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NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2011 - 10:00 A.M.

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  • NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2011 - 10:00 A.M.

    HERE NOW THE NEWS

    THE DATA WILL UPDATE THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND SHOW THE UPDATE TIME IN THE HEADER.

    TIME FOR THE 12TH MAN TO BE HEARD


    NEWARK STAR LEDGER

    GIANTS' NEWER PLAYERS WANT TO KNOW THE FEELING OF THE POST SEASON

    "The remnants are scattered all over the practice facility, images of players
    hoisting the Lombardi Trophy after a historic upset of the then-undefeated New
    England Patriots.


    That was just four years ago, but in East Rutherford it may as well be four
    decades.




    The Giants advanced to the postseason
    again the next season, in 2008, but entered reeling after starting the season
    11-1 and quickly were bounced in the first round.




    That’s all the Giants have to show for playoff appearances since winning the
    franchise’s third Super Bowl. And while such a “drought” can be tempered by the
    fact that quarterback Eli Manning, defensive end Justin Tuck and a host of
    holdovers remember the good times, it shouldn’t be forgotten that a significant
    portion of the roster hasn’t been able to experience what the playoffs feel like
    firsthand. The revved-up intensity; the spotlight; the emotion. That group
    includes 21 players who have entered the league over the past three years — and
    the entire wide receiving corps.




    “We just want to be there,” third-year wide receiver Hakeem Nicks said. “It’s
    been a goal of mine since I’ve been here, and now it’s right before us and we
    got our opportunity to get it.”




    In all, 20 players on the current roster were on the Giants’ last playoff
    team in 2008; 17 were members of the Super Bowl team the year before. Others,
    such as safety Deon Grant, have been to the playoffs and the Super Bowl with
    other clubs.




    A few veterans, such as linebackers Mathias Kiwanuka and Zak DeOssie, were
    youngsters on the 2007 Giants team; Kiwanuka was in his second year and DeOssie
    was a rookie. Both said there was one player who stood before the team and put
    everything in perspective as they set on making their improbable run through the
    playoffs with three road victories and a triumph over the heavily favored
    Patriots.




    “I guess you could say I was spoiled,” DeOssie said of winning a Super Bowl
    his rookie season. “You know who put it in perspective for me, was Jeff Feagles.
    He said the furthest he had ever made it in 19 years was a divisional round
    game.”

    Feagles, the Giants punter from 2003-09, had been in his 20th season in the
    league and was the oldest player to play in the Super Bowl until Matt Stover
    broke his record in 2010.


    “He said he had played with guys or he knows guys in the league who have
    played 10, 15 years and never even been to the playoffs, so for us to be here in
    this situation, it was something we had to take advantage of,” said Kiwanuka,
    who finished the 2007 season on injured reserve after breaking his leg.




    “Hearing that from an older, experienced guy kind of put things in
    perspective, and you start looking around the league and you think if a guy’s
    been with one or two teams and neither of those teams have never had been to the
    playoffs in recent history, that means you didn’t even get a sniff of it. So it
    was very important we did the most that we could and the same with this
    situation.”




    Players this week said the coaching staff and veterans have set out to remind
    them how rare and fortunate it is to have an opportunity like they will Sunday
    night.




    One of them has been safety Antrel Rolle, who wasn’t with the Giants before
    last season but went to the Super Bowl with the Arizona Cardinals in 2008, and
    did his best Jeff Feagles impression recently.




    “He said, ‘You rookies don’t know what it feels like to be in the playoffs,
    it’s just a great feeling and everybody plays at a different level,’ ”
    cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “He said unless you’ve been there, you don’t
    know how it feels and to just keep working hard.”




    “We have a lot riding on this,” Rolle said this week. “We have everything
    riding on this.”

    GIANTS-COWBOYS GAME PREVIEW: A LOOK AHEAD TO
    THE BATTLE FOR THE NFC EAST

    "I'm late here because I got caught up watching the BYU-Tulsa game. What a
    finish there. I'm not sure how that game would matter any less if there were a
    playoff system, but I digress.


    Speaking of playoff systems, the NFL has a great one. And the Giants and Dallas Cowboys will battle for
    the right to get into said playoffs. It should be a good one, and I'd expect the
    most raucous crowd we've seen at MetLife Stadium so far.




    I'm already on record as saying I smell an easy
    Giants victory here
    . Though I dropped that on SNY on Tuesday before I knew
    the
    extent of Hakeem Nicks' hamstring issue
    , I'm going to stick with it.




    Folks have been asking if I sense the same pep in the Giants' step this week
    as I did a week ago. I've been telling them it's not as noticeable as it was a
    week ago but that doesn't mean it's not there.




    Tom Coughlin was pleased with what he saw.




    "Because we practiced well and we’re geared towards a big game and I can feel
    the enthusiasm as it grows," he said today. "Everybody knows it’s a game of
    execution against two teams that seem to play incredibly close games every time
    we play."




    * * * *




    SUNDAY'S GAME: vs. Cowboys, 8:20 p.m., NBC




    PLAYERS TO WATCH




    Offense: With
    TE Jake Ballard down
    , the onus is on TE Bear Pascoe to fill
    the void. He didn't have a catch last week against the Jets and I just don't
    think that'll be good enough this week.




    What the Cowboys did the last time these teams played, especially late in the
    game, was double-cover all three receivers and leave Ballard 1-on-1. He hurt
    them late with a touchdown catch and a grab to put them at the 1-yard line
    before Brandon Jacobs scored the game-winner.




