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NEWARK STAR LEDGER
Giants' David Wilson May Be Too Valuable To Keep Flipping Around The End Zone
Excerpt: "The Giants’ first-round draft pick created a stir Sunday afternoon with his three-touchdown performance in the 52-27 victory against the Saints, one on a kickoff return and two rushing. What followed — back-flips in the end zone, one to celebrate each score — created another kind of a stir.
The concern from Wilson’s teammates and bosses is understandable, particularly with starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw’s status for Sunday’s game in Atlanta very much in question, after he suffered a sprained left knee against the Saints. Wilson may need to step in as the starter, and carry his largest rushing load of the season, and the Giants can’t afford a needless injury.
Wilson shrugged. He’s been flipping since he was a toddler growing up in southern Virginia, and he claims he’s never missed.
“It’s a possibility they can go wrong, but for me, I’ve been doing ’em since I was three years old,” Wilson said. “It’s like easy, it’s almost like running, for me to jump and turn backwards. I’ve been doing it for a while, so I think people can relax a little.”
This is what comes with Wilson’s newfound status as a key part of the Giants offense. In the 12 previous games, Wilson had only cause to flip once, late in a victory against the Browns. On Sunday, he did it three times. As Tuck extolled, “without him, we don’t win that game on Sunday, hands down.”
But Tuck added, “We have to try our best now to keep his head the same size it is right now.”
It’s part of what Wilson called a “dramatic change” from Week 1, when he was benched for fumbling. Just a few weeks ago, he was the third running back on the Giants roster. But Andre Brown broke his fibula, and now Bradshaw suffered the knee injury, on top of the bruised bone in his foot." Read more...
Giants May Find Falcon's Negative Flaps Make This Game A Trap
Excerpt: "Hark! We have stumbled upon an alternate definition of the Trap Game, and it goes like this:
You’re on the road, facing a team tied for the NFL’s best record, a team that was just humiliated by a band of last-place blowhards, a team that is still thinking payback for its playoff pummeling last January — and yet the viewing public expects this team to roll over at home the moment they get their first glimpse of the intermittently mighty Giants.
These are strange times for the Atlanta Falcons, who unlike the rest of the NFC are just waiting around for the playoffs to start. It seems everyone regards them as fakes, particularly after their no-show at Carolina, which explains why Tom Coughlin keeps filling Blue minds with his usual tedious pleas of maintaining focus.
Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t.
Because everyone else is telling the Giants that the Falcons aren’t to be taken seriously.
“Who’s fault is that?” Justin Tuck harrumphed. “Are you saying the Falcons are jealous? You write that you said that.”
That’s the point. Nobody is saying much of anything about the Falcons lately, which is an extraordinary accomplishment for an 11-2 team.
Rodney Harrison bashed them on NBC after they were torched by the Panthers, asserting that no one is afraid to play them. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution seized on an NFL.com theme that the Falcons are frauds, and threw it open for public discussion Tuesday.
The consensus at the AJC’s reader forum basically went like this: Yup, sounds about right.
Sure, that’s probably just fan/media prattle, which is never right — until it’s right.
Still, you don’t even know what to make of this team. They clinched their (lousy) division with a month to spare, the remaining games mean little other than a chance to stay home for three extra weeks, and everyone seems to think their point differential reflects a soft team.
Of course, when you practice in a place called Flowery Branch, it doesn’t help." Read more...
David Wilson's Backflip Celebrations Make Giants Nervous
Excerpt: "Justin Tuck, the captain of the Giants defense, had a very direct message for rookie running back David Wilson, in regard to those backflips Wilson likes to do as his touchdown celebrations.
"I told him to stop doing them," Tuck said.
Wilson figures to play a critical role down the stretch, particularly with Ahmad Bradshaw injured, and the Giants can't afford the first-round pick getting hurt on a celebration. Especially if he continues to do three flips per game, one for each touchdown, as he did in last week's win against the Saints.
"It’s a possibility they can go wrong, but for me, I’ve been doing ‘em since I was three years old," Wilson said. "It’s like easy, it’s almost like running, for me to jump and turn backwards. I’ve been doing it for a while, so I think people can relax a little."
When Tuck gave his order to Wilson, he said Wilson smiled and walked away.
"We’re going to have another talk about not doing it," Tuck added. "Everyone knows how athletic he is, but the last thing we need is him having some tweak injury by showing off to the crowd. Let’s just keep him upright and running and leave the backflips for YouTube. They’re already on YouTube. If people want to see them, they can go to YouTube and see them."
Wilson said he also heard from general manager Jerry Reese.
"Reese just told me if I get hurt, then he’ll be in my grill," Wilson said." Read more...
THE NY DAILY NEWS
David Wilson's Touchdown Backflip Celebrations Not Worth The Risk For Rookie Running Back
Excerpt: "Victor Cruz doesn’t make his teammates nervous when he does his harmless salsa dance routine after he scores a touchdown. A couple of quick moves and it’s over.David Wilson May Get First Start Against Falcons
But even Cruz cringed when rookie running back David Wilson made it into the end zone three times against the Saints. From a standing start, Wilson gave Giants fans multiple performances of the backflip he has perfected since he was 3 years old, one that had been in storage since he scored his previous NFL touchdown in early October.
Back spasms. Pulled hammy. Twisted ankle. Concussion.
“You just never know what could happen,” Cruz said Wednesday. “You just get nervous. He’s confident in them and he’s a heckuva athlete, but you’re just scared that something might happen.”One thing Wilson must be concerned about: He’s showing up the defense he just beat by showing off with the backflips. When players believe they’re being disrespected and taunted, the hits tend to get harder and cheaper. End-zone celebrations may be entertaining, but they’re sophomoric. One good, cold stare from Tom Coughlin should put an end to Wilson’s stunts.
Coughlin was asked if he had a problem with Wilson flipping.
“Next question,” he said.
If Ahmad Bradshaw’s sprained knee prevents him from playing against the Falcons in Sunday’s crucial game in Atlanta, then Wilson, the third-team running back one month ago when he played behind Bradshaw and the now injured Andre Brown, moves into the starting lineup.
Of course, the Giants want Wilson to visit the end zone frequently. Justin Tuck wants him to stop the backflips, and leave them “for YouTube.”
Does Eli Manning want him to stop?
“No, it means he’s scoring touchdowns,” Manning said. “So that’s fine by me.”
Is he worried about Wilson throwing out his back?
“I’m not,” Manning said." Read more...
