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NEWARK STAR LEDGER
Giants' Kevin Gilbride says Niners' DT Justin Smith "gets away with murder and Jim Harbaugh fires back
Excerpt: "There are plenty of reasons why the 49ers defense is so good. Its players are talented. They’re physical. They’re disciplined.
One of the key cogs is defensive tackle Justin Smith. The 33-year-old is relentless in the middle and gets after the quarterback. He has recorded at least six sacks each season since joining the 49ers in 2008 and is a load to deal with.
Giants' Hakeem Nicks proclaims himself pain free and ready to go
Excerpt: "The morning after returning to practice is usually when a football player knows if an injury will persist. That was the case for Hakeem Nicks Friday.
For the first time in two weeks, Nicks had participated in practice Thursday. He didn’t feel pain in his surgically repaired right foot or injured left knee.
But Nicks knew it wouldn’t mean much if he woke up yesterday morning and his knee was swollen again, as it was the Friday after he practiced two weeks ago." Read more...
Michael Strahan visits Giants' defensive linemen
Excerpt: "Before this week's NFC Championship Game rematch between the Giants and the 49ers, a familiar face reappeared in the Giants' defensive line meeting room: Michael Strahan.
The long-time Giants defensive end sat with his former teammates -- and the new faces -- for a full position meeting earlier this week, lasting about an hour, players said. Defensive end Adrian Tracy wrote on his Twitter account Wednesday, "@michaelstrahan came thru and dropped some KNOWLEDGE."
"Long enough to be effective," linebacker/defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said when asked about Strahan's visit." Read more...
Giants' Hakeem Ncks, David Diehl, Corey Webster listed as questionable for Sunday
Excerpt: "Hakeem Nicks practiced for the second straight day today and barring a setback between now and Sunday afternoon, is expected to be in uniform against the 49ers after missing the last three games.
Officially, Nicks, who has been hampered with a knee injury and soreness in his surgically repaired right foot, has been ruled questionable for the matchup. The team flies out to San Francisco at noon Saturday, but Tom Coughlin said a decision about whether Nicks plays won't need to be made before takeoff.
Though the news is positive, Nicks has been downgraded to out the day before games twice in the last four weeks.
"That would be a huge asset for our team, but we would have to wait and see," Coughlin said of Nicks." Read more...
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS.
Playbook: 49ers eager for a Giants' rematch
Excerpt: "At CANDLESTICK PARK
WHEN: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: 49ers by 6
TV: Ch. 5 (Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman)
RADIO: WFAN-660 AM (Bob Papa, Carl Banks), Nationwide on Compass Media Networks (Chris Carrino, Brian Baldinger)
FORECAST: Partly sunny, high 60s, calm winds.
GIANTS TEAM STATS
49ERS TEAM STATS
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RB Frank Gore vs. MLB Chase Blackburn and Giants run defense
The 49ers' running game is the best in the league (195.8 ypg, 6.1 ypc), allowing QB Alex Smith to pick his spots and avoid tough throws. It's straight power and it accomplishes the dual purpose of slowing down the Giants' biggest strength up front, their pass rush. Gore, who is spelled by Kevin Hunter, is a relentless downhill runner with great vision and cutback ability who utilizes his zone blocking very well." Read more...
Niners may be finer this time around
Ezxcerpt: "THE GAME: The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants (3-2) vs. the San Francisco 49ers (4-1), 4:25 p.m. ET at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
THE WEATHER: Unlike the last time the Giants travelled here, when it had rained for days and the field was soggy and muddy, it’s been relatively nice in the Bay Area. The forecast for Sunday afternoon is beautiful. Sunny skies, temperatures around 70 and light winds (always at Candlestick) of 10-15 miles per hour.
WHAT IT MEANS: The winner of this game is going to spend at least the next few weeks being referred to as the best team in the NFC. … What’s that? The Atlanta Falcons are 5-0? We can all worry about them later. Right now, this is the clash of the conference titans – a chance for the Giants to re-assert their control and for the 49ers to move to the head of the class.