    How'd the Cowboys double-cover all three receivers? Well, they put two guys
    on Victor Cruz in the slot and then had a safety over the top of Hakeem Nicks
    and Mario Manningham. (More on the Cruz double coming on Sunday. Don't miss that
    story.) Again, that left Ballard alone. Figure the Cowboys will do plenty more
    of that, especially with Ballard on the sideline.




    Also, WR Ramses Barden was hard on himself following the
    game against the Jets, in which he had a rough first half. Look to see if the
    Giants lean on him (as well as TE Travis Beckum) a bit more to
    help ease the loss of Ballard.



    Defense: DE Jason Pierre-Paul had two sacks
    and, by my count, two pressures in the teams' first meeting. On those plays, LT
    Doug Free got no help from a back or tight end. In the words of
    Coughlin the day after the loss to the Eagles when he was talking about people
    downplaying Philly, "Helllllloooo?"




    On his sacks, Pierre-Paul beat Free once to the outside (on the safety) and
    once to the inside, so Dallas really needs to provide help on both sides of
    Free.




    THE LINE: Giants by 3. Over-under 46.




    ONE MORE THING: Veteran OG Derrick Dockery, a familiar face
    to the Giants because of his six seasons with the Redskins, will get the start
    at LG in place of the injured Montrae Holland.




    * * * *




    The Cowboys are listing QB Tony Romo (hand) as probable after he practiced
    again in a limited capacity. LB DeMarcus Ware (neck) is also probable after
    practicing fully.




    Here's Dallas' full injury report:




    QUESTIONABLE: LB Sean Lee (wrist/illness), RB Felix Jones (hamtsring), S
    Danny McCray (ankle), NT Josh Brent (knee), WR Kevin Ogletree (knee) and WR
    Andre Holmes (hamstring).




    PROBABLE: QB Tony Romo (hand), LB DeMarcus Ware (neck), NT Jay Ratliff
    (ribs), CB Mike Jenkins (shoulder), WR Laurent Robinson (shoulder) and P Mat
    McBrian (left foot)."

    GIANTS' JAKE BALLARD RULED OUT FOR DALLAS GAME

    Excerpt: "tight end Jake Ballard, who caught four passes for 52 yards and a touchdown in
    the team's comeback victory over the Dallas Cowboys earlier this month, has been
    ruled out of the rematch.


    Ballard didn't practice all week and the team has designated him as "out" for
    Sunday's game against the Cowboys. Ballard is dealing with a partially torn
    posterior cruciate ligament (the one in the back of the knee). He said earlier
    this week he was told it'll
    be a 2-to-4 week recovery process
    , which means he might be able to return
    next week — if there is a next week.




    "It's extremely frustrating," Ballard said. "Sitting out last weekend was
    really tough. I thought there'd be a chance to get back for this game, but it
    hasn't turned out that way. This is a playoff game for us. We have to win and
    get in.




    "It's killing me right now. Sitting and watching practice all week is driving
    me crazy."




    Also ruled out was linebacker Mark Herzlich, who hasn't played since
    suffering a high-ankle sprain against the Saints on Nov. 28. (More on him
    below.)




    Defensive end Osi Umenyiora (ankle/knee) is listed as questionable after
    practicing in a limited capacity for the third straight day. He's expected to
    play and be part of the rotation with Jason Pierre-Paul, who will get the
    start.




    “He seemed to do okay each day,” coach Tom Coughlin said." Read more...

    NY DAILY NEWS

    GIANTS' NICKS HAS NO SETBACKS, READY TO FACE COWBOYS

    "If Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks can
    duplicate his previous effort against Dallas on Sunday - the one in which he
    exploded for a season-high 163 yards on eight receptions in the Dec. 11 Giants
    win - Big Blue could catch a playoff berth.



    Of course, the Nicks who appeared on the field in Big D earlier this month
    wasn’t nursing a sore hamstring like the one Nicks is dealing with right now.
    The injury caused him to miss two practices this week, but Nicks was back on the
    field Friday, practicing his cuts, testing his speed, taking passes from Eli
    Manning
    in light drills.




    Nicks said afterward he wasn’t limited in any way.




    Best of all, he said, “there wasn’t no setback.”




    Thursday, Nicks had said there was “no doubt” he would be playing Sunday
    night. Twenty-four hours later, he backed up that claim by acknowledging he was
    “confident” he can be the playmaker Big Blue needs to ring up points against DeMarcus Ware and
    Co., along with his Giants receiving corps.




    “I pushed it to where I will at least have an idea where I will be on certain
    routes and certain plays,” Nicks said of his practice. “I’m confident. I’m
    confident that I’ll be able to get the job done. If I’m out there, I’m going to
    be full-go.”

    Mario Manningham,
    who has battled a knee injury, also practiced Friday.

    Tom
    Coughlin
    , never one to be long-winded with reporters, said Nicks “did all
    right” and “moved around well.”

    Asked if he would have to develop a
    different game plan due to Nicks’ injury, the coach frowned.

    “I don’t
    want to game plan around any of that stuff,” Coughlin barked. “I want to let ’em
    play. Go play the game. I’m confident (Nicks is) going to give it all he’s got,
    I’ll tell you that. He wants to play in the worst way.”

    One thing that
    Nicks wasn’t complaining about was the decision to move Sunday’s game to an 8:20
    start. More time to rest and let his hamstring heal. More time to get his legs
    warmed up and loose, and to get additional treatment during the day, if
    necessary.

    “Treatment, rest, and when Sunday gets here, let’s go,” said
    Nicks. “(Friday) was the test to see where I’m really at. No setbacks. I feel
    like it’s getting better each day. We’ve still got a day and a half. With me
    still treating it, I think that will be fine. Right now, I feel like I’ll be
    able to go out and do what I can do.

