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    NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2011 - 4:00 P.M.

    HERE NOW THE NEWS

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

    NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS IN
    FIRST PLACE NFC EAST


    NEWARK STAR LEDGER

    GIANTS' KENNY PHILLIPS RETURNS TO PRACTICE

    "UPDATED WITH INJURY NEWS FROM PRACTICE


    With all of the miscommunication issues since Kenny Phillips went down, it’s
    a good sign for the Giants they’re
    getting their starting safety back today.




    Phillips, who missed Sunday’s game against the Cowboys with a sprained knee
    suffered a week prior, returned to practice today. He was fully participating
    and that's a good sign for him to play against Washington on Sunday.




    Since Phillips went down against the Packers, the Giants gave up two
    touchdowns on apparent miscommunications between Antrel Rolle and Corey Webster
    – one against Green Bay and another against Dallas on a 50-yard touchdown to Dez
    Bryant. It’s unclear if either would’ve occurred had Phillips been on the field
    to communicate the adjustment to Webster, who didn’t sink deep enough on the
    Packers’ Donald Driver and, according
    to Rolle
    , should’ve been deep on Bryant.




    Other injury news:




    --DE Justin Tuck (toe) wasn't practicing. He was a late arrival to the
    session and took to a stationary bike on the sideline, "but I’m hoping he’ll get
    going (soon),” Tom Coughlin said.




    --DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle/knee) wasn't seen during the portion of practice
    open to the media and continues to seem like a long shot to play on Sunday.




    --C David Baas’ mysterious neck ailment will remain just that for now.
    Coughlin didn’t shed any light on Baas’ issue but said he hoped the fact the
    headaches aren’t listed on the injury report anymore is a good sign. “I think
    he’s making progress, I do,” Coughlin said. Asked if the Giants would keep Baas
    on the sideline when he’s healthy so as not to disrupt what the offensive line
    has done in his absence, Coughlin said, “What we want to do is let’s get them
    all back so we can (practice). He hasn’t practiced in a couple of weeks. We need
    to get him back on the practice field and back in the groove and then we’ll make
    those kinds of calls.”




    Today, Baas stretched with the team and then went outside where he ran some
    sprints and did some light drills, an encouraging sign going forward for the
    Giants and their major free agent signing.




    --RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) wasn't practice today, but that is expected. If he
    doesn't practice on Friday then that will be when we know something is really
    wrong. He was throwing passes to the other running backs during a drill, so
    there's that.




    --TE Travis Beckum (chest) wasn't practicing and on Monday Coughlin said
    he'll most likely have to play through pain.




    --LB Michael Boley (hamstring) wasn't practicing, but he's been getting the
    same treatment Bradshaw has: practice on Friday, play on Sunday.




    --CB Derrick Martin (back) also wasn't practicing.




    --LB Spencer Paysinger (hamstring) missed Sunday night's game, but he was
    back at practice today.




    --LB Mark Herzlich (ankle) has missed the last couple games and wasn't
    practicing."



    **

    GIANTS' VICTOR CRUS BECOMES HOUSEHOLD NAME AS HE NEARS SINGLE SEASON RECEIVING RECORD

    Excerpt: "Last month, after San Francisco 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers picked off a pass
    intended for Victor Cruz, Rogers
    got up and salsa danced
    . That’s Cruz’s move. And it was not cool with
    him.


    On Sunday, after jogging into the end zone behind a confused Giants
    secondary, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant swayed his hips, legs and
    arms in his own version of a salsa. He told ESPNDallas.com he practiced it all
    week and planned
    to “steal” Cruz’s dance
    as part of his “regular” routine.




    This time, Cruz is okay with it.




    “It’s different because it’s a receiver. We’re kind of all in the receiver
    family,” the Giants’ breakout star said
    Tuesday during a promotional appearance at the New York Health & Racquet
    Club in Manhattan. “If he wants to do it, I’ll let him borrow it.




    “Everybody knows I kind of started the thing so he can use it if he wants
    it.”




    The idea of anyone stealing any of Cruz’s moves just a few months ago was
    ludicrous. As he put it Tuesday, he was “basically a nobody” before catching two
    touchdowns in the Week 3 victory over the Eagles. Now, he sees it as the highest
    of compliments when Bryant imitates him and the Cowboys stack two defenders on
    him at the line to limit his lateral movement on releases.




    Cruz has earned such attention. He’s now only 194 yards away from becoming
    the Giants’ new single-season receiving leader (overtaking Amani Toomer at
    1,343) and has joined Hakeem Nicks (1,023 yards) as the only duo in the
    87-season history of the Giants to each record 1,000 yards or more in the same
    season.




    Of all the things Cruz has experienced this season, learning what he and
    Nicks accomplished was the moment that affected him most.

    “I was wondering, ‘Nobody else had that many? Even Plax and Amani?’?” Cruz
    said, referring to Plaxico Burress and Toomer, the latter of whom came 316 and
    240 yards short of 1,000 in Burress’ two seasons hitting that mark. “You’d just
    think with guys like that definitely got it done.


    “Individually, getting a thousand is one thing. But along with a guy like
    Hakeem, who’s just a world-class guy, has been a friend to me and has taken me
    in, it’s even more special.”




    Likewise, Cruz says individual accomplishments come after team goals, such as
    making the postseason. In fact, during an interview with SiriusXM’s “Mad Dog
    Radio” on Tuesday, he guaranteed the Giants will make the postseason.




    Well, sort of. He was asked his gut feeling on whether the team would make
    the postseason and said yes. The follow-up question by host Evan Cohen was,
    “You’re going to guarantee that?” Cruz replied, “Uh, yeah.”




    Realizing he’s no longer a “nobody” (his appearance Tuesday was with Stacy
    Keibler of WWE, “Dancing with the Stars” and George Clooney fame), Cruz figured
    there’d be a reaction.




