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NEWARK STAR LEDGER
Michael Strahan Named Semifinalist For Pro Footall Hall Of Fame http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2...semifinal.html
Excerpt: "First-time candidates John Lynch, Michael Strahan and Jonathan Ogden were among 27 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2013 class announced today.
Joining Lynch, Strahan and Ogden among first-year eligible players are Morten Andersen, Larry Allen and Warren Sapp.
Strahan retired after the Giants won the Super Bowl following the 2007 season with 141 1-2 sacks, including a league-record 22 1-2 in 2001. He was the Defensive Player of the Year in '01 and played 15 seasons for New York." Read more.
Giants' Osi Umenyiora Says It's "Imperative" To Outlaw Cut Blocking In The NFL
Excerpt: "Last week, Sports Illustrated's Peter King tweeted that the NFL's competition committee will consider banning all blocks below the waist in 2013. Blocks below the waist, popularly known as cut or chop blocks, have become increasingly common around the league as zone blocking schemes have spread.
When asked today about the measure, a couple Giants defensive linemen were adamant about the rule change.
"That's imperative. I don't understand for the life of me why that block is still allowed right now," defensive end Osi Umenyiora said. "I understand you want to slow some people down, but people are tearing their ACLs, getting hurt and maimed out there. It's not like our legs are any less valuable than a quarterback or an offensive player so why not protect us also. You can't even touch a quarterback now without it being a fine and $50,000 coming out of your pocket but it's OK for them to cut me and tear my ACL and ruin my career and eliminate the ability to put food in my family's mouth. I don't think it's right at all." Read more...
Giants Hope Familiarity With RGIII Provides Edge
Excerpt: "Jason Pierre-Paul’s effort was excellent. He lined up at defensive tackle, fought off at least two Redskins blockers, and had Robert Griffin III cornered outside the numbers of the MetLife Stadium turf.
But that’s when the rookie quarterback phenom put on the brakes, backed up and circled upfield past Pierre-Paul. Griffin somehow managed to fire an off-balance 19-yard throw to tight end Logan Paulsen, converting a fourth-and-10 late in the division rivals’ Week 7 matchup.
That play helped set up a go-ahead Redskins touchdown and, were it not for the Giants’ own escape in the form of a 77-yard game-winning strike, could have keyed a victory for Griffin and company. Consider it a lesson learned for the Giants. They hope.
“It was a fourth-and-10. If it’s a fourth-and-10 now, I have to be more complacent and try to run him out of bounds,” Pierre-Paul said.
“Don’t try to do an extra job, like try to make the play,” Pierre-Paul explained. “Run him out of bounds. He was close to the out of bounds (line). If I would have kept the angle on him, he would have been out of bounds.” Read more...
Giants Also Wary Of Another Redskins' Rookie: RB Alfred Morris
Excerpt: "Robert Griffin III attracts much of the publicity, and all of it is deserved, but there's another rookie in the Redskins backfield that is producing a resume worthy of Rookie of the Year consideration.=
Mike Shanahan surprised many when he named Alfred Morris, a sixth-round pick out of Florida Atlantic, his starting running back out of the preseason and Morris has shined. The running back has 208 carries for 982 yards and six touchdowns. Barring injury, he will become the second Redskins to rush for 1,000 yards his rookie season and is just 28 carries away from breaking the franchise's single-season record.
"He's a really good running back," Giants linebacker Spencer Paysinger said. "Coaches say that he's a really good running back. He's hard to bring down. They like to call him 'thick in the hips' and whenever you see running backs like that you know it's going to be a long day."
It was a long day for the Giants defense in the teams' first meeting back in Week 7. The Redskins, utilizing a unique read-option scheme, rushed for 248 yards. Morris had 120 of them on 22 carries. Last week, against the Cowboys, Morris had 24 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown." Read more...
Giants' New Additions, Kregg Lumpkin and Ryan Torain
Excerpt: "The two newest members of the Giants, running backs Kregg Lumpkin and Ryan Torain, made their practice debuts today and with four days until the Giants take on the Redskins Monday night they have plenty to learn before they can make an impact on the field.
This morning, Tom Coughlin said they could possibly play Monday, but knew much about the Giants offense before they were signed on Tuesday – Torain said he knew "nothing," while Lumpkin said some features were similar but the "verbiage is different."
For both, this week is like cramming before Monday's test.
"I'm just trying to fit in the best I can," Lumpkin said. "As much as I can learn and just get out there and help the team as much as possible."
Both running backs said they've taken part in extra study sessions with rookie David Wilson and fullback Henry Hynoski.
"That’s what we study the system for," Torain said. "That’s what we’re here for. That’s our jobs. It’s more exciting than nerve-wracking, but definitely got to go out there and take advantage."
They expect to play special teams aside from any possible roles out of the offensive backfield. Lumpkin said he practiced on both kickoff return and punt teams today." Read more...
Justin Tuck Would Pay To See A Race Between Robert Griffin III and Michael Vick
Excerpt: "When asked if Redskins rookie Robert Griffin III is the fastest guy he has ever played against, defensive end Justin Tuck nodded.
Even faster than Michael Vick, Tuck said.
