael Vick didn’t practice on Wednesday due to broken ribs, and receiver Jeremy Maclin is likely out because of an injured shoulder. Even with those two in the lineup, the Eagles have had problems, especially with turnovers. They have coughed the ball up 21 times this season including, as Coughlin pointed out, seven in fourth quarters.

 

Their biggest issue, however, is this: The Eagles have not lived up to the expectations set by their offseason spending spree. And that was compounded by their premature celebration, ignited when backup quarterback Vince Young called them the “Dream Team.”

 

“I think that’s why you don’t label a team that early in the season,” said linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka. “They could still come back and have a strong finish towards the end. But as of right now I think people are looking at them kind of sideways for saying that.”

 

As of right now, anyway.

 

A win over the Giants on Sunday night and the winds could change. The Eagles, after all, were eight minutes away from losing the NFC East to the Giants when they visited the Meadowlands last December, before they ripped the Giants’ hearts out and left with a dramatic, come-from-behind 38-31 win.

 

Most of the Giants seemed to agree with Rolle, who said, “I don’t give a (damn) about that game last year.”

 

But it’s hard to ignore, especially since the theme of this season for the Giants, in Coughlin’s words, has been “Finish.”

 

So even though Snee said all the Giants are focusing on is “a chance to get our seventh win,” they can’t ignore the chance to finish the Eagles, who may be down right now but are too good to be counted out.

 

“No question,” Snee said. “That roster is loaded. It comes to a matter of finishing games for them. When they’re on, they’re dangerous.”

 

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/ny-giants-hope-eagles-crash-landed-damage-playoff-hopes-dream-team-article-1.978852#ixzz1dx2mayc9

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NY Giants can't stop Vince Young, DeSean Jackson and Eagles when it counts in NFC East showdown

Eagles 17, NY Giants 10

 

BY Ralph Vacchiano

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

 

Originally Published: Sunday, November 20 2011, 11:41 PM

Updated: Monday, November 21 2011, 2:40 AM

 

 

 

The Giants knew there was no sense in trying to deny it, and they knew they had nowhere to run and hide. Their pathetic performance made one thing clear to anyone who saw it:

 

Their annual second-half collapse has begun.

 

Maybe they can stop the slide in the coming weeks, but they looked helpless on Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. Given a chance to bury their bitter rivals and cling to their lead in the NFC East, the Giants looked more like pretenders than contenders as they fell meekly at the Meadowlands to the once-dead Dream Team, 17-10.

 

 

And though this loss wasn’t as dramatic as their collapse against the Eagles at the Meadowlands last season, it was equally crushing. The Eagles broke a fourth-quarter tie with a slow, torturous, 18-play, 80-yard, 8:51 march that ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Vince Young to Riley Cooper with 2:45 remaining.

 

The Giants’ last chance for a miracle ended at the Eagles’ 21 with 1:17 left when the Giants’ struggling offensive line gave up one last sack to defensive end Jason Babin, who forced an Eli Manning fumble that Philadelphia recovered.

 

And with that, the Giants (6-4) dropped into a first-place tie with the Dallas Cowboys, with the dangerous Eagles (4-6) lurking just two games behind.

 

“That’s as big a disappointment as we’ve had around here in a long time,” said Tom Coughlin. “I didn’t like the way we played. It was a very poor performance.”

 

For most of the game, it was mostly the offense that was poor. Behind an offensive line that Coughlin said “got physically manhandled,” Manning completed 18 of 35 passes for 264 yards, but couldn’t find the end zone until he hit Victor Cruz (six catches, 128 yards) with a 24-yard touchdown pass that tied the game in the fourth quarter.

 

It didn’t help that his receivers dropped at least five passes, including three by usually reliable tight end Jake Ballard. The Giants’ running game was “pathetic” as well, in Coughlin’s words, with just 29 yards on 17 carries. Brandon Jacobs, who carried 12 times for just 21 yards, called the performance “the worst I’ve ever experienced in my seven years of playing here.”

 

“(We) just couldn’t get anything going,” Manning said. “We just never got in a rhythm at all.”

 

The Giants were in the game because the defense picked off three of the erratic Young’s passes and in the first half only surrendered a 14-yard touchdown pass from Young (23-of-36, 258 yards) to former Giants receiver Steve Smith that was set up by a DeSean Jackson 51-yard punt return. When Manning found Cruz in the end zone with 11:36 remaining, the Giants seemed poised for their fifth fourth-quarter comeback of the year.

 

Instead, the Eagles (4-6) put together a drive that lasted 34 seconds longer than the 8:17 they needed to score four touchdowns at the end of their 38-31 win at the Meadowlands last December. They converted all six of their third downs on the drive against the Giants’ Michael Boley-less defense.

