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    "Yeah, I know, our Giants
    summer questionnaires
    aren't always the most scintillating reads. When we're
    trying to compile enough to get us to training camp and grabbing them over
    minicamp (while also covering that event as well), we're bound to have some
    clunkers here and there.

    But then, folks, there's Martellus Bennett.

    The Giants' newly acquired tight end is quickly proving his locker will
    be a must-stop for all reporters this upcoming season. In the brief interview
    below, he was efficient, insightful, humorous and - depending on how much you
    want to read into the comment about Eli Manning's unselfishness vs. that of
    other quarterbacks (i.e. possibly Tony Romo) - provocative.

    Bennett, who claims
    he's in great shape
    despite Mike Pope's concerns, has plenty to prove on the
    field. For now, it's clear he talks a great game.

    In your time here so far, what feeling have you gotten about the
    offensive system and whether it plays to your strengths?

    A lot of it is, once I get comfortable in the offense, there are a lot of
    options. So my thing is getting on the same page with Eli running enough routes
    where he can read my body language and know what I’m about to do. I want to be
    as quarterback-friendly as possible and being very consistent. Consistency is my
    thing right now that I’m working on. I’ve made plays here or there in the past
    but doing it consistently is what I want to do. In this offense, I think I have
    a chance to be a consistent playmaker.

    Did you have as many options in Dallas?

    (Grins) No, I didn’t have any options in Dallas. (Laughs)

    Let me rephrase: Did you have as many route

    Yeah, we did some similar stuff. But here, there’s a lot more detail. You
    have more options here. A lot of the stuff we did in Dallas was similar to the
    things they do here. They just added a couple of more options. I have to get
    used to the play-calling terminology because it’s totally different from what we
    did in Dallas.

    What are your thoughts on Eli so far?

    Oh man, I don’t think there’s a better quarterback than him in the NFL right
    now. Watching his approach to the game and the way he coaches everybody up and
    gets everybody involved, I think he’s an unselfish quarterback, which is what
    you want. He throws a very catchable ball, which is always awesome. He’s a great
    guy, a great quarterback.

    What makes him unselfish?

    Just his approach. I mean, he’s just looking for the open guy. It doesn’t
    matter who it is or what number you are. If you’re open, he’s going to hit you.
    You have to be ready. That’s what makes it so fun playing in this offense
    because anytime you beat your guy, you know you could get the ball.

    Is that rare in the NFL?

    Yeah, every quarterback has one or two guys they go to on most teams. But
    here, it’s not really like that.

    What can fans expect from you this season?

    I’m a blue-collar football player. I just have a little flare on that blue
    collar. I just like to pop that blue collar. But I’m a blue-collar player. I’m
    tough, I’m gritty, I’ll get in there and mix it up."



    "He has two Super Bowl MVPs, victories over the likes of Aaron Rodgers and
    Tony Romo, and a recent mastery over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
    But, apparently, Eli Manning doesn't have enough attitude.

    And to Manning's Giants teammate Chris Canty, that's the
    only possible explanation for the quarterback's still-low standing in the NFL
    Network's recent Top 100 players rankings. In a survey of NFL players, Manning
    checked in at No. 31
    , despite a season filled with come-from-behind

    "He's No. 1 in my book, there's no question about it," Canty said Thursday,
    in between working with youngsters at his Camp of Champions youth football camp
    in Manhattan.

    But, Canty added, Manning is often easy to overlook.

    "First of all, he's little brother (to Peyton Manning),"
    Canty said. "And his persona, how he presents himself. He's not brash, he's not
    outspoken. And humility gets a bad rap in our league. Unfortunately, it's become
    a talking league, everybody wants to talk, talk, talk. But he lets his play do
    the talking."

    Rodgers was ranked No. 1 in the poll. Ben Roethlisberger (30), Brady (4) and
    Drew Brees (2) were the only quarterbacks ranked ahead of Manning.

    This past season, Manning outplayed everyone when it counted the most. His 15
    fourth-quarter TD passes were the most in league history, and he had a 110.0 QB
    rating in the final frame. In the postseason, he threw nine TD passes and just
    one interception.

    That helped earn Manning a spot in the NFL Network Top 100, just one year
    after he hadn't even landed in the rankings at all. But to Canty, the ranking
    was "too little, too late."

    "When you break Johnny Unitas' record for fourth-quarter touchdown passes, I
    think he deserves to be a little higher than 31 on the Top 100," Canty said.
    "His play speaks for itself. Two-time Super Bowl champion, two-time Super Bowl
    MVP . . . He plays well in big moments when it really counts, which is crucial
    for a quarterback."

    Canty is hardly the only Giant who thinks Manning was snubbed yet again. Last
    weekend, defensive end Justin Tuck said it was "a joke" that Manning checked in
    at No. 31. And on Thursday, linebacker Michael Boley, one of a handful of NFL
    stars helping at Canty's camp, agreed with the rest of Big Blue.

