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NEWARK STAR LEDGER
Robert Griffin III and Giants' Rookie David Wilson, Two Former Track Stars, Meet at FedEx Field
Excerpt: "A bit of pride peeks through as David Wilson shares that, on the practice field, some of his Giants teammates have told him how fast he is. The rookie running back wants nothing more than to display that to a national audience tonight.
“That would be ideal,” Wilson said. “Since that’s what everybody talks about with me, breaking off some big plays, being explosive, things that I like to do when I’m on the field.”
On the opposite sideline at FedEx Field will be a man the nation already knows is quite fast: Robert Griffin III, the Redskins’ rookie quarterback whose arrival instantly changed his team’s playoff hopes.
Griffin is seizing his opportunity while Wilson is hoping his comes tonight, but the young players share something beyond being first-round draft picks this past spring: Both were also budding track and field stars before putting those talents aside to pursue professional football careers.
Their college track and field coaches believe Wilson and Griffin had the potential to blossom into Olympians — Wilson in the triple jump, and Griffin in the 400-meter hurdles — had they committed themselves to the sport full-time.
They are instead focused on finding success in their NFL careers, armed with an athletic freakishness that can stand out among the other 21 men on the football field — already a regularity in Griffin’s case, and an expectation for Wilson, who should play a bigger role on offense today with Andre Brown placed on short-term injured reserve with a fractured fibula.
Wilson is confident he’s faster than Griffin: “I think I could get him in a race,” said Wilson, whose 40-yard dash time of 4.49 seconds at the NFL Combine was slower than Griffin’s 4.41, but he says he once ran 4.28 at Virginia Tech. Either way, one wrinkle in tonight’s matchup is how the players’ one-time prowess on the track transfers to their sport of choice.
“We’ve seen people hurdle somebody on the field, so there you go, that’s one event in track,” Wilson said. “Seeing Andre (Brown) dive over the pile a couple times, that’s similar to high jump. All these things go hand in hand, you’d be surprised how much. Because track is a pure test of athleticism.” world-class talent Wilson’s track and field coach at Virginia Tech, Charles Foster, boasts that Wilson was a college All-American in track and field before he was named one in football. Both honors came in 2011, the first in the spring, when Wilson placed sixth in the triple jump at the NCAA Championships." Read more...
Giants' Secondary Putting In Extra Time On Film Study
Excerpt: "This impromptu players-only film session included only the Giants secondary — nine defensive backs in all — and a few linebackers. It was brief, starting in the late afternoon last Thursday when the day’s schedule of mandatory meetings concluded. Players began strolling out 15 minutes into the informal session, a steady stream filtering out over the 40-plus minutes.
They watched film of the Packers offense, ignoring the opposing defense on the screen and setting their focus on how and with whom Green Bay lined up, rookie safety Will Hill recalled Friday. Before each play, someone in the room would identify the Packers’ personnel. The players then looked down at their call sheet, found the appropriate defense — a Cover-2, for example — for the specific offensive personnel and announced their responsibilities for the play, starters and backups alike.
Any discrepancies in the room were instantly addressed and resolved before moving on to the next play. The purpose of the exercise: to avoid confusion, hesitation and, ultimately, costly coverage breakdowns.
“We were making sure we were all seeing everything the same way and if we didn’t see something the same way, we would talk about it,” safety Stevie Brown said. “And make sure we’re all on the same page so if anything happened like that on the field, it’s something we’ve already talked about, it’s something we’ve seen and we’d all be able to know how each other would react.”
An alarming tendency to surrender long pass plays — and a two-game losing streak — spawned the coach-free film session, the first of its kind since last season when cornerback Corey Webster coordinated the initial meeting after a series of coverage gaffes had been plaguing the defense.
Entering last Sunday night, the Giants had allowed 41 plays of 20 or more yards, the second most in the NFL. Some were simply the opposition making a play, but a frustratingly high frequency of coverage breakdowns was the reason for a fair share of the large gains.
