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NEWARK STAR LEDGER
Giants' David Diehl Will Retake Starting Right Tackle Job vs. Steelers
Excerpt: "Sean Locklear said he got the news Wednesday, from Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty: David Diehl will return to his starting right tackle job this week, and Locklear will be moved to jumbo tackle duty.
"He said, 'You're not being benched because of your play,' " Locklear said of his conversation with Flaherty. " 'You’ve been playing good; you’ve done everything we’ve asked. It’s just the guy can’t lose his job from minor injury.' I kind of expected it, I just didn’t know when it was going to happen. He’s been here 10 years; he’s started virtually every game. So I understand where they are coming from."
Locklear said Diehl is taking all the reps with the first team in practice this week, in preparation to start against the Steelers. They split the reps the past few weeks.
Diehl sprained his MCL in the Week 2 win against the Buccaneers and missed the next three games. Diehl returned for the 49ers game but has been the jumbo tackle the past three weeks -- the first time in his 10-year Giants career he's played but did not start.
"It’s tough, but it’s the position I thought I was going to be in coming into the season," Locklear said of the move. "But you know, things happen. Had a chance to actually get in there and play, and now it is kind of back to where I thought it was going to be. I’m happy I’ll be that sixth guy, so I’ll still get some reps. I won’t completely just be out of the loop." Read more...
Power Outage At Hotel Prompts Steelers To Fly In Sunday Morning For Giants' Game, Instead Of Saturday Night
Excerpt: "The Steelers will leave for New York on Sunday morning and depart Sunday evening. NFL teams are required to travel the day before a game. The league allowed the Steelers to alter their plans because the hotel the team is booked to stay at in Jersey City was still without power as of Thursday afternoon.
Pittsburgh will fly at 9 a.m. on Sunday and arrive in New York about 90 minutes later, well ahead of the scheduled 4:25 p.m. kickoff. The team will charter home later Sunday night." Read more...
Giants' Kenny Phillips Says He'll Play Sunday vs. Steelers
Excerpt: "Kenny Phillips believes the coaching staff will let him decide whether he plays Sunday against the Steelers. If they do, he says, he'll definitely be on the field.
"I'm going this week. I'm going this week," Phillips said. "I do feel confident. It's been a long, long process, I feel. But I feel like it's good enough for me to get back there and make some plays."
Phillips sustained a sprained MCL in the first quarter of the Giants' Week 4 loss to the Eagles and has missed the last four games. He returned to practice last week in limited fashion and has participated fully the last two days.
Phillips said it's not a matter of "rust" in getting back onto the field. For him, there's more of a mental obstacle to overcome. He insisted that he has to feel confident in moving with fear, such as making his breaks. So far, the confidence is there to make his return, he said.
"I think they're going to limit my amount of reps throughout the week, maybe in the game, I'm not sure," Phillips said. "But when I'm out there, I'm just going to go 100 percent."
His replacement, Stevie Brown, has made Phillips' absence easier to overcome. Brown leads the NFL with seven takeaways. He had two interceptions and a fumble recovery against the Cowboys Sunday, and was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week as a result. The Giants are 4-0 in the four games Brown has started." Read more...
Ahmad Bradshaw Says Giants "Feel Like We Can Spark New York" After Hurricane Sandy
Excerpt: "When the Giants take the field at MetLife Stadium this Sunday, running back Ahmad Bradshaw sees a unique opportunity to uplift the area, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The superstorm has affected millions of people and caused billions of dollars of damage to the community the Giants represent.
"We feel like we can spark New York," Bradshaw said. "Just what we do, what we’ve done. I think we can also help everybody in New York and New Jersey that’s going through this." Read more...
NFL, NFLPA Pledge $1 Million To Red Cross For Hurricane Sandy Relief And Recovery
"In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the NFL and the NFL Players Association have teamed up to pledge $1 million to the American Red Cross for relief and recover efforts in the Northeast.
The superstorm affected millions of people and caused billions of dollars in damages.
All broadcasts of NFL games this week, starting with Thursday Night Football, will include pre-game and in-game messages pointing fans to the American Red Cross website (redcross.org) and text-to-give line (text REDCROSS to 90999 to give a $10 donation).
At each game, including Giants-Steelers Sunday at MetLife Stadium, a special announcement will recognize those affected by the storm, and a salute will be given to first responders and others assisting relief efforts.“
We are pleased that NFL owners and players have joined together once again to support communities and families impacted by Hurricane Sandy,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in a joint statement.
“This contribution on behalf of all 32 clubs and players throughout the league will help the American Red Cross assist people in need in the affected areas. We salute the dedication of those who have been working so hard on the rescue, relief and recovery effort.”
Giants' Antrel Rolle Returns To Practice, Chase Blackburn Still Sidelined
Excerpt: "On Wednesday, Tom Coughlin said safety Antrel Rolle would need to pass the league mandated concussion protocol before returning to the field. It appears as though he has.
Rolle missed practice Wednesday, but is out there today. He suffered the concussion late in the Giants' 29-24 win over the Cowboys Sunday.
Fellow starting safety Kenny Phillips was also practicing. Phillips returned to practice in limited fashion last week and practiced fully yesterday for the first time since sustaining a sprained MCL against the Eagles in Week 4." Read more...