    "It's just a poll, I guess," Boley said, who added that he did not have a
    vote. "His stats and winning two Super Bowls, it speaks for itself. Eli would
    have definitely gotten my vote for No. 1 . . . He's not the flashiest, but he
    wins games."

    And in the end, said Canty, that's all that counts, silly NFL Network poll be

    "It doesn't really matter. I'm sure Eli's not losing any sleep over being
    rated 31," Canty said. "He's thinking about how to make our football team better
    this coming season."


    "New York
    Giants wide receiver Victor
    has had a tumultuous career up to this point. After not receiving a
    Division 1 scholarship offer out of high school, the Patterson, N.J. native went
    on to play at UMass. Cruz did not see significant playing time until his Junior
    year, when he garnered Colonial Athletic Association All-Conference honors.
    After college, Cruz was signed as an undrafted free agent by the New York
    Giants. He suffered through an injury riddled rookie year; however, last season
    he went on to break the Giants single-season record for receiving yards, while
    helping Big Blue secure its fourth Super

    Although Victor
    is now considered an elite NFL wide receiver, he does not plan to forget where
    he came from and how many obstacles he had to overcome to achieve the success he
    has earned. While speaking atWilliam and Mary’s Colonial All-Pro Camp, Cruz
    stated the following:

    “To be from a small town in Jersey, play at UMASS and have to make an NFL team and
    then become a catalyst in the fourth Super
    in team history, it’s just an amazing feeling that I’m glad to be a
    part of. I’m always going to have that chip on my shoulder. The NFL seemed kind
    of far-fetched at that point," Cruz said.

    For the 2012 New York Giants, it is beyond essential that Cruz keep
    playing with the same drive and intensity that we saw from him last season. With
    veteran Hakeem
    ' durability issues, Cruz will be heavily relied upon to be a key
    contributor to the offense.

    However, ever since Cruz helped lead the Giants to their 2011 Super
    Victory, he has developed his own fashion line and also has a book
    coming out later this summer. It would be easy for one to say that his focus has
    meandered away from the football field and into other ventures throughout this

    Cruz is a young, talented athlete that is living his life in the spotlight,
    so it would be hard to expect anything else from him. Let's just hope that by
    the time training camp comes around, number 80 will be ready to put all his
    offseason endeavors behind him and help the Giants defend their Super



    "Twitter and other social media outlets have some incredibly positive
    functionality, but they also come with an extreme downside: spreading rumors
    like wildfire. And this past Tuesday, it was New York Giants quarterback Eli
    who was caught up in the whirlwind of internet death rumors, as Media Fetcher (a joke site that
    has a disclaimer saying all reports are not factual) "reported" Manning

    “Law enforcement found Manning unresponsive in a 2009 Cadillac Escalade early
    Tuesday morning at a New York highway rest area. 911 emergency services were
    dispatched to the rest area where he was pronounced dead. Despite many attempts
    at CPR, the athlete did not regain consciousness.”

    Twitter and Facebook immediately exploded with this news as many readers, who
    were unaware this was a fictitious site, began spreading the report from person
    to person. Within minutes "Eli
    death" and "Eli
    dead" became popular searches on Google and other search engines,
    and the sports world was turned on its head until the report was revealed as a

    Why death reports have become so popular and "funny" is beyond us here at
    Giants 101. They greatly impact the families of those involved and are extremely
    difficult to control once they hit Twitter and Facebook.

    All of that said, Media Fetcher's story was not credible from the start. Not
    just because it's a fictitious site, but because there's no chance Manning would
    ever ne driving a Cadillac Escalade. The two-time Super Bowl MVP stays true to
    his endorsement and only drives Toyota's."


    "Stability is a staple of success for any NFL team. Organizations such as the New York
    , Pittsburgh Steelers, and New
    England Patriots
    have been some of the most successful franchises in sports
    throughout the last decade; and continuity within those franchises has been a
    major contributing factor to each team's success.

    Today, in an interview with Mike Francesa on WFAN, Giants President and CEO
    John Mara expressed how his philosophy of continuity has benefited the
    organization as a whole.

    “The worst thing you can do is be impatient and make quick decisions based
    on pressure from the media or pressure from the fans. You have to have a
    conviction that you have the right people working for you and then you have to
    give them a chance to do their job. You’ve got to be able to stay with them when
    things aren’t going quite so well. Fortunately we’ve been able to do

    Throughout the last several offseason's, Big Blue's front office has time and
    time again demonstrated its ability to stay objective in its decision making
    process. Most notably, last season when the team was struggling, many fans were
    calling for the team to fire head coach Tom

    However, both John Mara and general manager Jerry
    provided nothing but support to the embattled head coach as the team
    went on to win its' second Super
    in five season. Mara commented on that specific situation during his
    interview with Francesa.