"I was quoted as saying Vick was the fastest player I’d ever seen with the ball in his hands," Tuck said. "I don’t know. I’m going to have to back up on that now, because 'RG' is something special
Both quarterbacks topped the list of the fastest at their position the NFL Combine has ever seen. Vick's 4.33-second mark in 2001 is legendary. When Griffin recorded an unofficial time of 4.38 seconds on one of his runs, it was believed to be the fastest by a quarterback since Vick.
Of course, Griffin, 22, and Vick, 32, are in very different stages in their careers. Tuck said he'd pay to see a race between today's Griffin and the Vick who was the No. 1 overall pick by the Falcons last decade.
"I would like to see a race between those two. I really would," Tuck said. "A young Vick and RG now? That would be insane to watch. I’d pay to see it." Read more...
Tom Coughlin Says Robert Griffin III "Is A Little Bit Different" Than Other Mobil Quarterbacks
Excerpt: "The mobile quarterback is no longer an anomaly in today's NFL. Dual threats exist throughout the league from Michael Vick to last season's rookie sensation Cam Newton. But Robert Griffin III, a rookie who has taken Newton's success to new heights, perhaps does things on a football field that no other signal caller has at this level, Tom Coughlin acknowledged this morning.
"There are two or three people that we play, year-in and year-out, that are running type quarterbacks that you have to really do a great job with," Coughlin said. "They do some things that creare different problems for you, but as far as a mobile quarterback that will pull it down and run, we've played against a few. We can relate to a little bit of that, but this is a little bit different."
That's because Griffin is not only track-speed fast (he runs a 4.4-second 40-yard dash) and physically-imposing (he weighs 220 pounds), but he has the strong arm to compliment the legs, something Giants players said they underrated going into their first meeting in Week 7." Read more...
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS.
Phillips Unhappy About How Knee Rahab Went
Excerpt: "It has been nine long weeks since Kenny Phillips first suffered an MCL injury and he never imagined his right knee would still be a problem. And it’s not just bad luck or chronic knee issues, either.
Phillips said he’s still hurting because “When we started our rehab we didn’t go about it the right way.”
The Giants’ safety wouldn’t get into specifics, nor did he place blame on any one person, but he seemed clearly unhappy about the way his injury has been handled since he first got hurt in a Week 4 game in Philadelphia. He missed the next six games plus the bye week before returning last Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers.
Then he hurt his knee again.
“Yeah, it sucks,” Phillips said. “It’s real frustrating. It seems like it’s always something. But I’ve been able to play through it. This is probably the most I’ve been able to play. I’m trying to bounce back from it. It felt OK. I’m getting better each day.”
Phillips, who was limited in practice on Friday, is pressing to play again on Monday night in Washington and hopes to remain in the lineup the rest of the season. But he’s clearly still hurting and said it’ll likely be that way until the offseason when he can rest.
He had plenty of time to rest before last Sunday night, though, so he definitely didn’t feel like he rushed back onto the field. But something about the way he went about his rehab just didn’t seem to work out.
“When we started our rehab we didn’t go about it the right way, and now here we are, we’re dealing with it right now,” Phillips said. “I don’t want to get into (specifics). It just didn’t work out the way we wanted it to.
Asked if he was angry, Phillips said “I mean, I wouldn’t say I’m mad about it. It is what it is. No one’s perfect. I just think we both felt that something needed to change. We needed to change up the rehab. We just felt like we weren’t doing the right things.
“So we just switched up and it immediately starting feeling better. So I’m here now. I’m not worried about the games that I missed.” Read more...
Giants' Insider: Wilson Must Run With Chance
Excerpt: "David Wilson understands the enormous opportunity he’s likely to get on Monday night. But Tom Coughlin pulled him aside for a brief conversation anyway, just to make sure.
His message to the Giants’ first-round draft pick was simple: “Ratchet it up,” Coughlin said.
“Yeah,” Wilson confirmed. “He told me to be ready and be prepared.”
The Giants will find out how ready he is on Monday night when Wilson is expected to be the Giants’ No. 2 running back when they face the Redskins in Landover. He’ll replace the injured Andre Brown (broken leg/injured reserve) and back up the gimpy Ahmad Bradshaw, who missed practice (as usual) on Thursday due to his injured foot.
Coughlin insisted Wilson is “ready to go.” Asked how he can be so sure, Coughlin said “He’s got to go.
“We’ve had people that have had to step up in the past when situations like this have arisen. We’ve put a lot of responsibility on their shoulders and it’s time for him,” Coughlin said. “He’s a first-round draft choice, a talented kid. He got some plays the other night, which was a good thing. We go from there.”
Just how much work Wilson will get depends on Bradshaw, who may see his responsibilities extended on Monday night, the coach said. There’s also a “possibility” the Giants may use a little of either Ryan Torain or Kregg Lumpkin, the two running backs they signed earlier this week. However both seem more likely to contribute on special teams." Read more...
Smith: All Eyes On RGIII For Giants-Skins II
Excerpt: "The last time the Giants saw Robert Griggin III, the Redskins’ rookie quarterback, Big Blue was wiping its brow and letting out a long, slow whistle of relief.
Griffin, with help from rookie running back Alfred Morris, had helped the Skins roll up 480 yards of offense on the Giants. And Griffin had guided Washington to what he thought was the winning score, capping a 77-yard drive with a 30-yard TD pass to Santana Moss with 1:32 to play.