Eli Manning Hopes Giants Game Sunday Against Steelers Can Give Storm-Weary Fans A Little Break
Excerpt: "When the storm hit, the quarterback with the $100 million contract was no different from any of us.
Eli Manning was ready with flashlights and extra batteries and an AM/FM radio, just in case. He moved his year-and-a-half-old daughter Eva away from the windows in his Hoboken apartment, just in case.
Then the power went out around 9 p.m., and he and his wife Abby sat in the dark, listening to the walls shake. Waiting.
“It was scary,” he said.
The power was still out in Hoboken Wednesday when Manning arrived at the Giants’ training complex. He moved his family to a hotel Tuesday afternoon, but he had seen enough to understand the scope of the damage in the city he has called home since the Giants drafted him in 2004.
Entire blocks underwater. The National Guard rescuing stranded residents from their apartments. Homes lost and lives changed. Manning had witnessed something like this before, unloading supplies in his hometown New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“When you see it firsthand, it’s different,” Manning said. “Hoboken, we had some water, but I didn’t have any major damage. But when you’re right there in the streets, those images get stuck in your head.” Read more...
Giants Get Back To Work To Prepare For Sunday's Game Against The Steelers
Excerpt: "Mark Herzlich had three devices hooked up to the backup generator at his home in Montclair on Tuesday: A lamp, the refrigerator and his laptop. The Giants linebacker needed to watch game film on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As the landfall of Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the state of New Jersey earlier this week, many members of the Giants organization were among the millions left without power.
Some, like quarterback and Hoboken resident Eli Manning, watched their streets, parking garages and apartment building lobbies flood.
But in three days, the Giants are scheduled to host the Steelers at MetLife Stadium — the game is still on, as of Wednesday — so their ability to “mid-stream adjust,” as head coach Tom Coughlin likes to say, is being put to the test.
“They heard it last week,” Coughlin said Wednesday. “They heard it with regards to dealing with the potential, if you will, over the weekend of the storm. And they’ll no doubt hear from me again today.” Read more...
Giants' Mark Herzlich Ready For Opportunity To Start In Chasee Blackburn's Place
Excerpt: "Mark Herzlich says he will prepare for Sunday's game against the Steelers no differently than he would any other week. But he also acknowledges that the circumstances are different both on and off the field.
Off the field, he's dealing with Hurricane Sandy's aftermath like everybody else. On the field, starting middle linebacker Chase Blackburn is nursing a hamstring injury he suffered against the Cowboys that could sideline him against the Steelers and give Herzlich his first start of the season. Blackburn didn't practice today.
"A lot of the focus every week goes toward getting ready to be in just in case Chase’s shoe comes untied or something like that and I have to go in and step in and get some plays," Herzlich said this morning. "The prep will be basically the same. Obviously, it's going to be a little bit more intense during practice which is what I'd rather have anyway." Read more...
Ben Roethlisberger Once Wanted to Out-Do Eli Manning, Now He Wants to Build Legacy Of The 2004 Draft Class
Excerpt: "Ben Roethlisberger admitted that early in his NFL career, he wanted to out-do Eli Manning, who was drafted 10 slots before the Steelers selected Roethlisberger in 2004.
"Early for on me, it was more wanting to do better than him," Roethlisberger said on a conference call today. "I don’t want to say animosity, but he was the No. 1 pick, and I think as a guy that’s not picked No. 1, anytime someone is picked ahead of you, you want to beat that guy out."
That's changed over time. Each quarterback is in his ninth professional season and has two Super Bowl rings to his name. Roethlisberger said he's "100 percent" followed his Giants counterpart, and he's even taken some enjoyment in Manning's achievements." Read more...
Hurricane Sandy Did Not Stop Eli Manning's Preparatoins For The Steelers
Excerpt: "The photo went viral this week: Eli Manning, in red T-shirt and sweatpants, taking a photo with his cell phone of the new indoor pool in the lobby of his Hoboken apartment building.Manning might be an NFL quarterback with a nine-figure contract, but his experience during Hurricane Sandy was no different than anyone else in the state. He rode it out on Monday night, hoping that the windows wouldn’t crack under the powerful winds, and then spent part of Tuesday assessing the damage.
He lost power like nearly everyone else in Hoboken, but otherwise, the Giants quarterback said he was lucky. The Giants quarterback might be a native of New Orleans, where hurricanes are common, but he said his family usually left town before they hit. He didn’t have that luxury this time.
“ I saw water coming over the Hudson River into the streets, and you see very quickly, all of a sudden, a car completely covered with water,” he said. “It can be scary. The wind was blowing, the windows were shaking." Read more...
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS.
Gola: Arcorsi Trade For Eli Manning Changed More Than Just Giants
Excerpt: "Ernie Accorsi had no idea how he was affecting the power structure of the NFL when he traded for Eli Manning on draft day, 2004. All the then-GM of the Giants cared about was his team.
But, looking back, as Manning and Ben Roethlisberger get set for one of their rare head-to-head showdowns Sunday, it’s accurate to call it a four-Super Bowl deal, five if you throw in the one Roethlisberger lost.
