HERE NOW THE NEWS
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NEWARK STAR LEDGER
COWBOYS HOPE TO CONFUSE ELI MANNING ON SUNDAY, SAYS ROB RYAN
"Few defenses have been able to befuddle Giants quarterback Eli Manning this season.
The quarterback is fourth in the NFL in passing yards (3,705), fifth in
touchdowns (23) and sixth in passer rating (96.0), which adds up to arguably the
best season of his eight-year career.
Rob Ryan, the outspoken Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator, told reporters
in Dallas that his defense’s goal is to confuse quarterbacks and “make them play
And he thinks Dallas is going to be able to do that against Manning on Sunday
night. Exactly how remains a question.
“We’re going to find out Sunday night because we’re going to do it,” Ryan
Whether Ryan will have linebacker and sackmaster DeMarcus
Ware to aid in Manning’s befuddlement is up in the air.
Ware, the NFL’s sack leader with 15, is still dealing with the effects of a
stinger he suffered in the Cowboys’ loss to the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday
and was limited in practice today."
GIANTS-COWBOYS GAME PREVIEW: A LOOK AHEAD TO SUNDAY'S HUGE NFC EAST BATTLE
"This is going to be a bit redundant if you read Sunday's Giants gameday package. I did the gameday
this week because Jorge is handling the Sunday story. Be on the lookout for
that, by the way, because it should be a doozy.
Anyway, as I was saying, I wrote a lot about Sunday's game already because
our breakdowns are as comprehensive as they get. Still, I couldn't just skip the
blog preview because I know we need a spot for all of your predictions.
So here goes.
* * * *
SUNDAY'S GAME: at Cowboys, Cowboys Stadium, 8:20 p.m.,
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Offense: We spent a lot of time the other day breaking down
what David Diehl has meant to the Giants in his return to left
tackle and about his
reunion with his old nemesis in Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware.
And rightfully so, because that should be a good matchup.
But I realized after that story ran we probably overlooked RT Kareem
McKenzie a bit.
You see, Ware doesn't just line up on the right side of the Cowboys' defense
(i.e. the left side of the Giants' line). He bounces all over the place and
often attacks an opponent's right tackle. That would be McKenzie.
Given the way McKenzie struggled last week against Packers LB Clay Matthews
(by my count, he had three pressures and the sack/forced fumble against McKenzie
while also getting around him for a near-safety), one would have to think the
Cowboys would send Ware to that side often on Sunday. Look to see how the Giants
are able - or unable - to block that up.
Defense: In the interest of writing something that won't
overlap with Sunday's breakdown, how about we take a look at what the Giants
worked on in practice after it popped up as a trouble spot against Green
It was their Cover-2 defense in the red zone, which was an issue when Packers
WR Donald Driver had an uncontested touchdown after S Antrel
Rolle didn't slide over to help and CB Corey Webster
didn't sink far enough. As I broke
down in my game review, what the Packers did was run the outside receiver
(Jordy Nelson) on a short in cut. At that point, Webster should've released
Nelson to CB Aaron Ross, who had the short zone near the hash,
and dropped to help with Driver running the corner route behind him. The
communication broke down between Webster and Rolle, who was back deep because
Kenny Phillips had just left with a knee injury.
This week, the Giants worked on those two-receiver combos and on how they
would pass off, or stay with, receivers. Look to see if the Cowboys try to run
the same combo the Packers ran. But also realize Dallas knows the Giants will
adjust, so look for a different wrinkle thrown in there. What might that be?
Well, my guess would be what's called (among other things) a "pivot" or "bounce"
route by the outside receiver. That receiver might start running the in cut and
then pivot or bounce (hence the names of the route) back to the outside.
A route like that, which the Giants often run down near the goal line (think
against the Seahawks) might take advantage of Webster's seeing the in cut
and then dropping to cover the corner route, thus vacating the short zone. Look
for Miles Austin or Laurent Robinson to be the
WRs that run it, too.
Then again, the Giants are probably anticipating such adjustments as well.
It's a chess match, this game of football. And that's why we love it.
THE LINE: Cowboys by 3½. Over-under 49.
ONE MORE THING: Watch out for Cowboys KR Felix
Jones. He had a 69-yarder against the Cardinals and nearly took it the
distance."GIANTS RULE OSI UMENYIORA AND DAVID BAAS OUT FOR SUNDAY'S GAME AGAINST THE COWBOYS
Excerpt: "3:41 p.m. UPDATED with the Cowboys' questionably listing five as
Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora and
center David Baas have been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Cowboys, as
expected, after a week in which they didn't practice.