    “I never lost faith in Tom [Coughlin]. I knew he was a good head coach. I
    knew he could win for us. It was just a question of us providing him with the
    right players and getting a break here and there and being able to stay healthy
    and fortunately we’ve been able to do that. And obviously we’re very pleased
    with the way things have turned out.”

    Team's such as the Oakland
    , Miami
    , and St. Louis
    that have seen a revolving door at the head coach position throughout
    the last decade coincidentally have been bottom dwellers in the NFL for the past
    several seasons. The Giants are fortunate not only to have a coach like Tom
    as part of their organization, but they are also fortunate to have
    a man like Tom Coughlin lead the team week in and week

    John Mara knows this better than anybody. His patience and objectivity have
    been major factors not only in Big Blue's recent success, but in the New York
    being widely recognized as a first-class organization by owners,
    coaches, players, and fans alike."



    "We are getting near the end of our position-by-position comparison of the
    Super Bowl-winning 2007 and 2011 New York Giants. Today we have the safeties.
    After that, special teams and then we are done.

    Here are the safeties for both teams by the numbers.

    2007 Regular Season

    Gibril Wilson -- 92 tackles, 4 interceptions, 7 passes defensed
    Butler -- 61 tackles, 1 interception, 7 passes defensed
    Michael Johnson -- 25
    tackles, 2 passes defensed

    2011 Regular Season

    Antrel Rolle -- 100 tackles, 2 interceptions, 4 passes defensed
    Phillips -- 86 tackles, 4 interceptions, 11 passes defensed
    Deon Grant -- 62
    tackles, 1 sack, interception, 6 passes defensed

    So, I don't know if this your first thought when you looked at the stats, but
    my first thought when I looked back at the 2007 names was 'The Giants won a
    Super Bowl with THOSE safeties?'

    Gibril Wilson? James Butler? Michael Johnson? We thought Wilson was a good
    player, and we know that he was good but not great for the Giants. His career
    pretty much went down the drain once he decided to leave the champs and take big
    money from the Oakland Raiders.

    Butler and Johnson? Only the memory of C.C. Brown makes me shudder less.

    Everyone can look at the 2011 group and have some issues. Phillips is good,
    but maybe not what he would have been without the knee issues that he has
    suffered. Rolle is good, but probably not as good as he believes he is or his
    paycheck says he should be. Grant did a great job in a limited role, but he has
    slowed athletically and he was no more than a box safety who could be effective
    in a limited area last season.

    Yet, comparing 2007 to 2011 there really is no comparison. The 2011 group
    wins by a landslide.

    ADVANTAGE: 2011"


    "The NFL announced today that it will move the start time of Sunday late
    afternoon doubleheaders games on CBS or FOX to 4:25 p.m. ET, instead of 4:15

    This is huge news for television viewers tired of missing the end of an early
    game they were interested in because the network was required to switch to the
    opening kickoff of their home team's late-afternoon game.

    League research over the past three seasons found that 44 games required part
    of the audience to be switched to a mandatory doubleheader game kickoff. With a
    4:25 p.m. ET kickoff time, that number that would have been reduced by 66
    percent to only 15 games.

    The 4:05 p.m. kickoff for games not included in the doubleheader package will
    remain unchanged.

    I don't know how anyone -- except maybe football widows -- can complain about
    this. More football to watch on Sunday. Less annoying overlap. It's a


    "Sports Illustrated has been doing team-by-team offseason breakdowns, and
    today our friends at SI got around to the defending Super Bowl champion New
    York Giants
    . SI concludes that anyone expecting back-to-back Super Bowl
    titles will be "sorely disappointed."

    This does mean the writer, Chris
    Burke, does not think the Giants will be a good team. It's also not a shot at
    the defending champs, just a realistic assessment of the schedule and how
    difficult it is to win back-to-back titles. Here is part of Burke's summary:

    "Last year's team got hot at the perfect time, with a six-game win streak
    allowing them to end the year with a title. It will be difficult to repeat, even
    as NFC East champs. Anyone expecting the Giants to cruise to another division
    crown will be sorely disappointed, as just qualifying for the playoffs will be a
    tall task."

    I know some of you will take issue with this, or will feel like Burke is
    slighting the Giants. Not me. The Giants will be good. The schedule, though, is
    brutal and every team in the NFC East is better than it was a season ago.
    Repeats are rare in sports nowadays, anyway.

    Like last season I would think we will witness another year during which the
    Giants come to the last couple of weeks with a chance. And, if they make it to
    the playoffs they will be a tough out. Pretty hard to be too disappointed by



    "Good morning, New York Giants
    fans! A quick notebook for you today.

    preps for camp competition

    LB Mark
    isn't taking any time off before the competition begins at training
    camp next month.

