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    NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: THURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2011 - 3:10 P.M.

    HERE NOW THE NEWS

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

    I WILL BE TRAVELING TO CONNECTICUT TOMORROW ON THE FIRST LEG OF MY ATTEND THE REDSKINS GAME. TOMORROW'S NEWS MAY BE SPARSE OR NON-EXISTENT.

    NEWARK STAR LEDGER

    FORMER GIANT BARRY COFIELD SAYS ELI MANNING "A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ANIMAL NOW"

    Excerpt: "What Barry Cofield saw from Eli Manning in Week 1 was pretty much the same
    guy he saw during his five seasons with the Giants.


    What Cofield sees on tape now is a changed quarterback.




    "He’s a completely different animal right now. He’s playing unbelievable,"
    the Redskins' defensive tackle told D.C. area reporters today, via our buddy Ryan O'Halloran of
    CSNWashington.com
    . "If he would have played that well last year, we
    might have given Green Bay a run for their money
    ."




    That was the one backhanded compliment in a series of statements in which
    Cofield talked up the Giants' offense.




    "They have two receivers that should be Pro Bowlers in my eyes (Hakeem Nicks
    and Victor Cruz) and (Jake) Ballard has come out of nowhere," he said. "They
    have a completely different look about them. They’ve become a passing team, it
    seems, but last week you see (Ahmad) Bradshaw and (Brandon) Jacobs get back
    involved. They’re a top-five offense that’s a problem you have to deal
    with." Read more...

    GIANTS' WIDE RECEIVER MARIO MANNINGHAM SAYS HE PROBABLY WON'T NEED KNEE SURGERY

    Excerpt: "On Wednesday, I was doing advance work on a story for Sunday, so I needed
    Jorge to run around the locker room like a lunatic and cover all of the bases.
    He did and shipped me a bunch of quotes for today’s
    notebook
    .


    So what’d I do? I forgot to add a key quote he got from Mario Manningham.




    The Giants’ wide receiver, who told
    reporters a few weeks ago he
    might need season-ending surgery on his knee
    , now says he won’t need such a
    procedure.




    “Probably not,” Manningham said. “I don’t even think about knee right now.
    You want to ask me anything about the game, I’ll answer you but I don’t have
    anything to say about my knee.”




    Last week, Manningham
    said his knee had improved
    because he was intent on getting in good leg
    workouts instead of simply working out to just to say he did. His improved
    health is great news for the Giants, who also have
    a pair of 1,000-yard receivers (Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz)
    for the first
    time in team history.




    “You’ve got to run all your routes like you’re getting the ball. We do that
    anyway,” Manningham said, adding: “In our head, we know the ball can go
    anywhere, no matter where the play’s supposed to be going. It’s just how (Eli
    Manning is) playing this year. The ball can go anywhere.”




    The Giants are hoping the ball will go anywhere against the Redskins’ defense
    on Sunday after it wasn’t that way in
    the teams’ first meeting on Sept. 11
    . Statistically, it was Manning’s worst
    game of the season (18-for-32 for 268 yards and an interception) and is one of
    only two games this year in which he didn’t throw a touchdown.




    “We’re trying to beat everybody, we’re trying to smash whoever,” said
    Manningham, who had a 47-yard touchdown against the Cowboys on Sunday but also
    dropped one before Brandon Jacobs scored the game-winner. “We don’t really care
    what their record is, the record doesn’t mean nothing, they beat us.




    “They beat us on an emotional day but it is what it is. We’re going to be
    ready on Sunday.” Read more...

    GIANTS' ANTREL ROLLE CONTINUES TO DEFEND HIMSELF OVER BLOWN COVERAGE

    Excerpt: "It had been three days since the play occurred, but Antrel Rolle, playing the
    role of lightning rod he’s secured since becoming a Giant, was still fuming
    about the Giants’ blown coverage on Dez
    Bryant’s 50-yard touchdown reception Sunday night and the criticism hurled at
    him afterward.


    The safety, well-aware of NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth’s assessment of the
    play during the broadcast, continued his shots at commentators and vehemently
    defended himself.




    “You have these analysts that figure like they know exactly what’s going on,”
    Rolle said. “And I’m not criticizing them and honestly in a lot of situations I
    may understand even what they see, but don’t sit there and put someone on blast
    saying, like for instance, ‘Oh, Antrel Rolle got barbequed.’ Get out of here
    with that, man.”




    This hasn’t been the first time in his brief time in East Rutherford that
    Rolle hasn’t shied away from publicizing opinions most players wouldn’t. He has
    guaranteed a least one victory — against the Green Bay Packers last season — and
    virtually guaranteed another this week when he stood by his opinion that the
    Giants would beat the Washington Redskins 99 out of 100 times. (The Redskins
    beat the Giants to open the season.)




    The willingness to speak his mind, surely to the chagrin of the organization,
    has included criticism of teammates and coaches.




    “I don’t say things for feedback,” Rolle said. “I say what I feel and,
    honestly, what it is at the end of the day.”