Umenyiora will miss his second straight game with a high-ankle sprain
suffered against the Saints. Baas will also miss a second game with headaches
that popped up shortly before Sunday's game against the Packers. Tom Coughlin
has yet to give a detailed account of Baas' injury.
Also ruled out were rookie linebackers Mark Herzlich (ankle) and Spencer
Meanwhile, safety Kenny Phillips (knee) is listed as doubtful. He
ran on the side today but that's not enough to give him a decent shot to
play on Sunday. Expect him to be downgraded to out on Saturday because he's
unlikely to travel to Texas. Rookie Tyler Sash will probably see increased time
in Phillips' absence, though Sash likely won't start. Deon Grant and Antrel
Rolle will be the top two safeties.
The Giants listed several key players as probable: running backs Ahmad
Bradshaw (foot) and Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), linebacker Michael Boley
(hamstring), wide receiver Mario Manningham (knee), defensive end Dave Tollefson
(knee) and cornerback Prince Amukamara." Read more...
GIANTS' MICHAEL BOLEY, AHMAD BRADSHAW, AND BRANDON JACOBS RETURN TO PRACTICE
"1:49 p.m. UPDATE There I go talking out of turn again. Boley, Bradshaw
and Jacobs are all listed as probable after working in a limited capacity
Tom Coughlin was expecting Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs back to practice
today. He was correct.
Coughlin was hopeful Michael Boley would be back as well. His wishes were
All three players are practicing today as the team gets in its final full
workout before Sunday's game against the Cowboys. Don't be surprised if all
three are designated as questionable on the official injury report.
Elsewhere, safety Kenny Phillips (knee) continues to run on the side. He
believed he had a shot to play as of Thursday but it would seem he's more likely
to sit out.
Defensive end Osi Umenyiora (knee/ankle) is still out of action and not
expected to play. Same with center David Baas (head/neck), who wasn't on the
practice field at all.
Wide receiver Mario Manningham (knee) continues to practice and should be
able to play. Same with defensive end Dave Tollefson (knee).
Linebackers Mark Herzlich (ankle) and Spencer Paysinger (hamstring) remain
FOR GIANTS, KENNY PHILLIPS' INJURY COULD CAUSE PERRY FEWELL TO JUGGLE EVEN MORE ON DEFENSE
Excerpt: "There were times last year when the Giants’ coaches didn’t know what their
defensive backs were doing. And that was a good thing.
“I’d look at ‘Trel’ (Antrel Rolle), I’d look at Kenny (Phillips) and before
you know, we played our own coverage,” safety Deon Grant said Thursday. “The
coaches would tell us, ‘Y’all fooled me. I didn’t know what coverage you were
“They just knew it worked.”
Now the Giants’ defense isn’t fooling anybody, especially their
One year after Perry Fewell was talking about not crying “over spilled milk”
in regard to what the loss of Mathias Kiwanuka did to his defense, the Giants’
defensive coordinator is trying not to focus on what injuries have done, and
continue to do, to the looks he’s giving on in his back seven.
Dating back to the loss of Bruce Johnson (Achilles) and Terrell Thomas (knee)
in the preseason, the Giants have been missing a handful of cover players for at
least a few weeks. Well, to be exact, they’ve lost …
“Six corners and three ’backers,” Fewell said with a laugh.
Yeah, that’s about right. While they all haven’t been lost for the season —
Prince Amukamara is finally back in action, while Michael Boley is working his
way back from a hamstring issue that kept him out of two games — the continuity
has been affected.
sprained knee threatening to knock him out of action Sunday against the
Dallas Cowboys, Fewell and the Giants might be limited further in what they can
put out there.
“It definitely disrupts your continuity,” Fewell said. “We’ve covered this
and we’ve covered this, but we have to go back and do that. You don’t expand as
much as you’d like to and you try to make sure you’re fundamentally sound in
what you do.”
In some ways, Fewell has had to scale back.
Last season, he ran an effective blitz in which a defender tied up a blocker,
another one followed behind him and a third looped around from the other side.
It was designed for the third player through to come free.
Grant was sometimes that third player, and he laughed last year while
agreeing, on paper, a blitz like that would seemingly take too long to get home
in the NFL. But it often did, thanks to good coverage on the back end.
