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NEWARK STAR LEDGER
Giants Not Playing Physical Enough On Defense, Coach Says
Excerpt: "It was the most prominent instance of poor tackling by the Giants defense in a game saturated with examples. Steelers speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace ran a route in front of cornerback Corey Webster, who was immediately left trailing. Safety Antrel Rolle had the first, and ultimately, best opportunity to take Wallace down before he turned on the afterburners. But Rolle took a poor angle, his dive at Wallace’s feet caught air and Wallace sprinted to and up the sideline untouched for a 51-yard touchdown.
It was one of the Giants’ 12 missed tackles that day and the next week that inspired safeties coach David Merritt to offer Rolle and the rest of his unit some advice: Always recognize and be cognizant of where your help is, number one, he told them. Better yet, never depend on help. That leads to a passive approach and we need you to be aggressive.
“I said, ’Trel, on this particular play, you need to visualize yourself being the only man getting this guy down,’ ” Merritt said. “ ‘If you don’t get this guy down, he’s going to score.’
“And when I said that to Antrel, he was like, ‘I got it.’”
To the Giants’ credit, they only missed a handful of tackles the next week against the Bengals, but for Merritt, the showing against Pittsburgh was the perfect snapshot of the lack of physicality in today’s NFL." Read more...
Giants' Defense Must Figure Out How To Get More Consistent Pressure ON Opposing Quarterbacks
Excerpt: "Eli Manning was under “duress” Sunday afternoon, to use coach Tom Coughlin’s word. But Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton?
He stayed upright, not sacked a single time, compared to Manning’s four takedowns and eight hits in the Giants’ 31-13 loss at Cincinnati. The Giants are used to being on the other side of that ratio, the team that sets the tone for harassing the quarterback.
It’s just another area the Giants, on a two-game losing streak, will evaluate during the bye week. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said he’ll continue to look at combinations and tactics to help the Giants get the consistent pressure on opposing passers that makes their defense work.
“I’m always looking to tinker and however we can get more pressure with the people that are talented rushers,” Fewell said. “As more guys get healthier and start to come into the fold, we’ll do more things. Whatever we have to do to be successful.”
A few of the injured players Fewell referenced are safety Kenny Phillips and linebacker Jacquian Williams, talented cover men who can tighten up the back end to give the front more freedom.
But the Giants will also examine what they’re doing up front. The obvious question — if you’re not getting there with four, how about sending more? — was something Fewell said the Giants asked themselves before the Bengals game, mixing up how they used their packages." Read more
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS.
Cruz-Ing To A Lead n Early Pro Bowl Voting
Excerpt: "The Giants once went 41 years between Pro Bowl receivers. Now they’ve got a good chance to have their second in four years.
Victor Cruz currently leads all NFC receivers with 257,016 votes in the balloting with just five weeks remaining until the polls are closed. The popular, salsa-dancing star from Paterson, N.J. even has the third most votes in the NFC of any player at any position and the eighth most among NFL players overall.
Cruz, who set a Giants record with 1,536 receiving yards last season, is in the midst of another stellar year. He has 60 catches for 743 yards and seven touchdowns through the first 10 games of the season. In 2011, Cruz was named a second alternate for the Pro Bowl after his breakout year." Read more...
THE NEW YORK POST
VIDEO: Hubbuch Talks Giants' Annual November Struggles
THE BERGEN RECORD
The Perplexity Of The Practice Squad
Excerpt: "A suitcase filled with clothes is all David Douglas brought with him.
The furniture in his Clifton apartment does not belong to him. Almost nothing in the furnished space does.
It all feels temporary to the Giants rookie receiver, who has no idea how long his stay will last.
But that’s life in football purgatory.
The NFL calls it the practice squad.
"You never know what tomorrow could bring," Douglas said. "You never know what might happen.
"You could be cut or you could be signed by someone else. It’s hard to buy furniture. We’ve already had guys who have come and gone off the practice squad."
Douglas — a 23-year-old undrafted free agent out of Arizona — is among the eight Giants who are just one injury, one bad game, from realizing their dream of making the 53-man roster. But they also are just one injury or one bad practice from unemployment.
Douglas’ experiences illustrate the netherworld practice-squad players face.
They are on the team — but they aren’t.
They practice every day. They have lockers and uniform numbers.
But they spend hours in meetings studying an opponent they’ll never face. They devote much of practice pretending to be players on other teams, mimicking their tendencies on the scout team to prepare their teammates for Sunday.
And they’re paid differently.
The basement salary for practice squad players is $96,900 if they last all 17 weeks, well below the NFL minimum of $390,000.
But most importantly, Douglas does not suit up on game day. He watches from a luxury box if the Giants are home or on TV in the apartment he shares with teammate Matt Broha if they’re away.
The Giants have played 10 games.
And 10 times Douglas has been a spectator.
The practice squad is a blessing — and a curse. But mostly, it’s an opportunity for those good enough to keep, but not good enough to make the active roster.
The Giants view the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Douglas as an investment.
"He’s definitely someone we didn’t want to lose," said Marc Ross, the Giants’ director of college scouting. "Down the line he’ll have a chance to contribute."