    Last season, he publicly criticized his teammates for a lack of leadership in
    the locker room and Tom Coughlin for the team’s schedule during road trips.




    In response, Coughlin told Rolle that his door is always open for suggestions
    and, instead of allowing the relationship to deteriorate before even allowing it
    to establish, it appears as though Rolle took him up on the proposal.




    “He’s been a very, very easy guy to talk to,” Coughlin said. “He makes it
    easy for you. He’ll come upstairs and visit with me. He’ll come and sit down and
    talk. He wants to do it the right way, believe me. He wants to do things right
    and be good.”




    Wednesday, Rolle
    reiterated that he wasn’t at fault
    for leaving Bryant wide open, which
    teammates confirmed. Rolle said the call was for a Cover-3, meaning he was
    supposed to move forward as he did." Read more...

    GIANTS' KENNY PHILLIPS SAYS DEFENSE "NEEDS TO DO OUR PART"

    Excerpt: "Kenny Phillips believes his knee was healthy enough for him to play this past
    Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.


    And then, after a pause, the Giants
    safety added, “I think.”




    Translation: He wasn’t, though his competitive nature told him otherwise.




    “That’s how you’re supposed to think,” Phillips said. “But I felt pretty good
    out there.”




    Phillips returned to practice today and worked in a limited capacity. He said
    he will be back on the field for Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins.
    Given the breakdowns in communication in the secondary since he left the loss to
    the Packers with a sprained knee, that’s a positive development.




    Eventually, the Giants must eliminate such crucial mistakes and start bailing
    out the offense, as opposed to vice versa.




    “The offense is doing a great job of putting points on the board and keeping
    us in games. We definitely have to step up and do our part,” Phillips said. “We
    can’t let those guys down. They’re working extremely hard over there and guys on
    defense, we want to be great. We just have to get it done.”




    The Giants have allowed 49, 31 and 34 points in their last three games
    (excluding the defensive touchdown by Green Bay) and now rank 27th in the NFL
    with 26.8 points surrendered per game. Even the 27 points they gave up against
    the 49ers last month are the most San Francisco has scored since Week 5 (48
    against the Buccaneers).




    Of the bottom nine teams in the league in points allowed, the Giants are the
    only one currently in a playoff spot. They’re also one of only three teams with
    a winning record to have a negative point differential (minus-25).




    They’ve held only four of 13 opponents to fewer than 20 points and simply
    haven’t played a dominant defensive game all season." Read more...

    JETS' COACH REX RYAN TAKES A JAB AT GIANTS, REFERENCES DESEAN JACKSON'S PUNT RETURN

    Excerpt: "When asked about the return skills of DeSean Jackson, Jets coach Rex Ryan took a playful jab at the
    Giants, who saw their 2010 season crumble at the
    hands of a 65-yard Jackson punt return as time expired
    .


    "I think there are people around here that might be able to answer that
    question better than us," Ryan said, referencing the Giants.




    A win over Philadelphia that day would have put the Giants in control of
    their own playoff destiny but instead sent them on a miniature spiral,
    eventually costing them a chance at the postseason. The Giants had been up three
    touchdowns with eight minutes to play.




    Ryan said that it changed the landscape of the playoff picture that year and
    agreed that, even though Jackson's punt return numbers are down significantly
    this season, he still has that same play-making ability.




    "Let's face it, he doesn't make that return, Green Bay doesn't even go to the
    playoffs last year so he is that kind of guy — game on the line, he can break it
    any time. The average doesn't look that great this year but he's one of those
    guys where you have to hold your breath every time he gets it. He is a special
    returner."




    Here's a look at what Ryan is talking about ..." Read more...

    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."

    NY DAILY NEWS


    GIANTS' CHALLENGE IS TO STAY ON TOP OF MOUNTAIN AFTER SUNDAY'S WIN AGAINST COWBOYS



    Excerpt: "Tom Coughlin was in
    the middle of a circle of Giants players in the locker room at Cowboys Stadium
    moments after what could turn out to be the most important regular-season
    victory in his eight seasons as the Giants coach.



    Antrel Rolle, Eli
    Manning
    , Hakeem Nicks, Dave Tollefson and
    Chris Canty were in the
    first ring around him holding hands.



    Coughlin was fired up as he praised his team for a “great, great job” and
    coming up with “the final courage to pull this thing out” after the Giants
    scored two TDs in the final 3:14 and then Jason Pierre-Paul
    blocked the tying 47-yard field-goal attempt with one second left.




    The coach and his players were kneeling when Coughlin pointed up and then
    down with his right index finger.




    “You guys did a tremendous job, in the division, to take the star down off
    the mountain, put the NYG up on top,” he said, in a video posted on the Giants
    website, and his proclamation was greeted with loud approval. “Now, listen up.
    You got to keep it there now. I mean, every one of these battles, every one’s a
    struggle now.”