MATCHUP TO WATCH:Giants WR Victor Cruz vs. 49ers CB Carlos Rogers. The 49ers wouldn’t be dumb enough to put Rogers on Cruz alone again, would they? Never mind the silliness of Salsa-gate, Cruz’s dominance of Rogers in the NFC championship was quite a story. Cruz caught 10 passes for 142 yards, including eight for 125 in the first half before the Niners finally started giving Rogers some help. So yes, Jim Harbaugh will certainly insist that Rogers gets help this time around. But with Hakeem Nicks possibly returning and so many of the Giants’ other receivers stepping up with recent big games, Cruz is going to get his one-on-one match-ups. Those have looked like mismatches in the past and it could be a big day for the Giants if the 49ers lose control of Cruz again." Read more...
Harbaugh defends Justin Smith, hints Giants trying to "influence officiating"
Excerpt: "“Kevin Gilbride’s outrageous, irrational statement regarding Justin Smith’s play is, first, an absurd analogy," Harbaugh said. "Second, it is an incendiary comment targeting one of the truly exemplary players in this league. It’s obvious that the Giants coaching staff’s sole purpose is to use their high visibility to both criticize and influence officiating.” Read more...
Giants list Hakeem Nicks as "questionable" for Sunday's showdown against 49ers
Excerpt: "He cut across the field on routes, caught multiple passes with his outsize hands and kept his feet in bounds during a drill on contested receptions in the corner of the end zone Friday. With all the boxes checked, Giants wideout Hakeem Nicks looked ready to re-join teammates after missing the last three games with a left knee injury and a sore right foot.
"He was out there looking fluid," receiver Victor Cruz said." Read more...
THE NEW YORK POST.
Wilson looks forward to increased workload
Excerpt: "Running back David Wilson hasn’t seen too many chances in his rookie season, but that could all change tomorrow.
With backup running back Andre Brown (concussion) listed out for Sunday’s game in San Francisco, Wilson will fill in behind Ahmad Bradshaw and hopes to build off his last carry, a 40-yard touchdown run against the Browns, which gave a peek at the potential of the Giants’ first-round pick.
“Now I look at it like every two carries I got to score a touchdown,” Wilson said jokingly yesterday, after running for 44 yards on two carries in the 41-27 win over the Browns. “It does give me the confidence to go out there, with the touchdown, with the limited plays I had that game, I’m going to go out there and see what I can do with more carries, see if I can be as productive.”
With Wilson’s speed and elusiveness, he already has been productive on special teams and is tied for the NFL lead with three kick returns of more than 40 yards, a role he will remain in tomorrow. On Thursday, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said the team is “trying to expand his role as fast as we can,” and this week Wilson said he received a heavy increase in offensive reps in practice." Read more...
Trip to San Francisco recalls Big Blue boots
Excerpt: "hey each have their own memory of the moment. Where they were. What they were doing. Whether they watched or not. Whether they prayed. How they felt. How they reacted.
Each player that witnessed or was a part of the Giants’ riveting 20-17 NFC Championship Game victory over the 49ers at Candlestick Park in January will carry those memories with them into tomorrow’s rematch with the 49ers in their rickety, outdated stadium by the bay.
The memory most seared into their minds from last Jan. 22 was Lawrence Tynes’ 31-yard field goal slicing through the damp San Francisco air, tumbling through the uprights and sending the Giants to their second Super Bowl in five years.
“The first thing that I remember was I knew my wife was sitting right behind our bench and Peter John-Baptiste [the Giants director of media relations] grabbed her right after we made the field goal and brought her to me,’’ Tynes said this week. “So to celebrate it with her on the field at the 50-yard line, that was pretty special. That’s what I remember most.’’ Read more...