    Blitz - June 27: Mara talks continuity

    Today in the Blitz, Giants
    President and CEO John Mara talks about the business he's been around all his

    summer questionnaire: FB Henry Hynoski |

    Hynoski expects his role
    to expand in the passing game.

    Manning Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead In A 2009 Escalade | RumorFix

    Internet has killed off another celebrity this week, this time it's Eli Manning.

    Valentine's View: Why do some people enjoy writing fake celebrity
    death stories? And why do other people actually believe them?

    Rodgers of Green Bay Packers voted best in NFL -

    Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
    earned the highest honor on NFL Network's "The Top 100: Players of 2012," being
    voted the best player in the league by his peers."


    "As we get near the end of our position-by-position comparison of the 2007 and
    2011 Super Bowl-winning New York Giants we
    come to the cornerback spot. This one is a little weird for a couple of reasons.
    Mostly that is because of Corey Webster,
    who barely played during the 2007 regular season but was spectacular in place of
    the injured and aging Sam Madison in
    the postseason.

    2007 Regular Season

    Aaron Ross -- 42
    tackles, 3 interceptions, 1.5 sacks, 9 passes defensed
    Sam Madison -- 67
    tackles, 4 interceptions, 1 sack, 14 passes defensed
    Corey Webster -- 18
    tackles, 1 interception, 3 passes defensed
    Kevin Dockery
    -- 46 tackles, 8 passes defensed

    2011 Regular Season

    Aaron Ross -- 61 tackles, 4 interceptions, 13 passes defensed
    Webster -- 53 tackles, 6 interceptions, 16 passes defensed
    -- 14 tackles, 1 interception, 3 passes defensed

    Justin Tryon,
    Michael Coe and
    all also played a little bit at corner, but not really enough to
    have their full stats listed here.

    Ross's two seasons were pretty identical, maybe a little better in 2011.
    Madison played well for the Giants in 2007 during the regular season and Webster
    was spectacular in the playoffs, In 2011, Webster was already fully established
    as one of the league's best corners, and played that way. Dockery gave the
    Giants far more than Amukamara, so perhaps on that basis -- and Webster's
    spectacular postseason, you have to lean toward the 2007 group.

    ADVANTAGE: 2007"


    "Let's see here.

    Six-foot-1. Meh, could do better. Just about average.

    208 pounds. Meh, could do better. Just about average.

    4.53 40-yard dash. Actually not that good. Kind of slow.

    He's no Amani Toomer. He's no Plaxico Burress. He's no Victor

    He's the forgotten man in the national media, who are slobbering over Dez Bryant's
    "potential" or salivating over Desean Jackson's speed. He's never, ever
    mentioned among the top WRs in the game. Hell, he's almost an afterthought when
    talking about these WRs anyway.

    We've got rookies ahead of him in that blasted NFLN Top 100. It's not Eli Manning
    that's the Rodney Dangerfield of this New York Giants
    team, its this team's number 1 WR: Hakeem

    Let's take a look at Hakeem Nicks' stats for his first three years and
    compare them to WRs that are often thought of as "good as", "better than," or my
    personal favorite..."have a much higher ceiling than" our superstar.

    First, lets look at Hakeem Nicks:

    2009 (14 games): 47 rec, 790 yards, 16.8 YPC, 6 TDs

    2010 (13 games): 79 rec, 1052 yards, 13.3 YPC, 11 TDs

    2011 (15 games): 76 rec, 1192 yards, 15.7 YPC, 7 TDs

    Now, a player that is often regarded as one of the top WRs in the game, Vincent
    (last 3 healthy years):

    2008 (16 games): 59 rec, 1098 yards, 18.6 YPC, 7 TDs

    2010 (15 games): 68 rec, 1167 yards, 17.2 YPC, 9 TDs

    2011 (16 games): 60 rec, 1106 yards, 18.4 YPC, 9 TDs

    Let's take a look, now, at Desean Jackson's first 4 years in the

    2008 (16 games): 62 rec, 912 yards, 16.6 YPC, 2 TDs

    2009 (15 games): 62 rec, 1156 yards, 18.6 YPC, 9 TDs

    2010 (14 games): 47 rec, 1056 yards, 22.5 YPC, 6 TDs

    2011 (15 games): 58 rec, 961 yards, 16.6 YPC, 4 TDs

    is often thought of as Hakeem Nicks' main rival:

    2009 (15 games): 56 rec, 773 yards, 13.8 YPC, 4 TDs

    2010 (16 games): 70 rec, 964 yards, 13.8 YPC, 10 TDs

    2011 (13 games): 63 rec, 859 yards, 13.6 YPC, 5 TDs

    And now my favorite, Dez Bryant, ye of greater fame but lesser

    2010 (12 games): 45 rec, 561 yards, 12.5 YPC, 6 TDs

    2011 (15 games): 63 rec, 928 yards, 14.7 YPC, 9 TDs

    As you can see, just based on the raw stats here, Nicks is awfully close to
    VJax. If he stays healthy, his numbers look pretty much identical. He's
    outplayed Desean Jackson last year, and their career stats look pretty
    comparable. Nicks ends up beating out Maclin every year and destroys Bryant as
    well. So much for that.