    The Cowboys’ famous blue star did come tumbling off the mountain Sunday night
    as they fell back into a first-place tie with the Giants in the NFC East. And
    for now, the NYG is technically on top of the mountain because the victory gives
    the Giants the tie-breaker heading into the final three games. The players
    enjoyed Coughlin symbolically removing the star and putting the Giants’ logo on
    top.




    “I love it. I definitely love it. But we have to keep it there,” Rolle said
    Wednesday. “That’s what’s important. You have to keep it there. You have to go
    over and beyond.”




    But are these Giants good enough to stay on top? They are accustomed to
    flying off the mountain in December like a wayward giant slalom racer . As far
    as the Giants are concerned, thank goodness for the Cowboys, who haven’t
    finished anything since 1995." Read more...



    ELI MANNING DOESN'T RECEIVE THE LOVE HE DESERVES IN PRO BOWL VOTING AS RESULTS SHOW HE IS FIFTH AMONG NFC QUARTERBACKS



    "Eli Manning is having
    the type of season that might earn him some consideration for NFL MVP. But as
    far as fans are concerned, he’s not good enough for the Pro Bowl.




    With one week to go before voting is closed, Manning is a distant fifth in
    the voting among NFC quarterbacks. He has just 316,687 votes, which puts him far
    behind Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers
    (1,263,045) and New Orleans’ Drew Brees (908,864).
    Remarkably, he also trails Carolina rookie Cam Newton (508,552) and
    Detroit’s Matthew Stafford
    (451,469), too.




    Manning, who ranks fourth in the NFC in passer rating (95.5), fifth in
    touchdowns (25), fifth in completion percentage (62.0) and third in yards
    (4,105), could still get one of the three quarterback spots because fan ballots
    (which can be filled out at NFL.com) count only for one-third of the voting.
    Votes from players and coaches make up the rest.




    Manning’s teammates aren’t faring too well in the voting either. Only three
    other Giants rank in the top five in voting at their position. Two of them have
    been injured for most of the season — David Baas (who is third
    among NFC centers with 139,668 votes) and Osi Umenyiora (fifth
    among NFC defensive ends with 148,768 votes).




    The only other Giant in the top five is Antrel Rolle, who is
    third among free safeties with 63,518 votes.




    The Pro Bowl teams will be announced on Dec. 27.




    FULL OF PRIDE
    Rolle is on record saying that the Giants
    would beat the Redskins “99” out of 100 times they play them. Redskins QB
    Rex Grossman
    guaranteed the Redskins would win at least two.




    “It’s the NFL and nobody is going to beat anyone 99 out of 100 times,”
    Grossman said on Wednesday. “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. We
    do the same thing.”




    The Redskins beat the Giants, 28-14, in both teams’ season opener this
    year.




    SITTING ONE OUT
    S Kenny
    Phillips
    was back at practice on Wednesday, giving some hope that he’ll end
    up missing only one game with a sprained left knee. “I feel pretty good,”
    Phillips said. “I think if I wanted to I could’ve played last week. I
    think.”




    HEAD GAME
    Baas did not practice due to a neck injury, but
    the Giants no longer list him on their injury report as having “intense
    headaches.” Is that a sign of progress “I would hope so,” Tom
    Coughlin
    said. “I think he’s making progress, there. I really do.” . . . WR Mario
    Manningham
    returned to practice and said he now will “probably not” need
    offseason surgery on his troublesome knee."



    GIANTS' DEFENSE KNOWS THEY MUST RISE TO OCCASION ENTERING SUNDAY MATCHUP WITH REDSKINS



    "They have a quarterback on pace to throw for 5,000 yards, two 1,000-yard
    receivers for the first time in their history, and they are scoring a remarkable
    24.9 points per game. So it’s no secret why the Giants have climbed back into
    first place.




    Just imagine how good they’d be if the defense gave them a little help.




    “The whole offense, those guys have definitely been coming through in clutch
    moments and they’ve definitely been taking the load of our backs,” said safety
    Antrel Rolle. “I think
    it’s time for us to return the favor.”




    “It’s been time,” safety Deon Grant added.
    “But it’s definitely time now for the defense to step up.”




    So far, Rolle is right. The Giants’ offense - particularly Eli
    Manning
    - has carried this team and its 30th-ranked defense. The offense has
    given the Giants leads all year, then watched the defense blow them, only to
    rally - more often than not - in the end.




    Not that there’s anything wrong with winning that way. After a month of
    losing that ended Sunday night in Dallas, the Giants (7-6) will take wins any
    way they can get them. But it won’t be easy to keep winning, especially if the
    Giants reach the playoffs, if the defense continues to be a liability.




    That’s why the players on defense insisted that beginning Sunday, when the
    Giants play host to the Washington Redskins (4-9), they need to start turning
    around their season.




    “We’re definitely going to get on the right track,” Rolle said. “This is a
    great football team. And no matter how we’ve been playing in the past, we
    understand that once we get on (the same) page we’re going to be a force to be
    reckoned with.”




    “We know we have all the pieces,” Grant added. “It’s time for us to finally
    put this puzzle together like it needs to be.”