Strahan gives Giants' Dline tips for 49ers
Excerpt: "In the Giants’ NFC Championship rematch tomorrow with the bitter 49ers stoking the fires all week, their defensive line surely will be tested by physical San Francisco. And those linemen got a visit from a familiar face earlier this week, when Michael Strahan dropped in on a team meeting to give the team some tips.
Defensive end Adrian Tracy tweeted Wednesday that “@michaelstrahan came thru and dropped some KNOWLEDGE.” The meeting lasted about an hour, and though neither Linval Joseph or Markus Kuhn chose to elaborate on exactly what the former Pro Bowler said, it was supposedly motivational in nature." Read more...
Coach Tom Coughlin, Giants hold fundraiser for Jay Fund Foundation
Excerpt: "”I wanted to give back in the name of Jay McGillis,” Coughlin said. “It’s been so well received and the Jay Fund is certainly implanted in New York City. Our whole objective is to help families who have children with leukemia or other forms of cancer. It’s the fulfillment of a lot of work and a great passion of ours.”
In addition to being close to Coughlin and other Giants players from Boston College such as Chris Snee and Mathias Kiwanuka, the Jay Fund and what it stands for hits home especially hard for second-year linebacker Mark Herzlich, who overcame cancer while playing college football for the Eagles and won a Super Bowl with the Giants last season.
”It means a lot [to be here],” Herzlich said. “Jay and my stories parallel very similarly. I know what it feels like to have your team and community rally around you and to fight to help you get well again. Unfortunately, Jay lost his battle but I’m fortunate enough to have won my battle and carry on that legacy that Jay left and keep motivating people to get well.” Read more...
Giants psyched for physical battle with 49ers
Excerpt: "Giants-49ers Sunday will be Bloodbath II.
Just the way the Giants like it.
“It’s going to sound like being in the middle of a thunderstorm,” Chris Canty told The Post. “Pads are going to be poppin’. As soon as you step on the sidelines, you feel it, you know it. Even when you’re warming up, you know it. You feel the energy from the atmosphere, you know what it’s going to be about. It’s just exciting, it’s a great feeling.”
It absolutely kills Canty, who vows to return off the physically unable to perform list next week, that he will be home watching Frank Gore and the 49ers try to run the ball down Big Blue’s throat. Because when you play football, you live for Blood and Gore.
“It’s a bloodbath. ... We knew that going out there last year, that’s why I said it,” Canty said. “It held true.” Read more...
Aikman: Giants will have to be at their best to beat Niners
Excerpt: "The 49ers look like a team destined for the Super Bowl, while the Giants resemble one that will be fighting for a playoff spot.
But that is nothing new for a Giants organization that has become accustomed to inconsistent regular seasons — and still winning Super Bowls. The Giants have won two of the past five Lombardi Trophies despite going 10-6 and 9-7 in 2007 and 2011, respectively.
“It’s a team, a staff that doesn’t panic and there are some positives in that,” FOX analyst and former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman said. “And they are a good team. Looking at this game, having lost to Dallas and Philadelphia within the division and another tough game within the conference, this game is going to have some playoff ramifications. For a Week 6 game this is fairly important.” Read more...
THE BERGEN RECORD
Giants know special teams are big
Excrpt: "The football goes into the air and soon after chaos ensues.By his estimate, Spencer Paysinger has less than two seconds to contemplate what is about to unfold, and the rest of the time as part of the Giants’ kickoff coverage team to make a play that could ultimately alter the game’s final outcome. When the stakes are as high as they will be when the Giants revisit Candlestick Park to play the 49ers in a rematch of their classic overtime NFC Championship game showdown last season, there’s little doubt the team that wins Sunday will make those plays, too.
Things happen rather quickly on returns to change the game, and that goes for both sides.
"There is a method to the madness," Paysinger said. "I’d say the basis of every coverage team begins with overall strategy. We have certain things that we look at each week [and] certain keys that can help us determine which way the ball is going to go." Read more..