It took the late heroics of Eli Manning and Victor Cruz hooking up on a 77-yard TD pass for the Giants to walk away winners that day.
The Giants are hoping they can do a better job containing Griffin the second time around when they play the Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover on Monday night.
“You’re obviously going to do some tweaking of how we played them and what was good and what wasn’t good,” Tom Coughlin said. “But if you’ve got something to build from I think it’s easier for the players to relate to, and that’s where we started on defense.”
There was universal respect for Griffin in the Giants’ locker room on Thursday. They’re not foolish enough to tweak the rookie and give him a greater incentive to beat them.
“He might be the fastest quarterback I’ve ever seen,’’ said defensive end Justin Tuck. “I once said that (Michael) Vick was the fastest quarterback I’d ever seen with the football in his hands. I might have to retract that.’’
Tied with the Cowboys at two games behind the Giants (7-4) in the NFC East, the Redskins (5-6) are fighting for their playoff lives. But a win on Monday would change the dynamics in a hurry.
A win by the Giants gives them significant breathing room — three games ahead with four to play. If they don’t want to stress down the stretch, they will take care of Griffin and the Redskins. If they don’t, the Redskins could come back to haunt them.
Griffin will be the great equalizer if things do manage to get tight. The Giants will be done with the Redskins after Monday night. But the Redskins have the easier schedule, finishing up with the Browns, Eagles and Cowboys." Read more...
Beast Ready To Take Control Of East
Excerpt: "The Giants have no intentions of playing with fire and fighting for their playoff lives again at the end of this season.
They have decided that the time to burn down the division is now.
Especially before RG3 figures it all out.
“I think Coach put it to us in some good terms today that this is a big game for us,” Victor Cruz said, “and we need to win and put some space between us and the rest of the division. So I think as a team we understand that.”
Coach, of course, is Tom Coughlin.
“This is the most important game we’ve played all year long this Monday night,” Coughlin said.
Justin Tuck was asked why Monday night is more important to the 7-4 Giants than it is to the 5-6 Redskins, who are tied with the 5-6 Cowboys.
“It gives [the Giants] a three-game lead in this division. ... It kinda starts the Fat Lady to singing a little bit as far as this division is concerned, being up three with four games to go, that’s ideal, I guess, in this situation,” Tuck said. “I think it’s important for us because I play with the Giants, I don’t necessarily care what’s important for them, so I can’t even comprehend why it would be more important for them.” Read more...
Nicks Finally Feeling Like His Old Self Again
Excerpt: "There were moments on Sunday night when even Hakeem Nicks could finally feel it. He felt the explosion that Victor Cruz saw, and the “old powerful style of football” that Eli Manning said his best receiver plays.
“Certain plays,” Nicks said, “I felt like I got back to myself.”
That couldn’t have come at a better time for the Giants, who desperately need a healthy Nicks for the stretch run of their season. There had been a hole in their offense since he added a knee injury to his ailing foot at the end of his breakout game in Week 2 against Tampa Bay.
But his five-catch, 77-yard, one-touchdown performance in the 38-10 win over the Packers signaled a healthy return for the Giants’ No. 1 receiver. And all of a sudden, the Giants’ offense felt whole – and dangerous – again.
“Definitely,” Cruz said on Thursday. “There’s obviously an attention that the defense pays to him at times when he’s out there. And from an energy standpoint, you can just feel when he’s out there. It’s a different energy when he’s talking to us, when he’s out there on the field. It’s good to have him back.”
Good for the Giants, but maybe not so good for the Redskins, whom they face on Monday night. Even Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall said that when Nicks is fully healthy, “He’s a beast, there’s no doubt about it.” The last time a fully healthy Nicks and Cruz teamed up the Giants’ offense looked nearly unstoppable. Nicks had 10 catches for 199 yards and a touchdown in the Giants’ 41-34 win. Cruz had 11 catches for 179 yards and a touchdown.
Afterwards many were touting them as the best wide receiver tandem in the entire league.
They are rarely mentioned in that category anymore, but they haven’t forgotten what they’re capable of doing when they’re on top of their games together.
“We just want to be 100 percent so we can do some of the things that we did in that Tampa game,” Cruz said. “Be a dual threat, be able to (allow Eli Manning to) pass to either one of us and get some big yardage and make some big plays. We feel like we’re almost there. We’re almost close to that. I feel we’re kicking up right at the right time.”
“We know what we can bring to the table,” Nicks added. “We look forward to doing it.” Read more...
Coughlin To Wilson: "Ratchet It Up"
Excerpt: "David Wilson was the No. 1 running back in practice on Thursday, while Ahmad Bradshaw took his usual place in the injury area. The rookie won’t be the top back on Monday night, though, but with Andre Brown lost for the season there’s no doubt he’ll have a big role.
That’s why when Tom Coughlin was asked about his expectations for Wilson this week, he said “Ratchet it up. He’s ready to go.”
Coughlin even admitted he’s spoken to the rookie about those expectations, now that Wilson is finally out of the coaches’ doghouse which he’s been in since his Week 1 fumble. And he seemed very confident that Wilson is ready to get the job done.
“We’ve had people that have had to step up in the past when situations like this have arisen. We’ve put a lot of responsibility on their shoulders and it’s time for him,” Coughlin said. “He’s a first-round draft choice, a talented kid. He got some plays the other night, which was a good thing. We go from there.” Read more...
