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News, notes, rumors, and gossip: Friday, December 21, 2012 ARE WE STILL HERE?

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  • News, notes, rumors, and gossip: Friday, December 21, 2012 ARE WE STILL HERE?



    Giants' Justin Tuck Unsure If He'll Play Sunday, Says It's Time For The Defensive Line To Step Up

    Excerpt: "Justin Tuck is encouraged with what he's seen on film from recent defensive performances against the Ravens. He said he's noticed there are opportunities to get to Joe Flacco and defenses have capitalized. That much he knows. Whether he'll be on the field to take part is another matter.

    "I don't know. We'll see," was how Tuck answered when asked if he will play Sunday.

    Tuck, who hasn't practiced this week with a shoulder injury, repeated the two sentences when asked if he's optimistic.

    His head coach was more so.

    "I think we’ll get him some work tomorrow," Tom Coughlin said. "He’s feeling better every day."

    Tuck and the rest of the Giants defensive line has fielded the series of questions for weeks now. They know the pass rush isn't living up to the lofty, perhaps too lofty, expectations.

    Their various answers have usually centered on the opposing offenses' heightened awareness and effective gameplanning. Now, Tuck thinks it's time that they look at themselves.

    "Maybe we're giving o-lines and offensive coordinators and offenses too much credit," said Tuck, who has just three sacks this season.

    "Honestly, I think we just need to stop worrying about what people are writing, what people say about our pass rush and just get back to beating people up front. I think if you start listening to what people say about 'You're not getting sacks, you're not doing this,' you start trying to look for answers instead of focusing on the answer, which is you beating the guy in front of you." Read more...

    Giants Hope To Test Injured Ahmad Bradshaw In Friday's Practice

    Excerpt: "Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw did not practice Wednesday or today. That was the plan, Bradshaw said earlier this week, to have him continue to rest his sprained left knee.

    The plan now includes Bradshaw possibly testing the knee in practice Friday.

    "Hopefully we’ll see what it’s like tomorrow," coach Tom Coughlin said. "But if we can get some snaps tomorrow, we’ll be able to tell better (if he can play vs. the Ravens)."

    Bradshaw has said he's playing this week, but Coughlin has made clear that decision is up to the medical staff. Bradshaw missed last week's game at Atlanta after injuring the knee early in the Saints game. He has also dealt with a bruised bone in his foot.

    Right guard Chris Snee (hip) and center David Baas (hip/shoulder) have also missed two straight days of practice, and Coughlin said he hopes they'll get some work Friday as well.
    Baas said he will play this week.

    "Everybody knows what’s at stake, and I know what’s at stake, too, so I’m going to be ready," Baas said. "I’m focused. I’m getting my film study in, and I’m going to do everything I can to help this team win." Read more...



    With Super Bowl Credibility Gone, Giants Need Defense To Step Up

    Excerpt: "Earlier this season, Bengals receiver A.J. Green dropped what he thought was an innocent comment during a radio interview on WFAN. He said, after watching the evidence on the game tapes, that there were holes to be exploited in the Giants’ defense.

    Around here, it sounded like a brazen claim that challenged the Giants’ bravado. They were expected to take umbrage. Instead, they took shelter. Green and his teammates went out and found those holes in a 31-13 romp, part of a 2-4 stretch that has the defending Super Bowl champs flirting with missing the playoffs.

    And it’s all because the Giants’ defense keeps missing the bell, one that might toll for their season if they don’t figure it out Sunday in Baltimore against the Ravens.

    The Super Bowl street cred is gone. They can’t win games on reputation.

    “No doubt about that,” Osi Umenyiora admitted Thursday. “That might be our problem because we all feel like we’ve done this before, we can do this again. We believe in the talent and we can always rise up. Then we put ourselves in this corner. Now we have to fight our way out of it.”

    This is a little more than a corner. A year ago, they needed to make the playoffs by winning a road game against the Jets and a season finale against the Cowboys. While the listless Eagles await them in at home in week 17, they’ve first got to go into a tough place to play against a team nearly as desperate to regain its mojo. Although the Ravens have clinched a wild-card spot, they are trying to end a three-game losing streak, two of them at home, where they had won 15 straight. In a way, that makes them more dangerous than had they been on a roll.

    Ravens coach John Harbaugh, too, has another card to play. He’s been coy about the possibility of activating Ray Lewis, who has been on injured reserve with a designation to return with a torn right triceps. Lewis has been practicing for a couple of weeks now and, according to defensive coordinator Dean Pees, looking like his old self.

    In order for him to be available for the playoffs, the Ravens would have to activate Lewis for either of these last two games. Since the season ends on the road in Cincinnati, this week gives them their best emotional bang for their buck. There is perhaps no other player in the league who can lift his team just by being on the field." Read more...

    With Ahmad Iffy, Giants' Rookie Wilson Sees Start Of Something

    David Wilson
    can tell you exactly what he did well last Sunday in Atlanta, and exactly where he struggled. And the rookie can tell you this, too: If Ahmad Bradshaw isn’t cleared to play this Sunday in Baltimore, he will just play a little bit better in his second start in the NFL.