NEW YORK TIMES
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Giants' Eli Manning's once criticized demeanor now looked at as a warrior mentality
Excerpt: "The eyes of a diehard New York Giants fan don’t lie. Quarterback Eli Manningis just about where he should be. Most forget he’s human and does err. Abhorrence, jealousy and fear cloud others true analysis of him. It doesn’t seem to affect the veteran who is in his 9th season and that, perhaps, is one of his strongest qualities.
In January of this year, during the NFC Championship game, the captain of the Giants’ offense was attacked in every possible way by the San Francisco 49ers defense that sacked him six times and hit him relentlessly. The game was no doubt the definition of a throwback slobber-knocker.''That was a tremendous football game for those that really enjoyfootball at its very basic element,'' said coach Tom Coughlin. ''Just a classic football game that just seemed like no one was going to put themselves into position to win it. Fortunately, we were able to do that.'' Read more...##
49ers' Jim Harbaugh accuses Kevin Gilbride of trying to influence officials
Excerpt: "The New York Giants are preparing to leave the comfortable confines of the Timex Performance Center and head out to California for a showdown with the 4-1 San Francisco 49ers. There is obviously no love lost between the these two organizations, especially after last year's NFC Championship game.
However, the day before the team is scheduled to depart, Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride couldn't resist getting in a backhanded compliment directed towards 49ers defensive end Justin Smith. Gilbride talked about how Smith's defensive holding allows him to control offensive linemen." Read more...
What can the Giants learn from the 49ers loss to the Vikings?
Excerpt: "The San Francisco 49ers lost their only game of the year to the MinnesotaVikings in Week three; a sound 24-13 beating. So, as the 49ers game looms as one of the big early tests for the New York Giants, we decided to go back and see if we can learn anything about attacking the Niners from Christian Ponder and the Vikings.
While we thought the game reviews would yield simple revelations (e.g. "The Vikings were able to control the 49ers’ X by doing Y"), what we found is that the general feeling from those who watched the game was that the Vikings outplayed the Niners in almost every facet of the game, doing the little thingsSan Francisco usually does so well, forcing Alex Smith into the kinds of mistakes he usually doesn't make, and preventing the mistakes the Niners defense usually forces." Read more...
Giants' Week Six Injury report
Excerpt: "The New York Giants initial injury report released on Wednesday portrayed a team that would be heading into their toughest game of the season extremely short handed. Hakeem Nicks was not practicing, Martellus Bennet had knee issues, and Kenny Phillips was an unknown. However, today, the team released their final injury report before Big Blue heads out to San Francisco for their Week six bout with the 49ers.
Without further adieu, here's a look at who will and will not be making the trip out to California this weekend.
OUT: Rocky Bernard, Kenny Phillips, Andre Brown
QUESTIONABLE: Hakeem Nicks, Corey Webster, David Diehl
PROBABLE: Ramses Barden, Martellus Bennett, Chase Blackburn, Michael Boley, Jayron Hosley, Keith Rivers, Antrel Rolle" Read more...
BIG BLUE VIEW
NY Giants' news and notes: Hakeem Nicks update and more
Excerpt: "Good morning, New York Giants' fans. Here is your Saturday morning notebook.
Hakeem Nicks believes he has "a pretty good shot" at playing Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. [Full transcript]
"I did the majority of the practice - about four or five reps a period. About what I would normally do on a Friday practice. I did good. I had coach watching me, asking how I looked, was I compensating or anything like that. I wasn't. So it looked good. I feel good about it. We'll see how I respond in the morning and then they'll let me know," Nicks said. "I would like to see what the coaches are going to say, what they're going to say about it in the morning and what the trainers are going to say, but I think I've got a pretty good shot." Read more...
Spotlight on...Will Beatty: Giants' offensive tackle becoming a force
Excerpt: "When the New York Giants drafted Will Beatty out of UConn in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft they hoped they were drafting a player who would develop into a premier left tackle.