 

“Yeah, that hurts,” said linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka. “That’s not acceptable.”

 

None of it was acceptable, which is why Coughlin was so livid after the game. He said he was sure that after their narrow, 27-20 loss in San Francisco his team would respond to an opportunity to put the Eagles away. He told them they were dangerous, even with Michael Vick injured.

 

He thought his players had listened all week long.

 

“My question to them was ‘Why?’ ” Coughlin said. “What did it take to understand what the Eagles were going to be like coming in here? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know the team is 3-6, backs to the wall, they’re going to play their butts off.

 

“I’m really disappointed. Coming off San Francisco the talk was, by the players, ‘We’ll fight. We’ll play hard. We’ll do all those things.’ I didn’t see that.”

 

He’ll need to see that fight now, because the Giants have set themselves up for a battle - and not just because they’ve begun to ruin their 6-2 start with an 0-2 beginning to the second half. Next up is a dangerous trip to New Orleans to play the Saints (7-3) next Monday night, followed by a home game one week later against the defending Super Bowl-champion Green Bay Packers (10-0).

 

Then they play the first of two games against the Cowboys (6-4), who could be in charge of the NFC East by then.

 

“Every game is important now,” Manning said. “Every game is big and we have to have a little rally.”

 

“It’s very disappointing,” Kiwanuka added. “The only bright side I can think of is we still have a lot of games to play.”

 

 

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/ny-giants-t-stop-vince-young-desean-jackson-eagles-counts-nfc-east-showdown-article-1.980547#ixzz1eKjpmUKr

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Time for Brandon Jacobs and the NY Giants to start running the ball instead of their mouths

Action, not words if Big Blue wants to make the playoffs

 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

 

Originally Published: Wednesday, November 23 2011, 11:21 PM

Updated: Thursday, November 24 2011, 1:45 AM

 

 

For a team that is fighting for its playoff life the Giants sure do talk a lot. There were angry words thrown about in the locker room on Monday after the team dropped a humiliating game to a desperate Eagles team on Sunday night.

 

Safety Antrel Rolle stood at his locker on Monday and advocated that the Giants defense strike fear in the hearts of opponents — a kind of vigilante manifesto to rebuild Big Blue’s street cred.

 

Running back Brandon Jacobs went on WFAN on Wednesday morning and used the occasion to rip the fans, a running theme with him this season.

 

Yak, yak, yak! Yada, yada, yada!

 

There is a time and a place for all that talk. This is not the time and place. This is the time for the Giants to shut up and put up.

 

As they cling to a share of the NFC East lead with Dallas, and with big games coming up against the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers, the G-Men need to put a sock in it and go out and sock somebody. They can start this week by knocking around Saints quarterback Drew Brees and winning the game.

 

“Obviously being angry and upset doesn’t do much on Monday. We have to carry that into our preparation week,” said defensive tackle Chris Canty. “We have to carry that down there with us in New Orleans because that’s the only game we can do anything about.”

 

In reality, the playoffs start now for the Giants. That’s the mentality they must have because in the next couple of weeks they will face two Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks in Brees and the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers. This is where the Giants determine whether they have a playoff defense.

 

Yes, you put it on the defense now, because defense wins championships. If you don’t believe that, rewind the tape the last time the Giants won a Super Bowl and see what they did to Tom Brady. They rolled up on him and indeed they did punch him in the mouth. But I don’t remember them talking about it before they did it.

 

Now they have to get after Brees the same way. That won’t be easy because Brees has a way of spreading the ball around to seven different receivers, and the Saints have found a gem in running back Darren Sproles.

 

The Giants haven’t been able to get much pressure on the passer lately. They hit Eagles backup quarterback Vince Young only twice in the whole game — one sack and one hit. That’s it. Brees won’t need as much time to pick the Giants apart if he stays on his feet all night long.

 

“That will be our focal point, making sure he doesn’t have time,” said defensive end Justin Tuck. “That’s easier said than done. They’re going to do some things to try to slow us down in their running game and their protections. We have to figure out a way. If you allow Drew Brees the opportunity to sit back there and go through that progression it’s going to be a long night.”

 

On the other side of that, Jacobs can help make it a long night for the Saints defense. If he could only go back to being the pounding, battering ram that he was once — at least for the next six weeks.

 

But that is going to entail him keeping his yap shut and ending his attacks on the fans. What’s up with Jacobs? He is one of the angriest men in the NFL. He should use that chip on his shoulder during the game.

 

Here is a guy who is in the best possible position to help the Giants with Ahmad Bradshaw still out with a foot injury. And what is he doing? Ripping the fans, the people who buy overpriced PSLs and have every right to voice their disapproval for stinky play.