    “Yeah, I mean, I’m just trying to get better and better,” Wilson said on Thursday. “You make mistakes but you want to limit those mistakes and give the coaches 100% confidence.”
    The Giants are still hoping that Bradshaw can suit up for Sunday’s critical game against the Ravens. The veteran missed last Sunday’s game with a sprained knee, and he has not practiced all week, but he has repeatedly said he plans to play. Tom Coughlin, however, indicated only that Bradshaw will practice Friday. A decision will be made after that.

    “If we can get (him) some snaps (Friday), we’ll be able to tell better,” Coughlin said.

    That means it’s possible that Wilson will start for a second straight week. With Bradshaw sidelined, Wilson has once again shouldered the practice load. Backups Kregg Lumpkin and Ryan Torain have also seen action." Read more...

    Giants' Pass Rush Tries To Re-Fewell Against Ravens

    Excerpt: "John Harbaugh respects the Giants’ pass rush, but he definitely doesn’t fear it. The Baltimore Ravens coach said he “wouldn’t use that word” even though the Giants once had one of the most fearsome pass rushes in the league.

    “He shouldn’t,” Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said. “Not at all. There’s been years here it should have been feared. But this year, we haven’t had that year.”

    At least not yet.

    Though the Ravens may not be shaking in their cleats, Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell believes his pass rushers haven’t had the last word on their subpar season yet. He sees the pride in his beleaguered group and he knows they still have the talent.

    “I do believe this about them,” Fewell said. “They’re a proud unit. I think they will have success in the next couple of weeks. And I think you’ll see their numbers go up.”

    If he is right, the timing couldn’t be better for the Giants (8-6) as they prepare to head to Baltimore for what might be a must-win game to salvage their season. They still remember that it was their dominant pass rush, as much as anything, that fueled their championship runs in 2007 and 2011.

    And despite their struggles this season, they’re determined to be the fuel for that fire again.

    “I think we always feel that responsibility,” linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka said. “We get a lot of the praise when things are going good, so rightfully so we take a lot of the blame when they’re not. The fact of the matter is that’s a very effective way to shut the game down and put things in our favor. It’s something we have to turn around.”

    Fourteen games into the season, they Giants are not really sure how to do that. Fewell went through a laundry list of how teams have adapted to a pass rush that was third in the NFL with 48 sacks last season. He pointed to the obvious extra attention being paid to his defensive ends and, perhaps most importantly, that “I think the ball comes out (of the quarterback’s hands) much quicker than I’ve seen in a number of years.”

    The result is the Giants have only 32 sacks — 16th in the NFL. And the once dynamic trio of Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul have combined for just 15½ sacks — 15 fewer than they finished with last year." Read more...
    Giants' Insider: Hobbled Hakeem Nicks Trying To Catch Up

    Excerpt: "Hakeem Nicks was mere millimeters from catching an Eli Manning bomb and dashing into the end zone in last Sunday’s debacle in Atlanta. But if the Giants’ receiver is right, that won’t happen again in Baltimore.
    “I feel like we (were) just off by a hair (in Baltimore),” Nicks said Thursday. “But I feel like that’s about to change.”

    That Giants would welcome that change. Hobbled by knee and foot injuries, Nicks has struggled to stay in sync with Manning, and over the past few games, the duo has failed to connect on a handful of deep passes. Nicks, who caught at least seven TD passes in each of the last two years, has just three TD grabs this year.

    Sunday’s miss occurred late in the first quarter, on first-and-10 from the Giants 20, when Nicks had gotten behind the Falcon defense. Nicks said Manning thought “I was going to run up under it. I wanted to run into the end zone, I didn’t want to just make a good catch.” But without his trademark explosive burst, the receiver couldn’t reach the throw near the Atlanta 30.

    “I wanted to score, so, you know, that’s why I tried to run out for it,” said Nicks, who practiced for the first time all week Thursday.


    A Ravens defense that’s given up 65 points in its last two games just may get a boost on Sunday. For the second straight week, linebacker Ray Lewis, who is on injured reserve with a triceps injury, is practicing. The Ravens have yet to reveal his status, but Lewis would provide “a great emotional lift,” defensive coordinator Dean Pees told reporters in Baltimore.

    “I’d love to have him back . . . but more than that, we could use some bodies in there too, at linebacker,” Pees said. “We’ll just have to wait and see and whatever they say is a go, but we’d love to have him back.”

    Baltimore has been uncharacteristically porous this season, ranking 26th in total defense (374.3 yards per game), 22nd in passing yards per game (242) and 13th in points per game (21.9)." Read more...

    Cruz Tops All NFC WRs In Pro Bowl Voting

    Excerpt: "Victor Cruz inched closer to his first Pro Bowl berth when the NFL announced that the Giants’ 26-year-old receiver finished first among all NFC receivers in fan Pro Bowl balloting with 515,811 votes.

    Cruz at one time was in the Top 10 overall in the NFL in fan votes, but slipped in the final few weeks. Still, he was the winner at his position in his conference, outdistancing –Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, who finished second with 499,067 votes.

    The win at the ballot box doesn’t assure Cruz will make the team, though. Voting by fans, coaches and players each make up one-third of the final ballot and the player and coach votes haven’t been completed yet. The Pro Bowl teams will be announced next Tuesday night.