Excerpt: "David Wilson's breakout performance thrilled the Giants on Sunday. Now it looks like they're going to need him to do it again.Nicks is OK, But Will "slow Down" At Practice
The rookie running back may have to make his first NFL start in Atlanta this Sunday because Ahmad Bradshaw's status is in doubt due to a sprained left knee. Bradshaw suffered the injury in the Giants' 52-27 win over the Saints, and he will not practice with the Giants on Wednesday.Tom Coughlin declined to say if Bradshaw had a chance of playing against the Falcons, but he didn't make it sound like the chances were very good.
"I'm not going to speculate because of the toughness of this young man, how long it would be," Coughlin said on Wednesday morning. "He's very positive about it. He definitely wants to get back as fast as he can.
"I'm not going to rule him out of anything. I'm not going to talk about the percentages or anything like that. You can speculate on that knowing full well what the injury is."
Bradshaw has been bothered by a series of injuries this season, including to his neck, hand and foot, but he has not missed a game all season. Along the way he's rushed 196 times for 869 yards and five touchdowns, helping the Giants rushing attack – the NFL's worst last season – rise to 15th in the league (116.4 yards per game)." Read more...
Excerpt: "The MRI on Hakeem Nicks’ troublesome left knee showed “no new injury” on Tuesday, just “the same old stuff” he said.
It was enough, though, for Tom Coughlin to say the Giants are “probably going to have to slow down a little bit” with how much Nicks is able to do during practice each week.
Coughlin wouldn’t say exactly what he meant by that, but Nicks said the plan includes no more “full” practices this season. He said he’ll likely practice only on a limited basis either just once or twice each week.
He’ll also continue to play through the pain of an injury, which is likely much more serious than he’s been willing to say publicly.
“I’m doing good,” Nicks said with a wink. “It’s just that time of year.” Read more...
Giants Flipping Out Over Wilson's Flips
Excerpt: "The Giants may have flipped over David Wilson’s big game on Sunday, but when it comes to his touchdown celebration they’d prefer the rookie keep his feet on the ground.
His post-touchdown backflip hasn’t been banned yet, but at least one teammate has told him to stop doing it, and Wilson said Giants GM Jerry Reese warned him that “if I get hurt then he’ll be in my grill.” The Giants love his enthusiasm and marvel at his athletic ability.
They just don’t love seeing their first-round draft pick taking an obvious risk.
“I like the backflip, man, but it scares me every time he does it because you never know what can happen,” said the Salsa-dancing Victor Cruz. “You don’t want to see him get hurt.”
“I told him several times never to do that again,” Justin Tuck said. “We’re going to have another talk about not doing it." Read more...
THE NEW YORK POST
Cruz: Giants' Keeping Lombardi Trophy "Means Everything"
Excerpt: "Not far from where the inflatable red and green truck that bears the name The Energy Truck stands, complete with a Tom Coughlin caricature behind the wheel, Victor Cruz begins talking about what it means for these Giants to defend the Lombardi Trophy.
The Giants and the Lombardi Trophy: Til Death Do They Part.
“It means a lot, it means a lot,” Cruz begins. “We understand that coming into the season, everybody was gunning for us because we’re the defending champs so, to defend it means everything.
“You want to keep that trophy under lock and key, and you don’t want anyone to try and come in and say they can take it from you or anything like that so, we just want to continue to fight for it and hopefully be hoisting another one up this year.”
I ask Cruz: “So what is it going to take to take this trophy away from this team?
“It’s going to take a lot,” he said. “It’s going to take them having to beat us down physically, mentally, everything for another team to take our trophy from us because we live and die by it, we understand how hard it was to get there, how hard it was to play in that game emotionally, physically, and it’s going to take a lot for people to take that from us.” Read more...
Prince May Miss Giants' Game vs, Falcons With Hamstring Injury
Excerpt: "Cornerback Prince Amukamara came out of the Saints game with a strained hamstring and was not able to practice yesterday, a potentially huge loss, considering the Falcons have two quality receivers in Roddy White and Julio Jones and the safeties will have their hands full with ageless Tony Gonzalez, who leads the team with 81 receptions.
Coach Tom Coughlin called Amukamara’s hamstring injury “tricky.’’ In what way?
“Well, they all want to play,’’ Coughlin said. “He’s, ‘Aww, I feel better today,’ but what can you do? Oh, well we can’t run him today. Oh, OK, good.’’
If Amukamara is out, safety Antrel Rolle will likely have increased assignments at cornerback.
* The Giants on Sunday will be trying to do what few have been able to accomplish inside the Georgia Dome. The Falcons have won 10 straight home games dating back to last season and their quarterback, Matt Ryan, is nearly unbeatable in his indoor playpen.
Ryan is 32-4 in the dome in his four-plus seasons. Only Tom Brady (29-2) has a better home-field winning percentage in that span.
“Obviously to have a record like that you have to have great quarterback play and he’s been doing that,’’ Justin Tuck said. “Our focus is just making sure he doesn’t get the opportunity to get comfortable back there and hoping we can rattle him a little bit that way. If not, it’s going to be a long day.’’
* Safety Kenny Phillips (knee) has taken a step back after he was able to return two weeks ago. He sat out again. Coughlin said Phillips “is not ready to work.’’ Phillips missed six straight games with an MCL sprain, came back for two and sat out last week." Read more...
With RB Ahmad Bradshaw Hurting, David Wilson Could See Giant Workload
Excerpt: "The Giants had been waiting to see the big plays, the jet-on-runway acceleration, outrageous moves that break ankles of those trying to catch David Wilson. They saw it all in last week’s rout of the Saints.
As much as they liked the view, what happens next is even more important and unproven. With Ahmad Bradshaw ailing and his availability for Sunday’s game against the Falcons in Atlanta very much in doubt, the ball will be put in Wilson’s hands more than ever before. What he does with it when the game slows down and the holes start to shrink could determine if the Giants stay in or fall from first place in the NFC East.
The going is about to get tougher for Wilson.
“That’s when you just be a football player and you just react,’’ Wilson said yesterday. “When that happens I won’t have a problem getting the tough yards.’’
Wilson may have to get the easy yards, the tough yards and everything in between. Bradshaw came out of the Sunday’s game with what the Giants are calling a sprained left knee. He didn’t practice yesterday and there is no time frame for his return. Coach Tom Coughlin cited Bradshaw’s toughness dealing with — and returning from — physical issues, but the starting running back does have an injury and it appears he is a long-shot to be able to shake it off in time to play in the Georgia Dome.
“I’m not going to speculate because of the toughness of this young man on how long it would be,’’ Coughlin said. “He’s very positive about it. He definitely wants to get back as fast as he can.
“I’m not going to rule him out of anything I’m not going to talk about the percentages or anything like that. You can speculate on that.’’