But the only way off the practice squad for Douglas is to prove himself once again.
His workday begins at 6:45 a.m. He spends hour after hour in the weight room, the film room, learning, studying, preparing. And waiting.
He knows that teammate Victor Cruz is the patron saint of the unheralded and undrafted, overlooked since high school. So was Patriots All-Pro receiver Wes Welker. If they can rise to stardom, so can he.
And he knows Pro Bowlers such as James Harrison, Kurt Warner and Tony Romo started their careers on the practice squad.
"He’s a good player," Cruz said. "He catches the ball well. He runs extremely good routes. In time, he’ll definitely be a good player."
Douglas embraces the underdog role.
He’s been slapped with labels since high school: too small, too slow, just a slot receiver. He earned no invitations to the combine or a college All-Star game. And he wasn’t drafted.
"I’ve always been in that situation," he said.
"He’s got a chip on his shoulder," said Carter Chow, his agent. "I think people overlook how athletic he is." Read more...
NEW YORK TIMES
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Coach Applauds Safety Kenny Phillips
Excerpt: "When Kenny Phillips misses six straight games with a knee injury like he has this season, the Giants don’t miss his gaudy numbers or individual accolades.
Because he doesn’t have them.
That’s just fine for safeties coach David Merritt, who knows his true value – consistency.
“We’ve missed Kenny tremendously, I know I have,” Merritt said earlier this week. “Because Kenny has been a solid football player for us. Nothing spectacular, not off-the-charts Pro Bowl numbers, but Kenny has been very solid for us. I mean you look at the last play, dating back to last year in the Super Bowl, the guy who knocked down that pass -- although they were all up in the air -- Kenny Phillips.”
That desperation jump ball fell just short of a lunging tight end named Rob Gronkowski in Lucas Oil Stadium. And it is against players like him that Merritt and the staff misses Phillips the most, especially with Jermichael Finley, Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez coming up in the next four weeks.
In Phillips’ absence, Cowboys tight end Jason Witten racked up 18 catches for 167 yards in Week 8, while Jermaine Gresham caught a touchdown last week against the Bengals. However, Gresham’s score came on one of just three catches for 15 yards, and Heath Miller managed a pedestrian four receptions for 48 yards the week before against Pittsburgh. So the numbers have varied.
“I would say that it didn’t necessarily hurt us, but it’s definitely noticeable without him there,” Merritt said. “I mean you look at what he did in the past when he played guys like Vernon Davis, Kenny Phillips was able to go out and play any tight end in this league man-to-man. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s tall, he’s fast, he’s fluid, and so not having him, it didn’t help.” Read more...
Giants' Corey Webster Unfairly Blamed For Bengals' WR AJ Green's 56 Yard Touchdown
Excerpt: "New York Giants cornerback Corey Webster has taken a tremendous amount of criticism this season. He had about as bad of a seven-game stretch to start 2012 as any cornerback in the NFL. Webster has given up four touchdowns this season and quarterbacks have completed over 60 percent of passes thrown in his direction. Although Webster has played better as of late, he's deserved every bit of the criticism that has come his way so far this season. However, he was not responsible for Cincinnatti Bengals' wide receiverAJ Green's 56-yard touchdown.
Although it appeared that Webster allowed Green to run straight past him and into the end zone, Giants secondary coach Peter Guinta said Webster was not at fault on the play.Guinta would not reveal who blew the coverage, but the film indicates thatStevie Brown was responsible for the deep left half of the field in a cover two zone. Brown attempted to disguise the coverage by lining up as a single over the top safety before the ball was snapped. However, instead of dropping into his zone, Brown bit hard on play action. Corey Webster failed to realize that Brown was out of position, and allowed AJ Green to run past him." Read more...
“Corey did what he was supposed to do," Guinta said.“Corey’s thing is he should have kind of realized what was going on, and being the veteran guy, trying to protect the other guys, he should have been a little more patient .”
BIG BLUE VIEW
The New York Giants Are Broken - - Can Tom Coughlin Fix Them, Again?
Excerpt: "The New York Giants are broken. As they enter their bye week after 10 games -- they can't be enjoying the bye after two straight losses -- the fact that they are broken is undeniable. The question is, can head coach Tom Coughlin put Humpty Dumpty back together. Again.
Coughlin has done this before, something everyone who follows the Giants knows.
In 2007 the Giants started 0-2 and had to scratch their way into the playoffs. They did, then went on a magical run that culminated with a Super Bowl victory over the thought-to-be-invincible 18-0 New England Patriots.
Last season the Giants staggered to a 7-7 record and had to win their last two games just to reach the playoffs. They did, then went on another magical run that culminated with yet another victory over the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
So yes, Coughlin has shown that he CAN put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Thing is, he hasn't always been able to do it.
In Coughlin's nine seasons as head coach the Giants have always started fast, reaching the halfway point of the season (eight games) with at least five victories in each of his nine seasons. Only those two Super Bowl seasons, however, have really ended well for Coughlin and the Giants.
In 2008 the Giants started 11-1, Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg, the Giants imploded and got battered by the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the playoffs.
In 2009 the Giants started 5-0 and finished 8-8, missing the playoffs.