    If Cruz makes it he’ll be the second Giants receiver to make the Pro Bowl in the last four seasons, joining Steve Smith who was on the NFC squad in 2009. Prior to that, the Giants hadn’t had a Pro Bowl receiver since Homer Jones in 1968.

    Several other Giants players fared well in the fan voting, too. Here’s a look at the others that finished in the top five in voting at their positions in the NFC:

    Victor Cruz – 1st among NFC receivers (515,811 votes)" Read more...



    Defeat vs. Ravens Could End Giants' Playoff Hopes

    Excerpt: "It’s not out of the question the reigning Super Bowl champs could be eliminated from the playoffs this Sunday — with a week still to go in the regular season.

    The possibility of that very embarrassing turn of events was very much on the Giants’ minds yesterday, resulting in a team that has lacked focus all season to insist it is thoroughly focused on what could be a do-or-die visit to Baltimore this weekend.

    “It’s serious now,” defensive tackle Chris Canty said. “This is it — this is our season Sunday. We need to win two games to get [into the playoffs], and this is what you thrive on. This is what excites you. This is what motivates you to lift all those weights in the offseason.”

    Although the 8-6 Giants are the only team in the NFC East that controls its own destiny, they can throw it all away Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium. A loss to the Ravens combined with wins by the Cowboys and Redskins and a win or tie by the Seahawks would boot Big Blue from the playoff race.
    The only possible comfort for the Giants is they were facing virtually this exact scenario a year ago and responded by running the table to another Lombardi Trophy in stunning fashion.

    But coming off last week’s 34-0 rout by the Falcons (the Giants’ first regular-season shutout loss since 1996), you can excuse coach Tom Coughlin and his players if they aren’t bold enough to predict a similarly inspired performance." Read more...

    Giants Need JPP, Pass Rush To Make An Impact

    Excerpt: "It’s rush hour now for Jason Pierre-Paul and the Giants. It is time to be feared again. It is time to impose, for Super Bowl Giants to dictate all terms to the Ravens and impose their will again. It is time to make Joe Flacco a rattled wreck. Sacco Flacco.

    It is time to carry the championship banner for this franchise with Eli Manning. It is no time for excuses. It is time to defend your Super Bowl as if there is no tomorrow. Because there is no tomorrow today.
    It is time for JPP to be the Monster of M&T Bank Stadium. It is time for him to ruin the game for Flacco. Pierre-Paul has gone five straight weeks without a sack, and this is incomprehensible and inexcusable for a man of his awe-inspiring gifts. No one cares whether he has to make his way through the Great Wall of China. He cannot go a sixth game without one.

    Which means it is time to heed the immortal words of Lawrence Taylor: “Let’s go out there like a bunch of crazed dogs and have some fun!”
    Justin Tuck was asked how critical it is for JPP to be JPP Sunday.

    “It’s very critical,” Tuck said. “He’s the type of player that when he’s playing like he did most of last year, he can be a game-changer, so it’s critical for us to kind of get off to a fast start and him in particular, he can be kind of a catalyst of our defense and getting us that spark that we need.

    The mandate: Stop Ray Rice so you can pin your ears back and get Flacco. Jump out to a lead and make Flacco one-dimensional.The Giants won two Super Bowls making life a living hell for Tom Brady, remember.“Protection schemes we’ve seen this year have been kind of unorthodox,” Tuck said. “It’s worked against us because we haven’t been able to adjust to that. Hopefully we’ll start adjusting in some regard.” Read more...

    Bradshaw No Lock To Take On Ravens

    Excerpt: "Ahmad Bradshaw’s proclamation he will play Sunday at Baltimore is still on shaky ground.

    The Giants welcomed wide receiver Hakeem Nicks back to practice yesterday, but Bradshaw wasn’t able to get on the field for the second day in a row because of knee and foot injuries that didn’t exactly have coach Tom Coughlin bursting with confidence.

    “Well, hopefully we’ll see what it’s like [today],” Coughlin said. “If we can get some snaps then, we’ll be able to tell better.”Even if Bradshaw can’t play against the Ravens, Coughlin has said the Giants might bring him along anyway because his forceful personality could prove useful on the sidelines after Big Blue showed no life last week in a 34-0 road loss to the Falcons.

    The Giants also might be without defensive end Justin Tuck, who missed practice for the second day in a row with a shoulder injury that continues to be looked at closely by the team’s medical staff.
    Tuck refused to say if he was optimistic about playing, although Coughlin sounded as if he expects the veteran lineman to be available for one of the most important games of the Giants’ season.“I think we’ll get him some work [today],” Coughlin said after practice. “He’s feeling better every day.”

    * The Giants won’t be surprised if Ray Lewis completes his improbable comeback and faces them." Read more...

    Backs Against The Wall, Osi and Big Blue In Familiar Spot

    Excerpt: "Once again the Giants have played themselves into a corner, needing wins down the stretch to even reach the postseason. And Osi Umenyiora — who could be playing his last games with the team — said past success with their backs against the wall may have lulled the Giants into a false sense of security they can ill afford Sunday in Baltimore.