    “I knew he was going to take me there,” Cruz said. “But I mean, what am I
    supposed to say? ‘We’re not going to make it?’ I believe in my team, I believe
    in the players we have, I believe we’re going to win these games and make the
    playoffs.”




    With Eli Manning on pace to crack 5,000 yards passing, the Giants’ running
    game an unreliable option and the defense’s struggles in recent weeks, it’s
    obvious Cruz, Nicks and the rest of Manning’s targets will have to lead the team
    to victory.




    Defenses are starting to recognize that, which is why the Cowboys paid
    special attention to Cruz. Perhaps the production will start shifting more
    toward Nicks, Mario Manningham and others.



    “Who knows? If Mario didn’t miss a few games, we probably would have three
    guys over 1,000. That would’ve been amazing,” Cruz said, referencing a feat
    that’s been accomplished only five times in NFL history. “But it’s just great
    and we’re excited as a team.




    “We have one of our goals accomplished in beating the Cowboys and we have
    three left.” Read more...



    ANTREL ROLLE SAYS HE'S NOT AT FAULT FOR BLOWN COVERAGE, GIANTS REMAIN SILENT ON WHO'S TO BLAME



    Excerpt: "Eli Manning and the rest of the Giants'
    offense kept the team’s playoff hopes alive with 15 points in the final 5:41 to
    beat
    the Dallas Cowboys
    on Sunday night. In doing so, they bailed the defense out
    after the secondary was victimized for a 50-yard touchdown — due to another
    breakdown in coverage — that gave Dallas a 34-22 lead.




    On the play, there was some miscommunication between cornerback Corey Webster
    and safety Antrel Rolle. Webster released Bryant, assuming Rolle was going to
    help out over the top, but Rolle jumped on an underneath route, leaving Bryant
    wide open.




    In his weekly interview with WFAN yesterday, Rolle wanted everyone to know it
    wasn’t his fault and “I was exactly where I was supposed to be.”




    “No, Antrel Rolle didn’t get burned,” he said. “Know what ... you’re talking
    about at the end of the day.”




    Rolle was the subject of criticism during NBC’s Sunday night broadcast — NBC
    analyst Cris Collinsworth said Rolle was “barbecued” on the play — and in the
    aftermath of the game, and he wasn’t happy about it.




    “Commentators always want to point the finger as if they know what they’re
    doing and they know what they’re talking about,” Rolle said. “But in reality,
    they don’t half of the time.”




    Tuesday, fellow safety Deon Grant confirmed Rolle wasn’t at fault on the
    play.




    “It wasn’t Antrel,” said Grant after a holiday gift giveaway event at an
    elementary school in the Bronx. “I’m not going to say who was in the wrong, but
    I can definitely say it wasn’t Antrel in the wrong.”




    Blown coverage has become a recurring theme in the Giants secondary in recent
    weeks. A similar botched play allowed Packers wide receiver Donald Driver to
    score an easy touchdown the previous week.



    “Those are the things we can’t have,” Grant said. “Last week better be the
    last week that happened. In order for us to get to where we’re tying to go, as a
    secondary, as a defense, we can’t have them small mental mistakes.”




    “It’s time for us to give our offense a little break. Let them continue to
    put up the points, but in the fourth quarter it should be a time when we don’t
    have to worry about going with the four-minute defense and the no-huddle
    offense.”




    The Washington Redskins — next on the Giants’ schedule —
    signed tight end Richard Quinn and placed tackle Chris Baker on injured reserve.
    Washington needed the depth at tight end when Fred Davis was suspended for four
    games after he failed multiple tests for recreational drug use."

    GIANTS' DE JASON PIERRE-PAUL NAMED NFC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

    "Jason Pierre-Paul's biggest play of Sunday's victory over the Cowboys came on
    special teams, but he was dominant enough at his regular defensive end spot to
    warrant an honor there.



    Pierre-Paul was named the NFC's defensive player of the week for recording
    two sacks of Tony Romo (one of which was a safety) and a forced fumble of Felix
    Jones that led to a field goal. Pierre-Paul also led the team with eight tackles
    (six solo).




    Pierre-Paul, who has 12.5 sacks this season and could get enough votes from
    the players and coaches to offset not being on the fan ballot, joins Mathias
    Kiwanuka (Week 9 vs. Patriots) as the only Giants named defensive player of the
    week this season."

    NY DAILY NEWS

    GIANTS HAVE LIVED DANGEROUSLY ALL SEASON, AND IT MAY COME BACK TO HAUNT THEM

    Excerpt: "
    In his 23 years of coaching in the NFL, Tom Coughlin has never
    seen anything like what’s happened to the Giants this year. They don’t just play
    football games every week, they ride emotional roller coasters with constant
    twists and turns.



    “I can never remember a season like this,” Coughlin
    said, “where every game – not every game, but almost every game — went right to
    the wire.”

    Now, with the Giants’ entire season on the line in the final
    three weeks, Big Blue has to be careful not to get worn down by all the
    stress.




    How could it not be taking a toll? In 10 of the Giants’ 13 games, the outcome
    was undecided with two minutes remaining. In seven of those games, the losing
    team was within a touchdown and had the ball in its hands with a legitimate shot
    to score.




    Eight times this season the Giants trailed in the fourth quarter, and five
    times, thanks to their Comeback Quarterback, Eli Manning, they’ve
    rallied to win . And he nearly pulled off fourth-quarter miracles against the
    Seahawks, 49ers and Packers, too.




    It’s been wild, nail-biting, breath-stopping excitement nearly every week.
    The whole season has been a thrill-a-minute for fans. Even the players still use
    the word “fun” when describing their high-wire act.




    But life on the edge can be exhausting, too. Which brings up this question:
    If the Giants do make the playoffs, are they going to have anything left? This
    is already an injury-ravaged team. Aren’t all these fantastic finishes going to
    leave them emotionally drained, too?