    But those are just raw stats. Volume stats, if you want to be fair about it.
    Take a look at this great fanpost here by AntonioNickerson, a Cowboys fan.

    Dez's Production vs All 1st Round Picks Since 2005 Through First
    Two Years

    It was intended as a post for Dez Bryant, but it proves Nicks' brilliance
    just a bit more. It compares production of 1st round WRs through 2005 in their
    first two years. Hakeem Nicks was among the top performers in all categories,
    but what really took me by surprise that Nicks has led those WRs in TDs per
    game and Yards per game
    . And yes, this list includes the current top WR in
    the league, Calvin

    FootballOutsiders, which has its own methods of determining success via their
    DYAR stat, ranked Nicks as the 6th best WR in the league in 2010, and 9th in
    2011. You can find their stats and methodology here:

    Taking a closer look into last year's numbers, what made what Nicks did so
    impressive is when he produced his plays. When the Giants were behind, an
    astonishing 74.2% of his catches went for 1st downs. When behind, he had
    13 plays of 20+ yards and 3 of 40+.

    He did his best work in the 4th quarter, with 4 TDs (more than any other
    and 7 catches of 20+ yards (more than any other quarter). We
    credit Eli Manning for being incredibly clutch. He can't do it alone.

    On top of that, Nicks is consistent. In the past two years, he's had
    only 6 games of less than 50 yards. That's it. For the most part, he's
    always shown up to play, and almost always produces.

    Finally, I'd be remiss without talking about Nicks' performance in the
    playoffs. Just take a look at this:

    vs ATL: 6 rec, 115 yards, 2 TDs

    vs GB: 7 rec, 165 yards, 2 TDs

    vs SF: 5 rec, 55 yards, 0 TDs

    vs NE: 10 rec, 109 yards, 0 TDs

    444 yards (2nd most in NFL playoff history - behind only the great Larry
    ). 4 TDs. 3 out 4 games surpassing 100 yards (and the one game he
    didn't he was injured early in the game).

    Everybody remembers Mario Manningham's catch from the Superbowl, but Nicks
    had the quietest 100 yard game in recent memory. Nicks is a statistical monster,
    even if nobody realizes it. It's not easy to be a 1200 yard WR in this league,
    yet Nicks achieved just that last year (well almost, but we can round up 8

    Okay, so we looked at the statistical aspect of Nicks' game. Let's look at
    some games of his (the ones available on YouTube by the very great resource

    I've described what I look for in a WR in this fanpost about Rueben Randle,
    right here:

    Randle and WR Film Study

    Let's take that methodology and look at some plays and why I think Nicks is
    just swell.

    Hakeem Nicks vs Cardinals (2011)
    (via NYGiantsCentral)

    So what we'll do here is just take a small tour of a couple games of Nicks,
    starting with a very recent example in the Arizona desert. Forward to about
    0:50. A small example of his adjustment skills. He will dive, jump, muscle, and
    squeeze his way to any ball within his catch radius. In this one, he's battling
    a contested ball with the Cardinal corner, and has the wherewithal to stretch
    out and jump for the catch.

    Now forward to 1:20, for one of his favorite plays, the WR bubble screen.
    He's extremely slippery, and extremely strong. These plays are almost always at
    least 7-8 yard gainers for that reason, he can make moves in that limited tunnel
    and have the strength to fight off the first one or two guys that come after

    3:36. He's got one of these plays every game that make you say "Ughhh.
    Unbelievable!" but not in the Al Michaels/Chris Collinsworth way. Just a thing
    of absolute beauty and power. Completely contested play, he had no business
    catching that ball, nor staying on his feet. That is what makes Hakeem Nicks so
    special. That combination of his adjustment to the ball, his physicality at the
    point of the catch, his strength to maintain the catch, and his balance to stay
    up and get extra yardage.

    Hakeem Nicks vs Dallas (2010) (via NYGiantsCentral)

    First off, let me be the first to say I got really pissed off when Troy
    Aikman said that Nicks is the Giants' version of Dez Bryant. No. No. NO. Dez
    Bryant can only hope to be what Hakeem Nicks already is. He starts off this
    video with a quick snapshot as to why he is a top WR.