    “No doubt about that part, and that might be a problem, because we all feel like ‘Ok, we’ve done this before, and we can do this again ... we have the ability to challenge and we can always rise up.’ And then we put ourselves in this corner. Now we have to fight our way out of it,’’ said Umenyiora, who acknowledged the Giants’ late-season history may have left them spoiled.
    “It might. But it also gives us the knowledge we have experience in doing that. If anything, you don’t want to put yourselves in that situation.

    But we did again, and hopefully we’ll be able fight our way out of it again. ... We’ve been here entirely too many times, but that’s the way things have played out for us.’’
    Umenyiora had 11 1/2 sacks in 2010, and nine in just nine games during last year’s injury-shortened Super Bowl-winning campaign. But after inking a one-year, $6 million deal in June, he has just six sacks this season. Knowing these could be his final two games with the Giants, he could have one last Super Bowl run on his mind.“I hope it’s on all of our minds,” defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. “We want to win another Super Bowl this year. I think every guy on our team believes we can do that. So I’m not speaking for just him — every guy on our team believes we can go and win. But we need to take care of business on Sunday.’’ Read more...

    Ex-Giant Antonio Pierce Questions Team's Mental Toughness

    Excerpt: "The Giants have been eager to say they are at their best when their backs are against the wall, but Antonio Pierce wants to know where their heads are at.

    The former Giants linebacker-turned-ESPN analyst called out his one-time teammates for relying too much on the success they had last season when they won their final six games, ending with a victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.

    The 8-6 Giants, tied with the Redskins and Cowboys atop the NFC East, have essentially put themselves in that same must-win position following last Sunday’s 34-0 drubbing at the hands of the Falcons.
    “I really do think they are a team that’s mentally drained right now,” Pierce said of the team that will look to save its season with a win in Baltimore on Sunday.

    “Coach [Tom] Coughlin is preaching mental toughness, and I don’t know if they can say they have that right now. They are a team that is not as strong as in years past, as far as being mentally tough.

    Time and again, Giants players have pointed to the fact they did not play their best football last season until they absolutely had to.“My concern with the Giants is them constantly talking about what they’ve done in the past,” said Pierce, who was on the 2007 Super Bowl team. “They are looking in the rear-view mirror, thinking they can always rely on that. Our backs are against the wall, this is the way we like it, and after [Sunday’s] performance — an embarrassing, slap-in-the-face loss — I didn’t see any players out there that played like everything really mattered at that time.” Read more...

    Nicks Return To Practice, Bradshaw, Tuck Do Not

    Excerpt: "Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks returned to practice today, but the Giants were still missing running back Ahmad Bradshaw, defensive tackle Justin Tuck and offensive linemen David Baas and Chris Snee as they prepared for Sunday's potential do-or-die trip to Baltimore.

    Nicks, who missed practice Wednesday because of a knee injury, worked out this afternoon with the aid of a wrap on the knee." Read more...


    Giants' Notebook: Giants Hope Bass, Snee Will Be Ready For Ravens

    Excerpt: "Toughing it out

    The Ravens’ defensive toughness has preceded them for more than a decade, but the Giants will be looking to match that up front if they are to be successful offensively.

    OC Kevin Gilbride said he was hopeful C David Baas (hip/shoulder) and RG Chris Snee (hip) would be able to return to the practice field after each player missed the last two days.

    "I know the toughness of the guys and I know their desire to play," Gilbride said of Baas and Snee, both of whom were hurt in Sunday’s 34-0 loss to Atlanta. "Because of that, I’m expecting them to play. They haven’t practiced and we haven’t seen them out there on the field. I think they’ll play, but that’s just my confidence in them because of the type of people that they are."
    Baas said there is no questioning the physical play Baltimore comes with on game day."I feel like that’s definitely something we have to bring, a physicality to this game," Baas said. "We know they’re a tough opponent, but we know what is at stake. We just have to be ready." Read more...
    Giants' Pass Rush Trying To Regain Fear Factor

    Excerpt: "Justin Tuck agrees with those of you who believe he and the rest of the Giants’ pass rush have not lived up to expectations this season.

    The Giants’ defensive captain also takes no offense to Ravens coach John Harbaugh suggesting there isn’t any "fear factor" involved in facing Big Blue’s once-vaunted front.

    "There’s been years here … [the pass rush] should have been feared, but this year we haven’t had that year," Tuck said. "What have you done for me lately – that’s how the league looks at you – and lately we haven’t done much of anything as far as getting after the quarterback."
    The Giants would rather not focus on what could have been, however.
    There are two games left on the regular-season schedule and if they are able to win both, beginning with Sunday’s showdown against the Ravens in Baltimore, they will reach the playoffs and earn the opportunity to defend their Super Bowl crown.

    The onus will certainly be on the pass rush along with Eli Manning to help lead the way.

    "I think they’re frustrated a little bit mentally because of how people have taken the approach against them," Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "I think that it weighs heavily on them because they’re a very proud and productive unit. … I think they will have success in the next couple of weeks and I think you’ll see their numbers go up."

    A puzzling aspect of those struggles is the lack of jump-out-of-the-television-screen games from Jason Pierre-Paul, whose presence down the stretch of last season led many observers to consider the All-Pro defensive end a strong candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year." Read more...