THE NEW YORK POST
Giants Know What To Expect In Round 2
Excerpt: "Justin Tuck is not sure about the sustainability of the read-option, jet-quick offense the Giants will see for the second time when they face Robert Griffin III and the Redskins on Monday night.
After all, as fast as RG3 is, he doesn’t operate in a protective bubble.
“If RG stays healthy, then I think this offense will continue to roll,’’ Tuck said yesterday. “The thing about it is: Who wants their franchise quarterback getting hit every game like that? That’s what it’s gonna come down to: If they had a second RG to back him up, which there is none, then you can say then the shelf life of this offense is a little bit longer. If he pulls a hamstring or has an ankle injury for a couple of weeks, where do you go then?’’
That’s a debate for another time because in the here and now the Giants have to deal, again, with Griffin, and they speak of him in such reverential tones it is easy to forget he is a rookie on a 5-6 team trying against all odds to plow into playoff contention.
The first time around, on Oct. 21, Griffin passed for 258 yards and two touchdowns, ran for 89 yards and put his team ahead 23-20 with 1:32 remaining before Eli Manning and Victor Cruz came back to steer the Giants to a 27-23 victory. The Giants were torched in the first half by rookie running back Alfred Morris for 94 yards, but clamped down and held him to 26 rushing yards in the second half.
The second time around should be much different, the Giants figure, because the Redskins run such an unconventional attack and in Griffin have such a physical marvel that they needed to see it and feel it to believe it.
“He’s very fast, he’s much faster on the field than he is on tape,’’ defensive tackle Chris Canty said. “Their whole operation is faster than you see on tape. You don’t have an opportunity to get a feel for that just watching, you have to be out there, you have to have experienced it.’’ Read more...
Giants Bring in Journeymen For Shot To Push David Wilson As Back Up RB
Excerpt: "Ryan Torain was playing seven-on-seven football in Arizona. Kregg Lumpkin was considering the corporate world of mortgage financing. And David Wilson was plodding through the typical trials of an NFL rookie.
One serious running game injury later and all have decidedly different roles this week for the Giants, who are preparing to face the Redskins on Monday night in Washington.
Torain, who played three NFL seasons including the last two with the Redskins, and Lumpkin, a veteran of three teams, both were signed by the Giants on Tuesday after Andre Brown fractured his leg Sunday night against Green Bay. Wilson has been used sparingly as a rookie first-round pick out of Virginia Tech, but with Brown down, he must “ratchet it up,” according to Tom Coughlin.
“Andre went down. He’s a big part of our running game so it’s for me to be the next guy in line,” Wilson said. “He played a heavy role in our offense. Somebody’s got to step up. I’ve been working hard just being ready.”
And serving as teacher and mentor this week to the new guys vying for a chance to back up Ahmad Bradshaw.
“When they ask me questions, I have to provide answers. That [lets me do] the quiz that me and Henry [Hynoski, a fullback] do. It is like they quiz me too and now I am getting questions,” said Wilson, who has carried 24 times — including six against the Packers — in addition to his kick return duties, a job he wants to keep along with his added rushing responsibilities. “It’s like I’m getting quizzed when they ask me questions about the protections. They’re keeping me on my toes.” Read more...
Phillips Misses Practice. But Coughlin Oprimistic
Excerpt: "Kenny Phillips did not step foot on the practice field Thursday, and the next two days will tell if the rangy safety can avoid missing yet another game after aggravating a knee injury.
Coach Tom Coughlin said he hopes and anticipates Phillips will be able to get on the field today.
That could be wishful thinking.
After missing six consecutive games, Phillips hurt his right knee again in the 38-10 victory over the Packers. He’s expressed optimism it’s nothing serious and hopes he will be able to play Monday night against the Redskins. But Phillips has sounded positive before and ended up not being able to play.
There were six players on the initial injury report and only two of them, WR Domenik Hixon (ankle) and LB Jacquian Williams (knee), were able to practice on a limited basis. CB Jayron Hosley was added to the injury report after practice; he was limited with a shoulder issue.
Two starting offensive linemen, C David Baas (shoulder) and RT David Diehl (shoulder), did not work. RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) also was held out, as usual." Read more...
THE BERGEN RECORD
Manning-Nicks-Cruz Reconnection A Big Boost For Giants
Excerpt: "The fact that the Redskins’ resident rocket scientist expert, cornerback DeAngelo Hall, believes he could have completed the winning touchdown pass to a wide-open Victor Cruz the last time his team faced the Giants does not bother Eli Manning.
“No, it doesn’t mean anything,” Big Blue’s quarterback said Thursday. “Maybe he could’ve.”
But even a facetious suggestion of anybody else throwing a pass for the Giants’ seems odd. Manning will make his 131st straight start dating to 2004 – the third-longest streak among quarterbacks in NFL history – when the first-place Giants (7-4) face the second-place Redskins (5-6) Monday night at FedEx Field with a chance to put a hammer-lock on the NFC East.
A big part of Manning’s success since 2009, wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, is hoping to prove he’s finally returning to his difference-making form after being slowed for most of this season, first as he recovered from off-season foot surgery and then by a knee injury.