This year, that blitz has been called only a handful of times. Its only
appearance in recent weeks was against the Philadelphia Eagles — and it didn’t
“Not taking anything away from guys still playing because he (Fewell) still
calls an aggressive game,” Grant said, “but he’s definitely limited as far as
what he can call.”
Said Phillips: “The offense knows they can’t do this, they can’t line up in
this. It’s a challenge for him but I think we’re doing a pretty good job. … It’s
a trust thing. We have to show him.” Read more...
GIANTS' PERRY FEWELL HOPES HIS RANT PAYS OFF THIS SEASON
Excerpt: "Perry Fewell isn’t known for fiery rants and calling out players. If
anything, he has the perception around the league of being a players coach. So
it came as a surprise when in his weekly Thursday session with reporters before
last Sunday’s game against the Green Packers, the Giants defensive coordinator blasted
his defense for “pulling out” of plays and declaring that his defense was
going to “get after (quarterback Aaron Rodgers’) butt.”
The Giants' defense didn’t get after Rodgers’ behind enough as they allowed
the Packers offense to score 38 points and go 61 yards in 58 seconds to set up
the winning field goal as time expired, but Fewell isn’t regretting his comments
— at least completely.
“I just spoke from the heart,” Fewell said. “I didn’t try to demean our
players or I didn’t try to demean anything about what we do or how we do it. I
just tried to tell the truth, but I probably shouldn’t have said some things I
said, but I just spoke from the heart.”
Fewell, like coach Tom Coughlin and players have said, was pleased with the
defense’s energy after being blown out in New Orleans. But the renewed intensity
didn’t alleviate the sting of the team’s fourth consecutive loss.
“We wanted the ‘W,’?” Fewell said. “We didn’t finish it. If we would have
gotten the ‘W’ and finished it, obviously we would have been pleased. But I
think we proved to ourselves that we can play hard for 60 minutes.”
Fewell anticipates that to be the case Sunday night in what is so far the
Giants’ most important game of the season.
“I’m confident that it will make it to Dallas,” he said. “This is a big,
important game for us. I think the players know that. We know that as a coaching
staff we’re in a position to do some things that we like to do. I think the
passion and the fire will be there.” Read more...
GIANTS' SAFETY KENNY PHILLIPS SAYS CARTILAGE IN HIS KNEE "HAS IMPROVED EVEN MORE"
Excerpt: "There was an upside to Kenny Phillips’ knee injury this week.
The Giants’ safety underwent an MRI to
gauge the severity of a sprained medial collateral ligament suffered on Sunday
against the Green Bay Packers and determine whether he had a shot to play this
coming weekend against the Dallas Cowboys.
While looking at the MCL – and the anterior cruciate ligament, which remained
intact – Phillips saw the cartilage inside his kneecap, which had been repaired
surgery in 2009.
And he liked what he saw.
“It was a great look,” Phillips said with a grin. “I got a sneak peek at it
and it looked real good. It improved even more. So that was a real good thing to
But back to the issue at hand. Phillips did some jogging and backpedaling
outside today while his teammates practiced inside. He thinks he’ll do some more
work on Friday but it doesn’t sound like he’ll practice." Read more...
GIANTS' BRANDON JACOBS SAYS COWBOYS ARE AFRAID OF HIM
"The chatter between the Giants and
Dallas Cowboys leading up to their crucial meeting Sunday night continued
Thursday, with some strikes from the Giants' end.
Wednesday, it was the Cowboys’
star linebacker DeMarcus Ware and cornerback Mike Jenkins going after two
outspoken Cowboy haters: Justin Tuck and Brandon Jacobs.
In response to Tuck calling Cowboys Stadium “a dump,” Ware said Tuck simply
wishes he was a Cowboy like everyone else.
Tuck doesn’t see himself in a Cowboy uniform – football or not.
“Me wanting to be a Cowboy?” he asked himself. “Hmm, well I don’t wear
Wranglers, I don’t wear cowboy hats or boots or those belts that – what do you
call those? – yeah, the buckle belts. I don’t wear none of that. And I don’t
need a star on my helmet to tell me I’m pretty good at what I do…I plan on
retiring as a Giant.”
Tuck said he doesn’t even recall calling the new Cowboys Stadium “a dump,”
but he may have.