    Raven's Fearsome Defense Staggered By Injuries

    Excerpt: "The memories are as vivid as the purple on the uniforms of the Baltimore Ravens

    Linebacker Ray Lewis, with his head bobbing and his chest thrust forward, would gather his defensive teammates around him and, speaking with the passion of a preacher, inspire them to one overwhelming performance after another.

    The Giants know that fury well. When the teams played in Super Bowl XXXVto close the 2000 season, Baltimore tied a Super Bowl record with four interceptions and Lewis was the game’s most valuable player as the Ravens won, 34-7.

    The nadir of Eli Manning’s rocky rookie season came when he experienced the ignominy of compiling a passer rating of zero in a 37-14 loss to Baltimore on Dec. 12, 2004. He completed 4 passes for 27 yards with 2 interceptions before he was mercifully taken out in the fourth quarter.

    The Giants will see a different defense Sunday when they visit M&T Bank Stadium. The once-proud unit is so battered by injuries that safety Ed Reed and cornerback Cary Williams are the only players to have started all 14 games this season. Reed, an 11-year veteran, was so upset after the Denver Broncos rushed for 163 yards while defeating Baltimore, 34-17, last Sunday that he said he was “embarrassed.”

    Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, in his seventh season, did not hesitate to echo Reed’s harsh depiction of a home loss that was the third consecutive defeat forthe Ravens (9-5), who can still clinch a second consecutive A.F.C. North title by beating the Giants.

    I do think anybody would be embarrassed by that performance,” Ngata said before Wednesday’s practice. “We, as a defense, have a lot of pride and know we can play better.”

    It is unclear whether Lewis, 37, will be able to lend his vocal and punishing presence to that effort. The Ravens, who lost inside linebacker Jameel McClain (spinal cord contusion) on Monday when he became the 11th member of the team to go on injured reserve, can activate Lewis. But it remains unclear whether they will." Read more...





    D-Line Looks To Pressure Ravens' QB

    "In the not-too-distant past, a question about the Giants’ pass rush would almost certainly have elicited a gushing response from an opposing head coach who would recite chapter and verse about the destructive force of the defensive front.

    But those responses have been muted by a defensive line that has not put its customary pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

    John Harbaugh coaches the 9-5 Baltimore Ravens, who will host the 8-6 Giants Sunday in M&T Bank Stadium. On a conference call this week, Harbaugh was asked whether there was a “fear factor” regarding the Giants’ pass rush. His immediate reaction was, “I wouldn’t use that word.”

    Oh, Harbaugh went on to praise the Giants’ linemen, saying, “We respect them, they’re a great front,” and “every one of those guys can rush.” But it was the first sentence that was most telling. Opposing teams don’t seem to regard the Giants’ pass rush as highly as they once did.

    The numbers demonstrate why. The Giants have recorded 32 sacks, five fewer than at this point a year ago. Through 14 games in 2011, Jason Pierre-Paul had 13.5 sacks. Today, he has a team-high 6.5. JPP, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka had combined for 27.0 sacks. This season, they have combined for 18.5.

    While sacks are far from the only gauge of a defensive lineman’s play, the Giants have long prided themselves on attacking opposing quarterbacks. But the players are not happy with the numbers. And with two games remaining and the Giants fighting for a playoff berth, they believe those figures can still improve.

    “I haven't had a good year,” Tuck said today. “JPP hasn't had a good year. Kiwi, Osi, none of us have had good years compared to what we expect from ourselves. But maybe we’re giving O-lines and offensive coordinators and offenses too much credit. Honestly, I think we just need to stop worrying about what people write and what people say about our pass rush and just get back to beating people up front. I think you start listening to what people are saying about, ‘You’re not getting sacks and you’re not doing this,’ you start trying to look for answers instead of focusing on the answer, which is you beating the guy in front of you. I think that’s what we’ve got to get back to.”

    Asked about Harbaugh’s “fear” comment, Kiwanuka said, “That’s completely irrelevant to us. I feel like it doesn’t matter how they come into the game as long as they respect us when they leave the game. So for us, that means if they decide to drop back on first and second down and getting pressure and getting down on the ground and on third down we have to get sacks. We have to get him (Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco) to move his launch point. We’ve got to get him to do some things that he doesn’t want to do and then getting sacks and making sure that we get off the field on third down.”

    “He’s a coach and even if he did look on tape and he was scared, he’s not going to be like ‘Yes, we’re scared’ because he has to put confidence in his team,” Umenyiora said. “So I understand exactly what he was saying even if he really feels that way. That’s cool. We just have to go out there and try to put fear in whoever we play next.”

    That would mean increasing their recent sack totals. The Giants registered five sacks of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers on November 25. But in the games immediately before and after that, they had zero sacks. And they had one sack in each of the last two weeks, when they defeated New Orleans and lost to Atlanta, meaning in four of the last five games they’ve had no more than one sack.

    “I think it tells some of the story,” defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said of the numbers. “I don’t think it tells all of the story. I think the story is we’ve got to do a good job in stopping the run game and that will help our numbers and we’ve been emphasizing the run game more so than we’ve been emphasizing anything else this week.”

    Not a bad idea, considering Baltimore’s Ray Rice has already rushed for 1,031 yards and nine touchdowns this season.