When the Giants drafted him College Scouting Director Marc Ross spoke about Beatty's "raw athletic ability" and said he had had "a lot of upside."
Entering 2012, his fourth season in the NFL, Beatty had not turned into the player the Giants hoped for when they used the 60th overall selection on him. Sure, he began last season as the starter at left tackle and played acceptably. But, he was lost after six games to a detached retina. Beatty then hurt his back during offseason workouts and missed all of OTAs and mini-camps, most of training camp and the beginning of the regular season.
Since he returned to the starting lineup in Week 3 against the Carolina Panthers the 6-foot-6, 320-pound Beatty, now 27, has played like never before." Read more...
Giants vs. 49ers: What to Watch for on Sunday
Excerpt: "The New York Giants travel to Candlestick Park Sunday to face the San Francisco 49ers in a rematch of the 2012 NFC Championship Game. Here are some of the things to watch for.
Which pass rush has the biggest impact?
We have spent oodles of time talking about the missing in action Giants' pass rush, which has generated only eight sacks in five games. Well, despite the otherwise dominant work by the San Fran defense, the 49ers' pass rush hasn't really been any better. San Francisco has only nine sacks in five games.
At Niners Nation, David Fucillo addressed this topic in detail. I won't go over it in the same depth, but suffice it to say that both teams expect their front sevens to generate much more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The team that is most successful in doing that will have a leg up on a victory Sunday.
San Francisco defensive end Justin Smith does not have a sack yet this season, but Giants' fans know how good of a player he is. He will line up opposite Giants' left tackle Will Beatty. When Beatty isn't blocking Justin Smith, he will likely be locked up with outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who leads the 49ers with 4.5 sacks." Read more...
Beyond the Box Score:San Francisco 49ers
Excerpt: "Time for another addition of Beyond the Box Score. For this week, I have another opponent that I have become familiar with throughout the season before I even went back to the tape. I viewed the 49ers and Bills game in entirety last week (my wife is a Bills fan) and I watched what I could bear of the 49ers and Jets game two weeks ago.
Let's go beyond the Box Score for the 49ers and Bills. And then I'll look at the 49ers and Vikings game to see what the Vikings did that worked with the 49ers." Read more...
Jim Harbaugh takes offense to Kevin Gilbrides' remarks
Excerpt: "Remember when Buddy Ryan tried to punch Kevin Gilbride's lights out when the two were assistant coaches with the then-Houston Oilers many, many years ago? Well, it sounded today like San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh would like to join the 'punch Gilbride in the face' club." Read more...
The game of the millenium (game of the week): Giants @ 49ers for NFC Supremacy
Excerpt: "Giants vs. 49ers is the game of the week, Or is it the game of the millennium of the week" You be the judge." Read more...
Giants vs. 49ers Preview
Excerpt: "This is a big time rematch between the two NFC Championship game participants from a year ago. As a matter of a fact the Niners and Giants clashed against each other twice last season. The 49ers defense was able to stop Eli Manning from one of his miraculous 4th quarter comebacks in a regular season victory for the Niners. Then as we all remember the slug fest in San Francisco during the NFC title game where the 49ers special teams fumbled the game over to the visiting and eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants." Read more...
Giants @ San Francisco: Four Downs
Excerpt: "With all due respect to the 49ers, I don’t buy thee claim that some of them have made that the Giants “stole” the NFC Championship from them last January. Seriously, how do you “steal” something from someone when they never had it to begin with?
But hey, another week, another opponent disrespecting the Giants and not giving them a chance to succeed. It’s nothing new to New York, who is so used to the underdog role that they not only seem to prefer the role, they thrive in that scenario.
Adding to the drama of this weekend’s game is a bit of late week bad blood. If you missed it, Giants’ offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride noting how 49ers DL Justin Smith “gets away with murder” in terms of holding on to other players’ jerseys, which prompted 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh to release a statement through the team accusing the Giants of using their status to try to influence the officiating.
