News, notes, rumors, and gossip: Friday, November 16, 2012
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NEWARK STAR LEDGER
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS.
Champs Trail In The Pro Bowl Voting
Excerpt: "Victor Cruz is doing well in the Pro Bowl ballotting. Eli Manning isn't doing as well as he probably should.
How about the rest of the Giants? Well, only eight players (including Cruz and Manning) rank in the Top 5 in Pro Bowl fan voting at their positions in the NFC. That's a bit stunning considering the fan vote usually reflects a previous year's success, and the Giants are the defending Super Bowl champions.
Fan voting only counts for one-third of the process (voting by players and coaches make up the other two-thirds). And the fan voting still has five more weeks on NFL.com, so there's time. But right now it doesn't look like many Giants players are in line for a Pro Bowl berth.
Here's a look at the players on the champs who rank in the NFC's top five at their positions ..." Read more...
THE NEW YORK POST
Shaky Run For Giants' Wilson
Excerpt: "Coach Tom Coughlin said the Giants wanted to use Wilson more in Sunday’s game at Cincinnati, but the early deficit into which they fell altered that plan. The Giants are ready to use Wilson to run, noting his explosiveness and the need for big plays in a slumping offense, but they have qualms about Wilson’s ability as a receiver, and more importantly, a pass protector.
Running backs coach Jerald Ingram said the predictability in Wilson’s usage has limited his time on the field.
“We can’t just throw David in a run and have everyone in the stands say ‘Oh, watch David right now.’ Everybody can figure that out,” Ingram said. “David has to learn you can’t be just a runner. You have to be a complete running back. He’s in no different situation than when Brandon [Jacobs] was a rookie. Tiki [Barber] wasn’t going to let him on the field unless he knew how to protect the quarterback. It was all protection.”
Though Wilson has struggled to see the field on offense, the 21-year-old’s 37 kick returns and 939 yards lead the NFL. His speed is evident on each return, his potential is palpable. Wilson said he is “past due” to return a kick for a touchdown.
Although Wilson is likely to make his biggest impact on special teams this season, Ingram served a reminder that Bradshaw, a rookie who was seldom used in the first-half of 2007, became the change-of-pace runner needed to help the Giants win a title months later.
“It’s making him hungrier, just like it made Ahmad hungrier during that playoff stretch,” Ingram said. “It was a difference-maker when Ahmad was a rookie for him to come out there, especially in the second half of the season when you got a fresh guy. We’re still there. There’s a lot of football left.” Read more...
Post Power Rankings: The Giants and Getting Over the November Hump
Excerpt: "Before their win over the Redskins, back when the Giants were rolling, the team’s former center Shaun O’Hara offered this explanation for the November swoons that have become commonplace.
"November is a tough month for everyone in the NFL," O’Hara, now an analyst for the NFL Network, told The Post.
"The grind has really set in and it’s kind of like hump month. Guys are banged up, weather starts to change, playing at home in MetLife is not easy. Looking at the Giants schedule, I always felt like November was the toughest part. . .. If you can get to December that’s when the games get really exciting cause the games mean that much more."
A lot of that makes sense, though it seems a large portion of it would pertain to any NFL team, not just the Giants. Since coach Tom Coughlin took over in 2004, the Giants are 13-21 in November. That doesn’t mean Coughlin is necessarily to blame for the problems, but if O’Hara’s mindset is similar to that of the active players then it borders on acceptance.
While the stumble is not welcomed, this is one year the Giants can afford a letdown as they still have a 1 ½-game lead in the division despite their two-game losing streak to the Steelers and Bengals. The Giants are off this week and only have one November game left — against the Packers in Week 12 — which you would hope they would have little problem getting up for, especially after Green Bay players insisted they handed a playoff win to the Giants last season.
Interestingly, the year the Giants had a perfect 5-0 November under Coughlin in 2008 they ended up losing in the Divisional Round to Eagles. There doesn’t have to be a good explanation for November struggles as long as it is followed by postseason success. Last year it was impossible to sell that after back-to-back playoff-less seasons, but last year’s Super Bowl gives the Giants something to hang their helmets on.
1. Texans (8-1) (Previous Ranking: 2) — Arian Foster was the entire Houston offense in their win over Chicago, including an impressive touchdown catch.