Sprained knees and running backs do not mix very well. Bradshaw has been dealing with foot issues most of the season and he hurt his knee in the first half while standing his ground in pass protection. Revered inside the Giants locker room for his toughness, Bradshaw forced his way back onto the field and finished the game.
“The other day, for example, when he did injure the knee, he got it taped and went back in, [and] he had three straight what amounted to short-yardage runs in a row to make a key first down,’’ Coughlin said. “He’s a tough son of a gun. I say that with admiration.’’ Read more...
Some Giants Want Wilson To Stop Celebrating With Back Flips
Excerpt: "By now, everyone has seen the David Wilson backflip, the ultra-athletic gymnast move he unveiled to punctuate every one of his three touchdowns in last week’s 52-27 victory over the Saints. The Giants have been waiting for this scoring outburst from their first-round pick but there’s more than a little concern about his celebration modus operandi.
“Nobody asked me to stop,’’ Wilson said on Wednesday, before revealing that general manager Jerry Reese “told me if I get hurt then he’ll be in my grill.’’
Tom Coughlin, asked if he had a problem with the backflips, said “Next question.’’ Informed that Reese might have told Wilson to stop doing the back-flips, Coughlin added “You’re not going to get me on that one.’’
Teammates, most vocally Justin Tuck, want Wilson do ditch the backflip for something safer, such as a bow. But at least one prominent Giants player wants to see as many back-flips as possible on Sunday when the Giants face the Falcons in Atlanta.
“Hey, if that means he's scoring touchdowns, I hope he has five backflips this week,’’ Eli Manning said. “It's OK with me.’’
Can Eli do a backflip?
“I've never tried but I assume I can,’’ Manning said.
What about guard Chris Snee?
“I don't think we want to watch that,’’ Manning said of his offensive lineman. “I highly doubt it."
Tuck said he’s told Wilson “several times never do that again, and we’re going to have another talk about not doing it. Everyone knows how athletic he is, but the last thing we need is him having some tweak injury for showing off for the crowd.
“Let’s just keep him upright and running and keep the backflips for YouTube. They’re already up on YouTube, so they can go to YouTube to see them.’’ Read more...
Falcons' QB: Giants' Pass Rush "One Of The Best In The League"
Excerpt: "Matt Ryan is probably more familiar with the Giants’ pass rush than he’d like, and when the Falcons quarterback takes the field at the Georgia Dome this Sunday against the defending Super Bowl champions, he is certainly going to be aware of the men trying to put him on his back.
“I think the Giants’ [pass rush] is probably one of the best in the league,” Ryan said on a conference call Wednesday. “I think they’ve got probably three top-tier pass rushers that are as good as anybody. We know that from having played against them last year.”
Last year was the wild-card playoff game when the Giants stomped the Falcons, 24-2, holding Ryan to 182 yards passing and, obviously, no touchdowns.
“I think we’re a more mature football team than we were last year,” Ryan said, “and a more experienced football team.” Read more...
THE BERGEN RECORD
Don't Rule Out Ahmad
Excerpt: "Tom Coughlin won’t say anything publicly before team doctors tell him with certainty that Ahmad Bradshaw is absolutely physically unable to play against the Falcons when two of the NFC’s top contenders collide Sunday afternoon.
Knowing what he knows about Bradshaw, Coughlin might even wait until the door to the plane on the Giants’ charter flight to Atlanta is closed before making a declaration on his status.
Until then, Coughlin is moving forward with a wait-and-see approach regarding Bradshaw and his availability, even if the feeling from teammates certainly makes it seem as though rookie David Wilson will start in the offensive backfield against Atlanta.
"I’m not going to rule him out of anything," Coughlin said. "I’m not going to talk about the percentages or anything like that. You can speculate on that, knowing full well what the injury is. He’s a tough son of a gun. That’s why I say that.
"I say that with admiration."
Bradshaw missed practice with a sprained knee Wednesday and might not be able to return to the practice field at all this week, depending on how the injury he sustained four days ago against the Saints responds to treatment.
As it is, Bradshaw was able to practice only once prior to game days while continuing to nurse previous ailments related to his surgically-repaired feet and a sore neck.
"I never count that guy out. Nobody ever should," fullback Henry Hynoski said. "If it was up to Ahmad he would’ve been practicing [Wednesday]. That’s how Ahmad is.
"He’s a tough guy and a team guy, too."
But these Giants (8-5) remain focused on their quest to be in position to repeat as Super Bowl champions, and in Coughlin’s world of "next man up," Wilson appears ready to seize the moment created by Bradshaw’s uncertain availability.
In some ways, the first-round pick from Virginia Tech already has." Read more...
Giants' Notes: Stevie Brown Added To Pro Bowl Ballott
Excerpt: "Safety Stevie Brown found out he was added to the Pro Bowl ballot Wednesday morning when he got a voicemail from his excited sister, Nikki.
"My sister and my mom have been checking for weeks, and they kept telling me, 'Can't vote for you because you're not on there,'" Brown recalled with a laugh after practice. "I guess they're voting now."
And deservedly so, considering Brown has seven interceptions – one behind NFL leader Tim Jennings of Chicago — and is among the league leaders in takeaways.
In his first year with the Giants, Brown has gone from unknown to being someone of whom the opposition has to be aware in the secondary before every snap.
Just ask Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.
"When you watch him, he moves very well. His change of direction is very good," Ryan said. "He's got good instincts and certainly a guy that is playing with a ton of confidence right now." Read more...
Week 15 NFL Game Probabilities
Excerpt: "Here are the game probabilities for Week 15:
Pwin GAME Pwin 0.55 Cincinnati at Philadelphia 0.45 0.43
NY Giants at Atlanta 0.57
0.33 Minnesota at St. Louis 0.67 0.24 Jacksonville at Miami 0.76 0.46 Green Bay at Chicago 0.54 0.53 Washington at Cleveland 0.47 0.67 Denver at Baltimore 0.33 0.28 Indianapolis at Houston 0.72 0.45 Tampa Bay at New Orleans 0.55 0.61 Detroit at Arizona 0.39 0.61 Carolina at San Diego 0.39 0.58 Seattle at Buffalo 0.42 0.44 Pittsburgh at Dallas 0.56 0.38 Kansas City at Oakland 0.62 0.54 San Francisco at New England 0.46 0.51 NY Jets at Tennessee 0.49
NEW YORK TIMES
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Giants vs. Falcons Scouting Report
"The first place Giants host the Falcons Sunday at the Georgia DomeThe Giants’ daunting late-season schedule will present them with another challenge Sunday when they visit the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome. The Falcons lost last week at Carolina, 30-20, but still own the NFC’s best record at 11-2, including 6-0 at home, where they have won 10 in a row dating back to last season. The Giants are 8-5 after their 52-27 romp past the New Orleans Saints. They lead the NFC East by a game over Dallas and Washington. The teams last met on January 8, when the Giants defeated Atlanta, 24-2, in an NFC Wild Card Game, in the teams’ first-ever postseason meeting. The regular-season series is tied, 10-10. They last met in the regular season on Nov. 22, 2009, when the Giants won in overtime, 34-31. Prior to that Giants triumph, the visiting team had won the previous 12 games in the series dating back to 1981, the longest such streak in NFL history. The Giants have won their last seven games in Atlanta, where they are 8-3 overall, including 3-0 in the Georgia Dome.