    “No, it’s fun,” said linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka.
    “We’d rather win in a better fashion, but as long as we’re getting the W’s,
    we’ll take it. These kind of games have gone the other way, so if we have to
    battle we’d rather just come out with the win.”




    He can say that now that the Giants are 7-6 and back in first place in the
    NFC East, but as they learned in their 27-20 loss in San Francisco and 38-35
    loss to the Packers, last-minute finishes aren’t always for the best. Yes, they
    do have the perfect quarterback for comebacks. Defensive players even marveled
    on Sunday night about how nobody was worried when they fell behind the Cowboys
    34-22 with 5:41 remaining and their season on the brink. They knew Manning would
    come through, and he did." Read more...

    GIANTS' SAFETY ANTREL ROLLE FIRES BACK AT COLLINSWORTH, OTHER "COMMENTATORS" FOR NOT KNOWING GAME PLAN

    Excerpt: "Antrel Rolle has been
    burned all season long, but not by opposing receivers. He says he's been burned
    by television analysts.



    So on Tuesday afternoon, he fired back.




    Without ever mentioning NBC's Cris Collinsworth
    by name, Rolle took aim at the former NFL receiver and other "commentators" for
    pointing fingers at him and generally trying to sound like "they know what
    they're talking about, but in reality they don't half of the time." He insisted
    that those "commentators" place the blame without any knowledge of the schemes
    the defense is playing.




    And that, he insisted, is "wrong".




    "Whenever there's a big play and you're the safeties, you're always the one
    who gets blamed and gets finger-pointed," Rolle said in his weekly, paid spot on
    WFAN. "It's wrong because the commentators don't know what coverage we're in.
    They don't know how we're playing our defense. They don't know that I'm
    disguising, showing a Cover 2, but I'm really supposed to drop down and play a
    Cover 3. They don't know. It drives me crazy."




    Rolle was particularly "pissed off" at the general perception that he screwed
    up on a 50-yard touchdown catch by Dez Bryant with 5:41
    remaining in the Giants' 37-34 win over the Cowboys on Sunday night. That
    touchdown, in which Bryant was completely uncovered, put the Cowboys up
    34-22.




    On the play, Giants cornerback Corey
    Webster
    was covering Bryant at the line, but let him go and apparently
    expected safety help. Rolle was the safety behind him, but jumped towards the
    line of scrimmage either to cover tight end Jason Witten
    who was crossing over the middle or to watch for the running back coming out of
    the backfield on a flare.




    When he jumped, Bryant was free. Rolle tried to recover, but he never got
    close and when Bryant was still eight yards from the end zone, Rolle was already
    looking back at Webster trying to figure out what went wrong. He later conferred
    with safety Deon Grant, but
    he was on the other side." Read more...

    NY POST

    REDSKINS' GROSSMAN FIRES BACK AT ROLLE

    "After the Giants were beaten by the Redskins in the season opener, Antrel
    Rolle said the Giants were the better team and would beat the Redskins 95 out of
    100 times. Earlier this week, Rolle amended that prediction, saying the Giants
    would beat the Redskins 99 out of 100 times.



    The two teams meet again Sunday.




    “It is the NFL and nobody is going to beat anyone 99 out of 100 times,’’
    Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman said Wednesday on a conference call. “I am
    confident about where we are. We haven’t finished games lately and we need to
    finish and everything should take care of itself. I understand that there is a
    lot of pride in the NFL and a lot of people go about their business with a lot
    of pride and ego and we do the same thing.’’




    Grossman is again running the Redskins offense. He was benched earlier in the
    season by head coach Mike Shanahan, who inserted untested John Beck into the
    starting quarterback role. When that did not work, Shanahan went back to
    Grossman. After a promising 3-1start, the Redskins have lost eight of their past
    nine games.




    “I felt like I played well the first four games and I felt like I didn’t play
    well the last game and got taken out of that game and John Beck came in and
    played pretty decent,’’ Grossman said. “They stuck with him and when I got a
    chance to play again, I had the same mindset. I had a breather there for a month
    and then I got right back in there. Every time you go out there on the field,
    you want to put your best foot forward so that you put so much time and effort
    into each week that nothing really changes in terms of the turmoil that you have
    gone through personally as far as being bench and then being a starter.’’




    When Grossman takes a look at the Giants defense, he sees something he did
    not see in the opener: The emergence of Jason Pierre-Paul, who has supplanted
    Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora as the star on the defensive line.




    “He is really their best pass rusher and best defensive player, in my
    opinion,’’ Grossman said. “He has everything. He has power, speed, strength and
    the other two guys that are big time guys have been hurt. They haven’t had a
    full season to show what they normally can do and they are Pro Bowlers in their
    own right. Jason Pierre-Paul is definitely a star in this
    league.’’

    POST POWER RANKINGS: BEWARE OF GIANT TRAP

    Excerpt: "The Redskins beat the Giants in the season opener and are a division rival,
    and maybe that’s the best thing for the Giants.



    Under coach Tom Coughlin, the team has shown a propensity to let down against
    the lesser teams in the NFL, which they did in a Week 5 home loss to the
    Seahawks. But those factors may keep the Giants from sleepwalking against
    Washington on Sunday even though the next two matchups against the Jets and
    Cowboys will be much more hyped.

    12. Giants (7-6) (14) – For all the criticism he’s received
    from fans and media, Brandon Jacobs may have saved the Giants’ season Sunday
    night with Ahmad Bradshaw benched in the first half.



    27. Redskins (4-9) (27) – Giants must concentrate on
    stopping rookie Roy Helu, who has rushed for more than 100 yards in three
    straight games." Read more...