Players say the meeting made a tangible difference, and it came to fruition Sunday night. Besides Jordy Nelson’s 61-yard touchdown reception, when he beat Webster down the sideline on the Packers’ fourth play from scrimmage, the Giants shut down the Packers’ potent passing attack.
The Giants dominated with a three-safety look as their base defense, capitalizing on Phillips’ return after missing six games and Brown’s emergence over that span to return to the scheme they relied upon during their Super Bowl run last season. The Giants took it a step further on two snaps, fielding a four-safety package with Hill joining Phillips, Brown, and Antrel Rolle, who spent much of the game playing down low and shadowing Randall Cobb in the slot.
Having all his pieces, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said he was able to mix and match coverages on occasion to fluster the veteran Aaron Rodgers.
But, as it always does, it boiled down to execution and the back end’s success forced Rodgers to hold onto the ball longer than anticipated much of the night against the Giants’ feared front four. Consequently, Rodgers was under duress, hit or sacked on 17 of his 33 dropbacks.
According to Pro Football Focus, Rodgers held the ball an average of 3.55 seconds per play — a full second longer than Rodgers’ average time to throw this season — on the five plays he was sacked. His quarterback rating was substantially lower when the Giants rushed just four, evidence of the back end’s prowess. Rodgers had a QB rating of 90.5 against the blitz, and a rating of 54.9 and an interception when the Giants didn’t send more than four pass rushers.
Only one sack of the five, when linebacker Chase Blackburn shot up the middle untouched, was the product of additional pressure.
“Very,” linebacker Michael Boley, a participant in the players-only film session, said when asked how important the coverage’s role was in the pressure on Rodgers. “We work together, the back end with the front. Us playing our coverage definitely allowed those guys at times to get pressure and vice versa; them getting pressure allowed us to do better in our coverage.” Read more...
Giants' Kenny Phillips Doubtful For Redskins' Game, Jason Pierre-Paul Misses Second Practice
Excerpt: "The Giants likely will play another game without safety Kenny Phillips, who is listed as doubtful for Monday night's game against the Redskins with a right knee injury that has bothered him since Week 4.
Each of the team's starting defensive ends appeared on the injury report this week, too: Jason Pierre-Paul is questionable after sitting out practice yesterday and today with a back injury. Justin Tuck did not practice today with a foot injury but is listed as probable for the game.
Phillips missed six games after injuring his MCL against the Eagles, before returning in last week's win against the Packers. His presence was immediately felt on the field, and his return also allowed the Giants to use a three-safety look as their base defense with Antrel Rolle playing the nickel corner and Phillips and Stevie Brown playing deep.
The Giants defense will no doubt have to adjust. Phillips re-injured his knee in the second half of last week's game but said all week he would play. His listing of doubtful indicates he will not.
"When we started our rehab, we didn't go about it the right way, and now here we are, we're dealing with it," Phillips said, explaining why the injury has lingered so long. In the past, he said he pushed the knee too early and did not rest it enough.
LB Jacquian Williams, who has missed the last five games with a PCL tear, is also doubtful. TE Travis Beckum is out with a knee injury, but a person familiar with his status said he did not re-injure the ACL he tore in the Super Bowl, he just has soreness, which is natural coming off that kind of injury. That person requested anonymity because the team has not commented on Beckum's status." Read more...
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS.
Smith: Coughlin & Co. Looking For Another December To Remember
Excerpt: "The calendar has turned from November — which is the cruelest month for the Giants — to December, when NFL champions are forged.
If there is a move to be made, this is the month that Big Blue typically puts it all together and starts to shift into overdrive. There is no better time than Monday night against the Redskins for the Giants to solidify their hold on the NFC East and certify their championship credentials.Here is where the Giants (7-4) make it easy for themselves down the stretch. A victory over Washington (5-6) gives them a three-game lead in the division with four games remaining, and puts the Redskins and the Cowboys further in the background.
Before their bye week there were all kinds of questions trailing the Giants after they dropped back-to-back games against Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Questions about the health of quarterback Eli Manning’s arm, about the lack of pass rush by the vaunted defensive front, about the coverage.