    Let me put it bluntly, Hakeem Nicks' blend of route running and body
    control is virtually unmatched by anybody else in this league.
    The only two
    players I'd put above him in this regard are Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson,
    both of whom are not human in their adjustment to the ball as well as their
    precision route running. Nicks showed that body control in this play. He's not
    the biggest WR at 6'1, 208, but he plays like he's 6'4 230. He starts off with a
    stutter move, quick slant on the outside, and the back shoulder throw by Eli is
    thrown before Nicks even turns around. He times it perfectly, gets elevation,
    and blocks out the corner for a perfectly indefensible pitch and catch.

    The very next play in the video shows how he gets separation with his route
    running. He's not the fastest guy on the field, but he's got what I call "hidden
    speed." His cuts are based on timing, and they are so precise that his
    connection with Eli allows him to catch the ball as soon as he breaks out of
    cut, without having to wait.
    We see that here.

    Don't even get me started on his strength while catching the ball. He's about
    as strong at the point of the catch as any WR I've ever seen. If its in his
    mitts, chances are he's going to hold on to the ball. We see that strength again
    at 2:05. Just so difficult to bring down during and after the catch.

    Please watch 2:37 of this video now. No explanation needed. Seriously,
    just go watch it. Want to talk about catch radius? Yeah.

    The biggest problem with Hakeem comes at around 2:50. He'll have those easy
    drops sometimes. Not too many times, but just lapses in concentration. He's
    nowhere close to Roddy White or
    in that respect, but just something to improve on.

    As for the last play in the video, it didn't count because of a holding (much
    to the glee of our announcers no doubt), but Nicks rolls up everything that
    we've been talking about right there.

    Hakeem Nicks vs Texans (2010) (via

    Here's a game versus the Texans. Go on over to the 2nd play or so. Another
    beautiful example how he strong enough to post up on the defender (in this case,
    1st rounder Kareem
    ) and take him out of the play.

    Move on over to 1:08, and by now I think the Texans realized that
    they're going up against cheatcode. His hands are SO FREAKING BIG. Again, we see
    that adjustment to the ball, leap up, recover, maintain balance, take a great
    angle to the sideline, use a little wiggle, and get a massive gain. That just
    isn't fair. He plucks the ball from the air at its highest point almost like a

    Oh c'mon now. 1:25. Just stop it, Hakeem, you're scaring the

    Do you guys want one more? One more? Aw, why not.

    Hakeem Nicks vs Green Bay (2011) (via NYGiantsCentral)

    0:21 - Once again shows his ability to separate when he NEEDS to
    separate. Separation doesn't mean maintaining a 5 yard cushion against the DB.
    It means when its time to catch the ball, your arms and the ball are away from
    the defender. Nicks' physicality provides a great way to create separation.
    Though he's sneaky fast, its his great hands and strength that got him with this
    one. Unfortunately he didn't stay inbounds, but that was amazing.

    What also makes Hakeem so dangerous is that not only is he a great possession
    receiver, but he can be an equal powerful deep threat. He tracks the ball in the
    air as well as anyone. We see that at 1:00. We also see that strength to hold on
    to the ball once it lands in his hands.

    And of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention 2:20. Incredible
    tracking of the ball, great hands, amazing body control.

    At this point, I sound like a broken clock. But hell, it works. You don't
    always need speed to separate. You need those adjustment skills, that strength,
    that body control. That's uncoachable.

    I'm looking to see Hakeem (with more coverage rolled over to Victor Cruz) to
    really light this league on fire this year. 1300+ yards with double digit
    touchdowns should be attainable for him if he can stay healthy. Maybe this year
    is the year he finally gets his respect."


    "I came across some interesting comments today from New York Giants
    wide receiver Victor Cruz
    during an appearance at a football camp. [via Pro Football Talk]

    "I can't wait for football
    season to come around, so I can kind of relax and focus on football," Cruz told the Virginian-Pilot.

    This is the kind of thing you have to worry about with Cruz, whose 1,536
    yards set a single-season franchise receiving record last season, and whose
    Salsa dancing touchdown celebrations made him a beloved figure among Giants

    Even though Cruz also said "I want to stay the same person as I was when I
    was walking the streets of Patterson. Not let this get to my head, just remain
    myself, and all the good things will continue to happen' you have to worry about
    how well a 25-year-old who has never had this kind of spotlight handles the
    glare and all of the outside commitments (which were listed by PFT) and prepares
    properly for the upcoming season.

    Little lapses in concentration or small differences in physical conditioning
    can make a huge difference at the highest levels of any sport. Cruz seems to
    have kept everything in perspective, but only time will truly tell us how well
    he handles his success."


    "As we continue our position-by-position comparison of the 2007 and 2011 New
    York Giants
    Super Bowl-winning teams we come to the linebacker position.

    This is an interesting comparison, showing defenses that were vastly
    different. The '07 Giants had Antonio
    , Kawika
    and Mathias
    as every-down linebackers, with Reggie Torbor
    seeing some action. The 2011 Giants had Michael Boley
    and Kiwanuka, but used a plethora of other linebackers, especially in the

    Here is a look at the stats.