    Pierre-Paul this week said he is having a “great year” and cited his work against the run as one of the reasons.

    “Honestly, I am doing what the coach asks me to do,” JPP said. “My numbers are not showing but I think I am doing pretty good. I am disturbing the quarterback, I am getting pressure every game, they are chipping me, they are doubling me, but … I have to find a way to get to the quarterback. As far as the run, I think I am a very good run-stopper, the ball doesn’t come to my side often. I think I am doing a great job.”

    Asked about the decline in his sack total, Pierre-Paul said, “It is just less snaps,” he said. “Don’t put that on I am not having good year because of my snaps. I am having a good year. It’s just my numbers are not showing.”

    Fewell concurred with that assessment.

    “Everybody likes to look at his numbers, but when you look at the tape JPP is really playing well,” Fewell said. “We’re used to him having wild plays and this and that, but he’s still playing very good football. No, he doesn’t have the numbers. Would I love him to have the numbers? No doubt about it. But I think he is playing good football. He just doesn’t have the wild numbers.”

    It would help the Giants’ cause immeasurably if they recorded some of those numbers in Baltimore. The defensive linemen are well aware of the rising criticism regarding their sack totals. And while that doesn’t fuel them, they would love to have a big sack game to quiet the chorus for at least a week.

    “We get a lot of the praise when things are going good, and rightfully so, we take a lot of the blame when we’re not,” Kiwanuka said. “But the fact of the matter is a very effective way to shut the game down and put things in our favor is too get to the quarterback, especially on third down. So it’s something that we have to turn up.”

    Fewell said that would improve the linemen’s outlook

    “I think they’re frustrated a little bit mentally because of how people have taken the approach against them,” he said. “I think it weighs heavily on them, because they are a very proud and productive unit and so when you get a sack it’s not an easy thing. They work their hind end off to get there. They got to see the snap count, go through somebody and then get there and then when the ball is gone and if they hit the quarterback then it’s a roughing the passer. So when the ball is gone they’re like, ‘I didn’t get it.’ And so sometimes we set five and try to single up sometimes and then the ball came out and so I think that frustrates them a little bit and it kind of weighs on them sometimes.

    “I do believe this about them, though: they’re a proud unit. I think they will have success in the next couple of weeks and I think you’ll see their numbers go up.”
    Quotes: 12/20/2012

    The Giants prep to take on the Baltimore Ravens in Week 16


    Q: How is Justin Tuck feeling?

    A: I think we’ll get him some work tomorrow. He’s feeling better every day.

    Q: It sounded like he was going to the doctor yesterday:
    A: Doctors are here. He went to the doctor Monday.

    Q: How was practice today?
    A: Pretty intense, pretty good.



    Q: The Ravens have a lot of injuries on defense, but they are generally a well-coached group. What do you see from them up-front and in the secondary and what are some of the difficulties they present?
    A: You see size up front. They’re very powerful, big, difficult to move, displace. It’s hard to get a consistent running game. They’ve had some injuries with their linebackers, so I’m sure they’re feeling inconsistent, but we see the ability level. We see the sparks as a good thing. We know we have our challenges. You couple that with: they’re one of those teams that’s going to make it difficult to get in a rhythm because they pressure so much. They’re going to be willing to gamble and take chances and sometimes it’s hard to get a consistent movement package going, but what you hope is that there’s going to be some chances for some big plays and you capitalize on them when they’re available.

    Q: Anything in particular that they do in the red zone?
    A: We’re really in our process tonight when we zoom in on the red zone, so all I’ve watched is the game film and cut-ups and everything else but the red zone, but I’d be able to answer that for you tomorrow more effectively. Right now I’m making a guess. Not that you see, just that you’ve got some good players and you have some experienced players that are very capable of studying film and getting a sense of your tendencies and they’re willing to gamble and take some chances. The names are well known.

    Q: Ed Reed is one of the all-time great safeties in the NFL. Is it his athleticism?
    A: That’s certainly the starting point. The guy’s got some ability. Once he has a pick or picks up a fumble, he looks like he’s 22 years old again. You hear about the injuries and the age and this and that, but you don’t see that when he starts running with the ball. You’re kind of holding your breath. I think as much as the athleticism, which is obvious, is that he looks like a guy that does a lot of film study and has a great sense of what you’re doing so his anticipation is tremendous. He really sees what’s unfolding and he’s one of those guys that has phenomenal confidence in his ability to diagnose what’s happening so he’s going to take chances that not everybody would take. Because of his knowledge coupled with his athleticism, many of those gambles pay off. He’s somebody you have to be in-tune with and aware of at all times.



    Q: 18 missed tackles?
    A: We had a number of missed tackles in the football game. Yeah. We didn’t tackle well. You’ve just got to emphasize it. We worked on it today. That was one of our focuses today. It’s something that in the month of December you must focus and concentrate on and hopefully we got our message across. I think the players see it.

    Q: Is it odd at this point in the season to have to go back to basics?
    A: It kind of tells you as a coach to get back to the fundamentals and really go back to the basics and emphasize it even more because this is the time where you really need those fundamentals.