    PHILLIPS BACK AT PRACTICE

    Excerpt: "Safety Kenny Phillips was back on the field Wednesday, an extremely positive
    sign for the Giants when it comes to predicting his availability for Sunday’s
    game against the Redskins.



    Phillips missed last week’s victory at Dallas with a strained medial
    collateral ligament, a knee injury that often sidelines players 2-3 weeks.
    Phillips was able to run last week but did not practice. He sounded optimistic
    he would be able to return after sitting out one game and his presence inside
    the team’s field house for practice suggests he is on the way back.




    That would be good news for a defensive backfield that continues to get
    torched by opposing quarterbacks and receivers. The Redskins, with Rex Grossman
    at quarterback, do not possess the weapons the Saints, Packers and Cowboys did
    the past three games, but the Giants have allowed so many wide-open receivers
    downfield that even Grossman could locate them if given the
    chance." Read more...


    **

    "CANTY CLAUS" STILL HAPPY WITH GIANTS' WIN OVER COWBOYS

    "Santa never looked as big as he did Tuesday afternoon, when Chris Canty at
    6-foot-7 and 319 pounds donned the traditional red suit at P.S. 179 in The
    Bronx, hosting a holiday party.



    Canty purchased items from students’ wish lists and distributed the presents,
    which were provided by Toys R Us.




    Clearly, Canty was in a giving mood. The Giants, though, needed to take
    something away from the Cowboys last Sunday in order to claim the top spot in
    the NFC East. The Giants did that with a 37-34 victory over the Cowboys.




    “It was huge, if there was ever a must-win for this team, the 2011 New York
    Giants, that was it,’’ Canty, a starting defensive tackle, told The Post’s
    Antonio Antenucci at the event in The Bronx. “We had to win that game to give us
    the opportunity. The thing is the games just get bigger, and so we won that
    game, that was a stepping-stone now we got another big game this Sunday against
    the Redskins.




    "We have to win these games, the playoffs have already started for us, we got
    to have all hands on deck. It’s going to be a challenge, they are a very
    talented football team."




    The Giants defeated the Cowboys despite a performance on defense that was
    hardly award-winning. Asked what can be done to improve that side of the ball,
    Canty said, “Obviously we can start by stopping the run, making teams
    one-dimensional. Especially this time of year when the ball gets harder as it
    gets colder, makes it a little tougher to pass, so a lot of teams take to the
    ground game. From a defensive line perspective, once we stop the run we got to
    rush the passer. We were able to get some decent pressure on [Tony] Romo but he
    had a big day; [we've] got to do more to disrupt the passing game.’’




    The Giants knew they could continue to control their own destiny as far as
    winning the division and making the playoffs if they beat the Cowboys. The
    Giants also know they can lose that control if they lose a game, starting with
    Sunday’s rematch with the Redskins, a team that defeated the Giants 28-14 in the
    season-opener.




    “We always have been in the drivers’ seat, we've always been in the position
    where we control our own destiny,’’ Canty said. “If we take care of our own
    business we'll be where we want to be, we'll accomplish what we sent out to
    accomplish in the first place, which is to win our division."

    CREDIT H.S. COACH FOR UNLEASHING PIERRE-PAUL

    "If you cannot block Jason Pierre-Paul, cannot keep him from laying out your
    quarterback, blame Manny Martin.



    If you cannot believe what you are seeing with Jason Pierre-Paul, cannot
    comprehend how this driven athletic marvel has soared for the Giants like some
    wide-winged bird of prey, thank Manny Martin.




    There was a time when Pierre-Paul was a teenage basketball player infatuated
    with dunking and highly skeptical of those guys outside on the field wearing
    helmets and shoulder pads. Someone had to convince this son of Haitian parents
    that if he switched sports he could one day line his pockets with riches beyond
    his imagination.

    The transformation from dunker to sacker happened at Deerfield Beach High
    School, the logical starting point for this investigation, to find Jason
    Pierre-Paul’s football godfather.



    “OK, I know who you can talk to,’’ Vincent Tozzi, the athletic director at
    Deerfield Beach High School, told The Post. “Call Dillard High School, this is
    the one you’re looking for. Ask for coach Manny Martin. Manny was the defensive
    coordinator here when Jason started to play football. He was the one that
    pursued him the most.




    “Manny was the bridge. Manny is the guy you’re looking for.’’




    The call to Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was routed through
    the main switchboard, directly to the head football coach, Manny Martin. So,
    Coach Martin, you are responsible for turning Jason Pierre-Paul on to football? You are the
    man all Giants fans should hail as their guardian angel as this once-sickly
    playoff push was injected with adrenaline following the rousing 37-34 victory
    over the Cowboys?




    “I guess it would be,’’ Martin said, chuckling. “Not to brag about it, but it
    would be me.’’




    Martin first laid eyes on Pierre-Paul as a 10th grader on the basketball
    court, saw this tall, lean kid, introduced himself and extended his right hand.




    “When I shook his hand I knew how long his hands were, they came like to the
    middle of my arm, his fingertips,’’ Martin recalled. “I said ‘Damn, you don’t
    play no football?’ He’s like, ‘Nah, I’m a basketball player.’ He didn’t know
    nothing about football.’’




    Martin couldn’t get out of his mind the image of Pierre-Paul rushing around
    the edge.




    “I knew how long his arms were,’’ he said. “The kid could stand up and
    probably scratch his kneecap without even bending over. I just knew he had a
    body frame to be a nice defensive end.’’




    Pierre-Paul’s parents, Jean and Marie, arrived from Haiti in 1983; his
    father, Jean, went blind when Jason was an infant. Money was tight and Jason had
    to work in fast food joints, cutting grass; not much extra time. The growing
    Haitian population in Broward County was just starting to cultivate an interest
    in football. Pierre-Paul broke his leg more than once playing basketball. The
    stars were aligned.