The Giants had Roethlisberger ahead of Philip Rivers on their value board and Accorsi confirms they would have taken him with the fourth pick had Archie Manning not objected the thought of his kid playing for the Chargers. Turns out Eli’s dad was quite the prophet. And that would have left the Steelers, drafting eighth, with Rivers.
Would Eli have won two Super Bowls with the Chargers? Not likely, considering the path of that dysfunctional franchise.
Would Roethlisberger have won two Super Bowls with the Giants? Maybe, if Roethlisberger stayed healthy the right seasons.
Would the Steelers have won two Super Bowls with Rivers? Probably not. At least he hasn’t so far shown he can win many big games.
That means, of course, Pittsburgh fans have Accorsi to thank for their recent success.
Had they played each other more often than just twice (Big Big won their rookie meeting, Eli won in 2008), this could have been a rivalry to match the one Eli’s brother, Peyton, has with Tom Brady.
Think about it. Either Roethlisberger or Manning has quarterbacked in five of the last seven Super Bowls." Read more...
NY Giants' First-Half Report Cards: Surprise! Eli Manning Is Team's MVP
Excerpt: "The party was still going for the Giants on opening night when the Dallas Cowboys gave the Giants what Tom Coughlin called “a bite out of humble pie.” They embarrassed the defending Super Bowl champions on what should have been their night of celebration.
Who knew that was exactly what the Giants needed back then?
“It brings you right back down to earth,” Coughlin said that night. “There won’t be any more blowing smoke up their rear ends. Last year is last year. This year is this year.”
This year, in fact, took off from there. The Giants have won six of their seven games since then, and came within a missed last-second field goal of winning them all. Eli Manning has played like an MVP at times. The running game has experienced a revival. The defense has had great moments and big turnovers throughout.
And halfway through the season, the Giants have reasserted themselves as serious contenders to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
Here are their mid-season grades:" Read more...
THE NEW YORK POST
Eli, Big Ben - Tied Together Since '04 Draft - Have Taken Different Paths To Becoming NFL Royalty
Excerpt: "Eli and Ben. Whom would you have built your franchise around eight-plus years ago and whom would you rather have today?
Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger entered the NFL as members of the same 2004 draft class and they might someday go to Canton together in the same Hall of Fame class given their remarkable career accomplishments.
Because of NFL scheduling and the fact they play in different conferences, the two will meet for only the third time Sunday when the Giants play the Steelers at MetLife Stadium.
But they will forever be linked because of when they were drafted and the wild way that draft went down with the Giants shrewdly maneuvering to acquire Manning but prepared to pick Roethlisberger if they didn’t land their Mann." Read more...
Another Super Bowl Win And Giants Can Join The Steelers
Excerpt: "They were truly Monsters of the Monongahela, a 1970s dynasty that rivaled the Lombardi Packers of the 1960s and the Joe Montana 49ers of the 1980s.An
d so as the Steelers come to town Sunday, it is the perfect time to sit up and take notice that maybe, just maybe, we are in the midst of a Big Blue Dynasty that began with Super Bowl XLII, continued with Super Bowl XLVI, and would be sealed in February with another Lombardi Trophy hoisted high enough to the heavens for Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch to reach down and touch.
No one around the Giants, least of all Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin, wants to think about Dynasty, certainly not in this wild-and-wacky NFL, and certainly not with the Steelers themselves kicking off a treacherous second-half schedule that can yet conjure up memories of previous recent Big Blue swoons." Read more...
Giants May Have Brown In Reserve
Excerpt: "Even if Stevie Brown loses his starting job this week with Kenny Phillips’ possible return, Tom Coughlin said the Giants plan to continue using Brown.
The Giants’ safety situation is muddled because of injuries to both Phillips and Antrel Rolle, with the status of each still undetermined for Sunday against the Steelers. Phillips has missed the last four games with a knee injury, but practiced fully yesterday. Rolle did not practice because of concussion symptoms.
“[Rolle] still has to go through the routine, the process,” Coughlin said. “We’re hopeful, confident that he will pass, but we have that in front of us.” Read more...
Big Blue Say They'll Still Be Good To Go
Excerpt: "With no power in their home on Tuesday thanks to Hurricane Sandy, Giants tight end Martellus Bennett and his wife decided to check into Hotel Boothe.
“I actually stayed at [teammate] Kevin Boothe’s house,” Bennett said yesterday. “They had power, we didn’t have power, so we went over there.”
The Hurricane Sandy disaster certainly impacted the Giants. Bennett and Boothe bunked up, a number of players lost power, etc. But, overall, the storm’s effect on the Giants was in small doses rather than large ones. They slightly altered yesterday’s practice schedule — working in the late afternoon instead of the morning to accommodate coaches who had lost preparation time earlier in the week — their home video watching will be limited due to a lack of power and there are lifestyle adjustments that need to be made." Read more...
Giants' Safety Brown Wins Award, Could Return To Bench
Excerpt: "Giants safety Stevie Brown took home NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors Wednesday for his two interceptions and fumble recovery against the Cowboys, but it’s also possible that the team’s biggest revelation will go back to a reserve role on Sunday.Brown has been starting the past four games for the injured Kenny Phillips (knee), but Phillips is slated to practice later Wednesday afternoon. It’s possible that fellow starting safety Antrel Rolle will miss Sunday’s game due to concussion symptoms, which would allow Brown to continue starting. Rolle will not practice Wednesday.