The Falcons are ranked eighth in the NFL in both yards (376.2) and points per game (25.9). They are fourth in the league in passing yardage (289.2 per game) but 28th in rushing (86.9). Atlanta is third in the NFL in third-down conversion percentage (44.6, 74 of 166), has a plus-six turnover differential and is tied with Denver with a league-high 51 trips inside the opposition 20-yard line. The Falcons have scored 30 touchdowns in the red zone, a 58.8 percent rate that is tied for seventh in the NFL.
The Falcons’ strength of schedule is the league’s lowest. They are by far the league’s least-penalized team, with just 47 accepted infractions (the Giants are second with 63). Under new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, the Falcons have scored an NFL-high 44 opening-possession points. They have a potent, quick-strike offense that has scored 49 points on drives of four plays or less. Atlanta is 42-2 when leading at halftime under coach Mike Smith.
Quarterback Matt Ryan is 32-4 in the dome, with three of those losses to New Orleans. He is 30-1 when his passer rating is higher than 100.0. A 2010 Pro Bowler, Ryan is third in the NFL in complete percentage (67.7) and passing yards (3,932). But he has thrown 14 interceptions, including eight in the last six games. Ryan is a good decision-maker with a quick release and impressive arm strength. He is accurate throwing to all levels. His backup is Luke McCown.
Ryan throws to one of the league’s best group of receivers. Roddy White (77 catches for 1,140 yards and five touchdowns) and Julio Jones (63-997-7) lead all NFL wide receiver tandems in receptions and yards (140 for 2,137 yards). White was selected to each of the last four Pro Bowls and now has six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He can play all the wideout positions, is a terrific route-runner, has good deep speed and gains chunks of yardage after escaping the initial contact from a defender. Jones is averaging a team-high 15.8 yards per reception. He is a big, strong, physical receiver who eats up ground quickly with his scary yards-after-catch speed. The third receiver is Harry Douglas, who lines up in the slot and has good instincts and hands. Drew Davis gets a few snaps a game.
Tight end Tony Gonzalez is a 16-year veteran and a 12-time Pro Bowler who is second in NFL history with 1,230 receptions – including a team-high 81 this season. Seven of his 11 red zone catches have been touchdowns. Gonzalez lines up all over the formation and has a great feel for the passing game. He locates voids in zone defenses, his experience helps him set up and beat defenders and his strong hands enable him to catch anything thrown his way. Backup Michael Palmer has averaged about 14 snaps a game and is a solid receiver. Chase Coffman also contributes.
Michael Turner leads the team with 689 rushing yards, but his workload has decreased in recent games as Smith tries to keep him fresh for the playoffs. Turner is a strong, patient runner who is a load to tackle. He is particularly effective in short-yardage and goal line situations and he has eight of the Falcons’ 10 rushing touchdowns. Jacquizz Rodgers has picked up most of the snaps Turner has lost. He has rushed for 295 yards and caught 43 passes. A tough 5-7 runner, Rodgers is a quick and explosive back who can dart through traffic. Jason Snelling plays both running back and fullback and is more productive as a receiver than a ballcarrier. He is a trusted third-down target for Ryan. Mike Cox, who was re-signed on November 7, is an old-school fullback who quickly locates his target when blocking and hits him hard.
The Falcons’ offensive line is the fourth-oldest in the NFL and has a new offensive line coach in Pat Hill, the former head coach at Fresno State. His best player this season is left guard Justin Blalock, who has performed at a Pro Bowl level. He has made 82 consecutive starts and has not missed a snap since 2007. Blalock has natural power and strength and he consistently clamps down on defensive linemen. Left tackle Sam Baker is a former first-round draft choice who is a smart, technically-sound player with quick hands. Right tackle Tyson Clabo is a 6-6, 329-pounder who can steer his opponent out of the play when the Falcons run the ball. Rookie Peter Konz has been the starting right guard since Week 8, when Garrett Reynolds was placed on injured reserve. He is a rapidly-improving player with long arms and competitiveness. Center Todd McClure is a 14-year veteran who is still playing at a high level.
The Falcons are 20thin the NFL in yards allowed at 361.9 a game, but a far more impressive fifth in scoring defense (19.9 points game). They are tied for 23rddefending the run (127.0 yards a game) and are 16thagainst the pass (234.9). The Falcons have been hurt at times by missed tackles, a problem that was particularly acute last week in the loss to the Panthers.
Atlanta’s new defensive coordinator this year is Mike Nolan, who held the same position with the Giants under Dan Reeves from 1993-96. His unit has committed only 16 penalties in 13 games. Right end John Abraham is a four-time Pro Bowler and one of the best pass-rushers of his era. He leads all active players with 122.0 career sacks, including a team-high 10.0 this season. Abraham is an explosive player with a quick finishing burst. He is strong turning the corner and still has impressive straight-line speed, making him Atlanta’s No. 1 threat to the quarterback. Jonathan Babineaux became the starting left end when the Falcons released Ray Edwards. He is a high-motor athlete with good foot quickness who moves inside in sub packages. Corey Peters, a point of attack brawler, has started the last five games at nose tackle. He has the power to get to the quarterback up the middle. Tackle Kroy Biermann leads Atlanta’s defensive linemen with 48 tackles. He is a relentless pass rusher who has the speed and smarts to drop into coverage when called upon. Former starter Peria Jerry is an undersized tackle who is playing less often. His quickness at the snap can be a problem for offensive linemen. Vance Walker is a heavy-bodied defender who is a strong point of attack anchor. Cliff Matthews is a rookie seventh-round draft choice who has worked his way into the rotation the last four weeks. Another first-year player, Travian Robertson also gets some snaps.Akeem Dent is the starting middle linebacker this season after impressing the coaches with 19 special teams tackles last year. He is a downhillplayer who is quick to insert into the run game. Stephen Nicholas is a tough strongside linebacker who disrupts the opponent’s run game and has a knack for raising his hands and deflecting passes. Weakside backer Sean Weatherspoon is an every-down player with speed, agility and superb athleticism. He makes all the huddle calls and is Atlanta’s best cover linebacker, with the ability to stay with backs and tight ends in man-to-man coverage. Weatherspoon has 3.0 sacks and five tackles for losses despite missing three games. Mike Peterson is a 14-year veteran who can back up all three linebacker positions. Robert James contributes a lot of energy when he is on the field.