The first practice after the bye week the receivers were raving about Manning’s return to form, the zip and accuracy of his passes. The defensive front vowed to step up its game. And then the Giants went out and put it all together against a blazing hot Packers team. Manning found his receivers, the offensive line made holes for Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown, until Brown went out with a broken leg. The defense chased down Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and clamped down on the Green Bay receivers and running backs.
Everyone saw it, but there is still that little bit of lingering doubt as to whether there is still some holdover from the November malaise.
That is why the Giants, in this up-and-down year in the NFL where “any given Sunday” is spread over Monday and Thursday, have to go out and do it again. Stymie another sizzling hot quarterback, Redskins rookie Robert Griffin III, and bottle up another punishing rusher in rookie running back Alfred Morris.
“Last week you saw us play New York Giants football and that’s not just defense, but in our offense and special teams as well,” said defensive tackle Chris Canty. “When we were all playing together like that and we have that enthusiasm and we’re able to feed off each other this team is something special.” Read More...
Giants Look To Make Capital Gains vs. Washington, RGIII
Excerpt: "In a moment of honesty, several Giants players admitted last week that they’ve looked beyond the Washington Redskins. It’s not that they’re overlooking their Monday night opponent. They’ve simply glanced at their remaining schedule.
And they really don’t like what they see.
Beginning on Monday night, against the revived Redskins, there’s not a soft spot in the Giants’ remaining five games until maybe the season finale at home against the seemingly dead Philadelphia Eagles. They also have to play at home against the New Orleans Saints and make road trips to face two of the best teams in the NFL (the Atlanta Falcons and the Baltimore Ravens).
That’s why the two-game cushion the Giants (7-4) have in the NFC East is so important, and why they know they can’t afford to let it go.
“We’re not going to take (this game) and feel like, ‘If we lose this game we still have a chance to win our division,’” said Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora. “Because if we lose this game we might not win our division because of the teams we have coming up ahead.”
And that’s a problem because the Giants’ recent history suggests they’re at their worst when they’re not facing an actual must-win scenario. Sure, they looked like they got back on a roll last Sunday night with a 38-10 thrashing of the Green Bay Packers, putting them in position, as Victor Cruz said, to “put some space between us and the rest of the division and really be in a position to lock it up” with a win over the Redskins (5-6).
But they were in a similar spot almost a year ago, too, when they took seeming command of the NFC East with an emotional win in Dallas. They had a chance to virtually lock the division up long before the season finale.
Instead, they came home the next week and lost a passionless game to the Washington Redskins, 23-10.
“The lesson we got out of that was: When you’re playing a divisional opponent, it doesn’t matter what the records are, or what you’re ranked in the conference, or anything like that,” said linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka. “It’s always going to be a rivalry game.”
This one should be intense, and not just because the Redskins have won two straight games — both in the division — to salvage their season and push themselves to the cusp of playoff contention." Read More...
The Matchups: Giants (7 - 4) vs. Redskins (5 - 6)
Excerpt: "at FEDEX FIELD
LINE:Giants by 3TV:
ESPN, CH. 9 (Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden)RADIO:WFAN-660 AM and 101.9 FM (Bob Papa, Carl Banks). Nationwide on Dial Global Sports (Kevin Harlam, Boomer Esiason)FORECAST:Cloudy, mid-50s with 2 mph winds.KEY MATCHUPS
QB Robert Griffin III vs. defensive coordinator Perry Fewell: The electrifying rookie has the Redskins ranked second in the NFL with an average of 162.9 rushing yards per game and because of his equal threats as a runner and passer, it’s going to take an entire defensive effort against him. The Giants’ front has to throttle back on its usual attack mentality. Contain is the key word. The Giants’ secondary, which can be exposed when the pass rush isn’t at full speed, can’t let receivers behind it.INJURY REPORT
Giants S Kenny Phillips reinjured his knee and could miss the game, leaving Fewell without some of the safety combinations that worked against the Packers. DE Jason Pierre-Paul might be limited by a sore back as he tries to chase Griffin. RB Andre Brown is out for the year with a broken leg and Ahmad Bradshaw, nursing a foot injury, and rookie David Wilson will have to take on more carries. LB London Fletcher (ankle), the heart of the Redskins defense, and LT Trent Williams (thigh) are iffy. Fletcher has played in 235 straight games." Read more...