Talk is cheap; play the game. And this one is certainly shaping up to be a battle for the ages.
First Down. Protect the Franchise
In case none has forgotten, in last year’s NFC Championship game, quarterback Eli Manning, who dropped back to pass 58 times, was sacked six times, the highest number of sacks allowed by the offensive line from Week 1 all the way through to the Super Bowl. He was also hit 12 times. Now while the odds say that the more a quarterback attempts a pass the more likely he is to be hit, the bottom line is that the Giants need to do a better job this time around in protecting Manning so that he has time to work his magic.
A big key to that, as I have noted below, might be the tight end spot. Figure that the Giants will likely give some help blocking to one of the sides – figure it will be the right side where Sean Locklear has had his share of struggles of late in the pass block. As I said below, if Martellus Bennett’s knee restricts him in any way, that help blocking would likely have to come from Bear Pascoe, whose inline blocking has, at times, been inconsistent." Read more...
Folger's Forecast: Giants at San Francisco
Excerpt: "After surviving last week’s “trap” game and getting to 3-2, the Giants won’t have any problem getting up for the 49ers. The offense is purring with Eli Manning at the helm and the running game is suddenly a threat.
However, the defense remains problematic and is why the Giants will be underdogs. On the road and as underdogs, however, are two situations that these Giants seem to relish.
San Francisco is coming off two huge blowout victories. It’s very hard to sustain that level of dominance. The 49ers are as physical on both sides of the ball as any team in football. Their defense is in the Top 3, while the offense looks improved.
The 49ers will also have that “unfinished business” mantra from last year’s playoff loss as added motivation which should make this weekend’s game a classic." Read more...
THE RED ZONE
Nicks and Diehl make trip to San Francisco
Excerpt: "Barring a setback, Hakeem Nicks will play on Sunday against San Francisco.
The wide receiver made the team flight to San Francisco and is on track to playing in his first game since Sept. 16. Nicks has missed the last three games with either pain in his surgically repaired foot or swelling in his knee.
But his knee made it through two consecutive limited practices and the Saturday walk-through without any setbacks. (And if you are a super-nervous fantasy owner and need evidence to settle your nerves after the last few weeks, the Giants tweeted this picture of Nicks on the plane.) " Read more...
Giants' Hakeem Nicks on track to play vs. 49ers
Excerpt: "New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks made the team flight to San Francisco and is on track to play in his first game since Sept. 16.
Nicks has missed the last three games with either pain in his surgically repaired foot or swelling in his knee. But his knee made it through two consecutive limited practices and the Saturday walk through without any setbacks.
"I would like to see what the coaches are going to say about it in the morning [on Sunday] and what the trainers are going to say, but I think I've got a pretty good shot," Nicks said Friday in a statement released by the team.
"I practiced," Nicks added. "I did the majority of practice -- about four or five reps a period. About what I would normally do on a Friday practice. I did good. I had the coaches watching me, asking how I looked, was I compensating or anything like that. I wasn't. So I looked good. I feel good about it. We'll see how I respond in the morning and they'll let me know." Read more...
RB Wilson's confidence growing
Excerpt: "Giants rookie running back David Wilson set the bar pretty high for himself last week.
“Now, I look at it as like every two carries I gotta score a touchdown,” said Wilson, who scored for the first time as a pro on a 40-yard run late in the fourth quarter of his team’s 41-27 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
Wilson was joking.
But seriously ...
“It does give me confidence to go out there and score a touchdown with the limited plays I had that game,” he said. “Now, I’m hoping to go out there and see what I can do with more carries.” Read more...
Evidence support Gilbride vs. Harbaugh
Excerpt: "So this whole thing started Thursday, when New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride casually dropped into his weekly interview session the suggestion that San Francisco 49ers star defensive lineman Justin Smith "gets away with murder" by holding interior offensive linemen as a means of clearing room for the 49ers' pass rush.