 

Someone needs to sit him down and explain that taking on the fans is a battle that he is never going to win, especially if he can muster only 21 rushing yards like he did against Eagles. And after they have had that heart-to-heart, they need to tell him to hit a hole a little faster — at least a beat quicker than it takes him to blast his own fans.

 

The Giants need Jacobs to channel all that talk into a performance that shuts up the fans, turn the jeers into cheers.

 

Tuck, one of the Giants captains, has his work cut out for him. He has to find a way to turn all that talk into action. He has said he has to articulate what is at stake and how they can get there.

 

“We’re starting to get into that stretch now where teams are fine-oiled machines now. We need to be a fine-oiled machine,” Tuck said. “That New Orleans offense will be a well-oiled machine. We have to match that intensity. They’re going to have that crowd rocking down there. For us guys who have been there we know what it’s going to be like. We have to go down there and hit them in the mouth.”

 

But first the Giants have to shut their own mouths.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/time-brandon-jacobs-ny-giants-start-running-ball-mouths-article-1.982209#ixzz1ecLNNFzY

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NY Giants racing against clock to make NFL playoffs

Cowboys' Thanksgiving win puts Big Blue in second place with tough slate remaining

 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

 

Friday, November 25 2011, 12:15 AM

 

 

 

The Giants have been playing from behind all season long, from the moment the lockout ended in July and free agency started without them. They have battled back from free-agent losses, injuries and even from four fourth-quarter deficits.

 

It’s only fitting now that in order to save their once-promising season they will have to come from behind again.

 

That’s clearly how they are most comfortable, which is good because here they are again. Thanks to the Dallas Cowboys’ 20-19 win over the Miami Dolphins on Thanksgiving, the Giants (6-4) are officially in second place in the NFC East. They are staring at several teams ahead of them in the wild-card chase, too.

 

They have only six games remaining — most of them brutal. It’s the fourth quarter now in the Giants’ season and it sure looks like time is running out.

 

“I don’t know what it is about this team, but for some reason we play better when people doubt us,” defensive end Justin Tuck said this week. “In a way I’m kind of comfortable with how we are. I don’t know what it is. We don’t play well as favorites. I hope we’re two-touchdown underdogs or something going down to New Orleans.”

 

The spread is actually only half that bad, but the truth is there aren’t many people who expect the Giants to win either of their next two games. There aren’t many tougher places to play than the Louisiana Superdome, where they will be on Monday night, and after that they return home to their own house of horrors to face the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers (11-0), who have won 17 straight gamesnow dating back to their last loss on Dec. 19.

 

If that date sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same day the Giants blew their 21-point lead to the Philadelphia Eagles last year in the ugliest 81/2 minutes they have ever played. They never really recovered from that, which has sparked fears that their 17-10 loss to Philly last Sunday night will end up having the same effect — no matter how desperate the Giants are to prove that it won’t.

 

“I don’t know that ‘desperate’ is the right word, but I think we’ll be a more focused football team,” Tuck said. “I know we’ll be a team that knows that the leash on our division is quite shorter than it was or would’ve been if we got this win (against the Eagles).”

 

How short is that leash? The next game for the Cowboys (7-4) is at Arizona (3-7), so it is easy to imagine they will have a two-game lead in the division in two weeks. By then the Giants will really be “desperate” as they head into Dallas for a Sunday night showdown on Dec. 11 with their playoff hopes possibly on the line.

 

In fact, that seems certain because that is how their season is going. The Giants spent the summer losing players to free agency and injury, then they lost their opener to the Washington Redskins before they finally started digging out of their hole. They have now trailed in the fourth quarter in eight of their 10 games this season and they were tied in the fourth of another one.

 

It’s as if they don’t really start playing until they feel like they’re about to lose.

 

“It seems like we always wait until the fourth quarter before we start playing our best football,” Eli Manning said. “We go in the fourth quarter and we’re down or it’s a close game and we have to fight back.”

 

The problem, as the Giants learned in San Francisco, is it’s not always possible to fight back, even when things are going right. They were inches away from tying that game against the 49ers. Manning even saw an open receiver heading toward the end zone. But a defensive lineman jumped out of nowhere and batted the pass away.

 

The lesson: When everything is on the line, the margin for error is painfully small.

 

And that is the danger the Giants are facing now. They have two seemingly unwinnable games. They are facing the prospect of riding a four-game slide into Dallas in two weeks. At that point they may not only be playing for their season, they could be playing for their coach’s job, too.

 

It didn’t have to be like this, with them already sitting in a deep, dark hole, but maybe it really is for the best. The Giants seem to like life on the edge. They see all the insurmountable obstacles in front of them, yet they still feel very much in control.