“I’ll tell you what, if y’all find it, I’ll live up to it,” he said. “But I
don’t remember it. Although if you want me to say it, I can say the stadium
before this stadium they built was pretty…”
He didn’t come up with an adjective, but you get the picture.
On the other side of the locker room, Jacobs faced questions about Jenkins
calling him a bully. Jacobs wasn’t phased – if anything, it was a compliment for
the 6-foot-4, 260-pound bruiser.
“I am a bully,” asserted, Jacobs, who for his part called Cowboys Stadium a
beautiful palace. “They can call me what they want. I think people who call out
bullies are afraid of bullies.”
Does that mean he thinks the Cowboys are afraid of him?
“If you call me a bully, that’s how I see it,” Jacobs said. “They’re just
sitting back, waiting for us to come there and I think we’re going in there
ready to play football.
“If you go in there and bring it to them and keep bringing it to them all
game long, somebody’s going to break, somebody’s going to break. Either the
person who’s bringing it is going to be tired of bringing it or they’re going to
get tired of trying to stop the person bringing it and they’re going to stop.
Whoever wants it bad enough.”
NY DAILY NEWS
DC PERRY FEWELL EXPECTS SAME INTENSITY FROM GIANTS; DEFENSE ON SUNDAY
Excerpt: "Perry Fewell did not
like everything he saw on the videotape of Sunday’s heartbreaking loss to the
Green Bay Packers, but the Giants defensive coordinator saw enough to cool his
fiery temper.KENNY PHILLIPS HOPING TO PLAY FOR GIANTS SUNDAY NIGHT; WR MARIO MANNINGHAM GUARANTEES HE WILL PLAY
Phillips was initially told the sprained MCL in his left knee would take 2-3
weeks to heal, but he’s still holding out some hope that he’ll be healed by
Sunday night. NY POST
GIANTS' RBS BRADSHAW AND JACOBS LISTED AS PROBABLE
"Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) and Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) are listed as probable
for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, with each Giants running back doing
limited work in practice Friday.
TUCK IS "SICK TO STOMACH" GIANTS NOW BETTER ON O
Excerpt: "There are names emblazoned up on high, circling the locker room where the
Giants work each day, the Timex Performance Center, names of the greatest
players in franchise history. Justin Tuck has glanced up at them many times.
Excerpt: "One week ago, Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell showed a different
side to himself for public consumption, lambasting his players for their effort
and performance in a 49-24 loss in New Orleans.GIANTS' TUCK, JACOBS FIRE BACK AT COWBOYS
Fewell accused players of pulling up short on plays, which is another way of
saying they quit on the field.
One week later, Fewell looked back on his harsh words and has no regrets.
“When you say, ‘Regret anything I said,’ I just spoke from the heart,’’
Fewell said Thursday afternoon. “I didn’t try to demean our players or I didn’t
try to demean anything about what we do or how we do it. I just tried to tell
the truth, but I probably shouldn’t have said some things I said, but I just
spoke from the heart.’’
Fewell’s words did not go unheeded; his defense played with far more passion
in last week’s 38-35 loss to the Packers. The defense allowed 31 points (the
other touchdown came off an interception return) to Aaron Rodgers'
offense." Read more...
Excerpt: "Memo to DeMarcus Ware: Justin Tuck doesn’t want to play for the Cowboys.
“Nah, I plan on retiring a Giant,’’ Tuck said Thursday afternoon.
The day after the
Cowboys lobbed a few silly insults and accusations at the Giants, the Giants
lobbed a few back at the Cowboys. What it all means is probably not much, not
until Sunday night’s NFC East first-place showdown inside Cowboys Stadium.
Ware, the NFL’s sack leader with 15, started this Wednesday when someone
dredged up a two-year old quote Tuck supposedly made calling brand-new Cowboys
Stadium “crappy.’’ No one has been able to find that quote but Ware took it to
mean Tuck is jealous.
“He says that because maybe he wants to play here,’’ Ware said. “Everybody
wants to play for the Cowboys.’’
Does Tuck want to be a Cowboy?
“I don’t wear Wranglers, I don’t wear Cowboy hats, or boots or those belts --
what do you call those? -- one of those buckle belts,’’ Tuck said. “I don’t wear
none of that. I don’t need a star on my helmet for anyone to tell me I’m, pretty
good at what I do.’’
Tuck denies ever saying anything negative about Cowboys Stadium.