2. Falcons (8-1) (1) — Last week, I predicted Atlanta’s first loss would be in Week 12, proving once again that I am an idiot.
3. 49ers (6-2-1) (4) – Colin Kaepernick had a solid second half/overtime after a shaky start replacing a concussed Alex Smith. It wasn’t enough to get past the Rams, thanks in part to a David Akers missed field goal in OT.
4. Patriots (6-3) (5) – Last week’s question: “Was shutdown on Rams in London sign of things to come from beleaguered defense or a one-game reprieve?” was answered emphatically by giving up 31 points to the Bills in a narrow victory.
5. Packers (6-3) (7) — Will be without Clay Matthews against Lions as hamstring injury persists.
6. Bears (7-2) (3) – After offense was manhandled by Texans, Chicago now heads to San Francisco for another matchup with a top defense. And this time they likely will be without Jay Cutler for the entire game.
7. Broncos (6-3) (8) — Another 300-yard day by Peyton Manning, but it was big plays by defense and special teams that allowed Denver to pull away from Carolina.
8. Ravens (7-2) (9) — 55 points! If only Baltimore could play that Oakland defense every week.
9. Steelers (6-3) (10) — Concussions knocked out three quarterbacks on Sunday, but it was the news of Ben Roethlisberger’s rib injury that seems to be the most concerning.
10. Giants (6-4) (6) – Even some players acknowledged the embarrassment of A.J. Green scoring a wide-open touchdown on the game’s first drive after the Bengals star said the Giants defense has "a lot of holes" during the week." Read more...
Giants TE Bennett Says He Has To Do More
Excerpt: "Martellus Bennett is surrounded by reporters, answering question after question about the poor play of Eli Manning, with little changing but the adjectives phrased to the Giants tight end.
Bennett isn’t asked about his dropped pass or the touchdown he would have had, had he kept both feet in bounds, in Sunday’s 31-13 loss at Cincinnati. But he knows he bears responsibility for the questions that have risen about his quarterback and reminded everyone that Manning isn’t the only one under-performing.
“If he makes a throw, he’s having a tough game, you can’t drop it,” Bennett said this week. “Sometimes we have to make plays for him. It’s not just on him. It’s on everybody. It starts with me. I got to make more plays for him and do different things for him to make things easier for him. I just got to get better for him.”
The season couldn’t have started better for the first-year starter, after four seasons in Dallas. Bennett had three touchdowns and 185 yards in the first three games, but has 226 yards and no touchdowns in the past seven.
With Hakeem Nicks playing at less than 100 percent and no consistent third wide-receiver threat having emerged, tight ends coach Michael Pope said he thinks teams have made a concerted effort to limit Bennett’s impact.
“He’s not less of a target than he has been,” Pope said. “After that first month, people started playing him with much tighter coverage, battering him as he’s coming off the line of scrimmage and made his job harder. He has to play a lot harder against that type of coverage. It’s the player’s and the coaching staff’s responsibility to do whatever we can to try and continue to keep him as a weapon.” Read more...
THE BERGEN RECORD
NEW YORK TIMES
WALL STREET JOURNAL
In Addition To Joseph Addai, GHiants Worked Out 7 Other Players Including Ryan Torain
Excerpt: "Although the New York Giants are not dealing with the devastating rash of injuries that plagued the team in previous years, Big Blue still has a few holes on their roster that could use some help. With Ahmad Bradshaw's health in doubt, the Giants brought in a slew of free agent running backs earlier this week for private workouts. The only initial name released among those players was former Indianapolis Colts standout tailback Joseph Addai.
However, today we learned that the list of players was significantly longer and had at least one more intriguing name.
Joseph Addai, James Carmon, Bubba Forrest, Dante Hughes, Kregg Lumpkin, Trumaine McBride, Mewelde Moore, Curtis Painter, Ryan Torain, and Jabara Williams all worked out with Big Blue. The Giants are in the midst of their bye week, so there is no better time to take a look at what is left on the free agent scrap heap." Read more...
BIG BLUE VIEW
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...
THE RED ZONE
Bills Freeze Out Dolphins
Big Ben Out Indefinitely