    “I wound up getting him in my class,’’ said Martin, who taught Geometry.
    “When I had him in my class I felt like I had the right to put a little more
    pressure on him. I told him, ‘You talking about passing this class? You better
    start thinking about getting on that football field.’



    “The first day, I knew he could run. What made me say there was something
    special was the day when he was out there and the kids were clowning around on
    the field. When I saw that long kid doing those back-flips I said, ‘Oh snap,
    that was impressive.’ ’’




    Pierre-Paul was already in his junior year, quite late to be picking up a new
    sport. Martin kept it simple. He got on the field for the first time in the
    playoffs.

    “He was decent, but didn’t make an impact right then,’’ Martin said. “He made
    a few sacks, he was getting a little bit more confident and then his senior year
    he just dominated.’’



    Martin sat Pierre-Paul down and said: “If you focus and do what you need to
    do for the next two years you’ll be able to take care of his family for the rest
    of your life.’’




    It wasn’t merely lip service. Martin, 42, spent five years (54 games) in the
    NFL, starting in 1993 with the Oilers, spent time in the Canadian Football
    League and lasted four seasons as a defensive back with the Bills until he
    retired in 1999. He intercepted Troy Aikman twice — in one game.




    “I’m proud to see him out there,’’ Martin said. “That’s my pay, to see him
    out there.’’




    Eli’s fulfillin’ destiny




    John Mara chooses his words carefully and so it was interesting how the
    Giants co-owner phrased his praise of Eli Manning minutes after the quarterback
    produced yet another fourth-quarter comeback to overtake the Cowboys 37-34.




    “It’s good when the first pick in the draft comes through like that,’’ Mara
    said.




    At times, it seems, we forget that Eli was born for this because of his
    low-key demeanor and his subdued aura as Peyton’s kid brother. With Peyton off
    the scene with his neck injury, it is as if a Manning had to rise and Eli was
    next in line.




    The Giants reconfigured their 2004 draft to get Eli and they are using a huge
    chunk of their salary cap ($8.5 million salary this season, $10.7 million and
    $13 the next two) for him to excel.




    When Mara was asked his level of concern for the Giants defense and the
    inability to clamp down on opponents, he quickly shot back: “With our
    quarterback on the field no lead is safe, either.’’




    Eli, no doubt is playing great, which is what the Giants expected out of
    him."

    GIANTS' ROLLE: REDSKINS "NOT A BETTER TEAM THAN US"

    "The Redskins got their one win. And they aren’t due for another any time
    soon.



    That’s the way Antrel Rolle figures
    it. After a 28-14 season-opening loss to the Redskins at FedEx Field, Rolle back on Sept. 11 was so disgusted that
    he said: “We know the Redskins are not a better team than us. If we played them
    100 times, they might win five.’’




    That potentially-combustible quote yesterday was brought up to Rolle during
    his weekly radio spot on WFAN. He was given the chance to clarify those comments
    with the Giants set for the rematch with the Redskins on Sunday at MetLife
    Stadium. Did he really say the Giants would beat the Redskins 95 out of 100
    times?

    “I said ninety-nine,’’ Rolle said.



    No, there was no backing away by Rolle in the aftermath of the Giants’ 37-34
    victory over the Cowboys.




    “I don’t plan on losing to the Redskins, I’m going to be honest with you,’’
    Rolle said. “I’m not guaranteeing a victory, I’m not doing any of that. We got
    to play the game come Sunday, but I’m very, very confident in this team and
    very, very confident we’re going to get the job done, go out there and bring it,
    bring it the way the New York
    Giants
    know how to bring it.’’




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    Rolle isn’t the only one feeling good about the Giants. Receiver Victor Cruz,
    having a breakout and potentially record-breaking season, went on SiriusXM’s Mad
    Dog radio yesterday and guaranteed the Giants will make the playoffs.




    Asked his gut feeling about the playoffs, Cruz said, “Yes. We will be in the
    playoffs.”




    Asked if that was a guarantee, Cruz said, “Uh, yeah.”




    Rolle did not discount the defensive issues that continue to hurt the Giants,
    saying: “Our season will be shut short if we continue to play that way.’’




    But he took great exception to speculation that he was to blame for blowing
    the assignment on what turned out to be an uncontested 50-yard TD pass to an
    uncovered Dez Bryant, a play in which Rolle and cornerback Corey Webster clearly
    got their signals crossed. On NBC, Cris Collinsworth said Rolle was “barbecued’’
    on the play.




    “The commentators don’t know the coverage we’re in, they don’t know how we’re
    playing our defense, they don’t know I’m disguising, showing a Cover 2 but I’m
    really supposed to drop down and play a Cover 3,’’ Rolle said. “It drives me
    crazy.




    “I’m not saying I don’t make mistakes, because I do, I’m saying if there’s a
    coverage and I’m supposed to be in a certain area, best believe I’m going to be
    where I’m supposed to be. Like I was Sunday night, like I was against San
    Francisco, like I was against the Packers. They say ‘Antrel Rolle got burned.’
    No, Antrel Rolle didn’t get burned! Antrel Rolle was exactly where he was
    supposed to be. Know what the hell you’re talking about. There’s people watching
    on TV, the only thing they know is what the commentators are telling
    them.”

    GIANTS' MANNING, JACOBS NOMINATED FOR WEEKLY AWARDS

    "Eli Manning and Brandon Jacobs carried the Giants offense last Sunday night
    to a 37-34 victory over the Cowboys. Thus it comes as no surprise that Manning
    and Jacobs are both nominated for this week’s FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players
    of the Week.



    Manning completed 27 of 47 passes for 400 yards and two touchdowns. Jacobs
    carried the ball 19 times for a season-high 101 yards and scored two touchdowns.
    This is the fourth time this season Manning has been nominated; he hasn’t
    received enough votes to win the award.