Nicks caught five passes for 77 yards and a touchdown in the Giants’ 38-10 win over the Packers Sunday, looking as healthy as he’s been since catching 10 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown in a Week 2 win over the Buccaneers.
But Nicks missed the next three games. A four-day turnaround to the Giants’ Week 3 win over the Panthers proved too short for his sore right foot, and he missed the next two games because of swelling in his left knee.
Hall, clearly not shy about discussing the Giants, said Nicks is a “beast” when healthy.
“Yeah, I feel like I can be,” said Nicks, who has exceeded 1,000 yards receiving the past two seasons and has 542 yards and two touchdowns on 41 catches in eight games this season.
“It’s going to take just working hard. It’s going to take getting that timing back with Eli and playing within the offense.”
Manning said he definitely noticed some of the vintage Nicks against the Packers.
“I thought he did a good job,” Manning said. “He was getting open. He was beating some one-on-one and catching the ball. He was making some guys miss. It was kind of the old, powerful style of football he plays.”
And the Giants don’t need Nicks to regain his spot as their No. 1 receiver for just Manning’s sake.
A healthy Nicks is good for Cruz and the overall balance of the offense." Read more...
Giants' Notes: RGIII MOst Impressive
Excerpt: "It’s not just Robert Griffin III’s completions that give DE Justin Tuck nightmares.
Tuck said the dual-threat QB’s most impressive move during the Giants’ 27-23 win over the Redskins on Oct. 21 came on a play when RGIII deliberately threw the ball away.
The Redskins faced a third-and-goal at the Giants’ 2-yard line late in the first quarter when Griffin, scrambling to his left under a heavy rush from LB Michael Boley and DT Chris Canty, swiveled his hips while running full speed to avoid being sacked so he could throw the ball out of the end zone.
"If I had tried doing that, I would have fallen on my head," Tuck said on Thursday.
Tuck admitted Monday the thought of facing Griffin gave him "nightmares," but he’s hoping playing the Redskins a second time will give the Giants an advantage.
Tuck also believes the Redskins’ near-college style offense may have a "shelf life."
"If RGIII stays healthy, I think this offense will continue to grow," Tuck said.
"But who wants their franchise quarterback getting hit every game like that?" Read more...
NEW YORK TIMES
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Gi9nats vs. Redskins Scouting Report
The Giants will make their only Monday night appearance of the season this week when they visit their NFC East rivals, the Washington Redskins, in FedEx Field. It will be a rematch of the Giants’ thrilling 27-23 victory in MetLife Stadium on October 21, when Eli Manning and Victor Cruzhooked up for the game-winning 77-yard touchdown pass with 1:13 remaining – and only 19 seconds after Washington had taken the lead. The Giants have faced the Redskins 159 times in the regular season since their first game in 1932, making this their most frequently-contested rivalry. They lead the series, 92-63-4. Washington swept the season series in 2011 for the first time since 1999. The Giants have won five of their last six games in Washington and are 8-6-1 in FedEx Field. Giants' Injury Report - 11/30/2012
With electrifying rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III running the show, the Redskins’ offense is ranked seventh in the NFL is yards per game (384.9) and points per game (26.9 a game). Washington is averaging a league-best 6.2 yards per play. The Redskins are second in the NFL in rushing yards a game (162.9) and second in yards-per-carry (5.2). They are 19th in passing yardage (222.0 a game).
Washington’s offense lost tight end Fred Davis, who tore his Achilles tendon against the Giants, but now has the services of wide receiver Pierre Garcon, who missed six games with a toe injury. Tackle Jamaal Brown was kept on the reserve/physically unable to perform list and he will not play this year.
The Redskins have scored 76 points off of turnovers after getting 43 all of last year. They are one of three teams in the NFL with more rushing attempts (346) than passes (305). Griffin (642 rushing yards) and Alfred Morris (982) are the only teammates in history to exceed 500 yards in their rookie season. Washington’s last 10 100-yard rushers have been rookies – Evan Royster, Roy Helu and Morris, who has four this year.
When the running game is clicking, the Redskins use plenty of play action, which makes Griffin even more dangerous. They run a variety of screens and gadget plays. Griffin is a dual threat who has thrown 16 touchdown passes and rushed for six more scores. He has completed 67 percent of his passes, thrown only four interceptions and is averaging 6.5 yards a carry. Griffin has outstanding arm strength, he’s a good decision maker and he breaks down a defense when he steps out of the pocket, as he did on a successful fourth-and-10 late in Washington’s loss to the Giants. Defenses get tired chasing him around. Griffin’s backup is another rookie, Kirk Cousins, who has thrown nine passes this season – including a 77-yard touchdown.
Morris is a workhorse back who rushed for a season-high 120 yards vs. the Giants. He ran for 113 yards in the Skins’ Thanksgiving Day victory in Dallas. Morris is a tough, hard-nosed runner whose 982 yards place him fifth in the NFL. He has scored six touchdowns. Royster is a quick-footed, change-of-pace back who has 13 rushing attempts and 13 catches this season. Fullback Darrel Young was a linebacker at Villanova who joined the Redskins as an undrafted free agent. He is now an improving blocker who has averaged 4.7 yards on his nine carries and caught two touchdown passes.