    That might be easier than it sounds. A month ago in San Francisco, it
    appeared as if the Giants had solved their problems against the run, but they
    still couldn’t rush the passer. On Sunday night, in their 37-34 win over the
    Cowboys, the pass rush was better, but the Giants gave up 139 yards on the
    ground. The only consistent thing about them is a secondary that has been
    shredded most of the season.




    And the stats say the Giants are getting worse, having given up an average of
    465.2 yards and 32.8 points in the last four games.




    “I still think we have some things - a lot of things - we can improve on,”
    said safety Kenny
    Phillips
    . “When we’re stopping the run, we give up a pass. When we’re
    stopping the pass, we give up a run. We all just have to get on the same page. I
    think we’re almost there.”




    They better be, because even though the Redskins are out of the playoff chase
    and average a mere 17.6 points per game, they also beat the Giants in Week 1,
    28-14. Rex Grossman even
    threw for 305 yards.




    Chances are, the way Manning and the offense is going, they can do better
    than that and still beat the Redskins no matter how the defense plays. But the
    Giants have bigger goals, including a deep run in the postseason.




    At some point, they’re going to need their defense in top form to do
    that.




    “We’ve been doing enough for us to be 7-6 and No. 1 in the division,” Grant
    said. “Teams haven’t just been putting 40 points on us (every week). So we’ve
    been doing enough, but it ain’t good enough. I know what we can be.”




    “The offense has been holding up their end of the bargain,” added defensive end Dave
    Tollefson
    . “We’ve got to hold up our end, too.”

    NY POST

    COFIELD NOTICES MANNING'S GIANT IMPROVEMENT

    "Barry Cofield spent the first five years of his NFL career playing defensive
    tackle for the Giants and in that time the only quarterback who ever started for
    the Giants was Eli Manning.



    Cofield watched Manning help the Giants win the Super Bowl following the 2007
    season and Cofield watched last year as Manning threw a career-high 25
    interceptions and the Giants failed to make the playoffs for the second straight
    season.




    Cofield, soon to complete his first season with the Redskins, was thrilled
    back in the season opener when his new team beat his old one, 28-14, at FedEx
    Field. The rematch comes Sunday at MetLife Stadium with the teams in familiar
    positions. The Giants (7-6) are fighting for a playoff berth and the Redskins
    (4-9) are finishing up another sorry season.




    It is Cofield’s job to study the opposing quarterback and he’s impressed with
    that he’s seen from Manning.




    “He’s a completely different animal right now,’’ Cofield told reporters who
    cover the Redskins in Landover, Md. “He’s playing unbelievable. If he would have
    played that well last year, we might have given Green Bay a run for their
    money.’’




    Cofield also sees the Giants offense as changing and evolving from when he
    was on the scene.




    “They have two receivers that should be Pro Bowlers in my eyes and [Jake]
    Ballard has come out of nowhere,’’ Cofield said. “They have a completely
    different look about them. They’ve become a passing team, it seems, but last
    week you see [Ahmad] Bradshaw and [Brandon] Jacobs get back involved. They’re a
    top-five offense that’s a problem you have to deal with.’’

    GIANTS' TUCK STILL BOTHERED BY TOE INJURY

    Excerpt: "At the start of practice on Thursday, there was no sign of Justin Tuck.



    After about 15 minutes, the Giants defensive end emerged, walking slowly, as
    if he was in no rush to step up onto the stationary bicycle he was headed for.
    If someone could look dejected as he walked, it was Tuck, who resembled someone
    who just learned his trusted dog had eaten his beloved cat and, lo and behold,
    inside the cat’s belly was what remained of Tuck’s favorite pet bird.




    Clearly, the new toe injury that Tuck suffered in last week’s 37-34 victory
    over the Cowboys is bothering him quite a bit. He hasn’t practiced yet this week
    and he has one more day to get on the field and convince coach Tom Coughlin that
    he’s ready for Sunday’s game against the Redskins. On Wednesday Coughlin said he
    believes Tuck will be able to manage the discomfort and play in the game but
    that optimism might be unfounded, based on Tuck’s body language.




    Tuck has endured a miserable, injury-filled season, starting with a neck
    problem back in the summer. He’s also been slowed with injuries to his groin,
    ankle and now his toe. It’s likely he’ll be listed as no better than
    questionable to play this weekend." Read more...





    ELI BRINGING TEAMMATES ALONG FOR RECORD SEASON

    "Dan DePalma doesn’t exactly look the part of an NFL receiver, which is why
    one day during the summer a security guard did not let him onto the field at
    Hoboken High for Eli Manning’s informal lockout passing camp.



    DePalma, from West Chester (Pa.) University and a native of Verona, N.J.,
    jumped at the chance to catch passes from Manning and he did well to stick with
    the Giants on their practice squad. As part of his job description, he attends
    meetings each week when Manning hits the classroom with his receivers.




    “Watch him break down film, just remarkable,’’ DePalma said yesterday. “His
    coaching points, what he’s looking at just makes everyone around him
    better.’’