    Manning, Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan are finalists for the FedEx Air NFL
    Player of the Week while Jacobs, Marshawn Lynch and Shonn Greene are finalists
    for the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week.




    Fans can vote for one player in each category on NFL.com/FedEx from 9 a.m.
    EST on Tuesday through 3 p.m. EST on Friday to determine the FedEx Air &
    Ground NFL Players of the Week. The winners will be announced Friday on NFL
    Total Access on NFL Network and on NFL.com."

    GIANTS' ROLLE "VERY CONFIDENT" AGAINST REDSKINS

    "After a 28-14 season-opening loss to the Redskins at FedEx Field, Antrel
    Rolle was so disgusted that he said “We know the Redskins are not a better team
    than us. If we played them 100 times they might win five.’’



    That potentially-combustible quote on Tuesday was brought up to the Giants
    safety during his weekly radio spot on WFAN. Rolle was given the chance to back
    away from those comments with the Giants set for the rematch with the Redskins
    on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.




    Did he really say the Giants would beat the Redskins 95 out of 100 times?




    “I said ninety-nine,’’ Rolle said.




    No, there was no backing away by Rolle, who was in a spirited and energized
    mood after the Giants ended a four-game losing streak with their 37-34 victory
    over the Cowboys.




    “I don’t plan on losing to the Redskins, I’m going to be honest with you,’’
    Rolle said. “I’m not guaranteeing a victory, I’m not doing any of that, we got
    to play the game come Sunday, but I’m very, very confident in this team and
    very, very confident we’re going to get the job done, go out there and bring it,
    bring it the way the New York Giants know how to bring it.’’




    Rolle did not discount the defensive issues that continue to hurt the Giants.




    “Our season will be shut short if we continue to play that way,’’ Rolle said.




    But he took great exception to speculation that he was to blame for blowing
    the assignment on what turned out to be an uncontested 50-yard touchdown pass to
    an uncovered Dez Bryant, a play in which Rolle and cornerback Corey Webster
    clearly got their signals crossed.




    “The play with Dez Bryant, I don’t know if I call that communication error, I
    don’t know what I want to call it, we don’t point fingers at each other but the
    mistake that was made, it shouldn’t have been made,” Rolle said.




    “Which brings me to my other point. In this league every position you’re
    going to take some sort of blame, which is fine. People say the only thing that
    matters is what your coaches feel and your organization, which is fine, I
    understand that. But I don’t see it that way, because there’s fans out there,
    fans who really don’t understand the ins and outs of football, really doesn’t
    understand coverage and things of that nature. Whenever there’s a big play and
    you being the safeties, you’re always the one to get blamed and get
    finger-pointed and it’s wrong.”




    The play gave the Cowboys a 34-22 lead late in the fourth quarter, and on the
    telecast, NBC’s Cris Collinsworth said Rolle was at fault.




    “The commentators don’t know the coverage we’re in, they don’t know how we’re
    playing our defense, they don’t know I’m disguising, showing a Cover 2 but I’m
    really supposed to drop down and play a Cover 3,” Rolle continued. “It drives me
    crazy, when I speak about this I’m not speaking about this only on behalf of
    Antrel Rolle, I’m speaking out on behalf of people across the league.
    Commentators always want to point the finger as if they know what they’re doing
    and they know what they’re talking about but in reality they don’t half of the
    time.




    “There was something wrong, which shouldn’t have happened. There’s no one
    without sin in our defense. Everyone makes their own mistakes, no one’s perfect.
    I take a lot of pride in understanding our defense in and out. I have to
    understand our defense in and out, being the quarterback of the defense. I’m not
    saying I don’t make mistakes, because I do, I’m saying if there’s a coverage and
    I’m supposed to be in a certain area best believe I’m going to be where I’m
    supposed to be. Like I was Sunday night, like I was against San Francisco, like
    I was against the Packers. They say ‘Antrel Rolle got burned.’ No, Antrel Rolle
    didn’t get burned, Antrel Rolle was exactly where he was supposed to be. Know
    what the hell you’re talking about. There’s people watching on TV, the only
    thing they know is what the commentators are telling them.




    “I’m not going to explain exactly what happened on that play but I can say I
    was in the right spot, I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Whether it was
    Corey Webster screwing up, whether it was somebody else it doesn’t matter. Just
    because I am the safety or Deon Grant is a safety or Kenny Phillips is a safety
    that doesn’t mean we’re always supposed to be back deep. ‘’




    Animated and full of energy, Rolle was on a roll during the interview, unable
    to contain his excitement as he heaped praise on Eli Manning and Jason
    Pierre-Paul, the two players most responsible for carrying the Giants to a
    comeback victory inside Cowboys Stadium.




    On Pierre-Paul: “All-around defensive lineman, I don’t see anybody playing at
    a higher level than him. I mean that across the league. This guy does so much
    for our football team. I don’t even think he realizes. He’s out there, he’s
    playing care-free, he’s doing what he’s supposed to do and then some. His motor
    is through the roof. This guy has been, he’s definitely the MVP of our defense,
    hands down. I don’t think anyone comes close. He’s been that dude. I must admit,
    I’m his biggest fan. I love watching that guy go to work, I love putting on the
    film and I’m like ‘Damn, look at that boy go to work’ and I love his attitude
    about it.




    “He should definitely be in that Pro Bowl. I don’t know what’s going on with
    these fans voting but Jason Pierre-Paul definitely needs to be in Hawaii this
    year, but hopefully he’s not there this year because we’re in a better place.
    He’s a monster, he’s freakish. I laugh because I really don’t think he
    understands how good he is.’’




    After praising kicker Lawrence Tynes, punter Steve Weatheford and the
    coverage on special teams, Rolle was just getting warmed up for Manning.