    Q: Did you let these guys know that you were angry with them like last year against New Orleans?
    A: I don’t think I had to. We were all embarrassed by our performance. We can’t explain why that happened. I know this group is determined. They’ve had a good focus all week. They’ve been very focused in the meetings and on the practice field, so I expect them to do something about it.



    Q: Do you guys feel a little responsibility to get the pass rush going for you to have the same kind of finish as last year?
    A: I think it’s definitely very important. No question about it, but I think from a team standpoint everybody just needs to elevate their level of play and I think it wasn’t just the pass rush that did it. I think the DBs were covering. We were rushing. The offense was putting up points. Everything just fell into place the way we were supposed to and so far that really hasn’t happened. But if there’s any time to do it, it has to be now.

    Q: Can you guys be the spark?
    A: Yeah. We can definitely try, but a lot of times it just doesn’t work. We can’t just be like this is what’s going to happen. The pass rush is going to kick up and everything is going to fall into place, but we definitely have to do our part. No question.

    Q: Can you win this Sunday?
    A: I hope so. We’ve been here entirely too many times, but that’s the way things have played out for us and I don’t know why it keeps on happening. But those past years are in the past. This year is a brand new year. I can’t say that it’s going to happen for us the same way it did in previous years, but hopefully it will.


    GIANTS 101

    Giants' Quarterback Eli Manning Remains Confident Heading Into Week 16

    Excerpt: "It's no secret that New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has had a down 2012 campaign. Fans were spoiled with his impeccable play behind a shaky offensive line last season, and Manning came into this year with expectations through the roof. Those expectations may have been unfair, but then again he is a two-time Super Bowl MVP. We should expect consistent greatness from him, and he hasn't delivered that so far this season.

    However, despite the statistical shortcomings and the second half slide the Giants fell into again in 2012, Manning is as confident as ever heading into a crucial Week 16 matchup against the BaltimoreRavens.

    “Whether you’ve played your best game or your worst game, each week you go in confident,” Manning said today. “You know you have the ability and you know you can make plays. Even from last week, you can draw from the good plays, you can draw on the good drives that you had. We didn’t make the big plays in the game. This week, hopefully it’s different. Hopefully, we’ll be ready and go out there to make those plays.”

    The Giants missed on three fourth-down conversions last week in Atlanta. Manning completed just 13 of 25 passes for 161 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. It was the second consecutive game in which Manning threw multiple interceptions. The Eli Manning of 2012 has not lived up to the expectations put upon him by last year's version.

    However, the Giants don't even need Eli to play with the heroic mental fortitude that he portrayed a year ago. Big Blue's offensive line has improved and the rushing attack is more consistent. All the Giants need from Eli is for him to take what the defense gives him. Unless the situation calls for it, Manning needs to stop forcing throws where nobody is open. The turnovers must stop and he needs to be more accurate with his deep throws. Easier said than done, but it's what has to happen for the Giants to attain the level of success that fans expect from them this season. Manning echoed these sentiments to the media earlier today." Read more...

    Giants' Hakeem Nicks Returns To Practice, Justin Tuck Remains Sidelined

    Excerpt: " New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks made his way onto the practice field today for the first time this week. Nicks has been battling a knee injury since Week two against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has played visibly injured since then. It's not unusual for him to only practice once a week, so it's encouraging that he's going to have time to further develop his chemistry with quarterback Eli Manning.

    However, it's not all good news coming out of Giants camp today. Big Blue practiced without Justin Tuck (shoulder), Ahmad Bradshaw (knee), Chris Snee (hip), and David Baas (hip/shoulder). Tuck was seen riding the stationary bike, while there were no signs of the other three injured players.
    Ahmad Bradshaw has said on multiple occasions that he expects to play on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. However, that decision lies solely with the team medical staff. Bradshaw missed most of the Giants Week 14 win over the Saints due to a sprained left knee. He also did not make the trip to Atlanta last Sunday.

    Where the injury situation gets further clouded is with Kenny Phillips and Prince Amukamara. The Giants secondary looked lost without their two former first-round picks on the field in Atlanta last weekend. Both players practiced today and should be ready to go on Sunday barring setbacks in their condition. However, there is still a lot of time between now and kickoff in Baltimore. "





















    Bradshaw, Tuck Miss Practice

    Excerpt: "The New York Giants were missing four key players at practice Thursday, three days before they face the Baltimore Ravens with their season on the line.
    Defensive end Justin Tuck, running back Ahmad Bradshaw, and offensive linemen Chris Snee and David Baas all sat out for the second straight day.

    "I think we'll get him some work tomorrow," coach Tom Coughlin said of Tuck, who has a shoulder injury. Coughlin said "hopefully" the others would be back at practice Friday, too.
    When asked if he will play Sunday in Baltimore, Tuck said, "I don't know. We'll see." Read more...



    Giants May Not Have Tuck In Baltimore

    Excerpt: "Defensive end Justin Tuck may not be able to play.
    Tuck has a shoulder injury, which has kept him out of practice the last two days. Bob Glauber ofNewsday said earlier this hour on Pro Football Talk that Tuck is expected to try to practice on Friday." Read more...

    PFT's Week 16 Picks

    Excerpt: "The proverbial pink champagne is on ice.