    UPDATES FROM
    OUR GIANTS BLOG




    It is not only impressionable NFL hopefuls who insist Manning is above and
    beyond when it comes to helping those around him succeed. A longstanding axiom
    with quarterbacks is only the truly elite are able to elevate their teammates.
    There can be no argument that as Manning continues to assemble his career-best
    season and is on his way to shattering most franchise passing records, he is
    lifting up players who are also enjoying break-out years.




    Hakeem Nicks is a first-round talent, so his 65 receptions, 1,023 yards and
    six touchdowns are expected byproducts of his skill level. Victor Cruz (68 catches for 1,150 yards, seven
    touchdowns) and tight end Jake Ballard
    (37 catches, 589 yards, four touchdowns) entered this season having never
    caught a pass in an NFL game. The injury-riddled offensive line has lacked
    continuity, the run-blocking has been sketchy and the running game, lately
    showing signs of life, remains dead-last in the league.




    Yet Manning somehow has the Giants in first place, albeit with a record of
    7-6 heading into Sunday’s game against the Redskins at MetLife Stadium. His
    influence goes far beyond his gaudy numbers: 4,105 passing yards — already a
    single-season Giants record — plus 25 touchdown passes and an NFL-high 15
    completions of 40 or more yards, which is fairly staggering.




    The big things come because Manning takes care of the little things.




    “Certain instances in pass protection where we have multiple guys to look
    at,’’ running back D.J. Ware said. “He’s watched so much film where he can get a
    bead on what guys are going to do so he can put you in the place you need to be
    so the blitz is coming right to you, you don’t have to search and look for it.
    He’s right there saying, ‘OK, you got him right there,’ and it makes it a lot
    easier. Just play, go out there and just hit somebody.’’




    In other words, leave as much of the thinking as possible to Eli.




    “A lot of people don’t realize how much of a student he is,” said Kevin
    Boothe, who has excelled at center filling in for injured starter David Baas.
    “Everybody knows he’s a smart guy when it comes to football, but he puts us in
    great positions. Seeing blitzes and checking out of the play or running the play
    to a different direction. Little things like that that we can’t see. We’re
    sitting there and we’re wondering why is he doing that, but we trust him. We
    know most of the time, if not all, he’s on the money.’’




    For the first time ever, the Giants have two receivers with more than 1,000
    yards in a season, and someone had to deliver the ball to Cruz and Nicks.
    Manning’s accuracy has never been better. He’s greatly reduced those sailing
    passes that last season were too-often deflected into the air for interceptions.
    Manning is also putting the ball in places where his receivers don’t have to
    break stride, maximizing yards after the catch.





    Despite the evidence, Manning didn’t jump at the notion he’s making those
    around him better.




    “Both ways, sometimes the guys around you can make a quarterback better
    also,’’ Manning said. “Any time you have a quarterback in the same system for
    eight years he’s gonna have good insight into what’s going on. Certain plays are
    in and they have different reads, you can try to simplify it for a new guy or
    say ‘This is how it mostly works.’ You try to teach ’em through film, teach ’em
    through past experiences, things they maybe haven’t seen live ... where they can
    do it right the first time and not have to make the mistake to get it
    right.’’

    COUGHLIN: TIME FOR 12TH MAN TO GET LOUD

    "Whether it was the Polo Grounds, where Charlie Conerly was the quarterback,
    or Yankee Stadium, where Y.A. Tittle called signals, or Giants Stadium during
    the Phil Simms era, the Giants have
    largely enjoyed a tangible home-field advantage that was intimidating for
    opponents and inspiring to the home team.



    So far that hasn’t been the case at MetLife Stadium, where the seats are
    state of the art but the on-field product at times has been second rate. The
    Giants are 8-6 since the building opened and a mediocre 3-3 this season,
    including ugly losses to the Seahawks and Eagles. On paper that nullifies
    whatever psychological edge the Giants might have playing their final three
    games of the regular season in their home building.







    UPDATES FROM
    OUR GIANTS BLOG




    The Redskins are in town Sunday, followed by a Christmas Eve showdown against
    the Jets when the Giants technically will be the visitors. The regular season
    concludes with the Cowboys coming east on New Year’s Day. The Giants, leaders in
    the NFC East, may need to win all three to ensure a spot in the postseason.




    That’s why Tom Coughlin all but
    made a public plea for Giants fans to step up their game during this final
    stretch.




    “Our fans getting into this game, this time of the year, the excitement of
    this time of the year, being in position, having all these games be very
    meaningful, very critical, I think it’s very important that we’re home and I
    think it’s very important that the 12th man really, really be excited about this
    time of the year,” the coach said.




    It wasn’t exactly the “This is our house” speech in the movie “Rudy,” but
    clearly the Giants head coach hopes the home crowd will give his team a lift
    over the next three weeks.




    “Hopefully, it’s going to be a huge advantage for us,” he said.