49ers coach Jim Harbaugh responded Friday with a blistering attack on Gilbride and Gilbride's insinuation, calling it "outrageous, irrational and incendiary," and saying, "It's obvious that the Giants coaching staff's sole purpose is to use their high visibility to both criticize and influence officiating."
Glad we're not getting too emotional about this, huh? I mean, really? "Sole purpose?"
Especially once I learned that Harbaugh's response came in the form of a statement released by the team hours ahead of his regularly scheduled Friday news conference, my first thought was something along the lines of, "Methinks he doth protest too much." And a few minutes later, with the help of a retweet from USA Today's Mike Garafolo, I saw something that backed me up. It is this Sept. 6 piece from Football Outsiders, in which Item No. 3 uses clear film evidence to support FO's own conclusion that Smith is indeed coached to hold the jerseys of opposing guards and tackles:" Read more...
Brown not fined for tweeting
Excerpt: "New York Giants running back/kick returner Andre Brown was not fined by the NFL for in-game tweeting in the locker room after sustaining a concussion in last Sunday’s 41-27 victory over the Cleveland Browns. " Read more...
Jim Harbaugh calls Kevin Gilbride's comments "outrageous"
Excerpt: "In a statement released by the team Friday, Harbaugh said, "Kevin Gilbride's outrageous, irrational statement regarding Justin Smith's play is, first, an absurd analogy.
"Second, it is an incendiary comment targeting one of the truly exemplary players in this league. It's obvious that the Giants coaching staff's sole purpose is to use their high visibility to both criticize and influence officiating."
Gilbride made his original comment Thursday after he was asked about why San Francisco's front seven is so tough.
"Ability. That's it. They have great players," Gilbride said. "They're tremendous, they're tough. They have great speed on the outside, (Justin) Smith is a beast on the inside -- he's strong, he does as good a job (as anybody) of grabbing a hold of offensive linemen and allowing those twists to take place. He never gets called for it, so he gets away with murder." Read more...
Giants can expect another gut check
Excerpt: " Not long after Lawrence Tynes' kick went through the uprights in San Francisco, sending the New York Giants into a frenzy and on to the Super Bowl, Antrel Rolle remembers thanking God.
Not for the Super Bowl berth. That probably was his second thought. His initial reaction was to say thanks for "one of the toughest games" he ever played in finally coming to an end.
Like many of his teammates, Rolle was spent physically and emotionally after the Giants and San Francisco 49ers went toe to toe in the NFC Championship Game and refused to back down.
"One of the toughest games I have ever played, hands down," Rolle said. "It was extremely physical. It was a game of patience and execution."One false move and one false step would have cost you the game at that moment. Everything was just so intense. And the intensity just kept rising so much in that game."" Read more...
PFF Rookie Update: NFC East
Excerpt: "It’s hard to believe that Week 5 is in the books, but it’s a great time to check in on all of the rookies. This week, we take a look at the NFC East, where our top rookie resides. While some first-year players are able to step right into the lineup, others are just getting used to the speed of the NFL. This is usually the time of year that some of the less-heralded rookies start to find roles. Here are the NFC East rookies who have seen the field this season.
New York Giants
David Wilson, RB
Draft: First round, 32nd overall
Snaps/Usage: 16 total snaps in reserve running back role. 17 kick returns at 26.3 yards/return
Notes: No coach likes fumbles, but head coach Tom Coughlin’s doghouse is often the loneliest. After fumbling away the second carry of his career, Wilson has seen limited opportunities on offense. Add to that two drops on his four targets in the passing game, and he has been firmly entrenched miles away from Coughlin’s good graces. He finally showed his explosiveness last week against the Cleveland Browns as he scored his first touchdown on a 40-yard run to bring his season rushing total to 52 yards on eight carries. He still has a ways to go before he’s entrusted as a weekly contributor, but last week was a step in the right direction.