Garcon had a spectacular 59-yard touchdown reception against the Cowboys. He is a consistent playmaker with speed and strength who has averaged almost 16 yards a catch in his limited action this season. The other starter is Josh Morgan, who has a team-high 37 receptions but has yet to score a touchdown. He is tough and competitive in the middle of the field and Washington’s best-blocking wideout. Santana Moss, a 12-year veteran, has career totals of 70 catches for 1,048 yards and 11 touchdowns against the Giants. This season, he usually lines up in the slot in a three-wide receiver formation and he leads the team with seven touchdown receptions. Moss is a savvy veteran who is quick at the break point and fast enough to get down the field. Leonard Hankerson, who had six catches against the Giants, is at his best as a post-up target. Brandon Banks is dangerous when he gets the ball on bubble screens. Aldrick Robinson has 11 catches, including one in each of the last two games – 49 and 68-yard touchdowns. He is a vertical route runner who helps clear out the intermediate area for his teammates.
Logan Paulson took over as the starting tight end when Davis was placed on injured reserve. Paulson is a strong blocker who is making strides as a receiver. His 12 catches in the last four games is the team’s second-highest total in that span. Backup Niles Paul is used primarily as an H-back. He is a good lead blocker who has averaged 18.7 yards on his seven catches. Chris Cooley, a former six-year starter who was released on August 28, was re-signed to take Davis’ place on the roster. He has played little since his return, but is a smart and savvy veteran.
Washington’s starting offensive line has remained intact since the first Giants game. The best player up front is left tackle Trent Williams, a powerful and aggressive blocker who can handle speed rushers because of his quick feet. Right tackle Tyler Polumbus is a 6-8, 305-pounder short-area mauler in the run game. Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger is Washington’s most-penalized player, but he is a feisty blocker. Right guard Chris Chester, a tight end in college, is the Redskins’ most productive inside offensive lineman. He is a steady all-around player. Center Will Montgomery has good instincts in the run game and is at his best on the move.
The Redskins’ 3-4 defense is ranked 28th in the NFL (390.5 yards a game), despite being one of the league’s strongest units against the run. Washington’s rushing defense is third in the NFL, giving up only 89.2 yards per game. But the pass defense is ranked 31st, allowing 301.4 yards an outing. The Redskins have allowed an average of 25.9 points a game, placing them 25th in the league. They have given up 285 points – 40 in the third quarter, but 116 in the fourth.
Washington is missing numerous key players on defense. The Redskins lost two of their best defensive players for the season in Week 2, when left end Adam Carriker (torn tendon near his right knee) and right outside linebacker Brian Orakpo (torn left pectoral) were injured. Safety Brandon Meriweather and rookie linebacker Keenan Robinson are also on I.R.
The defensive line has just 3.5 of the Redskins’ 20 sacks. Nose tackle Barry Cofield, the former Giant, has played well all season. He leads the team with 26 quarterback hits and has 35 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Cofield is a good player on the move who is constantly running plays down. Left end Jarvis Jenkins, who missed the 2011 season with a torn knee ligament, quickly reads schemes and uses his hands well against the run and pass. Right end Stephen Bowen is an every-down player who moves inside in the sub defenses. Kedric Golston contributes steady pressure as a backup. Chris Baker is a two-down space eater who plays about 13 snaps a game.
Middle linebacker London Fletcher, the 15-year veteran, has battled injuries all season, but his streak of consecutive games played is now at 235. Currently playing with a sore ankle, Fletcher leads the team with 127 tackles (75 solo) and has two interceptions and a sack. The three-time Pro Bowler is an instinctive player who takes good angles and is a sure tackler. Perry Riley is a solid run-stopper at the other inside backer position. Left outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is the team’s biggest pass-rush threat. He leads the team with 6.5 sacks; no one else has more than 2.0. Kerrigan has straight line power and good movement on the edge. Rob Jackson reacts quickly to the ball in pass coverage and can pack a punch against the run. Backup Lorenzo Alexander has gotten increased playing time. He lines up in several spots and is a relentless attacker.
Cornerback DeAngelo Hall sometimes covers the opposition’s best receiver and at other times stays on the left or right side. A volatile player – he was ejected from the game in Pittsburgh – Hall is playing well and is Washington’s third-leading tackler with 80. He leads the Redskins with four interceptions. The other corner is Josh Wilson, who does a good job of disguising his intentions. Cedric Griffin plays on the corner in the sub defenses, with Hall moving inside. Griffin is a hard-hitter. Free safety Madieu Williams has been the most consistent member of the secondary. A good communicator on the back end of the defense, he is quick to read a play and react to it. DeJon Gomes has taken over for Reed Doughty as the other starting safety. Gomes is at his best as a zone defender, but he has brought good pressure on blitzes.
Coach Mike Shanahan’s decision to sign kicker Kai Forbath on October 9 has proven to be wise.
Forbath has made all 10 of his field goal attempts, though the Steelers did block one of his extra point tries. Forbath has been accurate and poised. Punter Sav Rocca is 26th in the NFL with a 44.0-yard gross average and 25th with a 37.-8 yards net average. But he gets good hang time and the Skins haven’t allowed a punt return longer than 22 yards. Brandon Banks is averaging 24.1 yards on 21 kickoff returns and 6.8 yards on 23 punt returns. Long snapper Nick Sundberg, who didn’t play against the Giants in October, has been activated off injured reserve. Alexander is one of the NFL’s best special teamers. He leads the team with 20 special teams tackles (15 solo). Washington is fifth in the NFL in punt coverage (average opposing return, 6.5 yards) and 11th in kickoff coverage (22.6)."