Either way, coach Tom Coughlin said if all three safeties are healthy enough to play, they all will.
“We’ll find ways to involve all of them,” Coughlin said.
Brown is fine if he’s no longer starting, saying, “It’s just my role. . . . Have to do what I can to help" Read more...
Some Giants Without Power, But Won't Slow Steelers' Preparation
Excerpt: "The Giants do not expect Hurricane Sandy to hurt their work week or preparation for Sunday’s game against the Steelers.Gathering Wednesday for their first practice since the storm hit, a number of the Giants players revealed their Sandy experiences, with several lacking power. But beyond that, they say they should not be hindered by the hurricane's disruption.
“It’s not gonna affect us at all,” DE Jason Pierre-Paul said.
A few things are different. Tight end Martellus Bennett said that since he and his wife didn’t have power, they stayed at guard Kevin Boothe’s house in Rutherford (Boothe had power). And the Giants know that since some of their homes lack power, they might have to watch more of their film at the practice complex." Read more...
THE BERGEN RECORD
Giants: Eli, Ben Make Class of 2004 Super
Excerpt: "They are infrequent opponents and the most casual of acquaintances, yet frequently linked. And with two Super Bowl titles apiece, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger could be considered part of the best quarterback draft class.
"I think, early on for me, it was more wanting to do better than him," Roethlisberger said Wednesday as his Steelers prepared for Sunday’s road game against the Giants. "Anytime someone is picked ahead of you, you want to beat that guy out. As I’ve gotten older, it’s more neat to see his success, to see him getting two Super Bowls because I think it just adds to the legacy of our draft class."
The Chargers selected Manning first overall in the 2004 NFL Draft, then traded him to the Giants less than an hour later for the fourth overall pick, quarterback Philip Rivers. The Steelers chose Roethlisberger No. 11 but the Giants were ready to pick Big Ben if GM Ernie Accorsi couldn’t swing the deal for Manning. The Bills selected the less-successful J.P. Losman with the 22nd pick.
The 1983 class remains the gold standard for quarterback drafts, with six selected in the first round and John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino making the Hall of Fame.
While Rivers is not yet a Hall of Fame candidate, Manning and Roethlisberger seem Canton-bound.
Sunday will mark their third regular-season meeting.
The Steelers won the battle of rookie quarterbacks, 33-30, in 2004, and Manning and the Giants won the rematch, 21-14, in 2008.
"I think you always kind of take pride in your draft class and guys who have done well," Manning said.
The 6-foot-4, 218-pound Manning has completed 184 of 294 passes for 2,301 yards, 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season and needs 120 yards to reach 30,000 for his career.
The 6-5, 241-pound Roethlisberger, now in a more pass-oriented attack under offensive coordinator Todd Haley, has completed 179 of 268 passes this season for 1,987 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions. Of the two, he’s the more likely to scramble." Read more...
Victor Cruz And Other Giants Feeling Hurricane Sandy's Effects
Excerpt: "By comparison to many, the extent of Victor Cruz’s Hurricane Sandy experience has been minimal: one night without power and the continuing inconvenience of no cable TV.
But having grown up in Paterson and currently residing in Lyndhurst, the Giants wide receiver empathizes with all in New Jersey and the region affected by the killer storm.
“Yeah, it’s definitely shocking,” Cruz said. “The past couple of years — a couple of hurricanes — when you see things, when you see a couple having to evacuate their home … it definitely hits close to home a little bit.”
The Giants resumed practice Wednesday as they prepare to host the Steelers on Sunday. Their schedule was tweaked some – players reported three hours later than normal – in deference to the ongoing effects of the hurricane.
And not all players were able to watch film as early in the week as they normally do, either unable to make it to the Giants’ facility to get their copies or not having a computer with enough battery power to view it. Some players without power, such as tight end Martellus Bennett, moved in with teammates. Others, including quarterback Eli Manning, checked into hotels.
But as much as possible, the Giants are trying to make it business as usual this week.
“We’re not denying what’s going on; I think that’s foolish,” said coach Tom Coughlin, whose Park Ridgehome did not lose power." Read more...
Giants' Report Card: Passing Game C - Minus
Excerpt: "Running game: C
The Giants were stymied again for the most part by the Cowboys’ defensive front, which this time around also included All-Pro NT Jay Ratliff. Ahmad Bradshaw (22 carries, 78 yards) lost a key fumble that stopped the Giants’ momentum in the second quarter and the Cowboys were able to stem the tide and begin their comeback.
Passing game: C-minus
Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz were quick to laud Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan for the schemes and coverage that took Eli Manning’s top two weapons out of the game. Nicks and Cruz combined for six catches and 69 yards while Manning did not throw a touchdown pass. A big 29-yard slant from Manning to Nicks on the second play of the fourth quarter led to a Lawrence Tynes field goal that put the Giants ahead to stay." Read more...