    It hasn’t been thus far. The Giants, 5-3 at home last year, have lost their
    last two homes games against the Eagles and the Packers, though the Giants view
    those losses differently. They failed to match the intensity of the Eagles and
    were whipped physically in losing 17-10 in November. But they went toe-to-toe
    against the unbeaten Packers, who kicked a game-winning field goal with no time
    left to pull out a 38-35 win.




    “After the Green Bay game, I think our fans are really proud of us,” said
    receiver Victor Cruz. “They’re going to be behind us 100 percent. It’s going to
    be loud and a great environment.”




    That would be ideal. This year’s elite teams have all been dominant at home
    this year. The Ravens are 7-0, while the Packers and Saints are 6-0. The Jets,
    Steelers and 49ers are 6-1, while the Texans and Patriots are 5-1. The Jets’
    success at MetLife should be especially embarrassing to the Giants, especially
    with all the preseason talk about taking over the town.





    Giants safety Deon Grant admitted
    playing at home doesn’t mean much.




    “We don’t look at it as an edge,” he said. “We’ve lost games in our building.
    We just need to focus on the game and take care of business.”




    It also doesn’t help the Giants that the three teams they’ll face to finish
    the regular season are all familiar with MetLife. The Redskins are division
    rivals who played here last January, losing to the Giants 17-14. The Cowboys
    have played twice at MetLife, beating the Giants 33-20 in November 2010, and
    losing to the Jets, 27-24, in the opening week of this season.




    Maybe playing at home simply boils down to this:




    “It’s just nice that we don’t have to get on the plane,” said defensive end
    Dave Tollefson. “It doesn’t affect how you play. If we don’t play at a high
    level, we’re going to get beat.”

    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...

    THE BERGEN RECORD

    GIANTS SAY PIERRE-PAUL IS THEIR "SUPERMAN"

    Excerpt: "They surrounded him in the airport.



    They snapped photos of him as he sat captive on his flight home.




    Jason Pierre-Paul could not escape the attention of fans even during a visit
    to see his parents in South Florida following his dominant performance Sunday
    night in the Giants’ victory over the Cowboys, as family and friends swarmed him
    “talking about how I saved the game.”




    But it was some coming-out party for a man one teammate called
    “Superman.”




    “I told him, ‘That was your spotlight. That was the game you showed the world
    what you are all about,’ ” older sister Nadie Therlonge said in a phone
    interview. “He showed what was inside him.”




    The 6-foot-5, 278-pound defensive end registered two sacks – one of which
    resulted in a safety – a forced fumble, a team-high eight tackles and, of
    course, his block of the potential game-tying 47-yard field goal in the final
    seconds.




    His big moment just may have signaled his ascension to the role of the
    Giants’ best pass rusher, surpassing veterans Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. And
    maybe, just maybe, it also signaled that Pierre-Paul is on the road to
    challenging the legacy of Lawrence Taylor, whom he admitted he has heard of, but
    “I don’t know much about.”




    But the Giants (7-6) know they escaped Dallas with a must-have 37-34 victory
    only because of Pierre-Paul, whose performance earned him NFC Defensive Player
    of the Week honors. And they know they will need him to step up yet again in
    their final three games, beginning Sunday when they host the Redskins (4-9).




    “We got Superman over here,” Dave Tollefson said. “As long as he keeps coming
    to save the day, we’ll be all right. …




    “If you take him out of that game, how do we win it? I mean
    honestly?”

    Pierre-Paul – just 22 — ranks fifth in the NFL in sacks with
    12½ and has 61 tackles in just his second season." Read more...



    TUCK AND TEAMMATES A "GIANT" HELP TO CLUBS



    "New York Giants football players hosted their annual toy and book drive for
    the holiday season that benefited the Boys & Girls Clubs of Garfield and Lodi/Hackensack.



    Giants defensive end Justin Tuck, linebacker Mike Boley, cornerback Prince
    Amukamara and defensive end Dave Tollefson signed autographs at Westfield Garden
    State Plaza in Paramus on Dec. 5 for anyone who brought
    in toys or books, which benefited the Boys & Girls Clubs and Tuck’s R.U.S.H.
    (Read, Understand, Succeed and Hope) for Literacy, an organization that raises
    funds for books and other reading materials for the youth of New York and
    central Alabama communities.




    The fund-raiser is in its third year benefiting the clubs.




    "It’s good to give back to the community," Tuck said. "I have a great
    platform as a New York Giant to help the community in a fun way and to help the
    Boys & Girls Clubs. I’m tremendously blessed by this community as being a
    Giant."




    Tuck described the fund-raiser as twofold because the toys are able to
    benefit the Boys & Girl Club members and the books and any reading materials
    help his own organization, Tuck’s R.U.S.H.




    The Giants signed autographs for two hours along with Grammy Award winner and
    WLIB midday host Hezekiah Walker. Members of the Lodi/Hackensack and Garfield Boys
    & Girls Club were at the event collecting toys and thanking the people who
    donated.




    The event produced 22 large garbage bags filled with toys that were divided
    between the three clubs — Lodi and Hackensack received 14 bags and Garfield, eight.