    “I’m talking about that No. 10,’’ Rolle said. “That dude, man, you can say
    whatever you want to say about him, No. 26 is No. 10’s biggest fan. I’m like
    Deon, ‘I beeeelieeve in Eli.’ He’s saved us all year long, man. We definitely
    have to keep him out of those situations. That guy is clutch. I don’t care about
    giving him those compliments because I know Eli can handle that, he can handle
    anything. He might not be the rah-rah rally kind of guy, he might not be like
    me, he might not be as vocal as I am. But that dude is a leader, in and out, and
    when it’s on the line. There’s one interview I heard this year and that when I
    knew, I said ‘This dude got it.’ He was like ‘If the game is on the line I would
    rather have the ball in my hand than for them to have it in theirs.’ That tells
    me all I need to know about our quarterback.




    “Our offense has been outstanding, they’ve been saving us. I can’t speak
    enough of how impressed I’ve been with the offense all year long, they’ve been
    saving us. The defense hasn’t been getting the job done., which is
    unacceptable.’’

    CRUZ GUARANTEES GIANTS PLAYOFF SPOT

    "Did Victor Cruz just do what it sounds like he did?



    Cruz, having a breakout and potentially record-breaking season at receiver,
    went on SiriusXM Mad Dog radio on Tuesday and guaranteed the Giants will make
    the playoffs.




    Asked his gut feeling about the playoffs, Cruz said “Yes. We will be in the
    playoffs.” Asked if that was a guarantee, Cruz said “Uh, yeah.”




    Asked if the Giants are going to get into the playoffs by winning the NFC
    East, Cruz said “I think that’s the only way we’re going to be able to get in,
    is to win the division, win these last three games and get in there.”




    The Giants finally broke a four-game losing streak with a 37-34 victory over
    the Cowboys and next face the Redskins Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The Giants and
    Cowboys have the same record – 7-6 – but the Giants are in first place because
    of the victory this past weekend at Cowboys Stadium."

    THE BERGEN RECORD

    ROBERTS: ANTREL ROLLE CRITICAL OF GIANTS' DEFENSE

    Excerpt: "Antrel Rolle stared back behind him, searching for an answer.



    Dez Bryant had not even reached the end zone when the Giants safety looked
    back toward Corey Webster while hopelessly in pursuit, trying to figure out what
    had gone wrong Sunday night on the broken-coverage, 50-yard touchdown
    reception.




    It has been an all-too common image this season for the Giants’ porous
    defense, even in a victory like Sunday’s 37-34 win over the Cowboys. And so was
    the image of Eli Manning once again “saving” the team with his fifth
    fourth-quarter, come-from-behind victory.




    But the Giants (7-6) cannot rely on Manning to bail them out in the final
    minutes every week, not with the NFC East – and their season – at stake with
    three games remaining.
    They face the Redskins (4-9) Sunday at MetLife
    Stadium.




    “Offense has been playing outstanding. They’ve been saving us …” Rolle said
    Tuesday during his weekly radio spot on WFAN. “The defense hasn’t been getting
    the job done, which is unacceptable.”




    On Monday, Tom Coughlin labeled his secondary’s play a “grave concern.” And
    worse, the coach admitted, “I really can’t tell you” why it routinely suffers
    “physical” and “communication” breakdowns.




    The Giants rank 30th in total defense (391.6 yards per game), 29th in passing
    defense (263.7) and 27th in scoring defense (26.8 points per game).




    “That’s called inconsistency,” Rolle said. “You can’t have that as a
    playoff-contending defense. You can’t have that as a Super Bowl-contending
    defense. It’s not going to work that way.




    “Our season will be shut short if we continue to play like that.”




    And there may not be reinforcements coming." Read more...

    THE NEW YORK TIMES

    ZIP

    GIANTS 101

    GIANTS' DEFENSIVE END JASON PIERRE-PAUL SAYS HE "HAS NOT ARRIVED"

    "Every truly great NFL player has that moment when they burst onto the
    scene. Whether it be by way of a crazy play made or an incredible game, it is
    almost palpable when a player "arrives." On Sunday night in Arlington, Texas,
    the better part of the nation thought they had seen the arrival of New York
    Giants
    defensive end Jason
    Pierre-Paul
    .


    Not so.




    Pierre-Paul said today himself that he has
    not
    in fact arrived.





    "I haven't arrived yet. Still taking baby steps. When I arrive everyone will
    know…."




    It is hard to imagine that an eight tackle, two sack performance which
    included a safety and a forced fumble would not constitute an arrival.




    But if there is one guy whom this scenario is imaginable for, it is
    Pierre-Paul. His physical skill set is over the top and he is becoming the focal
    point for the New York
    Giants
    defense. He has been the focal point for opposing offenses for some
    time, but the Giants are beginning to feature him and look for ways to get him
    as free as possible.




    It is hard to imagine what the ceiling is for "JPP" right now, if there is
    one."



    **

    COWBOYS' DEZ BRYANT: I MIGHT MAKE CRUZ'S SALSA DANCE MY OWN

    "Dez
    Bryant
    caught a single pass on Sunday night against the New York
    Giants, but at the time, it looked like a big one. His 50-yard catch and run
    resulted in a touchdown that appeared to be the nail in the coffin – a touchdown
    that would send the Dallas Cowboys to victory. And to celebrate, Bryant took
    a page out of Victor
    Cruz
    's playbook and did a little salsa dance.














    “You can look at it both ways,” Bryant said, cracking a smile. “I think I’m a
    little bit more looser than Victor
    Cruz
    , so I might just have to steal his dance. I might turn it into a
    regular.”




    There was only one problem with Bryant's touchdown celebrate. At the end of
    the night, it didn't mean a damn thing.




    Big Blue rallied back from 12 points down and in the final seconds, defensive
    end Jason Pierre-Paul burst through the line and blocked a would-be game-tying
    field goal sending the Giants to the top of the NFC East once again.