“I tell you what, you’all find it I’ll live up to it,’’ he said.
As far as the rivalry with the Cowboys, Tuck repeated a line he’s used, of,
probably every season:
“They hate us, we hate them, that’s always going to be the case,’’ Tuck said.
“We just don’t like ‘em.’’
The noise didn’t stop with Ware. Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins called
running back Brandon Jacobs “a big bully’’ for the way Jacobs frequently
expresses his dislike for the Cowboys.
“They're gonna say what they're gonna say no matter what,’’ Jacobs said. “I
am a bully. They can call me what they want. I think people who call out bullies
are afraid of bullies." Read more...
ROMO AND GARRETT HAVE FAMILY FEUD
Excerpt: "It appears the Giants will face a team Sunday with serious trust issues
between its head coach and Pro Bowl
GIANTS HAVE ALL THE ANSWER IN WAR OF WORDS WITH COWBOYS
Excerpt: "Brandon Jacobs has no problem being called a bully — especially by those he
thinks are “afraid” of him.
VINNY DITRANI'S NFL PICKS
And Justin Tuck wants no part of being a Dallas Cowboy — not now and not ever
— and doesn’t “need a star on my helmet to tell me that I’m pretty good at what
They fired back at the Cowboys on Thursday, one day after they were targeted
in a war of words before the Giants (6-6) travel to Dallas (7-5) this weekend
for their NFC East showdown.
“I am a bully. They call me what they want. I think people who call out
bullies are afraid of bullies,” Jacobs said.
He agreed with Dallas cornerback Mike Jenkins’ assessment when he labeled
Jacobs a “bully” for previous trash talk directed at the Cowboys — and took the
comment as a compliment.
Meanwhile, Tuck said he does not recall calling $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium
a “dump.” That alleged remark from 2009 prompted Dallas linebacker DeMarcus Ware
to say that Tuck was jealous he’s not a Cowboy.
“Obviously, they got a pretty nice stadium,” said Tuck, who added that he’s
“starting to get a little healthier” after registering his first sack Sunday
since October. “And me wanting to be a cowboy? Hmm ... I don’t wear Wranglers. I
don’t wear cowboy hats or boots or those belts buckles.
“And I don’t need a star on my helmet to tell me that I’m pretty good at what
Just to be clear, he added: “I plan on retiring a Giant.”
The rhetoric has grown hotter with the bitter division rivals about to meet
twice in the season’s final four weeks with the NFC East at stake." Read more...
Excerpt: "There will be a lot of scoreboard watching going on around the NFL this
You would think that entering the final quadrant of the season there would be
some interesting head-to-head matchups involving contenders for division titles
or wild-card spots. Yet the only one this weekend is Sunday night’s
So several in-contention teams will have to keep an eye out to see how their
competition is doing while trying to take care of their own business.
Game of the week
Giants over *Cowboys, getting 3 1/2 — Giants never have lost in Jerry’s
Palace (2-0) and Tom Coughlin never ices his own kicker." Read more...
WEEK 14 MATCHUPS: OFFENSES TIGHTEN THEIR BELTS
Excerpt: "Giants (6-6) at Cowboys (7-5)
Line: Cowboys by 3?.5
A few weeks ago, Jerry Jones expressed regret about publically criticizing
his semi-autonomous head coach Jason Garrett’s late-game decisions. Garrett took
Jones’s contrition as a dare last week, refusing to call timeout as the Cowboys
squandered the final 30 seconds of a tie game, then finally calling one just as
Dan Bailey was in the process of kicking a would-be winning field goal. Bailey
failed on his second attempt, but Jones stayed true to his word after the loss.
“We had an alternative,” Jones said, fists balled, teeth grinding. “We could
have run two, possibly three more plays there, but we have a lot of confidence
in that kicker. It didn’t work.” Then came a steam whistle, some warning claxons
and Jones slipped into a containment bunker until his reactor core
In fairness to Garrett, the Cowboys are playing much better than
anticipated this season, and for every daffy clock management error against the
Cardinals, there have been well-played fourth quarters against the 49ers, the
Dolphins and the Redskins. Garrett just needs to make better late-game
decisions, especially since they appear to be the only decisions he is allowed
to make. Pick: Giants" Read more...