    "It’s a good feeling," Amukamara, the first round draft pick for the Giants
    in 2011, said. "I was always raised to always give back because I was given so
    much and it’s a part of my faith. The fans do their part cheering for us and
    this is a way for us to give back by showing our face and signing autographs and
    taking pictures."




    Education and Teen Coordinator at the Garfield Club
    Nicole Mendoza said that her club members enjoy being invited to the fund-raiser
    every year.




    "We are happy to do it every year and the kids have a lot of fun helping out
    and receiving the gifts and have the chance to thank everyone who donates,"
    Mendoza said, adding that Tuck also invites the Garfield
    club to participate in his two-day football clinic during the summer.




    Boys & Girls Club representatives that were in attendance included Tom
    Cattafi, president of the Board of Directors for Lodi and Hackensack, Kim Cattafi, Lodi’s finance director, Dexter
    Howard, program counselor for Hackensack, Mendoza and Keystone Club members from
    all of the clubs.




    "I’m going to keep doing it every year and try to make it bigger and better,"
    Tuck said about the future of the event."

    THE NEW YORK TIMES

    WEEK 15 NFL GAME PROBABILITIES





    How are the Broncos 7-1 behind starting quarterback Tim Tebow? If I plug the
    Broncos’ offensive efficiency stats since Tebow took the reins into the game
    prediction model, they come out as the 19th-best team and would be expected to
    have just a .480 winning percentage.




    The simple reason for the 7-1 record is that the Broncos, and Tebow in
    particular, are saving up their best performance for when it matters most — in
    high leverage situations in the fourth quarter. That’s not easy to do. If it
    were possible for athletes to pick and choose when they play best, they’d all
    save up their best for when the game is on the line. Baseball players would all
    have higher batting averages with runners in scoring position, hockey goalies
    would play so well that shootouts would go on all night, and quarterbacks would
    have insanely good stats in the red zone.




    Tim Tebow’s Win Probability Added (WPA) – the net effect that his performance
    has on his team’s chances of winning each game – is
    disproportionately high in the fourth quarter
    . He’s a poor performer in the
    first half, a mediocre one in the third quarter, but suddenly becomes a Hall of
    Fame candidate in the fourth. Many analysts wonder what makes Tebow so good when
    the game’s on the line.




    I like to think about things from the other direction, staring into the
    binoculars backward. I want to know what makes Tebow play so poorly in
    the first three quarters. Tebow didn’t have a single completion in the second or
    third quarters of last week’s game against the Bears. Why?




    Why does Tebow’s magical leadership not manifest itself until the end of
    games? And why does it vanish in overtime? Is it simple luck-random variation?
    Just as some players have crazy good numbers on turf or at night, some might
    happen to have better numbers in one quarter of the game than the others. Or
    could it be something more tangible?




    Perhaps opposing defenses are playing too soft with their fourth-quarter
    leads. Maybe Tebow plays too tight until the necessity and urgency of trailing
    in the fourth quarter allow him to play with abandon, a theory that is bolstered
    by fact that Tebow has played relatively poorly in his three overtimes this
    season. Is it by design? Perhaps the Broncos’ plan is to minimize errors and
    wait for opportunities for big plays while relying on their defense to keep the
    game close. Then in the fourth quarter, they roll the dice and become
    aggressive. My hunch is that it’s some combination of the above. When we see an
    outlier like Tebow and the Broncos, the cause is often a confluence of
    factors.




    When a team is on a run like this, maybe we should stop trying to explain it,
    and just sit back and enjoy it. Unfortunately for Denver fans, the Broncos
    aren’t facing Caleb Hanie again this Sunday. They face Tom Brady and the
    Patriots. Using the Tebow-only numbers mentioned above, the Broncos stand only a
    34 percent chance of winning.




    I’ll also note that the injury-adjusted probabilities for Chicago and Houston
    still make them favorites, 39/61 and 30/70, respectively. Here are the rest of
    the probabilities for Week 15.




    (For information on the prediction model and its accuracy, see
    this post.
    )











































































    Pwin GAME Pwin
    0.26 Jacksonville at Atlanta 0.74
    0.74 Dallas at Tampa Bay 0.26
    0.13 Carolina at Houston 0.87
    0.24 Washington at Giants 0.76
    0.40 Miami at Buffalo 0.60
    0.30 Seattle at Chicago 0.70
    0.74 New Orleans at Minnesota 0.26
    0.64 Cincinnati at St. Louis 0.36
    0.66 Tennessee at Indianapolis 0.34
    0.83 Green Bay at Kansas City 0.17
    0.53 Detroit at Oakland 0.47
    0.70 New England at Denver 0.30
    0.36 Jets at Philadelphia 0.64
    0.34 Cleveland at Arizona 0.66
    0.55 Baltimore at San Diego 0.45
    0.70 Pittsburgh at San Francisco 0.30



    Brian Burke, a former Navy pilot who has taken up the less dangerous
    hobby of N.F.L. statistical analysis, operates Advanced NFL Stats, a blog about
    football, math and human
    behavior.