    “We know what’s at stake,” continued
    Nicks. “Our running backs are going to contribute. Eli’s going to do his part. I
    know the defense is going to come to play as well. We’re equipped to do whatever
    it is we need to do to win the game.”

    BETWEEN TONY, ROMO, JERRY JONES, AND JASON GARRETT, THERE'S NO REASON TO LIKE THE COWBOYS

    Excerpt: "Did you have to ask, really? Of course we desperately despise the Cowboys in
    New York. Here are 10 good reasons to hate Dallas:



    1. Tony Romo is ranked
    fourth in the NFL quarterback ratings, an insult to Eli and to our
    intelligence.




    Romo stands five spots ahead of Eli Manning, which, we
    all know, is ridiculous. Clearly, the ratings need an extra category called,
    "Throwing away every important game the quarterback ever plays in.”




    2. The Garrett family hates Columbia University, and vice versa.




    Jason Garrett is the
    son of Jim Garrett, who goes
    down in history as arguably the worst coach ever at Columbia. In 1985, during an
    0-10 season, Jim Garrett called the Lions “drug-addicted losers” during one
    post-game tirade, and said, “They’re right back in the sewer again.” Of one
    scholar athlete, Garrett said, “He’ll never punt for me again.”




    When Jim Garrett left at the end of that miserable season, his three sons,
    Jason, John and Judd, all transferred from Columbia to Princeton. There, Jason
    spitefully became Ivy League Player of the Year at quarterback and set the
    conference record for career completion percentage at 66.5%. Columbia got one
    bit of revenge: The Lions upset Jason and Princeton to snap their 44-game losing
    streak in 1988. Roar, Lion, roar, and all that.




    3. Why, exactly, are they called America’s Team again?




    No matter what Rob Ryan blusters on
    about, the fact remains that the Cowboys haven’t won a Super Bowl in 1 6
    seasons, and have captured exactly ONE playoff game in the last 15 years,
    failing to qualify for the postseason in eight of those seasons. If this is
    America’s Team, then the Cowboys reflect very poorly upon the Clinton, Bush and
    Obama
    administrations.




    4. Jerry Jones is out of
    control, even for Jerry Jones.




    He just won’t stop. The megalomaniac owner/GM showed up on the sideline of
    the Cowboys’ game against the Eagles last week, updating the coach on Romo’s
    bruised hand and on out-of-town scores. Jones recently went on a local radio
    show, “The Ticket,” to assure everyone that he has no intention of reducing his
    role.




    “When I bought the team I said there’s no way I could make the kind of
    commitment that I’m making to buy the team and not have the final say relative
    to the kinds of things that general managers decide. So I don’t see that at all.
    What I do see is a better, straight-line way of making decisions and that has
    been borne out over the years.”




    Not really. " Read more...



    OSI UMENYIORA LOOKS "OK" AT PRACTICE FOR GIANTS, SAYS COACH COUGLIN



    "Defensive end Osi Umenyiora was
    listed as “questionable” for Sunday night’s game.




    Umenyiora did not talk with reporters Friday and is battling a high ankle
    sprain that has caused him to miss the past four games.

    Tom
    Coughlin
    said that Umenyiora “seemed to do OK” during practice. Asked if he
    would definitely play, Coughlin said, “You’ll have to see. I hope so. I do.”




    HURTS NOT TO PLAY
    TE Jake Ballard (knee)
    and LB Mark Herzlich
    (ankle) are out for Sunday’s game.

    The rookie Herzlich said he has a high
    ankle sprain, like Umenyiora. He and Ballard rode stationary bikes Friday
    morning, and neither was in holiday spirits about missing the winner-take-all
    game against the Cowboys to decide the NFC East.

    “The team has to take
    care of the Cowboys,” said Ballard, adding that he might be able to play next
    week if the Giants are in the postseason. “It’s extremely frustrating. I thought
    there could be a chance to get back for this game, but it hasn’t turned out this
    way. This is a playoff game for us. It’s killing me right now. Sitting and
    watching practice all week, (it’s) driving me crazy.”

    Added Herzlich:
    “I’ll be starting running on Monday. I couldn’t do the pounding up until the
    five-week mark. The end of this week will be five weeks. (There’s) a little chip
    on the bone. That’s what kept me from doing the pounding. No surgery required.
    It’s just not fun.”




    ONLY COUGHLIN HIT
    Jets LB Aaron Maybin was not
    fined by the NFL for the late hit penalty he received last Saturday night that
    sent Giants RB D.J. Ware flying into Coughlin’s left leg. Coughlin was still
    limping Friday at practice.




    COWBOYS’ INJURY REPORT
    For Dallas, LB
    DeMarcus Ware
    (neck), NT Jay Ratliff (ribs) and
    WR Laurent
    Robinson
    (shoulder) are probable and RB Felix Jones
    (hamstring) is questionable. QB Tony Romo wore a thin
    wrap on his right hand during the portion of practice that was open to the media
    and is probable.




    HAPPY 100th
    Sunday’s game will be the 100th meeting
    between the Giants and rival Cowboys. Dallas leads the all-time series 56-41-2
    (including postseason)."


    NY POST

    GIANTS AHMAD BRADSHAW EAGER TO FACE COWBOYS

    "Never has The Bulldog been more eager to bite than now.



    The Bulldog lost his way back home the night before the first Cowboys game
    and found his way into Giants coach Tom Coughlin’s doghouse for the entire first
    half.




    Tomorrow night, with the stakes piled as high as the Empire State Building,
    The Bulldog can’t wait to be unleashed. The Bulldog feels GRRRRRReat, and he
    barks: Just Give Me the Damn Ball and watch.