    Yes, with a clean sweep in the three games on which we disagreed last weekend, I’ve now built a seven-game lead over MDS, with only 32 games to go.
    The problem for MDS is that we probably won’t disagree on seven games in the final two weeks. Even then, he needs to be right on all of them.

    For Week 16, we disagree on three.

    So I’ll lead by at least four and possibly by 10 by the time the fat man in the red suit breaks into my house, eats my cookies, and leaves behind a bunch of stuff for everyone but me.
    For the week, I was 12-4 to a 9-7 from MDS. On the year, I’m at 146-77-1, good for 65.1 percent. MDS is 139-84-1, still at 62.0 percent.

    Giants at Ravens

    MDS’s take: Both of these teams once looked like locks to win their divisions and now look desperate. Former Giants coach Bill Parcells liked to say that in games like this, you go with the more desperate team. That’s the Giants, who probably need to win out to make the playoffs.

    MDS’s pick
    : Giants 24, Ravens 13.

    Florio’s take
    : The Ravens are desperate for a win. The Giants are more desperate for a win. Even though Eli Manning’s Giants have lost to two teams that Peyton Manning’s Broncos played previously and beat, the third time needs to be a charm, or Eli will have no chance to chase his third ring.
    Florio’s pick: Giants 27, Ravens 20."
    Colts, Bengals, Redskins, Seahawks, Giants Can Clinch Sunday

    Excerpt: "Four AFC teams have already clinched playoff berths, and the remaining two spots could be clinched on Sunday.

    In the NFC the playoff picture is more jumbled, but three different teams have a chance to clinch with a win and some help.

    The NFL has confirmed that the Colts and Bengals are both in the AFC playoffs if they win on Sunday, while the Seahawks are in the NFC playoffs if they win. The Redskins and Giants both have their own playoff scenarios on Sunday, although both teams will need help to clinch this week.
    Other teams that have already clinched playoff berths can clinch their divisions, first-round byes or home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs. Here are the scenarios for every team:

    Washington Redskins
    : Clinch a playoff spot if they beat the Eagles and the Giants, Bears and Vikings all lose.

    New York Giants
    : Clinch a playoff spot if they beat the Ravens and the Bears, Vikings, Cowboys and Redskins all lose." Read more...



    Expert Picks: Straight Up

    NFL Playoff Picture





    Getting Nicks Back Big Step For Giants

    Excerpt: " The return of Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks to practice Thursday after missing the previous day with a sprained left knee could only bode well for his on-field rapport with quarterback Eli Manning.

    Nicks, whose 53 catches for 629 yards and three touchdowns is solid but not spectacular considering his first three years of work with the team, says he expects not only to be healthy enough to face the Ravens on Sunday, but to add some jump to his season.

    I feel like one day it can all turn around,'' Nicks said. ''I have to keep the right mentality and keep on working hard. I'm a man of faith, so I can't feel like I'm going through all this for nothing. Some good has got to come out of it.''

    Nicks battled a toe injury at the beginning of the season, and then added the sprain in Week 2 against Tampa. He hasn't been the same game-breaking receiver since, as his timing with Manning and his overall speed suffered.

    I feel like I'm just off (with Manning) by a hair,'' Nicks said. ''But that's going to change.''
    He failed to break a completion last week for big yardage despite having beaten a Falcons defender handily. He barely missed another throw that he could have laid out for, but chose not to." Read more...









    Start The Vick To Jets Rumors

    Last edited by RoanokeFan; 12-21-2012, 09:07 AM.
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

  • #2
    we are still here and so are the Gmen.....for now....
    Thanks Kid....
    "Measure Twice......Cut Once"
    You couldn't be more full of **** if you were break dancing in a Port-a-Potty.......Kruunch


    • #3
      Originally posted by GameTime View Post
      we are still here and so are the Gmen.....for now.... Thanks Kid....
      That's positive
      “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


      • #4
        Originally posted by RoanokeFan View Post
        That's positive
        is it???....
        "Measure Twice......Cut Once"
        You couldn't be more full of **** if you were break dancing in a Port-a-Potty.......Kruunch


        • #5
          Originally posted by GameTime View Post
          is it???....
          Kinda, sorta
          “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


          • #6


            • #7
              Thanks Roanoke, I'll be cheering on Sunday; however, I'm not super confident!


              • #8
                Thanks RF!
                It is sad this team is not what they were, I quess I was spoiled. Atlanta shocked my confidence. Bad enough I get to hear "hail to the redskins" down here. I just don't want them to play out the season like this. One game at a time. Just win!


                • #9
                  thanks Roanoke!

                  this is the game! no let up!


                  • #10
                    Thanks Roanoke, you're the man!


                    • #11
                      Thanks bro.

                      “Basically just stay with your man,” cornerback Janoris Jenkins said. “Follow him everywhere you go. Even if he goes to the bathroom, follow him.”


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ashleymarie View Post
                        You're welcome
                        “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BeatYale View Post
                          Thanks bro.
                          You're welcome
                          “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BigBlue1971 View Post
                            thanks Roanoke!

                            this is the game! no let up!
                            It is THE game of the season due to circumstances we could have avoided
                            “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RoanokeFan View Post
                              It is THE game of the season due to circumstances we could have avoided
                              Cheer up. You will be dancing and eating cake on Mon.