 

“Everything that we still wanted to do at the start of the season is right there in front of us,” defensive tackle Chris Canty said. “Everything that we wanted to do, we still have the opportunity to do. We control our own destiny.”

 

In other words, it’s the start of the fourth quarter, and while the Cowboys have the lead, the Giants have the ball.

 

Now they just need to mount one last drive to save their season before time finally runs out on them for good.

 

 

 

 

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/ny-giants-racing-clock-nfl-playoffs-article-1.982534#ixzz1eo5bM3Fs

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NY Giants are talking tough but true test will come against New Orleans Saints on Monday night

Actions will speak louder than their locker room words

 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

 

Originally Published: Sunday, November 27 2011, 11:30 PM

Updated: Monday, November 28 2011, 2:23 AM

 

 

N EW ORLEANS - Antrel Rolle had already delivered a passionate speech to his teammates, and he had just relayed the message to the media last Monday morning. He had prodded his team for being “too calm,” too “flat” and generally unresponsive.

 

It was a good speech. His teammates listened. Others delivered the message, too. But for all the talk, the yelling, and the fire in his eyes, he was left with one unanswered question:

 

Did it work?

 

“I can’t say just yet,” Rolle admitted. “I’ll be able to determine that more come Monday night. Talking is not going to do nothing for us right now. We’ve got to go out there and bring our talk to action.”

 

Those might have been the truest words spoken in the locker room last week, because everything the reeling Giants (6-4) said is absolutely meaningless if they can’t turn it into action against the Saints (7-3) at the noisy Superdome on Monday night. This is the moment where Rolle and Chris Canty and Justin Tuck and everyone else who talked starts to find out if anyone was really listening.

 

They were good at that once - building an internal fire and using it on the field. Who can forget the slogan of the 2007 team that was so overused they turned it into a T-shirt? They said, “Talk is cheap, play the game.” And while that never really stopped them from talking, it certainly got that title-bound team to play.

 

A lot has happened since then. They couldn’t talk themselves into overcoming the Plaxico Burress-created circus at the end of the 2008 season. No words prevented them from heartlessly losing their last two games of the 2009 season by a combined score of 85-16 (including a 41-9 nightmare in the last-ever game at old Giants Stadium). And all the vows about avoiding another collapse last year left nothing but Tom Coughlin standing in a sad locker room after the season finale telling his team that even though they missed the playoffs the world “can line up and kiss my a--.”

 

So at this latest critical juncture, what will it be this year? Will the Giants respond with fire? Will they respond at all?

 

From what they could tell in practice, the Giants are not going quietly - at least they don’t think they are. Not yet.

 

“It was actually good to see everybody in that little (ticked)-off attitude, getting ready to get back on the field,” said David Diehl, who’ll be back at his old left tackle spot on Monday night. “Guys are fired up. Guys are flying around on the practice field.

 

“I know this, I know that we’re going to go out and fight on Monday night.”

 

Maybe that’ll prove to be just talk, but at least it’s not nothing. Anyone who saw the bad, beaten body language in the Giants’ locker room late in 2008, 2009, and 2010 knows there’s at least a kernel of truth in Coughlin’s words when he defended this team from its history of second-half collapses. He still sees the fire and the fight in his squad.

 

He also knows how much that can mean.

 

“The spirit and the heart, those things are very important,” Coughlin said. “You do have the element of preparation and the Xs and Os. But as the week builds on and you get closer to the actual game, the emotions, spirit, and the recognition of what is at stake and the competitiveness - all of those things become big factors.

 

“They are important in our game because our game is an emotional game.”

 

That can be good and it can be disastrous. The Giants will need fire against a Saints team riding the NFL’s No. 1 offense that is averaging 39.8 points per game at home, where they’re 4-0. But the Giants had plenty of emotion the last time they came down here in 2009, riding a 5-0 record and the No. 1 defense in the NFL. They left on the wrong end of a 48-27 beating, the first of four straight losses that sent their season spiraling down.

 

The Giants learned that all that fire and confidence became meaningless when they couldn’t summon it when they needed it the most.

 

F or these Giants, that moment is now. They’re in second place in their division, 0-2 in the second half of their season, facing two tough games (including their home game next Sunday against the undefeated Packers), and staring at a season that could be slipping away again.

 

As Tuck said last week, this could be a “historical” disaster for the franchise.

 

We’re about to find out what they have to say about that.

 

“It doesn’t matter. The story is still being written,” said defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka. “Regardless of what it says now, it all depends on how we finish the season.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/ny-giants-talking-tough-true-test-orleans-saints-monday-night-article-1.983303#ixzz1ezPgIgo4

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