    UPDATES FROM
    OUR GIANTS BLOG




    “When we run the ball we win, man,” Ahmad Bradshaw said yesterday as the Giants
    prepared for tomorrow’s NFC East-deciding clash at MetLife Stadium. “When we’re
    successful with it, we have a good time out there.”

    The Bulldog deserved only scraps on Dec. 11 when Brandon Jacobs rumbled for 101 yards.



    “I had a lot of excitement with it ... make the bad turn into good in the
    best situations ... it happened, and it was done, and I just wanted to have a
    lot of excitement for my team and for my running back teammates, we’re running
    back brothers too,” Bradshaw said.




    But tomorrow night, the Cowboys get four quarters of The Bulldog.




    “Oh yeah. ... And we’ll see how they handle it,” he said.




    How do you think they’ll handle it? The Bulldog smiled and said: “I don’t
    think it’s handleable.”




    The Bulldog said he hopes Coughlin throws him a bone.




    “Just to put my team on my back and be able to run the ball,” he
    said."

    GIANTS' PASSING ATTACK READY FOR COWBOYS

    "The total for Eli Manning three
    weeks ago against the Cowboys was 400 passing yards. Manning shredded the Dallas
    defense, with two touchdown passes in the final three minutes-plus to give the
    Giants a 37-34 shootout win.



    Are the Giants again equipped to win a pass-heavy shootout tomorrow
    night?




    “I feel like we’re equipped to do whatever it is we need to do to win the
    game,” wideout Hakeem Nicks said.
    “We know what’s at stake.”





    The NFC East is at stake, as is possibly coach Tom Coughlin’s job. But while
    the finest part of the Giants’ season has been their explosive and consistent
    passing game, the air attack is in a different situation heading into tomorrow’s
    NFC East showdown against the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium.




    The last two games, the Giants passing attack has been shaky. In their 23-10
    loss to the Redskins, Manning threw for three interceptions. In the 29-14 win
    over the Jets, Manning was 9-for-27, though to be fair, Jets star corner Darrelle Revis was partly
    responsible.




    “I really don’t know what’s been different,” Nicks said. “We’ve just got to
    start executing more.”




    Besides the recent pass problems, the Giants also have some personnel issues
    for tomorrow. Tight end Jake Ballard, who was instrumental during the Giants’
    rally to beat the Cowboys, is out because of a knee injury. Nicks (hamstring) is
    probable and plans to play.




    The Giants still have Victor Cruz. And Mario Manningham, who missed the Jets
    game with a knee injury, but is expected to return. Dallas’ secondary has
    surrendered the NFL’s 10th-most passing yards. Without Ballard (38 catches, 604
    yards), the Giants will use backups
    Bear Pascoe
    (10, 122) and Travis
    Beckum
    (three, 80).




    Offensive coordinator Kevin
    Gilbride
    said Ballard’s absence is critical, pointing to his performance at
    the end of the first Cowboys meeting.




    “In the game in Dallas he was huge and as the game went on at the end and
    that last drive, they started using a technique that I hadn’t seen until I
    happened to be watching television and saw Romeo Crennel do it in Kansas City and all of a
    sudden they were doing it,” Gilbride said. “They were putting two guys in like a
    punt coverage against Victor and we couldn’t win with Victor, so we had to win
    somewhere else. There were a couple things you could do but one of the things
    and easy solution was to see if Jake could win and he made a huge play for
    us.”




    Ballard also had an 8-yard touchdown catch on the Giants’ second-to-last
    drive and two catches for 39 yards on the game-winning drive.




    “My knee’s just not ready yet,” said Ballard, who will miss his second
    straight game. “It’s extremely frustrating.”




    As for Nicks, he torched Dallas in that game for eight catches and 163 yards,
    and in his last three games against the Cowboys, he has racked up 22 catches for
    353 yards and two scores.




    Nicks worked yesterday in practice.




    “I wasn’t limited at all on what I did,” he said."



    GIANTS' AMUKAMARA SEEKING REDEMPTION VS. COWBOYS



    "Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell praised Prince Amukamara’s
    performance in practice this week, and said the struggling rookie cornerback
    could be on the field more in tomorrow night’s do-or-die regular-season finale
    against the Cowboys.




    The first-round pick will be looking to atone for his poor play against the
    Cowboys three weeks ago.




    “I’m definitely licking my chops, and I definitely want to redeem myself,”
    Amukamara said yesterday.





    In the game in Dallas on Dec. 11, Amukamara was burned for a 74-yard
    completion to wideout Laurent Robinson, a fourth-quarter play that helped the
    Cowboys take a 27-22 lead. Amukamara then had a brutal game the following week
    against the Redskins, and estimated he played just six snaps last week against
    the Jets.



    “We’ll probably change up this week,” Fewell said. “Prince has had a very
    good week of practice this week. So you may see more of him.”




    Said Amukamara, “I felt this week of practice was very good for me ...
    mentally and just flowing to the ball. Whenever my number’s dialed up, I’ll be
    ready.”




    * LB Mark Herzlich, who has missed the past four games with
    a high ankle sprain and what he called “a little chip on the bone,” will be out
    again tomorrow. But the rookie said returning for next weekend’s potential
    playoff game would be an option.




    “That’s been kind of the hope the whole time,” Herzlich said.




    TE Jake Ballard (knee) also is out tomorrow. DE Osi
    Umenyiora
    (ankle/knee) was limited in practice and is questionable.
    After sitting out Wednesday and Thursday, RB Ahmad Bradshaw
    (foot) and WR Hakeem Nicks (hamstring) participated on a
    limited basis in practice and are probable. WR Mario Manningham
    (knee) is probable.