Rueben Randle, WR
Draft: Second round, 64th overall
Snaps/Usage: 74 total snaps as reserve WR, with season high of 38 Week 5 vs. Cleveland. Returned seven punts for 66 yards (9.4 yards/return).
Notes: With injuries to starting WR Hakeem Nicks, as well as his replacement Ramses Barden, Randle saw his first extended action last Sunday against the Browns. Playing primarily on the outside, he was targeted nine times, picking up six catches for 82 yards. He did register the first drop of his career, but showed his big play ability on a 36-yard gain late in the second quarter. He is elusive for a big wide receiver and may be able to work into the rotation even more as injuries and quarterback Eli Manning’s confidence allow.
Jayron Hosley, CB
Draft: Third round, 94th overall
Snaps/Usage: 121 total snaps, 79 covering the slot
Notes: Before getting hurt late in Week 3 against the Carolina Panthers, Hosley had just cracked the starting lineup after he began the season primarily as a nickel and dime option. A plethora of injuries in the secondary certainly helped the cause, but Hosley was playing well before missing two tackles in that Carolina game. Opponents have completed five of nine passes thrown his way for 76 yards and a QB Rating of 44.0, though he was helped by an errant throw on a drag route by QB Cam Newton that resulted in a gift-wrapped first interception of his career.
Markus Kuhn, DT
Draft: Seventh round, 239th overall
Snaps/Usage: 74 total snaps, 60 at DRT
Notes: Kuhn has been a part of the defensive line rotation in all five of the Giants’ games, with his season-high of 28 snaps coming last week. He’s played in both base and nickel sets, and he’s been in on 37 runs and 37 passes. Kuhn has yet to record an official pressure though he had a hurry negated by a penalty and he’s batted two passes to give him a +0.9 pass rush grade.
Will Hill, SCB
Draft: Undrafted (entered league in 2010)
Snaps/Usage: 91 total snaps, 88 covering the slot
Notes: An unexpected rookie, Hill came out of Florida after the 2010 season. He was a highly touted recruit and after a good career in college, Hill went undrafted and was not even invited to a training came after teaching the world how not to handle a twitter account. His unprofessional foray into the world of social media turned off NFL teams, but he’s found a home in New York. With the injuries in the secondary, including fellow rookie Hosley, Hill has seen his playing time increase as 73 of his 91 snaps have come in the last two weeks in a slot cornerback role. Opponents have completed all three passes thrown his way for a total of 35 yards, though his 15.7 cover snaps/target is good for third in the league among all slot cornerbacks.
Unfortunately for Hill, his comeback attempt will be halted for another four weeks as he recently failed an NFL drug test. He will be eligible to return early next month.
Other Giants rookies: Fourth-round TE Adrien Robinson has been used as a blocker on all three of his snaps this season.
Former Giants' BT Jimmy Kennedy denies being Bountygate whistleblower
Excerpt: "In a memorandum given to all 32 NFL teams on Tuesday, the league had identified former New York Giant defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy as the whistleblower responsible for uncovering the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal. Kennedy, however, insists he had no involvement in the scandal and used Twitter to defend himself.
Kennedy was a lineman for the Minnesota Vikings from 2008-2010. During that time, the NFL stated that Kennedy was informed by his friend Anthony Hargrove, a Saints defensive lineman, that there was a $10,000 bounty placed on QB Brett Favre in the NFC Championship Game in 2009. Kennedy allegedly then went to his head coach Brad Childress with the information." Read more...
Houston Texans' DC Wade Phillips takes unprovoked jab at Michael Strahan
Excerpt: "Houston Texans defensive tackle J.J. Watt is having a break out season. He currently leads the NFL in sacks, but had one removed Elias Sports Bureau earlier this week. After losing the sack, Texans Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips raised some controversy by questioning New York Giants legend Michael Strahan, his record breaking sack and why that one wasn't removed." Read more...