Giants Or Jets? In NJ, Big Blue Reigns Supreme
Excerpt: "New Jersey is overwhelmingly Giants country, according to a recent Seton Hall Sports poll. The survey, conducted in late November, found that 39% of Garden State residents root for the Giants, while 12% call themselves Eagles fans -- and just 10% say they are Jets fans. Twenty-three percent say they are fans of another NFL team." Read more...
Phillips Doubtful, JPP Questionable vs. Redskins
Excerpt: "The Giants may have to stop the sensational Robert Griffin III without safety Kenny Phillips and maybe even without defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul in Washington on Monday night.
Phillips was listed as “doubtful” for the Giants’ rematch with the Redskins after only being able to make it through two days of limited practice last week because of his injured right knee. And Pierre-Paul was listed as “questionable” after missing practice for a second straight day on Saturday with a back problem.
The status of Pierre-Paul is probably the most worrisome since the Giants will need all the pass-rushers they can get against the dangerous and slippery RGIII. After Pierre-Paul missed practice on Friday, Tom Coughlin sounded confident Pierre-Paul would be able to play. There was no media access to the Giants on Saturday and no statement from Coughlin, so it wasn’t clear if his feelings had changed." Read more...
THE NEW YORK POST
Beating 'Skins And Rookie QB Key
Excerpt: "A year ago, the Giants snapped out of a four-game losing streak with a rousing victory in Dallas, seemingly righting all of their wrongs and catapulting them forward for a strong stretch run.
Instead, the Giants returned home and sleepwalked through a desultory loss to the Redskins.
“The lesson we got out of that was: When you’re playing a divisional opponent, it doesn’t matter what the records are, or what you’re ranked in the conference, or anything like that,’’ linebacker/defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said. “We’re two teams that have seen each other a lot. We know what each other is capable of, and it’s going to come down to desire more so than the X’s and O’s.’’
Desire should be clearly evident tonight at FedEx Field, where the Giants (7-4) — coming off their 38-10 pasting of the Packers to end a two-game skid — can go a long way in sealing up first place in the NFC East or the Redskins (5-6) can plow into serious playoff contention behind their rookie sensation, Robert Griffin III. It’s a rematch of a 27-23 Giants victory on Oct. 21 that left the Giants defense convinced that in RG3 it had just been introduced to a star. How much he’s grown and how far the Giants have come in figuring out a way to deal with him — they didn’t do so great the first time around — is the major theme of the night.A look inside the game:
Redskins WR Pierre Garcon vs. Giants CB Corey Webster. Injuries have limited Garcon to only five games, but he’s now healthy and hauled in a 59-yard touchdown pass last week vs. the Cowboys. The former Colts receiver is a classy pass-catcher. Webster has had his ups and downs this season, with last week’s 61-yard TD allowed to Jordy Nelson a definite downer (followed by an interception of Aaron Rodgers). The first time around, the Giants didn’t face Garcon.“Boy, he’s a heck of a player, isn’t he?’’ defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. “He puts speed on the field for them and he can stretch the field. We’re always aware of him. We won’t change our plan, but we’re always aware of him.’’Read more...
Banged Up Nicks Feeling A Little Sprier
Excerpt: "For the past month or so, Hakeem Nicks smiles and says he’s feeling better than he has at any time this season.
“Doesn’t he tell you that every week?” Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. “Is he convincing you, himself or the opposition?”
Maybe all three. Nicks is slowly getting healthier from foot and knee injuries and his production on the field the past two games (14 catches, 152 yards, one touchdown) is an indication he’s on the way to regaining his form. But Nicks is not close to the break-out receiver he has been, a fact Gilbride glumly admits.