Giants Look Ahead: Vs. Steelers On Sunday
Excerpt: "At MetLife Stadium
Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
TV: Ch. 2 Radio: WFAN-AM 660
Early line: Giants by 3 1/2
The Giants have seized control of the NFC East with four straight wins, including their last two in the division in heart-stopping fashion. But no one needs to remind Big Blue of their second-half struggles going back eight seasons to when Tom Coughlin took over. Of course, two of those seasons ended in Super Bowl victories. This is an interesting matchup pitting Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger, a pair of two-time, Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. The Steelers are doing everything they can to reestablish their place as contenders in the AFC North and the conference." Read more...
NEW YORK TIMES
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Giants Have $2.2 Million In Cap Space, Seventh Least In NFL
Excerpt: "New York Giants General MangerJerry Reese is known for playing things close to the salary cap and at the rough midway point of the 2012 season we see no exception: only six NFL teams have less cap space than the Giants $2.2 million. TheJacksonville Jaguars lead the league with $20.1 million and the San Francisco 49ers bringing up the rear with a mere $579,000.
Hat tip to the boys atProfootballtalk.com, who present these NFLPA numbers (i.e. not the League's version) of the numbers just in case things start to rattle near todays 4 p.m.NFL trade deadline." Read more...
NJ Transit May Not Run Trains To MetLife Stadium On Sunday
Excerpt: "MetLife Stadium went unharmed during Hurricane Sandy, but that doesn't mean Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers will go unaffected forNew York Giants fans. Because of the mass flooding across the state, New Jersey Transit may not run the train that usually bring upwards of 10,000 people to the stadium each week.
“We’re thinking about everything right now,” N.J. Transit spokesman Nancy Snyder said. “We’re trying to recover from the storm, and at this point it is too early to make that call.” Read more...
Victor Cruz Contract Agreement Turns Focus To Hakeem Nicks' Future As Member Of NY Giants
Excerpt: "As soon as news spread that Victor Cruz said his agents and the New YorkGiants were in agreement on the foundation of a contract, folks around here did two things: wait for the numbers and wonder how this will effect the looming negotiations with fellow wide receiver Hakeem Nicks.
While it's great news for the Giants have Cruz in the fold for the long haul, and we'll be interested to see if this contract reaches the highest echelons ofNFL stud wideout contracts (we doubt that it will), locking up Cruz is only half the picture." Read more...
Giants' Stevie Brown Names NFC Defensive Player Of The Week
Excerpt: "Safety Stevie Brown was a main reason the New York Giants were able to defeat the Dallas Cowboys 29-24 on Sunday, and his effort did not go unrewarded as the NFL named him NFC Defensive Player of the Week for week eight.
Brown accounted for three takeaways, including two interceptions and one fumble recovery. He also recorded eight tackles and defended two passes." Read more...
Giants' WR Victor Cruz Will Practice & More From An Afternoon Tea With Tom Coughlin
Excerpt: "The New York Giants are 6-2 once again, but head coach Tom Coughlinwasn't interested in that as he took the podium for his weekly press conference. Instead, he was first focused on the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, wishing all well. Then, as you might expect, it was down to business.
The pre-practice injury report included a variety of new faces: David Baas (ankle), Antrel Rolle (concussion), Victor Cruz (calf), Rocky Bernard (quad), Chase Blackburn (hamstring), Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), Bear Pascoe (ankle),Kenny Phillips (knee), Keith Rivers (calf) and Jacquian Williams (knee).Of the players listed, Bradshaw, Pascoe, and Rolle will not practice. The good news is that Phillips, Bernard, Cruz and Baas will.
And in the event that Phillips is able to return this Sunday against thePittsburgh Steelers, what does that mean for safety Stevie Brown, who won NFC Player of the Week honors?
"Stevie Brown has had an outstanding run here. We'll find ways to involve all [safeties]," Coughlin said." Read more... Giants' Mark Herzlich Expected To Start On Sunday Against Pittsburgh Steelers
Excerpt: "With Chase Blackburn likely sidelined with a hamstring injury, the future is now for the New York Giants. The USA Today reports that Mark Herzlich isexpected to start at middle linebacker for Big Blue on Sunday when they face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Head coach Tom Coughlin all but admitted last week that #58 is being groomed for the starting role; that he's the middle linebacker of the future. However, he also made sure to note that he's learning from one of the smartest guys on the field.
"I think Mark will be a good middle backer going forward because he’s learning from a good one," Coughlin said. Adding that Blackburn is "most difficult" to force out of the starting job. "His acumen is so sharp. He takes great pride in the communication part of it. Mark has learned a lot from Chase." Read more...Steelers' Troy Polamalu and Marcus Gilbert Out For Sunday Against Giants
Excerpt: "Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin wasted no time revealing the status of both safety Troy Polamalu (calf) and offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert (ankle) on Tuesday, announcing that each player will be out on Sunday against the New York Giants.
For Polamalu, he will miss his fourth consecutive game, while Gilbert will be out for the third straight week.Tomlin also remained unsure of his running back situation heading into Sunday, as Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) was cleared for limited individual work, but is unlikely to practice until Thursday at the earliest." Read more...
BIG BLUE VIEW
NFL Trade Deadline 2012: Best, Worst Giants' Mid-Season Trades
Excerpt: "The NFL Trade Deadline is Thursday at 4 p.m. ET. The New York Giants, almost certainly, will be quiet at the deadline. The Giants very make deadline deals at what is generally a low-key deadline, anyway.