    * Coach Tom Coughlin gushed last Saturday about how his
    defense practiced heading into the Jets game.




    Coughlin said he also was pleased with how the unit looked the last few days,
    too.




    “They had a good week of practice again. Good week.”




    * Jets LB Aaron Maybin was not fined for his late hit on
    Giants RB D.J. Ware last Saturday."

    GIANTS' WR HAKEEM NICKS ON TRACK TO FACE COWBOYS

    Excerpt: "Working in practice Friday, Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks said he did not
    feel like his ailing hamstring caused him many problems.



    “Did some cuts, in and out. Bursted a little bit,” said Nicks, who did not
    practice Wednesday or Thursday. “It’s a matter of me knowing it’s there, but it
    wasn’t limiting me at all out there.”




    Nicks is listed as probable for Sunday night’s game against the Cowboys at
    MetLife Stadium, and he has said he plans on playing. The third-year player has
    done well against the Cowboys the previous three times he’s faced them, making
    22 catches for 353 yards and two touchdowns. In the Giants’ 37-34 win in Dallas
    three weeks ago, Nicks had eight catches for 163 yards.




    “I think today in practice, that was the test to see where I’m really at. I
    handled it pretty good. There weren’t any setbacks. Looking forward to Sunday
    night,” he said. “I pushed it to the fact to where I would at least have an idea
    of where I would be at on certain routes and certain plays. But there weren’t
    any setbacks. That’s a good thing.” Read more...

    COWBOYS' RYAN BRINGS FAMILY TO SEE "WHEN WE WIN THE EAST"

    "The family of Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is already in New York
    to do some sightseeing before Sunday's NFC East showdown game with the
    Giants.



    Ryan left no doubt that the biggest sight to see will be at MetLife
    Stadium.




    “I want them to be there when we win the East, and I’ll probably steal a
    couple of [championship] T-shirts and make sure they get them, because that’s
    what we’re there for,” Ryan said Friday at the Cowboys practice facility.




    Ryan is the fraternal twin brother of Jets head coach Rex Ryan. The Ryans
    share a certain bravado in addition to DNA as Rob Ryan all but guaranteed a
    victory for his family.




    “I know they’re going to see the Empire State Building, probably see their
    Uncle Rex and Cousin Matthew [Russo, a retired FDNY fire marshal],” Ryan said.
    “But they’re there to watch their dad become a champion, again. So that’s what
    we’re going to do.”

    THE BERGEN RECORD

    TONY ROMO LIMITED, BUT EXPECTED TO START

    Excerpt: "Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was limited in practice by his sore hand
    Friday for the third consecutive day, but he is listed as probable to play
    against the Giants for the NFC East title on Sunday night.


    "He's going to be playing at full strength," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told
    KRLD-FM on Friday morning. "It's just a very big-time feel-good to know that
    we're going to be going in with this kind of quarterbacking. He's had an
    outstanding year." Rea more...

    GIANTS' SECONDARY READY FOR REMATCH WITH COWBOYS

    Excerpt: "Antrel Rolle insisted he was in the right place.



    Corey Webster insisted he, too, was in the right place.




    But that did not stop Dez Bryant from high-stepping into the end zone, having
    hauled in a 50-yard touchdown pass three weeks ago for the Cowboys after being
    left wide open.




    That communication breakdown embodied how the Giants’ secondary was torched
    Dec. 11 by Dallas, saved only by Eli Manning’s fourth-quarter magic and Jason
    Pierre-Paul’s last-second blocked field goal.




    But the pass defense cannot wait for Sunday night when the Giants (8-7) again
    face the Cowboys (8-7), this time playing for the NFC East title and their
    season.




    The secondary is seeking redemption — and promising there will be no more
    breakdowns.




    “We didn’t display what Giants’ defense really is, so we have a chance to go
    out there and really redeem ourselves,” safety Deon Grant said. “We can show
    that the roller coaster Giants are definitely behind us.”




    Tony Romo may have a bruised hand, but he runs the NFL’s eighth-ranked
    passing attack (263.3 yards per game) with a number of weapons that include
    Jason Witten, Miles Austin, Bryant and Laurent Robinson.




    The Cowboys compiled 321 passing yards and four touchdowns earlier this month
    against the overmatched Giants’ secondary.




    But the defensive backs said that won’t happen again." Read more...

    THE NEW YORK TIMES

    CHARGING FOR DOWNLOADS REST OF MONTH

    http://www.nytimes.com/pages/sports/football/index.html

    GIANTS 101

    GIANTS WILL BE WITHOUT BALLARD AND HERZLICH ON SUNDAY

    "In a game where all hands truly need to be on deck, the New York
    Giants
    will be shorthanded on Sunday night.


    On Friday, the team announced that tight end Jake
    Ballard
    (knee) and linebacker Mark
    Herzlich
    (ankle) will be out against the Dallas
    Cowboys
    . For both Ballard and Herzlich, this will be the second straight
    week each are out.




    Should the Giants win the NFC East and a host a playoff game next weekend,
    both Ballard and Herzlich, who revealed this week that he chipped a bone in his
    ankle, would be expected to play.




    Not all news is bad news, however. After practicing all week, defensive end
    Osi Umenyiora (knee/ankle) is listed as questionable and should be active come
    game time. Additionally, wide receivers Hakeem
    Nicks
    (hamstring) and Mario
    Manningham
    (knee) are both listed as probable. The same applies to running
    back Ahmad
    Bradshaw
    (foot).




    A full list of inactives will be available right here on Giants 101
    approximately two hours prior to kickoff."