“You love the fact that he’s trying,” Gilbride said. “He refused to accept being hurt, and he knows we’re better when he’s out there, and he’s trying to do everything he can. I admire that and everything else, but he’s not the same guy yet as he was, there’s no question about that.
“It’s probably not fair how much we expect of him, but we do, and he expects it himself. And so we’re playing like, ‘Hey, you’re still the No. 1 guy, go make plays for us.’ ”
In the lead-up to tonight’s game against the Redskins, Nicks said, you guessed, it, he’s feeling better than he has at any time this season.
“He is getting better, I definitely think that,’’ Gilbride said.
* Safety Kenny Phillips, listed as doubtful after aggravating his right knee injury last week that kept him out of the previous six games, made the trip with the team.
He is unlikely to be able to heal by game-time but, by making the trip, the Giants are at least holding out hope that Phillips might improve enough to give it a shot. LBJacquian Williams (knee) and TE Travis Beckum (knee) are the only two players not on the trip and declared out for the game.
* The road has never bothered Eli Manning. His record as a starter is 76-54 — he is 38-28 at home and 38-26 on the road. ... Incredible but true: The Redskins have lost 10 straight home Monday Night Football games." Read more...
Big Blue Can't Afford Letdown
Excerpt: "He can d***le you with his smile, charm you with his personality, devastate you with his arm, demoralize you with his legs. He is the marquee attraction, the star of the show, the savior of the Redskins.
If ever there is a reason for the Giants not to suddenly forget how to play like champions, it is Robert Griffin III.This is the time of the year when you can’t just dominate Aaron Rodgers one week and show up the next week fully expecting to be Supermen again.
This is the time of year when you refuse to let this or any precocious phenom quarterback speed 100 mph on the bridge you are building to New Orleans.
"You could see it in everyone’s eyes, the way everybody’s practicing and preparing and how everybody really wants it,” fullback Henry Hynoski said. “We definitely got the ability and the talent and the coaching staff, we’re very blessed to have great coaches and great leaders on this team.
"If any team could repeat, it’s us.”
This is the time of year when your two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback plays like a two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback against the 31st-ranked pass defense (301.4 yards per game).
This is the time of year when you stop cursing the football gods for putting RG3 in the NFC East and get him again now, while you still can in only his 12th NFL start.
This is the time of the year when you walk into his raucous house and silence Griffinsanity.
No rookie quarterback is supposed to have the wherewithal to stand up to the defending world champs in a game with monumental implications for both teams.
This one does." Read more...
THE BERGEN RECORD
Giants At Redskins: How They Matchup
Excerpt: "Today, 8:30 p.m. at FedEx Field; TV: ESPN; Radio: WFAN-AM 660, FM 101.9; Line: Giants by 3
What’s at stake
Giants: A regular-season sweep of Washington likely would ice the divisional race with four games remaining. Big Blue also would like to build on the momentum gained by the 38-10 shellacking of Green Bay, especially with a back-to-back against Drew Brees and Matt Ryan coming up.
Redskins: Making a charge at the NFC East crown would be nice, but the Redskins are trying to play their way into wild-card contention. Getting back to .500 with a victory over the reigning Super Bowl champion would be a strong step. This also represents the first "Monday Night Football" appearance for Robert Griffin III.
Giants MLB Chase Blackburn vs. Redskins RB Alfred Morris: Morris needs 18 yards to become the Redskins’ first 1,000-yard rusher since Clinton Portis in 2008. He gutted the heart of the Giants’ defense the last time, and for all intents and purposes, Blackburn embodies that heart. A huge part of RGIII’s effectiveness is the Redskins’ ability to set up his play action with option runs, and Morris brings the power. If the Giants can shut down Morris, the Redskins’ bag of tricks gets that much emptier." Read more...
NEW YORK TIMES
WALL STREET JOURNAL
BIG BLUE VIEW
THE RED ZONE.