The Giants, however, have made a couple of significant mid-season trades in their history. One of those worked out really well. Another one didn't work out quite so well. Let's jump in our time machine, go back into Giants' history and look at two moves that could be considered the best and worst mid-season trades the Giants have ever made.
[Related: SB Nation NFL Trade Deadline coverage]
In October of 1986 the Giants acquired Ottis Anderson, a once-great running back for the St. Louis Cardinals, who now appeared to be a broken-down shell of the explosive, difference-making player he had once been. Anderson was acquired for a pair of late-round 1987 draft choices, and was considered little more than insurance for a Giants' team that featured Joe Morris, en route to a season during which he gained 1,516 yards rushing.
The Giants collected big-time on the Anderson insurance policy, but it took a while.
He was a bit player until 1989 when he took over as the featured back at age 32. He gained 1,023 yards on 325 carries, only 3.1 per carry. He added 784 yards in the 1990 season. His best, however, was his 102-yard, 21-carr performance that earned him the MVP award in the 1991 Super Bowl, won by the Giants over the Buffalo Bills.
It may have taken a few years to prove it, but this is probably the best in-season move the modern Giants have ever made." Read more...
NFL Week 9 Predictions: Mikey's Crystal Ball
Excerpt: "Greetings everyone, and good vibes to everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy. As always, real life trumps sports, but we also know it's a nice diversion for many of you to forget about real life for a few minutes. Anyway, I've said what I had to say, now let's get to the Week 9 picks on this Spooky Wednesday.
Steelers at Giants--For whatever reason, I like how we match up against the Steelers. Of course, Pittsburgh is best in the NFL against the run, so Eli will have to wake from his slumber. And for the love of G-d, please don't wear those bumblebee unis again. Oh, and it's a CBS game, so thankfully no Buck/Aikman. Giants 22, Steelers 19" Read more...
Giants vs. Steelers: Pittsburgh Scouting Report, Flm Review
Excerpt: "The story lines are well documented, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning were drafted in the 2004 NFL draft and have seen unparalleled success in the since they entered the league, winning a combined four Super Bowls and appearing in five. Both teams are historic franchises with well-respected ownership and terrific coaches, but these teams are not your fathers Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants.
These are big-play offenses and vulnerable defenses, and Sunday's game very likely will be a different game than the last time they meant when it took a safety for the Giants to get a victory over the Steelers in a low-scoring affair.
I'm back at the Beyond the Box Score this week though I'm combining it with my weekly Scouting Report this time. I first want to take a look back at the film before I see what the raw numbers say.
I went back and watched the Steelers game vs. the Bengals from Week 7 because the Bengals have some similarities to the Giants and the Giants also play the Bengals next week, so it was kind of a two birds with one stone thing. The Bengals run a 4-3 base defense, and like to rush four and drop seven into coverage while occasionally mixing in blitzes, and that is because they have a pretty good stable of pass rushers (the best one is defensive tackle Geno Atkins), the Bengals have a top wide receiver who requires double coverage, and they also have been having some issues at cornerback.
The first thing I noticed about the Steelers is that they are susceptible to the run game. On the Bengals' opening drive they marched the ball right down the field for a rushing touchdown, on the last five plays of the Bengals ran the ball right at the Steelers. Here are two of those final runs." Read more...
Victor Cruz Contract: Wide Receiver Says "No Timetable" For Deal
Excerpt: "Despite reports earlier on Wednesday that Victor Cruz and the New York Giants were close to finalizing a new contract for the popular and talented wide receiver, Cruz said Wednesday there is "no timetable" for when a deal will be completed.
"The only thing in place right now is the structure. That's all I can say at this point," Cruz said. "It's better than nothing." Read more...
Coughlin, Giants Try To Focus On Steelers
Excerpt: "New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and his team were back at work Wednesday preparing for Sunday's game at MetLife Stadium against thePittsburgh Steelers. The last few days have been anything but routine, however, as the remnants of Hurricane Sandy battered the New York-New Jersey area and left many without power.
"We're not denying what's going on. I mean, I think that's foolish. Everyone has been struck by this. Although, I would like very much to make sure that the focus is 100 percent on the task at hand, I think you do have to have a little bit of a mature attitude about these young men, their families and some of the circumstances they might me going through. Just like probably 85 percent of you who don't have power. Well, there's no sense in ducking that one," Coughlin said. "I mean, we've got guys who have kind of doubled up and families have gone to where they can, where power is in existence, especially people with young children. So, I'll try to do the best I can with that, but there's no avoiding what's happened here. Quite frankly, we don't want to. That's not our job. We realize this is a part of life, we've been struck by a blow by Mother Nature and we have to deal with it the best way we can."
That said, the 6-2 Giants will begin the second half of their season Sunday against the 4-3 Steelers." Read more...
THE RED ZONE
Tomlin, Big Ben On Giants
Excerpt: "The Giants and Steelers are two of the most storied franchises in the NFL. They are also two of the most successful, having won four of the past seven Super Bowls.
But Steelers coach Mike Tomlin isn't wrapped up in comparing the two organizations.