MANNING KEEPS CALM AS INJURIES MULTIPLY
Excerpt: "Shortly before the Giants took the field against the Green Bay Packers last
Sunday, players began to murmur that two of their offensive linemen would not be
Manning took it as an occasion for some gallows humor.
“All you can do is laugh and say, Hey, what are you going to do?” said
Manning, who recalled that he was speaking with guard Chris Snee when he heard
the news. “You can’t start crying or complaining. We have to midstream adjust.”
It has been that sort of year for Manning. In the off-season, two of his most
dependable receivers departed as free agents. So far this season, he has played
behind a patchwork offensive line and with a first-string running back who has
missed four games with an injury. But none of that has stopped Manning from
having a standout season.
As the Giants prepare to face the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, Manning
ranks fourth in the N.F.L. in passing yards (3,705), fifth in touchdown passes
(23) and sixth in passer rating (96.0). A year after throwing 25 interceptions,
Manning has thrown just 11 so far.
That the Giants (6-6) are still in contention for the playoffs after losing
four in a row is a testament not only to the relative fragility of the N.F.C.
East, but to the sort of steadying ethos that permeates the franchise. That
begins with Coach Tom
Coughlin, but it is Manning who sets the tone in the locker room.
“You’ve got a guy who’s been playing and hearing what we do for eight years
now,” Kevin Gilbride, the offensive coordinator, said of Manning. “He’s heard it
longer than any of them, so he’s been able to truly be an extension of us out on
the field, and he’s been a catalyst in that means.”
Over the summer, receiver Steve Smith and tight end Kevin Boss departed for
different teams, leaving behind inexperienced receivers like Victor Cruz and
tight end Jake Ballard, both of whom went undrafted in 2010.
But Manning has found comfort with those two. He has brought them along by
guiding them during his regular Friday meetings, at which he breaks down film
for the receivers and walks them through various game-day situations. As a
result, Cruz has 1,076 yards receiving and 7 touchdown catches, and Ballard has
3 touchdown receptions.
As much as the Giants’ continued success might be traced back to Manning’s
proficiency, his easy demeanor and confidence play important roles, too. In the
huddle or the locker room, Manning can say a lot without actually saying a lot.
“You’ve got a leader like that who’s calm and cool and collected,” receiver
Devin Thomas said. “You just go out there and play your part. No one is
overwhelmed. He just keeps it real simple.”
Perhaps the biggest impediment for Manning has been the health of the other
players on offense. The team’s top running back, Ahmad Bradshaw, sat out all of
November with a broken foot, and the offensive line, which lost the mainstays
Rich Seubert and Shaun O’Hara in the off-season, has been in flux because of
injuries to David Baas, Will Beatty and Snee.
In the middle of it all is Manning, who has remained as cool as ever." Read more... GIANTS 101
NEW YORK GIANTS' VICTOR CRUZ: LOCALLY GROWN AND REPPIN'
Excerpt: "The New York
Giants are more well-known for drafting defense. No doubt. Once in a while,
though, an offensive gem falls their way: Phil Simms, Joe Morris, Mark Bavaro,
Amani Toomer, Tiki Barber, Eli Manning…and most recently, Hakeem Nicks.
Then, there’s times when an undrafted free agent from the “mean streets” of
Paterson, NJ ends up being an all-out Big Blue phenom.
Cruz went to Paterson Catholic High School where he played for the Cougars
-as WR and DB- and recorded 19 touchdowns in his senior year there (they went
undefeated). Since last year, I’ve spoken to local kids that went to rival
schools in Lodi (Rams) and Saddle Brook (Falcons). All comments and memories
seem to be similar: “that kid was fast,” “man, he burned our DB’s,” “he was hard
to cover,” “we all knew he would go on to be something, but wow”… Some even said
he was a quiet, but really, super nice guy. For those of you that aren’t
familiar with the local area of Paterson, in Passaic County, NJ—do some research
on it. This last tidbit is a compliment to Cruz’ character.
From Paterson, Cruz went up to Brighton Academy in Maine for a post-graduate
semester, then to U Mass where he didn’t start until his Junior year, but
amassed 131 catches (4th all-time in team history), had 1,958 yards (5th in team
history behind former NY Giant, Brandon London) and 11 touchdowns.
Fast forward to 2010’s NFL Draft. No draft day story to tell for Victor
Cruz. The now 25 year-old went undrafted. Not much was heard about him,
except in local Jersey papers when the Giants signed him. Until August 16, 2010
and a pre-season game vs. New York Jets. Three insanely convincing touchdowns, 145
yards and burning speed. All of a sudden, Cruz was the topic around the water
cooler. For weeks.