The secondary is the strength of the Falcons’ defense. William Moore and Thomas DeCoud arguably form the NFL’s best safety tandem. Moore leads the team with 105 tackles (71 solo) and they have combined for nine interceptions; Atlanta is the only team in the league that has two safeties with at least four picks each. Moore didn’t play last week because of a hamstring injury. When he’s on the field Moore plays with a mean streak. He instinctively reads the quarterback, takes excellent angles in pursuit and is one of the league’s best tacklers. DeCoud is a good communicator in the back of the defense who has become a more aggressive and dependable defender this season. Chris Hope is a smart and experienced third safety who started last week for Moore (who did not practice Wednesday or Thursday). Cornerback Asante Samuel is familiar to the Giants from his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles. A four-time Pro Bowler, he still excels at baiting a quarterback into mistakes and is not shy about taking risks. He hurt his shoulder against Arizona on November 18 and last week he dressed but did not play vs. the Panthers. Dunta Robinson is a physical corner who quickly breaks on the ball and has good anticipation when playing in a zone. He is an outstanding tackler after a receiver catches a pass or in the run game. Robert McClain is the third cornerback and has made four starts, including last week for Samuel. If Samuel again sits out, Chris Owens will play corner in the nickel, with McClain moving inside to cover the slot receiver. McClain has good anticipation and is particularly adept at snuffing out screen passes. Owens plays the ball well when it is in the air and is strong in run support.
Matt Bosher handles the punting, kickoff and holding duties. He is ninth in the league in gross punting average (47.4 yards) and eighth in net yards (41.4). Bosher often kicks the ball exceptionally high and has good directional punting ability. Former Giant Matt Bryant has made 29 of 34 field goal attempts this season, including all four from 51 yards and longer. Rodgers did not return kickoffs at Oregon State, but he has a 26.9-yard average on 18 runbacks this season. He is a good one-cut and go returner. Punt returner Dominique Franks has a quick first step and is a fluid runner. Hope leads the team with 10 special teams tackles.
Giants' Injury Report - 12/13/2912
Here is the latest Giants Injury Report
NEW YORK GIANTS
Did Not Participate in Practice
CB Prince Amukamara (Hamstring)
LB Michael Boley (Back)
RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Knee/Foot)
S Kenny Phillips (Knee)
S Tyler Sash (Hamstring)
Limited Participation in Practice
WR Hakeem Nicks (Knee)
DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Back)
Did Not Participate in Practice
S William Moore (Hamstring)
WR Roddy White (Knee)
Limited Participation in Practice
DT Jonathan Babineaux (Ribs)
WR Harry Douglas (Ribs)
CB Asante Samuel (Shoulder)
RB David Wilson Could See Expanded Role
This has become David Wilson week around the Giants.
On Sunday, he scored three touchdowns and set team and NFL records in a 52-27 beatdown of the New Orleans Saints.
This morning, Wilson was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week, the first Giants kickoff returner to be so honored in 18 years.
A short time later, Tom Coughlin revealed that Ahmad Bradshaw sprained his knee vs. the Saints. Bradshaw didn’t practice today. The Giants’ second-leading rusher, Andre Brown, is on injured reserve with a fractured fibula. So if Bradshaw can’t play this week against the Falcons in Atlanta, making his first career start at running back will be…well, David Wilson, of course.
So today, when the media descended on the Giants’ locker room, the crowd of reporters around Wilson’s locker room rivaled that usually found in front of Eli Manning.
“The whole time I’ve been preparing and working hard so when my number is called I’ll be ready,” Wilson said. “That happened last game and I think I handled it pretty well. Like I said, I’m going to keep working hard and moving forward and getting better because the season is narrowing down. I want to definitely be able to continue to contribute.”
That won’t be an issue. Wilson accounted for a Giants-record 327 yards (227 on kickoff returns, 100 rushing) vs. the Saints. He was the first Giants player since 1948 to score rushing and kickoff return touchdowns in the same game and the first player in NFL history with at least 200 kickoff return yards and 100 rushing yards in the same game.
“He gives us a great boost,” wide receiver Victor Cruz said. “Anytime you can get big yardage on kickoff returns and he can break the big one on a run play at any given moment, so it’s definitely an added boost and it gives us confidence to go out there and block for him because our block can spring him for that long run or long touchdown, so it’s exciting.”
The team’s first-round draft choice this year, Wilson had to patiently wait his turn and earn the coaches’ trust after an opening-night fumble. Along the way, he impressed everyone with his attitude and work ethic.
“He’s always wanted to play,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “He’s always wanted the ball. He’s always wanted to be a factor, whether it be offense or special teams. He was on our punt block team. He’s accepted any and every role that we’ve given him. He’s always come to practice or to the meetings with an interest in trying to learn everything as fast as he possibly could. Someone asked me that the other night about his attitude and his attitude has never changed. It’s always been an aggressive, positive attitude and his position has always been ‘I can do more. I want to help more. What can I do?’ And it’s been a question of how rapidly we could assimilate all of that into the game.”
“I think David has taken advantage of the opportunity,” quarterback Eli Manning said. “This last month or so, Ahmad hadn’t been practicing much. So he’s been getting tons of reps and has been seeing all the looks and all the blitzes and all the things that have been thrown at us and our preparation and he has responded well to that. So I think obviously getting all those quality reps, seeing the looks and he’s got a great feel for what’s going on. Obviously, his running ability and being able to break the big play and do some of those things, that’s great for him and we’ll need him to continue to run the ball well for us.”
The next step for Wilson is to produce with a heavier workload. He has just 41 rushing attempts in 13 games and his 13 carries against New Orleans were a season-high. Wilson averaged just fewer than 21 attempts a game in his final season at Virginia Tech and is confident he can handle that responsibility at this level.
“It’s football,” Wilson said. “I’ve been playing it for a while now, so getting carries and getting a load, so to say, it’s a team sport. The coaches know that. They know how to figure it out and decipher and give breathers. I’m not the only running back on the team.
“The more experience you get, the more mature you can become in the game. I was saying that last week because sometimes running backs say they only had seven carries, that’s why they weren’t able to be productive, but you look at some games and a guy has one carry or two carries and gets a touchdown. Sometimes that isn’t an excuse.”