    GIANTS VS. COWBOYS: NFL WEEK 17 GAME PREVIEW

    "This is it. All the marbles are on the line Sunday night when the Dallas
    Cowboys
    come into MetLife stadium to take on the New York
    Giants
    in a one-game winner takes all showdown for the NFC East
    divisional crown. Both teams are 8-7, and both can only get into the postseason
    with a win in this game, as the Wild Card positions are officially off the table
    to Detroit and Atlanta.

    The Giants took the first meeting in thrilling fashion, storming back from
    two possessions down with less than six minutes remaining in the game to win
    37-34 on a Jason
    Pierre-Paul
    blocked field goal in the final seconds.


    Eli
    Manning
    , Tony Romo,
    DeMarcusWare, Jason
    Pierre-Paul
    , Miles Austin, Hakeem Nicks – want more names? The superstars
    will be out in full force on Sunday night as the two long-time rivals leave
    everything they have out on the field for the final postseason spot in the
    NFC.




    GAMEPLAN




    Come out aggressive on offense from the first
    possession




    The Giants are going to have a very rowdy, very enthusiastic crowd behind
    them to start this game. It's going to be a difficult environment for Dallas to
    walk into and find success early, and it's something the Giants would benefit
    from greatly if they are able to take advantage.




    New York
    needs to come out sharp and aggressive on offense, and let Eli
    Manning
    drop back and try and take the wind out of Dallas early. If the
    Giants can come out and get on the scoreboard first, this New York
    crowd will become all the more difficult for Dallas to deal with, and that could
    really set the tone for the entire game as we've seen so many times in the
    National Football
    League in what is essentially a playoff game.




    Putting Tony Romo
    and this Dallas offense behind the 8 ball after a hot start is the number one
    scenario the Giants would like to see on Sunday night – as they will then be
    able to unleash the wolves with a Jason
    Pierre-Paul
    , Justin Tuck, Chris Canty, Osi Umenyiora front line in passing
    situations.




    Look to neutralize Dez Bryant defensively




    Miles Austin is a pro-bowl caliber receiver, no question about it. He's
    strong, agile and capable of damage after the catch, particularly in the red
    zone. That said – Dez Bryant is the explosive, game-breaking receiver on this
    Dallas offense that has the capability to dominate and break open a football
    game with just two or three touches of the football – similar to what you saw Victor Cruz do against
    the Jets.




    If the Giants want to limit the big play in this game, it starts with
    shifting the secondary's attention to wherever Dez Bryant is lined up. He has to
    be a priority for this Giants defense.




    Incorporate more 3-step drops, swing passes, and the screen game
    to take advantage of an aggressive Dallas front




    Everyone playing and coaching in this game knows exactly what Rob Ryan likes
    to do defensively – switch up the looks he gives opposing offenses up front, and
    bring blitzers from different angles and into different gaps to rattle the
    quarterback and take him out of rhythm early.




    Now, the hard part is clearly doing something about it. I look for the Giants
    to try and get the running backs in space with the swing pass, throw the quick
    screen out to Nicks and Cruz, and allow Eli
    Manning
    to get back and hit the slant route over 1 on 1 coverage with
    blitzers coming up the middle. If they can catch the Cowboys on a blitz
    pre-snap, look for Manning to capitalize.




    Force Tony Romo
    to make plays from the pocket




    You heard it from Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and the guys along the Giants
    offensive line all week. They want to keep Romo in the pocket as much as
    possible in this game – as it's no secret he's most dangerous when he breaks
    free to the outsides and can allow the coverage to break down downfieldand
    suddenly find a man streaking 60 yards over the middle of the field.




    From the pocket, Romo is forced to look over Dallas' tall interior lineman
    and make his reads quicker with (hopefully) pressure up the middle. This takes
    away some of his playmaking ability and would certainly take some pressure off
    this Giants secondary in the ballgame.




    THE GIANTS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF…




    They are efficient with their red zone opportunities and can limit Dallas'
    big plays. The Giants can move the football on this Dallas defense – but have had a tendency
    all year to trade touchdowns for field goals and miss out on opportunities to
    pull away in football
    games. I don't think they will get away with that in a game of this magnitude
    against an offense that can hit the quick strike touchdown with their
    playmakerson the outside.




    The Giants have got to take advantage of their opportunities in this game.
    They will come out with the crowd behind them and a lot of hostility and
    pressure thrown in the face of the Dallas
    Cowboys
    , and they need to take advantage of it.




    BIG GAME CANDIDATE - QB Eli
    Manning




    Biggest game of the season, biggest game in the past three seasons for these
    New York
    Giants
    , Sunday night, a lot of energy, a lot on the line, and a lot of
    pressure situations sure to unfold. If the Giants are going to come out and win
    this game, Eli
    Manning
    has to be sharp, has to be the lethal Eli
    Manning
    he's proven to be in big spots, and has to lead this Giants team
    through every tough spot in this football game.




    Tall task – but what makes Eli
    Manning
    so great is his ability to shake everything else to the side and
    lead his football
    team to victory in tough situations. He's a pro-bowler, one of the best signal
    callers on the planet, and I fully expect him to come out and play like it.




    PREDICTION




    Unbelievable the way this season has unfolded for the NFC East.
    From the drama in Philadelphia, to the Giants looking like a top 6 or 7 team
    after the first eight games, to a roller coaster second half for both Dallas and
    New York
    all leading up to one of the most highly anticipated football
    games in Giants history this Sunday night in East Rutherford.




    At the end of the day – this game will come down to the superstars. Big-time
    players, big-time game – you know the old cliche. And it's never been more
    fitting. I fully believe in Eli
    Manning
    , Jason
    Pierre-Paul
    , Justin Tuck, Hakeem Nicks and the other Giants leaders to come
    in and throw everything they've got at Dallas in this game.