NEW YORK GIANTSDid Not Participate in Practice
RB Agmas Bradshawa (Foot)
T David Diehl (Shoulder)
DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Back)
Limited Participation in Practice
C David Baas (Shoulder)
WR Domenik Hixon (Ankle)
CB Jayron Holsey(Shoulder)
S Kenny Phillips (Knee)Limited Participation in Practice
LB Jacquian Williams (Knee)
LB London Fletcher (Ankle)
T Trent Williams (Thigh)
BIG BLUE VIEW
Giants' New Running Backs Being Brought Up To Speed
Excerpt: "Head coach Tom Coughlin, who said that it as a possibility for one or both of the newcomers to play on Monday night, will probably not play either one unless they can both show knowledge of the Giants’ schemes, especially on pass blocking. And to make sure that the desired results are there by kickoff, both Lumpkin and Torain have joined the extra post-practice study sessions organized by fullback Henry Hynoski.
“Yeah, we did that Tuesday and Wednesday,” said Lumpkin, the former Seahawk who was in the process of taking a job at the corporate level when the Giants called to invite him in for a tryout. “It’s coming along good. (Henry) is a great coach’s assistant.
“They’ve been helping me out a lot,” added Torain, the former Redskin who was assigned the locker stall next to Hynoski’s.
The extra classroom work, which is overseen by running backs coach Jerald Ingram, has become more of a group effort, as in addition to Hynoski, Ahmad Bradshaw has shared his tips and working with his new teammates.
Even rookie David Wilson, who is projected to move up to the number two running back spot now that André Brown is on injured reserve with a broken leg, has gotten in on the act as far as giving his new teammates a helping hand, an opportunity he said has helped reinforce his confidence in learning the pass protections.
“When they ask me questions, I have to provide answers,” Wilson said. “The quiz that me and Henry do is like they’re quizzing me too when they ask me questions. So now I’m getting double the work in making sure I know it.”
So just what is it that Torain, Lumpkin, and Wilson have to show knowledge of before they get on the field?
In addition to the plays themselves, there is the understanding of the terminology. Hynoski noted that across the NFL, many teams run similar plays, but they have different terminology and wrinkles that make the plays unique to that team’s playbook." Read more...
THE RED ZONE.
Notebook: Scout Team Good, Nicks Healthier
Excerpt: "It might not be as catchy as RG3, but Jerrel Jernigan has earned himself a nickname for his scout team work impersonating Washington's rookie quarterback: JJ1.
"That almost sounds like he should have been in Star Wars or something," Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said.
Tuck praised Jernigan, as well as backup quarterback David Carr for their roles on the scout team pretending to be Robert Griffin III. The pair has to study the quarterback's tendencies, and play as RG3 would to give the defense a look at what they might see Monday night.
"I give our scout team a lot of credit, they got a lot on their plate to kind of learn on the fly and give us good looks. Today they gave us good looks and it had us puzzled a little bit in some situations," Tuck said. "A lot of times our scout team doesn't get the necessary credit that they deserve because they gave us some pretty good looks this week and last week too."
Jernigan, a second-year receiver, is used to imitate Griffin's speed. Carr, as the backup, normally does quarterback work for the scout teams. Jernigan, who has been active for just five games this year, has only caught one ball as he's low on the team's depth chart.
NICKS GETTING THERE: As the Giants offense struggled entering the bye, a lot of talk focused on the injuries of Hakeem Nicks. The talented receiver had missed time with knee and foot issues and hadn't quite gotten back to form.
Over the last two games, Nicks is finally starting to look like his old self as he's caught 14 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown against Green Bay and Cincinnati. In the previous four games, he had caught a combined 13 passes for 152 yards without any touchdowns.
"I know at some point during the season I will get back to playing ball the way I play, at a high level," Nicks said.
Having Nicks operating near 100 percent opens up the passing game as teams have to give the Giants different looks. It makes life easier on Victor Cruz as well as quarterback Eli Manning. " Read more...
Coughln: Monday Is "Most Importanr Game"
Excerpt: "Monday night's game in Washington won't be just another divisional matchup for the Giants.
"The stage has been set," head coach Tom Coughlin said. "Every game is extremely important. This is the most important game we've played all year long this Monday night."
The showdown will go a long way in determining which team is going to walk away with the NFC East. With a win, the Giants could sweep the Redskins and put themselves three games up in the division with just four remaining. A loss opens up the division.
"We are looking at this as this is the biggest game of the year right now," Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks said. "We are still taking it one game at at time, and we got to grind through it and expect big things."
With a two-game lead on Washington and Dallas, the Giants can put Washington behind them by sweeping their NFC East rivals. If Dallas loses to Philadelphia, the Giants would then be up three games on both opponents entering the final four games. Even if the Cowboys win, the Giants would still be up two games on them.
Things would become dicey for the Giants with a loss, as they face a tough schedule to end the year. If the Redskins and Cowboys win, the Giants are suddenly just a game up in the division and will have to likely pull off some road upsets to secure their road to the playoffs.