"I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it, no," Tomlin said Wednesday on a conference call with New York reporters. "I obviously see potentially how one could talk about some of the similarities, but we don't play them that often."
It's hard to develop a rivalry when you only play an opponent once every four years. The Giants and Steelers have played just twice since quarterbacks Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger both entered the league in 2004.
On Oct. 26, 2008, the Giants defeated the Steelers 21-14 in Pittsburgh. Manning led the Giants on one of his now-patented game-winning drives in the fourth quarter. Roethlisberger threw four interceptions and was sacked three times by Mathias Kiwanuka.
On Dec. 18, 2004, the Steelers defeated the Giants 33-30 at Giants Stadium. Manning played well in just his fifth NFL start, but Roethlisberger was better, throwing for 316 yards and leading a game-winning drive of his own.
The series returns to the Meadowlands on Sunday afternoon. "We know it's going to be tough, going to New York and playing the Giants at their place," said Roethlisberger, also on a conference call with New York reporters Wednesday." Read more...
Eli Manning: Giants Hope To Help
Excerpt: "As residents in New York and New Jersey struggle to recover after Hurricane Sandy plowed through the region, the Giants on Wednesday resumed their preparation for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The hope is that a victory might provide some people a brief respite while dealing with the destruction.
"Whether they can come to the game or find a TV, for a few hours they can have a little break and cheer for their home team," quarterback Eli Manning said. "And hopefully we can give them a little joy and after the game they can go back to building their lives back."
Manning knows that sports might be able to create at least a temporary distraction from terrible circumstances. He grew up in New Orleans and the Manning family saw firsthand the devastation Hurricane Katrina wrought in 2005.Manning visited with those victims after the storm and will never forget some of the stories he heard.
"Those kind of images get stuck in your head when you see it live," Manning said of the scene in New Orleans. "Talking to people who couldn't get in touch with their family or the water is coming into the house and they are holding onto their wife and kids and all of the sudden the water sweeps them away and they don't know where they are and can't get in touch ... it is those types of stories that let you know how fortunate you are." Read more...
Antrel Rolle Concussed, Likely To Play
Excerpt: "New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle has a concussion, but coach Tom Coughlin believes Rolle will be available for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"Well, he still has to go through the routine, the process," Coughlin said Wednesday. "(But) we're hopeful, confident that he will pass."
Rolle suffered the injury late in the Giants' 29-24 win Sunday over the Dallas Cowboys. Appearing on WFAN radio on Tuesday, Rolle also expressed confidence that he will play against the Steelers."So far, the tests that I've gone through have been pretty good. I just have a few more tests to go through come Wednesday," Rolle said. "But if it's up to me, I'm definitely gonna be out there come Sunday. I feel fine. I feel very good as of today."Rolle did not practice Wednesday. But fellow safety Kenny Phillips, who has missed the team's past four games with a knee injury, practiced fully.Stevie Brown, Phillips' replacement, was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after recording two interceptions and a fumble recovery against the Cowboys."Stevie Brown has had an outstanding run here," Coughlin said. "My position has always been, the more outstanding football players, the better. We'll find ways to involve all of them."Several other Giants did not practice Wednesday: Center David Baas (ankle/elbow), linebacker Chase Blackburn (hamstring), running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), tight endBear Pascoe (ankle), linebacker Keith Rivers (calf) and linebacker Jacquian Williams (knee)." Read more...
Injury Update: Bradshaw, Rolle Do Not Practice
Excerpt: "Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) and safety Antrel Rolle (concussion) did not practice Wednesday.
On a positive note for the Giants, safety Kenny Phillips (knee) practiced fully for the first time since injuring his knee on Sept. 30 against Philadelphia. Phillips has missed the past four games and practiced in a limited capacity last week before being ruled out for the game.
Overall it was a lengthy injury report for the Giants, as linebackers Keith Rivers (calf), Chase Blackburn (hamstring) and Jacquian Williams (knee), center David Baas (ankle/knee) and tight end Bear Pascoe (ankle) all did not practice. Baas' elbow injury is a new addition.
Here's the full injury report; " Read more...
Week Eight Power Rankings
Excerpt: "[Editor's note: With eight weeks in the books and plenty of talk about midseason MVP, we decided it made sense to devote this weeks' power rankings to the identification of each team's MVP to date. Also, while the addition of Curtis Crabtree has expanded the pool of voters to six, Josh Alper lives in New York and had no power when it was time to tabulate votes.]
1. Falcons (five first-place votes): Matt Ryan, because he’s the straw that stirs the drink.
2. Giants: Eli Manning, even though in the first three quarters of some games he could drive a fan to drink.
3. Texans: J.J. Watt, because he makes quarterbacks feel like they’ve been drinking.
4. Bears: Jay Cutler, because he’s got the Superfans saying “Da Bears” again before taking a drink.
5. 49ers: Frank Gore, because without him the offense would sputter.