Perhaps the biggest question surrounding Wilson is whether he’ll continue to celebrate scoring his touchdowns by doing a backflip, as he did three times last Sunday. Coughlin would not say whether he told Wilson to stop flipping out. The Giants players offered various opinions.
“I told him to stop doing them,” said defensive end and captain Justin Tuck. “Everyone knows how athletic he is, but the last thing we need is him having some tweak injury by showing off to the crowd. Let’s just keep him upright and running and leave the backflips for YouTube. They’re already on YouTube. If people want to see them, they can go to YouTube and see them.”
“I just cringe and hope he lands safely, because you just never know what can happen,” said Cruz, whose salsa dance was the team’s most signature celebration until Wilson flipped. “But he’s a very athletic guy as you can see and for him to do that each and every time - one time he did it with the ball in his hands, so it was definitely impressive.”
Manning endorsed the flip for a reason that’s hard to dispute.
“That means he’s scoring touchdowns,” Manning said. “So that’s fine by me.”
Wilson hinted he would like to keep doing backflips after scoring touchdowns.
“I’ve been doing ‘em since I was three years old,” he said. “It’s easy, it’s almost like running for me to jump and turn backwards. I’ve been doing it for a while, so I think people can relax a little.”
But not everyone can relax. And Wilson offered a strong clue why he might have to find another way to celebrate getting into the end zone.
“(General manager) Jerry Reese just told me if I get hurt, then he’ll be in my grill.” Wilson said.
*If Bradshaw does not play, Kregg Lumpkin , signed two weeks ago, will presumably be the No. 2 back behind Wilson. Ryan Torain, signed along with Lumpkin following Brown’s injury, is the only other running back on the roster after Wilson and Lumpkin.
Lumpkin said he’s ready to take on a larger role.
“I feel like I’m ready,” Lumpkin said. “I’m always learning. I feel like once you get to know the base protections and the base communication between the quarterback and knowing the concepts of the routes and after that you can just go out there and try to play confident and then still do your job.”
Lumpkin quickly learned that the first requirement for all Giants running backs is keeping pass rushers way from Manning.
“You have to protect the franchise quarterback,” he said. “If not, then you won’t be here. So I just continue to learn protections, know your adjustments, know your routes and just go out there and play.”
*Bradshaw was one of seven players who did not practice today. The others were cornerback Prince AMukamara (hamstring), linebacker Michael Boley (back), wide receiver Haakeem Nicks (knee), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (back) and safeties Kenny Phillips (knee) and Tyler Sash (hamstring)."
Quotes: Manning, Wilson - 12/12
"COACH TOM COUGHLIN
Coughlin: Good morning. We prepare this week for a very good Atlanta team, a team that has the most wins in the NFC, tied for the most wins in professional football. They’ve won 10 straight games at home. They’re plus-six. They’re the least penalized team in the National Football League. They’re eighth on offense, averaging 25.9 points per game, and a lot of very talented people, 44.6 on third down, 58 percent in the green zone, which is seventh in the league. Defensively they’re allowing 19.9 points per game. They have two exceptional safeties with nine interceptions in DeCoud and Moore. Abraham has 10 sacks. Special teams… Their kickoff coverage team is 10th. Their punt coverage team is 11th. They’re the least penalized special teams operation in the NFL and they’re ninth in kickoff return, so they’re a very, very talented group and we look forward to the challenge of trying to prepare for this Atlanta team. From an injury standpoint, you’re going to ask about Bradshaw. Bradshaw has a sprained knee. He will not work today. I’m not going to speculate because of the toughness of this young man on how long it would be. He’s very positive about it. He definitely wants to get back as fast as he can. Prince does have a hamstring and he won’t work today. Kenny Phillips is not ready to work today, either. Hopefully I’ve answered all the injury questions that you would have.
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QB ELI MANNING
Q: How are you approaching their defense?
A: They’re a great defense and obviously they can get pressure on the quarterback. As you said, two safeties that are very much in the mix and around the ball and two corners that are aggressive and that will jump things. So they do a good job in showing some different looks and creating turnovers on defense. So offensively we’ve got to make sure we’re taking care of the ball as the quarterback knowing we’ve got to see where everybody is and see where their safeties are, see where those corners are before you make any throws and throw it confidently.
Q: You have a big game on the road in December. What else is new?
A: These are fun. This is what it’s about. Late in the season, these games are important and they’re big and we’ve got to make sure we continue to play good football and making our strides and getting better each week and have great preparation and get excited for these opportunities.
Q: They’ve won 10 straight in the Georgia Dome. What makes them so tough there?
A: I think it just starts with just they’re a good team and so they do a good job of making plays and being sharp and their offense seems like it does a lot of changing plays and getting into the right calls based on the defense and of course anytime they can be loud and show you different looks on the defensive side and make it difficult for the quarterback to change protection and those typed of things puts them in any advantage.READ MORE >>
RB DAVID WILSONQ: If you have to handle the load, how much confidence does last week’s performance give you?
A: To come out and create some of the plays that the team helped me create, and being able to show my explosiveness and getting in the mix a little bit; going into the next game it’s not like I’m just thrown in there. I had a couple plays and stayed in for a little while and had drives. It does help with confidence.
Q: How does it feel knowing that Atlanta now has some film on you and they’re going to be looking for you?
A: Yeah, last week the Saints probably weren’t expecting to even worry about me getting in the game, but now teams have film on me and they’ll be preparing. We can see what it really is.
Q: Does that change anything for you?
A: No, like I said, the whole time I’ve been preparing and working hard so when my number is called I’ll be ready. That happened last game and I think I handled it pretty well. Like I said, I’m going to keep working hard and moving forward and getting better because the season is narrowing down. I want to definitely be able to continue to contribute.
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DE JUSTIN TUCKQ: What do the Falcons do well offensively?
A: I think the thing that they do well is making sure they have the right play. They give Matty Ice the check-off when he comes up to the line. He’ll give you a hard count just to see if the safety is going to rotate and get them in the right play as far as run or pass. That makes it difficult because you have to play a chess game with the quarterback and if you show too early he’s going to definitely see anything and give them a better play. That gives him a lot of freedom and they’ve been quite successful this year.
Q: When you see all of the weapons they have, is it scary?
A: If we don’t play our keys and don’t play the type of football I know we’re capable of, sure. Absolutely. Everyone knows about that wide receiver tandem, Matty Ice, (Tony) Gonzalez, those two running backs, they have a lot of weapons down there and they’re going to be behind that home crowd on that fast turf. They’ll be very comfortable in that setting and we’ll have to play a great game to contain them.