In the final four weeks, the Giants host New Orleans and Philadelphia and travel to playoff-bound Atlanta and Baltimore. Washington's only game left against a team currently projected for the playoffs is a home game against Baltimore, while Dallas' only one is a home game against Pittsburgh.
"For both teams it's a very big game. It’s a divisional game," Coughlin said. "It's at this point of the year they're coming off two divisional wins. We're anxious to get back into the division, hopefully, to do well, but it's a very important game for both teams." Read more...
Giants Have RGIII On The Brain
Excerpt: "During the New York Giants' two most recent Super Bowl runs and many of their greatest wins in between, a devastating pass rush has carried the defense. It was the difference-makers that haunted Aaron Rodgers and twice flicked asideTom Brady. So it has been a little jarring this week to hear that when it comes to rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, the same Giants defensive linemen confess that he actually gets in their heads a bit. Not the other way around.
This is new. This is strange.
Justin Tuck was the first to volunteer that early this week when he looked ahead to Monday's rematch against the Washington Redskins and said of RG3, "Until I exit stage right, it seems like he's going to be a fixture in my dreams and nightmares."
Mathias Kiwanuka, Jason Pierre-Pauland Chris Canty have been similarly effusive about Griffin as this week has gone on. Then Tuck, speaking again Thursday, added that as he and Osi Umenyiora were watching film of the Giants' 27-23 escape against Washington on Oct. 21, he turned to Umenyiora and asked, "Did he really do that?" after Griffin backpedaled away from the rush on a first-quarter play near the goal line faster than the Giants were coming at him and smartly threw the ball away.
"If I tried that," said Tuck, "I'd probably fall on my ear." Read more...
By The Numbers: Giants - Redskins
Excerpt: "Monday Night's game marks the 160th regular season meeting between the Giants and the Redskins. We take you by the numbers." WATCH VIDEO
Countdown Daily Prediction: Giants @ Redskins - WATCH VIDEO
Baas Has Injured Shoulder
Excerpt: "Giants center David Baas is on the pre-practice injury report with a shoulder issue suffered in last Sunday's win against Green Bay. Baas was on the last week's report with an ankle/elbow injury. " Read more...
PFTs Week 13 Picks
Excerpt: "With 176 games completed, the gap has been cut from seven to two.
After a four-game sweep of our disagreements in Week 11, MDS posted another 3-1 mark in Week 12, making it very interesting over the final five weeks.
This week, we have only one disagreement. So it’ll be down to one or back to three by Monday. (I are good at the math.)
Of course, that doesn’t mean we’ll be right on the picks on which we agree. But we’re doing OK. MDS was 11-5 for Week 12, and I was 9-7. For the season, I’m at 112-63-1, a 63.6 percent accuracy rate. MDS is 110-65-1, which equates to 62.5 percent.
Giants at Redskins
MDS’s take: The Redskins have done a great job of pulling themselves back into NFC East contention, and if you want to see an interesting playoff race in December you should be rooting for the Redskins to beat the Giants on Monday night. ButRobert Griffin III playing so well as a rookie has masked the fact that the Redskins have big problems on both sides of the ball. The Giants will be too much for them.
MDS’s pick: Giants 34, Redskins 17.
Florio’s take: The Giants have awoken from their slumber. That may not be enough to contain a streaking RG3 in his Monday night debut. Forced to make a choice, however, let’s stick with the team that has shown that it still has the ability to periodically play up to its potential. Especially when it has to.
Florio’s pick: Giants 31, Redskins 27." Read more...
Kaczmar: What Parity? Familiar Facecs DOT Playoff Chase
Excerpt: "The NFL loves to sell parity. Teams can turn things around quickly, and anyone can go on a Super Bowl run. Fans are so used to picking five or six new playoff teams each season, because that is what history says will happen.
But not this year.
Even though the 2012 season has had an odd script, it's building toward a familiar final act. Expect this year’s postseason to look like a recycled version of last year’s with at least 75 percent of the same teams.
Based on standings through Week 12, there will be just three new playoff teams and two new division winners. That is the most realistic scenario. The numbers could be even smaller should a team like New Orleans make a run down the stretch.
There was already chatter after the two dominating wins in MetLife Stadium this week of a third Super Bowl in six years between New England and the New York Giants.
We may see some playoff rematches from last season. It is not far-fetched for the Giants to go through the Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers on their way to the Super Bowl. In case you forgot, those are the three teams they beat last season to get to Super Bowl XLVI.
An unusual season indeed, but the same cream from last year is starting to rise to the top once again.
Long forgotten are the Arizona Cardinals starting 4-0 or the Philadelphia Eagles at 3-1. They have each lost seven straight, though history pointed us in that direction. Minnesota was 5-2, but now sits at 6-5 with games against Green Bay (twice), Chicago and Houston remaining on the schedule. Good luck getting to 8-8." Read more...
NFL PIcks - Straight Up Week 13
Excerpt: "Who will win? Who will cover? Our experts pick every NFL game straight up and against the spread. Our NFL picks against the spread are made based on the line shown, which was the line at the time picks were published. Line and NFL picks are subject to change prior to games." Read more
Vick Worsens, Could Miss Rest Of Season
Falcons Top Saints
Redskins Put In Failed Waiver Claim For Lineman Jason Babin