    2007 Regular Season

    Antonio Pierce, MLB -- 103 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception, 8 passes
    defensed, 1 forced fumble
    Mathias Kiwanuka, OLB -- 46 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 4
    passes defensed, 1 forced fumble
    Kawika Mitchell, OLB -- 76 tackles, 3.5
    sacks, 1 interception, 4 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles
    Reggie Torbor, OLB
    -- 39 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass defensed

    2011 Regular Season

    Mathias Kiwanuka, OLB -- 85 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 interception, 2 passes
    defensed, 1 forced fumble
    Michael Boley, OLB -- 94 tackles, 1 sack, 3 passes
    defensed, 1 forced fumble
    , OLB -- 71 tackles, 1 sacks, 5 passes defensed, 1 forced
    , MLB (5 games) -- 28 tackles, 1 interception, 2 passes
    Greg Jones, MLB -- 27 tackles

    I think it's pretty clear that the '07 Giants had the better linebacking
    group, mostly because Pierce was superior to anyone the Giants played in the
    middle in 2011. Greg Jones and Mark
    were young players trying to find their way in the NFL, and Chase
    Blackburn did a nice job but he will never be the player Pierce was at his

    Boley vs. Mitchell is probably a wash, and Kiwanuka/Torbor is probably about
    the same as Kiwanuka/Williams.

    Your thoughts, Giants fans?"





    LB Mark Herzlich isn't taking any time off before the competition
    begins at training camp next month.

    The Timex Performance Center is
    unusually quiet this time of summer. In the six weeks between the conclusion of
    the Giants’ minicamp and the beginning of training camp, the coaches take their
    only extended vacation of the year and the players enjoy family time, traveling
    or a myriad other pursuits they can’t engage in when football is in

    But not Mark Herzlich. He has been working out
    here on his own four days a week and will continue to do so until the Giants
    report to the University at Albany on July 26.

    “For me, this is enjoying
    myself,” Herzlich said. “If I went somewhere and took weeks off, I’d be mad at
    myself that I wasn’t working out, because this is enjoying myself. I come in
    here, I’m done by one o’clock, I go back and play with my puppies and go to the
    beach, or do something. But if I can get a good workout in everyday throughout
    the week then I feel like I’m progressing.”

    Herzlich hopes to gain an
    advantage – and a starting job. In minicamp, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell
    said Chase Blackburn[img]/assets/nflimg/icon-article-link.gif[/img] “is our guy” at middle
    linebacker, in part because “no one’s clearly beaten him out for the position.”
    Herzlich, a second-year pro, thinks he can change that and be the starter when
    the Giants open their season on Sept. 5 against Dallas.

    “I definitely
    think I can - that’s my goal,” Herzlich said. “That’s why I’m here every day
    working, to try to get that job.

    “It’s all a competition. I think the
    good thing about the Giants is they want to win and I think whoever gives them
    the opportunity to win will be able to start at that position. For me right
    now, it is just learning the plays and knowing them, as well as I can so that
    way I can go in and let my play speak for itself.”

    Herzlich’s rookie
    season was both inspirational and disappointing. He made the team as an
    undrafted free agent, continuing his remarkable recovery from Ewing’s sarcoma,
    the rare form of cancer he contracted at Boston College, forcing him to miss the
    entire 2009 season.

    Herzlich played in each of the Giants’ first 11
    games, primarily on special teams. He started the last two of those games at
    middle linebacker, including a loss on Nov. 28 at New Orleans, where Herzlich
    suffered an ankle injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the season –
    including the four-game postseason run that culminated in victory in Super Bowl

    Ironically, it was Herzlich’s injury that prompted the Giants to
    re-sign Blackburn.

    “It was frustrating,” Herzlich said of his prolonged
    absence. “As awesome as it was going through the playoffs and winning all the
    games and winning the Super Bowl - obviously it was a dream come true. There’s
    still something left on the table for me, personally, because I didn’t get to
    play in those games. So it pushes me even harder right now, because I don’t want
    that to ever happen again. I don’t want to be watching those games and not
    playing in them.”

    Herzlich was an every-day participant in the Giants’
    offseason conditioning program, OTAs and the minicamp. While his teammates are
    certainly working out wherever they are, Herzlich continues to run, lift and put
    himself through football drills at the Giants’ complex.

    “It’s a good
    place to be,” Herzlich said. “I have the field, all the equipment I need, I’ve
    got the facility. I had vacation time before OTAs. Now it’s for working out and
    getting ready for camp. And that’s what the next five weeks are for to me. On
    the weekends I can go and do some things, but I’ll be here during the week
    working out.”

    Herzlich is working just as hard mentally as he is

    “The biggest thing I’m doing right now is studying because, I
    have to be mentally sharp when we get back,” Herzlich said. “That way the
    athletic ability can kind of take over.