    Expect a classic.




    Giants 30, Cowboys 23"

    http://www.giants101.com/

    BIG BLUE VIEW

    NY GIANTS' NEWS AND NOTES: OSI, NICKS QUESTIONABLE

    Excerpt: "


    Happy Saturday, New York Giants'
    fans! Only about 36 hours to Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys for
    the NFC East title and the right to advance to the playoffs. Basically, the
    Sunday night game is the opening game of the playoffs since it is an elimination
    game. Let's look around as what is making news today around the Giants.




    Giants coach Tom Coughlin said that both defensive end Osi Umenyiora
    and wide receiver Hakeem Nicks
    did "okay" during practice this week. Both are
    listed as questionable
    , while Jake Ballard
    is out for the second straight week with a knee injury.






    Ware:
    Coughlin might be old, but he’s tough

    "He’s old, so you hit an old guy
    like that and he’s standing up, that’s pretty good."





    Scout.com: Coughlin Should
    Return




    Veteran Giants beat writer
    Ernie Palladino pretty much echoes my thoughts on Coughlin. Here is how he put
    it:





    What if the Giants lose and finish 8-8 and out of the playoffs for a third
    straight year? Will Mara's patience with the 65-year-old coach wear thin enough
    for him to go searching for another head man? Might he eat the final year of
    Coughlin's contract to woo a veteran coach not named Bill Cowher, who has said
    time and again he's staying in television?

    The answer here is no. If
    Mara represents anything, it is the pride the Giants have in staying the course
    and maintaining stability from up top until a situation becomes untenable. And
    regardless of how this team finishes the season, the current situation hasn't
    reached that point.

    So Coughlin not only will likely stay, he deserves
    to stay." Read more...


    TOM COUGHLIN: IS HE COACHING FOR HIS JOB THIS SUNDAY?

    "Is New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin coaching for his job on
    Sunday? I don't believe he is, nor do I believe he should be. Coughlin's job
    status is forever up for debate, and you can put me firmly in the camp that
    believes Coughlin is a very good head coach who deserves to stay, regardless of
    Sunday's outcome. If, that is, he chooses to stay.


    This question was part of today's 'Friday Five,' with Pat Traina. Pat agrees with me on this
    one, and here is part of how she answered the question:





    Coughlin, like the other 31 NFL head coaches was not able to put his team
    through an off-season program. Even field there. However, look at all the
    injuries he's had to deal with and then look at the fact that here it is, the
    final regular season game of the year, and he has his team in the hunt for a
    playoff berth. Now I know some might say, "So what? The Packers did that last
    year."




    But here's the biggest difference, other than the fact that again, there was
    no off-season. Coughlin has played perhaps more rookies this year than in all of
    his years as a head coach of this team, and he's still managed to get them to
    this point. I think there's a lot to be said about the job he and his assistant
    coaches have done given the cards they were dealt.




    Exactly. The Giants have really been little more than a four-man team much of
    the season. Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Jason Pierre-Paul and Hakeem Nicks have
    carried a roster riddled with inexperience in many spots. The Giants, it seems,
    have been in makeshift mode all season, changing their lineup from week-to-week
    and constantly trying to fit in new pieces.




    Of course, there has been inconsistency. The ever-changing group of players
    on the field means that is inevitable. As does the forced use of so many young
    players in critical roles.




    One thing that has been constant, however, is Coughlin's resolve. Yes, some
    of the stinkers the Giants have played this season are hard to fathom. But, this
    version of the Giants is not a dominant football team. Some of their players may
    believe that they are, or should be, but they aren't. It is a team that has to
    be at the top of its game to win, no matter the competition.





    At the beginning of the season I thought that if Coughlin could get this
    Giants team, which seemed to have problems everywhere you looked, to the
    playoffs that he should be a candidate for Coach of the Year. If they get in at
    9-7 I don't think he will be getting Coach of the Year votes. If they go 8-8 and
    fall one game short, does that mean he should be fired? I don't think so. What
    it means, truthfully, is that the Giants are really an average football team
    that just wasn't good enough.




    It is really obvious that the players in the locker room, despite Antrel
    Rolle's occasional blabbering, respect Coughlin. Check the way Justin Tuck
    responded to Coughlin's quiet urging last week, playing his best game of the
    season when it mattered most. Check the way the players reacted to the toughness the 65-year-old
    Coughlin showed Saturday when D.J. Ware slammed into him.




    A couple of weeks ago SB Nation listed Coughlin as one of the five coaches most likely to get fired. The victory over the Jets
    has taken him off that hot seat
    in SB Nation's eyes. That has some merit, it
    was a victory for the way the Giants organization -- and Coughlin -- conduct
    their business.




    Am I blind to the fact that Coughlin has flaws? Of course not. He can be
    loyal to a fault, sometimes sticking with veteran players too long. I have
    questioned his choices for assistant coaches at times, and his allegiances to
    guys who don't seem to be getting it done. As much as I have ranted about
    special teams coach Tom Quinn the past couple of years, though, can you really
    complain about the special teams this season?




    Look around the NFL. How many guys currently coaching in the league would you
    rather have than Coughlin? Without naming names, you can probably make an
    argument for five or six. That's pretty darn good out of 32.




    The Giants, whether you always agree with him or not, already have an upper
    echelon coach -- even if he is an old man whose words and methods sometimes seem
    incomprehensible. Those are not easy to find, and should not be cast aside
    lightly.




    There is, however, the apparent possibility that Coughlin might walk away on
    his own after this season.