In 2010 the Giants began 6-2 but lost two of their last three games, finished 10-6 and missed the playoffs." Read more...
Ahmad Bradshaw: Giants' Featured Back, But For How Long?
Excerpt: "Did we witness the beginning of the end of Ahmad Bradshaw as the New York Giants' feature back on Sunday?
Andre Brown started both halves for the Giants in their loss to theCincinnati Bengals and played 44 snaps to Bradshaw's 23. Bradshaw ended up with more carries (10 for 57 yards) than Brown (7 for 65 yards), but still it was interesting to see Brown on the field to begin both halves. That is the first time this season we have seen that when both players have been ready to play. Maybe part of the snap count total was the fact that the Giants were being beaten soundly, but it is still worth noting.
It really might be jumping to conclusions to think the demise of Bradshaw as the feature back is at hand. Yet, it is fair to wonder how much longer Bradshaw can carry the primary load.
Bradshaw has a long and consistent injury history filled with problems mainly involving his feet and ankles. Head coach Tom Coughlin said this week that Bradshaw, playing for several weeks now with his latest foot injury -- described as a bone bruise -- would "have probably every test known to man" during the Giants' bye week.
The Giants are obviously concerned about Bradshaw, and the report that Joseph Addai and several other free-agent running backs worked out for the Giants this week adds credence to that.
Running backs, of course, historically do not have a long shelf life at the top in the NFL. Bradshaw, amazingly, is only 26 years old. Considering his history, however, it's fair to say his feet and ankles are probably much, much older than that. Bradshaw can still be productive -- he is averaging 4.5 yards per carry this season -- but you can't help but wonder just how much work his fragile feet can take.
With Brown shelved by a concussion Bradshaw did incredible, yeomanlike work in weeks 5 and 6, carrying the ball a combined 57 times for 316 total yards. He hasn't been the same since, however." Read more...
Joseph Addai Worked Out For The Giants
Excerpt: "The Giants have an open roster spot, since they just placed rookie defensive tackle Markus Kuhn on season ending injured reserve.It’s interesting the Giants brought in Addai. I know teams bring in players all the time for work outs, but with Ahmad Bradshaw dealing with a foot injury and now reportedly undergoing additional testing on his neck, I’m wondering if he could end up on injured reserve or out for an extended period of time." Read more...
THE RED ZONE
NFL32OT: Giants Look To Regain Momentum
Excerpt: "Episode 223: New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford assesses where his team is this season and the challenges that are ahead. The NFL32 crew discuss which back up quarterback has the best chance to win." WATCH VIDEO
Ten-Point Stance: Giants' November Nosedive Means Nothing, Given History
Excerpt: "The NFL season is now official: the New York Giants have entered their November slide.This is a highly predictable event. There will always be stars in the sky, taxes, maybe death, a Lawrence Taylor arrest and a Giants midseason series of stinky games. This is what Tom Coughlin's Giants do.
The panic and harrumphing by fans and media are always amusing. It's like people forget this is what the Giants always do. The Giants are 30-6 in October and 13-21 in November under Coughlin. Eli Manning is 27-5 in October and 13-19 in November. We've seen this mess before with Coughlin's Giants. Déjà Big Blue all over again. Nice start, poor November, total domination when it counts.
(I also think this November was particularly unusual because of Hurricane Sandy. The Giants won't make excuses, but as someone who lives in the New Jersey area within a few miles of where most Giants players live, I'll make excuses for them, as it would be impossible to believe that lack of electricity, gas lines, gas restrictions and damage to homes didn't have a huge impact.)
And there's a good chance that same pattern will follow again. There's a good chance we'll see the Giants appear in another Super Bowl. You know why? Three reasons:
• Look around the conference. Tell me which team is better. Don't say Atlanta. Love the Falcons coach (he's excellent) and love the organization (great front office, PR department) but it's difficult to trust the team after some horrendous postseason meltdowns. The Giants get the benefit of the doubt over them.The Cowboys? Please. The Bears? Maybe. But quarterbackJay Cutler is too much of a wild card. He could throw four touchdowns in a game or four picks in a quarter. TheBuccaneers? Hell no. The 49ers? Double hell no. The Giants have already whooped that *** multiple times. TheSeahawks? Can't win on the road and they won't secure home-field advantage.
The team that's the biggest threat to New York is Green Bay. They're a battle-tested group but we've seen the Giants beat them in the postseason.
There's just no team in the conference that can match the Giants when they get hot and they will get hot again. Because they always do.
• Manning. His slump is significant, sure, and he looks like a different quarterback than the one that started the season so hot. Again, we've seen this before with Manning. As quickly as he goes cold, he goes supernova.
"You trust your skills, you trust your past experience and know that football is a crazy game," Manning said this week. "And it's tough and it's hard. Sometimes as a player you forget that because sometimes as a player you go out and you are catching every break, and even plays where guys shouldn't be getting open, they're getting open because the defense is making a mistake and you are hitting them, and everything is going your way."
That kind of perspective is why Manning is a Super Bowl MVP." Read more...
Big Ben Out Indefinitely
Packers Rule Clay Matthews Out Against Lions