6. Packers: Aaron Rodgers, because without him playing well the offense does.
7. Patriots: Tom Brady, because he’s still Tom Brady.
8. Broncos: Peyton Manning, because he’s Peyton Manning once again.
9. Ravens: Ray Rice, because if they don’t use him they are ordinary.
10. Steelers: Troy Polamalu, because without him they are ordinary." Read more...
PFF's Mid Season ALL NFC East Team
Excerpt: "As part of our look back on the first half of the season, we’re breaking down every division and looking at the top performances from each position.PFF ReFo: Giants @ Cowboys
Here’s the NFC East, and links to the others:
AFC East | AFC North | AFC South | AFC West
NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West
Quarterback: Eli Manning (NYG)
There was a time when people questioned Manning’s pedigree. Not anymore and he’s continued to impress us in 2012. Is there a more clutch quarterback? He’s had to be to fend off RG3.Running
Back: Alfred Morris (WAS)The rookie Redskin has been something of a revelation. His 717 yards are fourth-most in the league, putting some more illustrious backs in the division to shame.
Fullback: Henry Hynowski (NYG)
Our top-ranked fullback and Mid-Season All-Pro starter. Step forward The Hynosorous.
Tight End: Jason Witten (DAL)To think some people (myself included) speculated that Witten was done. He’s getting better as the season goes on and he’s further removed from that nasty spleen injury.
Wide Receivers: Victor Cruz (NYG) and Miles Austin (DAL)
Cruz isn’t grading out quite so well because of his two performances against the Cowboys, but he’s still a big-time danger every time the ball gets in his hands. Austin edges out some stiff competition for the second spot and currently owns the eighth-highest receiving grade of all wide receivers.
Tackles: Trent Williams (WAS) and Todd Herremans (PHI)While William Beatty may feel aggrieved, the lower penalty count and excellent pass protection of Williams sees him get the nod. At right tackle Herremans held off… well, nobody. The competition hasn’t even been close.
Guards: Evan Mathis (PHI) and Chris Chester (WAS)Mathis got paid but continues to perform at a level high enough to earn a start on our Mid-Season All-Pro team. Chester, on the other hand, has reacted to a poor 2011 with some fine play this year. See, players can turn it around.Center: Will
Montgomery (WAS)His name is rarely mentioned when you think of top centers, but when he’s been used at the spot he’s rarely disappointed. 2012 has been no different." Read more...
Excerpt: "After a Week 1 statement-game against the New York Giants, the annual talk continued that maybe this was the year the Dallas Cowboys took the next step toward joining the upper echelon of teams in the NFC. Things haven’t gone as planned since that game as the Cowboys have been very much the same team marred by inconsistent play and untimely turnovers. The trend continued right from the start as they handed the ball to the Giants on three of their first four possessions, in addition to a fumbled punt. New York took advantage to the tune of a 23-0 lead, but the Cowboys battled back with 24 straight points of their own.
The fourth quarter wasn’t short on drama as Dallas nearly pulled off the miracle upset with wide receiver Dez Bryant just missing a miraculous game-winning touchdown catch. After leaping over two defenders to snag the ball, he landed with a finger out of bounds (literally) and the Cowboys comeback ultimately fell short.
New York survived the scare to further their stranglehold on the NFC East at 6-2, while Dallas continues its foray into mediocrity at 3-4 with a battle against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons looming next week.
Let’s take a look at the performances that shaped this back-and-forth NFC East battle.
Three Performances of Note—New York Giants
Another Pass Rusher Emerges
Perhaps lost amid the 6-2 record, the Giants pass rush has not been as dominant as their reputation suggests. The high-profile defensive ends have not provided consistent pressure, though New York has gotten surprising production from their defensive tackles and Chris Canty was the latest interior player to produce on Sunday. In only his second game of the season, Canty graded at +3.4, including +2.9 as a pass rusher. He hit quarterback Tony Romo four times while adding a sack on his 32 pass rushes. Left guard Nate Livings was Canty’s main victim as he surrendered three of the hits on Romo, before Canty beat him to the outside shoulder to finally notch a sack with 00:54 to go in the third quarter.
Tough Return to Dallas
It was not a memorable return to Dallas for former Cowboy tight end Martellus Bennett. After four years as TE Jason Witten’s backup, Bennett has enjoyed a strong first season as the top tight end in New York, and he’s already played more snaps (482) than he did all of last season (428). Usually known for his run blocking, Bennett was consistently beaten at the point of attack on Sunday (-3.9 run block). He had a particularly difficult time blocking outside linebacker Anthony Spencer who beat him on three different occasions to make tackles for short gains in the running game. In the passing game, Bennett caught four of the six balls thrown his way, but for only 29 yards with a long gain of only 12 yards. His drop on the goal line at the 14:33 mark of the second quarter cost the Giants potential points as they had to settle for a field goal.
Grabbing in the Slot
Playing 43 of his 50 snaps in coverage, nickel cornerback Jayron Hosley (-2.6) had a difficult time keeping up with Dallas wide receiver Miles Austin in the slot. In addition to the three catches on four targets for 50 yards, Hosley also held Austin two more times while picking up an illegal contact penalty as well. Both holding penalties came toward the end of the fourth quarter during the Cowboys’ comeback attempt. Though the first grab only negated a six-yard pass, it was the second holding call that was nearly a backbreaker for the Giants. On the first play after the two-minute warning, Hosley’s physical play went beyond the required five yards and his holding penalty negated a nine-yard sack by DE Justin Tuck, vaulting Dallas into New York territory." Read more...