    “Man, I practiced on it the whole week, I’m not going to lie,” Bryant
    said.




    Glad to hear the Cowboys have their priorities straight. But hey, if you
    can't beat 'em, steal from 'em.




    Meanwhile, back in New York, Victor
    Cruz
    & Co. are focusing on the Washington Redskins and a possible trip
    to the playoffs."

    WANT FREE GIANTS/REDSKINS TICKETS? NOW IS YOUR CHANCE TO WIN SOME

    "This Sunday, the New York Giants and Washington Redskins face off in a crucial NFC East battle
    that could make or break Big Blue's playoff hopes. As they continue their march
    toward the NFL's second
    season, Washington looks to play the role of spoiler and ensure
    they have some company at home in three weeks.


    MetLife Stadium is sure to be packed to the rafters, and tickets are scarce
    and very difficult to get a hold of. Luckily for you, we here at Giants 101/Sports Media 101, in
    partnership with TiqIQ and One Team for the Light, have decided to give a pair
    away!




    Entry into this contest is as simple and as straight forward as it could
    possibly be. Go to the Sports Media 101 Ticket Giveaway page and follow the two very
    easy steps, beginning with a quick Facebook authorization and then filling out
    the necessary fields on step two. That's it!




    If you'd rather not authorize Sports Media 101, simply "like" Sports Media 101
    and TiqIQ on Facebook, and then go to SportsMedia101.com and
    click the "like" button there to pledge support of One Team for the Lights. From
    there, head to the TiqIQ Facebook page and make a post naming your favorite New York
    Giants player followed by the words "Giants 101."




    A minimum of 150 people need to enter in order for their to be a winner, so
    tell your friends and spread the love! Also, the more Giants fan who enter this
    contest, the less likely a Redskins fan will be to get the tickets and
    infiltrate MetLife Stadium – so help us make sure that doesn't happen! Still not
    enough motivation? Simply entering the contest helps One Team of the Lights!




    Additionally, beginning Wednesday, December 14th and running through
    Saturday, January 14th, during the Holiday Ticket Drive, when you purchase
    tickets (for any event of any kind) off of the Sports Media 101
    website
    , a portion of the proceeds go to benefit One Team for the
    Lights
    , a charitable initiative to save Tribute in
    Light
    . If that weren't enough, we will be giving away a pair of tickets to a
    selected sporting event each week through the holiday season, so there will be
    more chances to win as we move forward!




    Tribute in Light, the blue twin beams of light that are annually displayed as
    remembrance for those who were lost, as well as those who worked so hard to get
    New York
    City and our nation through September 11th, are now in serious danger of going
    dark forever.




    We made it easy for everyone to help keep Tribute in Light shining. All you
    have to do is purchase tickets to events you already want to attend, at the best
    prices available, during the “Holiday Ticket Drive” to make a donation.




    *Tickets will be e-mailed or over-nighted to winner. A full list of the
    contest rules can be read here.*"

    GIANTS' DEFENSIVE END JASON PIERRE-PAUL NAMED NFC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

    Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys, the nation witnessed one of the truly
    dominant games by any defender in the NFL in 2011 by New York
    Giants
    defensive end Jason
    Pierre-Paul
    .



    Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers is chased out of the
    pocket by New York
    Giants
    Jason
    Pierre-Paul
    in the first quarter in week 13 of the NFL season at
    MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on December 4, 2011. The Packers
    defeated the Giants 38-35 and remain undefeated for the season at 12-0. UPI
    /John Angelillo






    Pierre Paul recorded 8 tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble.




    The forced fumble resulted in a field goal, and one sack was a safety. "JPP"
    also blocked a potential game tying field goal.




    All in all, Jason
    Pierre-Paul
    provided about an eight point swing in the ball game.




    This was enough to earn him defensive player of the week in the NFC. He could be
    up for special teams player of the week as well."

    BIG BLUE VIEW

    VICTOR CRUZ AND THOSE DROPPED PASSES

    "Since I opened this can of worms earlier today by knowingly -- and
    intentionally -- exaggerating how often New York Giants had
    dropped the ball this season it is time to do my journalistic duty and give you
    the raw numbers.



    Cruz has 69 catches and at this pace will end up with 85 for the season,
    moving into second-place all-time in franchise history behind Steve Smith for
    catches in a single season. He has 1,150 yards receiving, the seventh-highest
    single-season total in Giants history. Cruz needs 194 yards in the final three
    games to top Amani Toomer's
    franchise record of 1,343 yards, set in 2002.





    Per Pro Football Focus, Cruz has been targeted 98 times by Eli Manning this
    season, and the 70.4 percent completion rate throwing the ball to him is
    14th-best in the NFL. For comparison, Nicks has been targeted 105 times and 61
    percent of those throws have been completed.




    So, there is an awful lot of good -- and even some amazing -- in those
    numbers.




    Now for those drops. Cruz has 10 drops this season, and only Greg Little of
    Cleveland (14), Roddy White of
    Atlanta (12) and Brandon
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


  2. #2

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2011 - 9:10 A.M.

    Thanks RF! Jpp is the man.

  3. #3
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    97,040

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2011 - 9:10 A.M.

    [quote user="lttaylor56"]Thanks RF! Jpp is the man.[/quote]

    He is indeed and I will be on hand to watch him sack Grossman []
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


  4. #4
    All-Pro G-Men Surg.'s Avatar
    Join Date
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    Down south In Cowturd country
    Posts
    10,450

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2011 - 10:50 A.M.

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

  5. #5

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2011 - 9:10 A.M.



    thanks Roanoke!




    much appreciated.


  6. #6
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    97,040

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2011 - 9:10 A.M.

    [quote user="BigBlue1971"]

    thanks Roanoke!




    much appreciated.

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


  7. #7
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    97,040

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2011 - 10:50 A.M.

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

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


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