Q: When Coach Coughlin comes up with these catch phrases like “Finish” and “Build the Bridge” do they work for you?
A: They work, they definitely do. The older you get, you kind of don’t need it, but I appreciate the fact that he’s one of these guys that studies all this tape and reads all these types of books. He’s always trying to find an edge, trying to find some trigger point for this team and he’s been very successful at it. Every year he seems to come into camp with one thing that he wants this team to be built on. I think this team does a great job of kind of picking it up and making it our mantra, too.
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SAFETY STEVIE BROWNQ: Tony Gonzalez is getting older, yet he still gets open. Why?
A: He’s a master of his craft. He knows he’s not the fastest anymore, but he still knows how to position his body to get open and he does what he does because he’s a veteran. He’s a smart football player and he’s good.
Q: Gonzalez gets conversions on third downs probably better than any other tight end in this league. You would think everybody knows where the ball is going and you can stop it.
A: That’s another thing that benefits him with him being able to position his body well. If it’s coming to him, he’ll be able to shield off defenders and is able to position his body where he’s only able to catch it and Matt Ryan puts it there.
Q: Does it look like Ryan plays to him in certain spots?
A: I wouldn’t say he plays to him in certain spots, but I would definitely say he’s his safety outlet and safety valve.
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Giants' Safety Kenny Phillips Has Set Back, Still Not Prcticing
Excerpt: "The New York Giants injury report is growing as the team prepares for theAtlanta Falcons on Sunday. The team is practicing without the likes of Ahmad Bradshaw (knee), Prince Amukamara (hamstring), Tyler Sash (hamstring) andKenny Phillips (knee). All four look doubtful to play on Sunday. In particular, head coach Tom Coughlin says Phillips had a setback on his sprained knee against the Washington Redskins and the timetable for his return is uncertain.
Phillips originally injured his knee in Week four against the Philadelphia Eagles. He returned to action against the Green Bay Packers in Week 12, only to reaggravate the injury. Phillips played limited snaps against the Washington Redskins the next week, and missed Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.
Phillips is on record stating his dissatisfaction with how the Giants medical staff initially handled his injury.
“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. 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 Plan To "Slow Down" Hakeem Nicks, Return Him To Limited Practice
Excerpt: "New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was feeling great about his recovery just a few short weeks ago, saying he felt the best he had all season. Then, suddenly, a lingering knee issue cropped back up causing him to miss a Thursday practice last week. And although he didn't miss a week 14 game against the New Orleans Saints, it did prompt head coach Tom Coughlin to acknowledge that Nicks will not approach 100% again for the remainder of the season.
“We’re probably going to have to slow down a little bit, not do much, with him,” Coughlin said. “Maybe bring him in a little bit as we move along.”
Coughlin added that Nicks' status for a week 15 game against the Atlanta Falcons isn't in question, but his practice schedule for the remainder of the season will be limited – similar to that of Plaxico Burress in 2007." Read more...
Giants' Michael Boley Misses Practice With Back Issue
Excerpt: "When the New York Giants released their pre-practice injury report on Wednesday, linebacker Michael Boley wasn't on it. However, when the team hit the field, Boley hit the stationary bikes along with the other players who wouldn't practice. Afterwards, it was revealed that he had sat out due to a back issue.
With running back Ahmad Bradshaw dealing with a knee sprain and cornerback Prince Amukamara sitting out due to a "tricky" hamstring injury, the last thing the Giants need is a new injury to their leader at the linebacker position … especially considering week 14 was the first time all season the entire unit was healthy and playing." Read more...
BIG BLUE VIEW
Giants At Falcons: Atlanta Scouting Report
Excerpt: "The Atlanta Falcons are 11-2, have already clinched the NFC South and appear well on their way to earning a bye and home-field advantage during the NFC Playoffs. Yet, as Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger wrote, "skeptics are plentiful."
That means the defending Super Bowl champion Giants arrive at the Georgia Dome Sunday at what might be a critical time for the Falcons, especially coming off a loss to the Carolina Panthers.
"I can hear everybody right now," tight end Tony Gonzalez said. "They’re getting off the bandwagon. I can hear them jumping off. Looking at our history, people are going to go, ‘See, I told you.’"
The Falcons also have the added motivation of the memory of last season's lopsided 24-2 loss to the Giants in the Wild-Card round of the NFC Playoffs.
"I don’t have this, like, deep desire to get them back," Falcons tackle Tyson Clabo said. "I just want to play well and defend the Dome and get a win."
Let' take a look at the Falcons in this week's Scouting Report.
Overall rank: 376.2 yards per game (8th)
Points: 25.9 (8th)
Rushing: 86.9 yards per game (28th)
Passing: 289.2 yards per game (4th)
Quarterback Matt Ryan is having a fantastic season for a Falcons team that is much more pass-oriented than you might have realized. 'Matty Ice' has competed 346-of-511 pass attempts (67.7 percent) for 3,932 yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He has a passer rating of 94.8. You think the Giants throw the ball a lot. Eli Manning has 462 pass attempts this season, far fewer than Ryan.
Of course, Ryan has an incredibly prolific trio of receivers to throw to. Tight end Tony Gonzalez, a future Hall of Famer, has a team-leading 81 catches. Wide receiver Roddy White has 77 catches for a team-high 1,140 yards (14.8 yards per catch) and Julio Jones has 63 receptions for 997 yards (15.8 per catch).
Michael Turner leads the Falcons' ground game with 689 yards and averages 3.7 yards per carry." Read more...
Blue 22 Film Review: David Wilson In Pass Protection
Excerpt: "Today we're looking to take a look at how David Wilson did in pass protection Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. It's hard to know without knowing the play call Wilson's exact responsibility in protection, but you can usually have a pretty good idea. I just don't like to make definitive statements because I'm not in the huddle. With that being said, here's Wilson in pass protection on Sunday.
Wilson Pass 1
Based on the pre-snap look, there are likely four or five pass rushers on this play with the most likely scenario being No. 50 on the Saints (circled in yellow) blitzing in between the center and guard, which is likely Wilson's responsibility if he comes through the line clean.
What is slightly different about this alignment is there are three down linemen and one standing up (right defensive end across from Diehl) like he is playing as a 3-4 rush linebacker.
Curtis Lofton (No. 50 circled in yellow) does not blitz and instead drops into coverage. There are four rushers on this play against five Giants' offensive linemen. Wilson scans the field and sees that the Giants have the numbers in pass
The Saints run a stunt and Diehl gets beat. Wilson is going to release into the open field, he chooses not to chip against Diehl's man (was he suppose to?). Manning has pressure and is going to move out to his right." Read more...