    “I’m watching film and going
    over the plays. I took a lot of good notes during the OTAs and I review those
    and look at the practice film from the OTAs and look at what I didn’t do well,
    what I did do well, what I need to do to get better, and really self-analysis of
    what I have to do.”

    When he does leave the facility, Herzlich spends much
    of his time with his six-month-old English bulldogs. He purchased them from a
    breeder near his families Pennsylvania home.

    “I’ve wanted dogs forever,
    since college,” he said. “This offseason seemed like a great time to get them. I
    named the boy Champ, for obvious reasons, and the girl is

    Herzlich expects to stay on his current schedule until the Giants
    report to training camp.

    “I’ll probably cut it down from four workouts a
    week to maybe two that week,” he said. “That will give me a little time to rest.
    But you don’t want to take too much time off or sit around too much because your
    body is used to working at a high level. Then if you stop for a week, you get
    lactic acid buildup and you have to go and get two days up in camp to start
    moving again.

    “I’m used to year-long training and some people think
    you’ve got to take a break to rest. But there’s different sorts of training you
    can do which rests certain muscles, rests certain parts of your body, where you
    actually stay active. And that’s what I’ve got to do.”

    His opportunity to
    compete for a starting job might depend on it.


    "Jason Pierre-Paul

    Votes received: Dansby (2nd place), Fennelly (2nd), Johnson (2nd), Orlando
    (2nd), Resch (2nd), Stack (2nd), Wagner (2nd), Chachkes (4th), Santucci

    Resch: There is only one player the Giants simply cannot
    afford to lose (if you’re keeping score at home, you know that [SPOILER ALERT!]
    we think that player is Eli Manning), but if the Giants lose JPP for an extended amount
    of time, it will be absolutely devastating. In only his second season, this
    freak of a man put the Giants’ oft-injured defense on his back and carried them
    to respectability until the unit’s other stars were healthy enough to pitch in.
    His game-clinching blocked field goal against the Cowboys was a microcosm of his
    monster season.

    Technically, he can still use some refinement, which is a scary thought for
    the rest of the NFL. If he continues to develop the way he has in his first two
    seasons, one could reasonably expect him to take home a Defensive Player of the
    Year award in the next few seasons. If this is as far as he will develop, he was
    still more than worthy of the 15th overall pick…heck, he’s already playing like
    a guy who was taken first overall. I would say the sky is the limit, but then
    I’d look like a fool when JPP backflips onto the moon.

    Stack: About to become the face of the defense.

    Dansby: He has to now play with expectations and with teams
    planning to stop him.

    Johnson: Versatile pass rusher who makes plays at the line
    and downfield, even contributes on special teams. Defensive POY candidate.

    Chachkes: Poised to become one of the best, most dominant
    pass rushers in the NFL, Jason is working hard to continue to learn additional
    moves. I still can’t believe he’s only playing the game since H.S, the way he
    jumps out of the blocks sometimes.

    Santucci: Last year’s defensive MVP. A game changer and
    cannot be replaced, regardless if Osi is happy and healthy.

    Fennelly: JPP has become the X-factor for the defense. He is
    the one opponents fear. They lose him, that element is gone.

    Orlando: JPP might not be the first dominant DE to wear a
    blue jersey but he has the potential to be the most dominant of all time.
    Analysts feel that he has yet to peak and given the ferocious nature of his
    play, that is great news for New York.

    I strongly considered putting Tuck here. However, I expect 2012 to be a
    breakout season for Pierre-Paul and I think Tuck’s ability to penetrate the
    backfield will correlate directly with how the offensive line handles the rush
    from JPP’s end of the field.

    Wagner: The letters JPP could have easily translated to some
    others, as in DPOY last year (he was in my mind). That, and the fact that the
    Giants’ defense revolves around their pass rush makes him indispensable.

    Previous posts: #3:
    Justin Tuck
    , #4:
    Victor Cruz
    , #5
    Hakeem Nicks
    , #6: Michael
    , #7:
    Chris Snee
    , #8:
    Ahmad Bradshaw
    , #9:
    Antrel Rolle
    Steve Weatherford
    , Honorable
    , Players
    who received only one vote


    "The other day we pointed you to an article that our NFC East blogger – Jimmy
    Kempski – posted on his site,, Blogging the Beast. Jimmy outlined a scenario in
    which newly-signed TE Martellus Bennett gets himself cut by the Giants this

    I know, it’s a bit of stretch but when you read his new post, you may change
    your mind. Not many
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

  • #2

    thanks much Roanoke! [B]


    • #3
      Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: THURSDAY, JUNE 28, 2012 - 11:45 A.M.

      [quote user="BigBlue1971"]thanks much Roanoke! [B][/quote]

      “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1