    GIANTS 101

    GIANTS VS. REDSKINS: KEY MATCHUPS

    "The Washington Redskins may be 4-9, and they may be banged up
    – but the New York
    Giants
    haven't forgotten about week one of the NFL season and
    are looking for revenge in adding to the Redskins misery while helping their
    playoff chances as they head into the final stretch of the NFL regular
    season. At first glance, it looks like a game that is far more important to the
    Giants than it is to Washington. This is however an NFC East
    divisional matchup, and we all know how physical and hard-fought everyone of
    these games turn out to be.

    Today, we look at some of the key matchups in the Giants big week 15
    game.


    Jason
    Pierre-Paul
    vs Willie Smith/Sean Locklear




    Willie Smith and Sean Locklear alternated drives last week in the first half
    against New England, but Smith took over and played all the snaps in the second
    half. This week, expect Smith to get the start and the snaps, but his job will
    get a lot tougher against one of the most explosive young defensive players in
    football in
    Jason
    Pierre-Paul
    .




    Coming off a signature game on Sunday night that will surely get the
    attention of teams across the league, particularly the Washington Redskins, Pierre-Paul has an opportunity for
    another big game against the team he recorded two sacks against in week one, and
    was extremely disruptive against the run.If Willie Smith doesn't get a lot of
    help on that left side right from the start of this game, it could get ugly in a
    hurry for the Redskins offense. And that's exactly what the G-Men want.




    Should the Redskins get behind in this game and look to spread it out and
    throw the football,
    you can expect to see a lot of #90 flashing on your screen and making big-time
    plays for this New York
    defense.




    Brandon Banks vs New York
    Giants
    Special Teams




    It will be another big test for the Giants coverage teams, who have handled
    Dez Bryant, Randall Cobb, and DeSean Jackson well over the past few weeks. Banks
    averages over 10 yards a punt return, leads the NFL in kickoff return yardage, and will be the Redskins
    biggest threat to make this football game a dogfight heading into the final quarter.
    New York
    knows it can't give a battered Washington offense a field position advantage in
    this game, particularly coming off the Redskins performance against the Patriots
    which has given them a shot of confidence coming into this one.




    Hakeem
    Nicks
    vs DeAngelo Hall/Josh Wilson




    In week one, the Giants had not yet seen the emergence of Victor
    Cruz
    and Jake Ballard, and were still limited in the passing game as players
    grew into their roles in the offense. Naturally, the Redskins paid quite a bit
    of attention to the Giants biggest threat on the outside in Hakeem
    Nicks
    . Still, #88 torched the Washington secondary for 122 yards, including
    a huge 68 yard reception on a double move route that set up a Giants
    touchdown.




    This time around, the Giants have an up and coming young playmaker in Victor
    Cruz
    , and Ballard has developed into a threat over the middle to go along
    with their #1 guy in Nicks and the explosive big play threat in Mario
    Manningham.




    It will be very interesting to see how the Redskins approach their coverage
    to Nicks' side, as he is fully capable of dominating a football
    game when he sees one on one coverage. It is pick your poison with this Giants
    passing game, and if N
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


  2. #2
    All-Pro GameTime's Avatar
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: THURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2011 - 10:06 A.M.



    Hey....thanks for the news Ro. Have a safe trip to Connecticut and enjoy the game on Sunday....




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

  3. #3
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: THURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2011 - 10:06 A.M.

    [quote user="GameTime"]

    Hey....thanks for the news Ro. Have a safe trip to Connecticut and enjoy the game on Sunday....




    [/quote]

    Thanks, will do. I'm expecting the Buckaroos to put this one in the W column. Then on to the next game.

    Do you think the jets can beat the eagles?
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


  4. #4

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: THURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2011 - 10:06 A.M.

    thanks Roanoke for posting these!
    “JPP said there would be blood in the water,” Scandrick said. “Did he even have a stat today?”


  5. #5
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: THURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2011 - 10:06 A.M.

    [quote user="giantscolombia"]thanks Roanoke for posting these![/quote]

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


  6. #6
    All-Pro G-Men Surg.'s Avatar
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: THURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2011 - 10:06 A.M.

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

  7. #7
    All-Pro GameTime's Avatar
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: THURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2011 - 10:06 A.M.

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


    Hey....thanks for the news Ro. Have a safe trip to Connecticut and enjoy the game on Sunday....







    [/quote]

    Thanks, will do. I'm expecting the Buckaroos to put this one in the W column. Then on to the next game.

    Do you think the jets can beat the eagles?
    [/quote]




    according to Rex they can beat anybody....lol




    I think they can. Its up to Sanchez IMO.......




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

  8. #8

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: THURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2011 - 10:06 A.M.

    Thanks RF great job as usual!

  9. #9

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: THURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2011 - 10:06 A.M.



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







    ditto!




    have a safe trip to the game this week Roanoke!


  10. #10
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: THURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2011 - 10:06 A.M.

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

    [B]
    “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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