    Don
    Banks of SI.com took a look at the NFL coaching carousel
    earlier this week
    and speculated about that scenario:





    I also don't think Tom Coughlin will lose his job in New York should the
    Giants fall at home on Sunday to Dallas, thereby missing the playoffs for a
    third straight year. By no means has Coughlin lost the respect of his team, and
    the Mara-Tisch ownership is one of the most patient in all of football.


    That said, I talked to one league source this week who maintains he
    won't be surprised if Coughlin walks away after this season, playoff trip or no
    playoff trip. Coughlin is 65, and the thought is that he has tired of coaching
    every year on the hot seat, with one-year extensions being given by the Giants
    to keep him out of a lame-duck situation. The source said he thinks Coughlin has
    had enough of that arrangement and will leave on his own terms after this
    season. I'm not convinced, however. I think Coughlin still loves coaching,
    wouldn't know what to do with himself without it, and might have to be dragged
    kicking and screaming from his corner office. My dollar says he's back in blue
    in 2012.




    I happen to agree with Banks. Coughlin, if he chooses, should be back with
    the Giants in 2012. Perhaps with a few changes to the coaching staff and
    definitely with some large changes to the roster.




    I still believe, though, that Coughlin can and should be part of the solution
    for the Giants. He is not, in my mind, part of the problem.

    Poll
    If the New York Giants lose to Dallas on Sunday what should
    the Giants do?



    • Fire Tom Coughlin
    • Keep Coughlin, shuffle the assistant coaches
    • Keep Coughlin and overhaul the roster
    • Keep Coughlin and be patient, injuries killed this
      season
      [/list]
    http://www.bigblueview.com/section/news

    INSIDE FOOTBALL

    http://www.insidefootball.com/


    GIANTS GAB






    YARDBARKER



    http://www.yardbarker.com/nfl/teams/new_york_giants/56

    SPORTING NEWS

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/nfl/stories

    NYG REPORTER


    http://nygreporter.com/


    NFL.COM

    OUTGONG OWNER OF JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS LOOKS BACK FONDLY ON COUGHLIN ERA AT JACKSONVILLE

    "Wayne Weaver is in a reflective mood these days, and not just because it's
    the New Year.


    After 18 years as the only owner the Jacksonville Jaguars have
    known, Weaver will hand the reins to Illinois businessman Shahid Khan on Jan. 4.
    The occasion prompted him to share his memories with the team's official website on Friday,
    and the front office of the New York Giants might want to
    take note of what Weaver had to say about their head coach, Tom Coughlin.




    "Look at the first eight years with (then-head coach) Tom Coughlin. It was
    our most successful time, but we didn’t do everything right and I learned a lot
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

  • #2
    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2011 - 10:00 A.M.



    [y]




    thanks much Roanoke!

    sigpic

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2011 - 10:00 A.M.

      Thank you RF! Happy New Year! [B]

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2011 - 10:00 A.M.

        edit - double post, lord forgive me

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2011 - 10:00 A.M.



          Hey Ro....




          thanks again for the info as always...




          Go Bug Blue!!!!!!!!

          "Measure Twice......Cut Once"
          You couldn't be more full of **** if you were break dancing in a Port-a-Potty.......Kruunch

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2011 - 10:00 A.M.

            [quote user="GameTime"]

            Hey Ro....




            thanks again for the info as always...




            Go Bug Blue!!!!!!!!

            [/quote]

            [B] I feel a win on the horizon with towels a flyin'
            “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2011 - 10:00 A.M.

              [quote user="NY_Eli"]Thank you RF! Happy New Year! [B][/quote]

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

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2011 - 10:00 A.M.

                [quote user="NY_Eli"]edit - double post, lord forgive me[/quote]

                I'll forgive you, but don't make it a habit[]
                “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2011 - 10:00 A.M.



                  RF, thanks for making this site more interesting and for allowing me to feed my Giants fix so easily with NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS etc.




                  All the best of the New Year to you and the family. I'll be in the house screaming with you tomorrow. Go Blue! [B]

                  No one remembers who came in second.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2011 - 10:00 A.M.

                    [quote user="RoanokeFan"][quote user="GameTime"]


                    Hey Ro....




                    thanks again for the info as always...




                    Go Bug Blue!!!!!!!!




                    [/quote]

                    [B] I feel a win on the horizon with towels a flyin'
                    [/quote]




                    OK Buckeroo....wouldnt expect anything less from you.....

                    "Measure Twice......Cut Once"
                    You couldn't be more full of **** if you were break dancing in a Port-a-Potty.......Kruunch

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2011 - 10:00 A.M.

                      [quote user="GameTime"][quote user="RoanokeFan"][quote user="GameTime"]


                      Hey Ro....




                      thanks again for the info as always...




                      Go Bug Blue!!!!!!!!




                      [/quote]

                      [B] I feel a win on the horizon with towels a flyin'
                      [/quote]




                      OK Buckeroo....wouldnt expect anything less from you.....

                      [/quote]

                      We have all the tool's we need. If we wan itt, it's ours.
                      “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2011 - 10:00 A.M.

                        [quote user="jomo"]

                        RF, thanks for making this site more interesting and for allowing me to feed my Giants fix so easily with NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS etc.




                        All the best of the New Year to you and the family. I'll be in the house screaming with you tomorrow. Go Blue! [B]

                        [/quote]

                        It's a lab or of love. All my best to you and yours for a wonderful new year. Health, Happiness, and Prosperity
                        “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2011 - 10:00 A.M.

                          Thanks RF !
                          ALL IN !!!!!!!
                          " Success is never final, but failure can be " B.P.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2011 - 10:00 A.M.

                            [quote user="G-Men Surg."]Thanks RF !
                            ALL IN !!!!!!![/quote]

                            ALL IN WE ARE!
                            [Y]
                            “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

                            Comment

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