THE RED ZONE.
Giants Arriving At Big Moment In Falcon's Season
Excerpt: "All of a sudden payback is far down the list of motives for the Falcons when they play the Giants on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
After NFC also-ran Carolina smacked them last Sunday, the Falcons are just trying to regroup. Now their 24-2 playoff defeat at New York in January seems almost incidental even though the residual negatives from that game have loomed over Atlanta’s strong regular season.
“I don’t have this, like, deep desire to get them back,” Falcons tackle Tyson Clabo said. “I just want to play well and defend the Dome and get a win.”
Revenge aside, there are lots of reasons for the Falcons (11-2) to be keen on defeating the Giants (8-5). It starts with the chance they could end up facing New York again in the playoffs.
Also, though the Falcons have already won the NFC South title, they have yet to earn a bye or a playoff home game. They can still secure the NFC’s top playoff seed and thus the chance to reach the Super Bowl with two home playoff victories.
Unless they collapse over the final three games, the Falcons should at least earn a bye and one home playoff game. Better to put those issues to rest as soon as possible rather than rely on defeats by other teams.
Plus, the Falcons want to surge into the postseason with a strong finish rather than slip in with so many question marks.
“We said last week leading into it that was our goal to come out in the fourth quarter [of the season] and play our best football of the year,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “Obviously, through the first game of the fourth quarter we did not do that.” Read more...
Atlanta Falcons: Run Defense Goes Back To The Drawing Board
Excerpt: "The Falcons defense has struggled against Carolina’s zone read option offense this season.
The Panthers rushed for a season-high 199 yards against the Falcons on Sept. 30 and nearly duplicated the effort with 195 yards in their 30-20 upset victory on Sunday.
The Falcons could face zone read option quarterbacks in the playoffs if they play Washington or San Francisco. But defensive end John Abraham said the Falcons don’t have a problem with the attack that is popular in the college game.
Pro defenses are designed to stop drop-back quarterbacks and rarely account for a running quarterback. In their first meeting, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton rushed for 87 yards. On Sunday, he rushed for 116 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown run.
“I don’t think the read option really bothered us,” said Abraham on Monday. “Cam just ran a good play into a blitz and things happen. Sometimes you do good things and they show up. It was just a good play by him and good play-calling by them. I don’t think that the read option is a big deal for us.”
Newton also passed for 287 yards, becoming the first player in NFL history with at least 250 passing yards, 100 rushing yards, a touchdown pass and a touchdown run in one game.
“Defensively, we didn’t do a whole lot of good things in the ballgame,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “Probably the most significant thing that we did was we were 3-for-3 when they got the ball in the red zone. When they got the ball down in the red zone, we played some good red-zone defense.”
Smith was perturbed that all of the Panthers touchdowns came on explosive plays of 25, 72 and 53 yards.
Third down slump: The Falcons were 2-of-8 (25 percent) on third down conversions against the Panthers.
“We need better production on first and second down so that third down is manageable,” running back Michael Turner said. “So guys won’t have the ears pinned back, going after Matt (Ryan) and teeing off on him. We just have to get the ball rolling and keep it moving.” Read more...
Tuck Nominated For Bart Starr Award
Excerpt: "Justin Ruck has been nominated for the 2013 Bart Starr Award.
The award, voted on by NFL players, rewards "outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community."
Tuck was announced as one of the candidates today. The other nominees are Philadelphia's Nnamdi Asomugha, Baltimore's Matt Birk, Minnesota's Chad Greenway, Tennessee's Matt Hasselbeck, San Diego's Philip Rivers, Jacksonville's Josh Scobee, Buffalo'sBrad Smith, Cleveland's Joe Thomas and Dallas' Jason Witten.
The winner will be announced during the Super Bowl Breakfast, hosted by Athletes in Action, in February in New Orleans." Read more...
Tuck: Falcons Are Smart Guys
Excerpt: "Justin Tuckisn’t finished studying up on the Falcons’ offensive line yet.
So he doesn’t have much to say about Atlanta's big boys up front -- just that he didn’t call them names before last season’s playoff meeting.
“I never called them a dirtbag,” Tuck said.
Prior to the Giants and Falcons wild card meeting, Tuck said he knew the Falcons’ offensive line had a less-than-stellar reputation for playing past the whistle." Read more...
Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw Has Sprained Knee
Excerpt: "New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw has a sprained knee, which could keep him out of Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin would not rule Bradshaw out for the game, citing the running back's toughness and ability to play through pain. But Coughlin said he would not put any odds on Bradshaw's status, knowing that he is considered perhaps the toughest player on the team.
"I am not going to speculate -- because of the toughness of this young man -- on how long it would be," Coughlin said. "He is very positive about it and definitely wants to get back as fast as he can.
"I am not going to rule him out of anything. I am not going to talk about the percentages or anything like that. You can speculate on that knowing full well what the injury is."
Because of the injury, Bradshaw carried the ball only 11 times for 33 yards during the Giants' 52-27 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday." Read more...
Stevie Brown Added To Pro Bowl Ballott
Excerpt: "Giants safety Stevie Brown has been added to the Pro Bowl ballot, a team official told ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Brown has started the team's past nine games and is second in the NFL in interceptions, with seven. He had two interceptions and a forced fumble in the Giants' 52-27 win over the Saints on Sunday." Read more...
Week 14 Power Rankings
Excerpt: "1. Patriots (five first-place votes): Finally, the rest of the PFT power rankings poll agrees with the boss. Nice to see you guys finally come around.
2. Broncos: Before any of you scream that the Broncos shouldn’t be No. 2, tell me who else should be.
3. Texans: If they win the next three games, the Texans will secure the right to eventually lose in the postseason at home.
4. Falcons: “The worst 11-2 team in NFL history” is still 11-2.
5. 49ers: It’s good they’re playing a playoff team on the road this weekend. The Niners could end up playing a playoff team on the road in the first round of the playoffs.
6. Packers: They’re getting healthy and they’ve found a running game, just in time for the postseason.
7. Seahawks: Unlike the 2005 team that made it to the Super Bowl, this team can win big games away from Seattle.
8. Giants: Tom Coughlin should be in the doghouse for not letting David Wilson out of the doghouse sooner.
9. Ravens: If Cam Cameron’s offense was better, maybe the Ravens defense wouldn’t have blown an eight-point lead to a rookie backup quarterback.
10. Redskins: George McFly thinks this could be a team of density." Read more...
Doctor Says Dez Needs Surgery, Dez Plans To Play
NFL Notes: Robert Griffin III Optimistic