Needless to say, he made the 53-man roster, but in very Giants-like luck, was
placed on IR after only three weeks into the season with a hamstring injury.
2011: Fast forward again, but this time through the fun that was the NFL Lockout,
“training camp” and pre-season. Cruz begins the season listed on the depth chart
as the #4 wideout behind Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham and Domenik Hixon.
However, through injuries (shocker), #80 quietly stepped up and confidently grew
with his quarterback. He remains focused and poised, yet hungry for more. Victor
Cruz (through NFL Week 13) is
#4 again—in receiving yards in the league. 62 receptions for 1,076 yards and
seven TDs with four more games to be played.
So much for the folks who claimed the pre-season Jets game was a one-time
thing and “just meaningless pre-season highlights.” Hope they’re all watching
his route-running, his sideline footwork, and his concentration in the huddle.
There’s probably one more source for intangible information on Victor
Cruz, but he may not want to tell you.
GIANTS' KENNY PHILLIPS DOUBTFUL; DAVID BAAS OUT FOR SUNDAY
"The injury polka continues today as news emerges about the status of several
Giants players for Sunday night's game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Austin Collie (17)Several sources report Giants safety, Kenny
is tripped after a 7-yard gain in front of New York Giants safety Kenny
Phillips (21) during the first quarter at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis on
September 19, 2010. UPI /Mark Cowan
Phillips (knee), is doubtful as of now. While Phillips had noted
that he was hopeful to play against the rival Cowboys, it looks as though he
won't be able to go. This will put the onus on fellow safety, Deon
Grant, to step-up in Phillips absence.
Additionally, center David
Baas is out for Sunday night. The headaches he experienced last
week have been labeled as "migraine-type" and seemingly occur as a result of a
neck injury Baas sustained earlier this fall. This looks to be something that
might keep Baas out for some time.
Defensive end, Osi Umenyiora (ankle) and linebackers,
Mark Herzlich (ankle)
and Spencer Paysinger (hamstring), are also ruled out against
On a brighter note, Mario
Manningham, Prince Amukamara, Brandon
Boley, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Dave
Tollefson are all probable for the game.
Giants 101 will keep updating up through gametime."NEW YORK GIANTS' MARIO MANNINGHAM EXPECTED TO PLAY SUNDAY
"After missing two games with swelling in his knee and talk of surgery that
would end his season, New York
Giants wide receiver Mario
Manningham has practiced each of the last two days and appears to be a go for this Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys
barring a setback.
Jacksonville Jaguars Don Carey cant stop New York
Manningham from diving into the end zone for a 26 yard touchdown in the
fourth quarter at New Meadowlands Stadium in week 12 of the NFL in East
Rutherford, New Jersey on November 28, 2010. The Giants defeated the Jaguars
24-20. UPI /John Angelillo
“(Manningham) has practiced for two days,” said Coughlin. “He looks good. He
looks sharp. He looks quick. Hopefully there is no issue the next day. That is
what you worry about. The swelling.”
With only 34 receptions and 404 yards, Super Mario certainly isn't having the
season he anticipated having, especially considering his contract expires at
year's end. Still, there's no denying that when the ball is in his hands, he's a
threat to take it all the way every time.
Victor Cruz will still likely start opposite Hakeem Nicks, but Manningham
will see the field plenty as the Giants routinely run three wide receiver
One thing Big Blue will look for Manningham to do upon his return is show
route recognition improvement. He and Eli Manning seem to be on a different page
frequently, and that's a trend that has continued for years now. With each game
possibly the difference between making the playoffs and staying home, a mentally
focused and physically healthy Mario
Manningham will be a very important key."NEW YORK GIANTS VS. DALLAS COWBOYS: KEYS TO VICTORY
"For as adamantly as the writers here on Giants 101 keep our fingers on the
pulse of the New York
Giants, there are those who do so for the Dallas
Cowboys quarterback Jon Kitna (2nd R) is sacked by New York
Giants safety Deon Grant (behind Kitna) as linebacker Michael Boley (L) and
defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (R) converge on the play in the first half of
their NFL football
game in Arlington, Texas October 25, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES -
Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
He knows the strengths and weaknesses of the Dallas
Cowboys as well as any