W2W4: Giants vs. Redskins
Excerpt: "The last time the Giants saw Robert Griffin III, they were a minute and 32 seconds away from losing to the Washington Redskins.
But Eli Manning put his Rocket Scientist hat on and hit Victor Cruz on a 77-yard game-winning touchdown, to DeAngelo Hall's dismay.
Now comes the rematch with the Redskins and a second meeting with RG3. Here are five things to watch for on Monday night:
RG3 kryptonite: The Giants barely survived RG3 the first time they faced each other. Now the Giants are the first team to get a second crack at the rookie.
Will it be a blessing or a curse? The Giants have to make the right reads and be sharp with their tackling. They have to find a way to keep RG3 from making the big play.
Griffin completed 7-of-11 passes on throws of more than 10 yards downfield against the Giants in their first meeting, according to ESPN Stats and Info. The Giants will have to keepPierre Garcon from busting a big play.
Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora will have to somehow contain RG3 and get their licks in when they can. They sacked Griffin three times, intercepted him once and forced a fumble in their first meeting.
Stop Alfred: The Giants have to worry about another Redskins rookie. Running back Alfred Morris rushed for 120 yards last time these teams met, and if that happens again the Giants will be in trouble.
The Giants must be able to read when Griffin hands off to Morris and when he opts to keep it to run or throw. " Read more...
Next Level Preview: Giants @ Redskins
Excerpt: "The Giants head to FedEx Field on Monday night for their second meeting of the season with the Washington Redskins. In Week 7, the Giants escaped with a 27-23 victory, largely due to Eli Manning's 77-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz with 1:13 left to play.
The Giants are coming off of a convincing 38-10 win over the Green Bay Packers. In that game, Manning broke out of his scoring slump with three touchdown passes, including strikes to favored targets Hakeem Nicks and Cruz. The Redskins, meanwhile, beat theDallas Cowboys 38-31 on the strength of Robert Griffin III's four touchdown passes.
Here are some areas to watch for on Monday:" Read more...
3TFO: Giants @ Redskins
Excerpt: "It’s that time again, where football is almost done for another week (or at least until Thursday), and it’s going out with a bang on Monday Night Football. The Giants become the first team to get a second shot at slowing down and neutralizing Robert Griffin III and the exciting Redskins offense, this time on the road as they head to the nation’s capital.
For the Giants, the season has been something of a roller coaster, but they find themselves entering December in the position they want to be in: right in the mix and knowing a run of fine form will take them to where they want to be.
The first meeting between these two sides this season was a close 27-23 affair with the Giants just coming out on top in the New Meadowlands, so the Redskins will be hoping that a change in venue will be enough to swing the score line to their favor and finish by closing to within a game of the Giants in the division.
What are the key areas to deciding which way the game will go?
Stopping the Option
The Washington offense is based around the run game and the option attack that allows RG3 to open up and attack when the defense gets too preoccupied with stopping it. The success of that running game allows the Redskins to have one of the league’s most effective passing offenses off play-action fakes, which take on an added dimension of worry for defenses with the option fakes. No QB has a better passer rating when using play action than RG3’s 124.5 this season, and his yards per attempt figure more than doubles to 12.5 over passes attempted without play action. He is also completing 69.9% of those passes and has hit teams for eight touchdowns.
In order to stop the play action passes the Giants need to stuff the run, and last meeting they couldn’t. Alfred Morris racked up 120 yards at 5.5 per carry, while Darrel Young added 26 from his five carries, but perhaps the biggest issue was they lost contain on the quarterback completely, allowing him to notch 89 yards on the ground. Four of those were scrambles accounting for 44 yards, but five were designed option runs where the Giants blew their defense for 45 yards. If the Redskins get a similar result this week, they will likely hurt the Giants more on play action." Read more...
Reid: Foles To Start For Rest Of Season
Sherrington: Unlike Eagles, Cowboys Haven't Given Up, They're Just Not Good Enough
McElroy Takes Over For Sanchez, Helps Jets Survive Cardinals