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NEWARK STAR LEDGER
With Playoffs Out Of Their Control, Giants Are First Playing For Pride
Excerpt: "Tom Coughlin invoked a triumvirate of character traits he hopes perennially define the teams he coaches.
Pride. Honor. Dignity.
The tough reality for this year’s Giants is this may be all they are playing for in Sunday’s regular-season finale -- a far cry from just a week earlier, when they still controlled their own playoff destiny.
But Coughlin each week brainstorms a motivational tug for his team, and “pride” is this week’s resounding theme.
The only scenario for the Giants to still reach the postseason requires them to beat the Eagles, first of all. And even if the three necessary other factors do not fall into place -- a Cowboys loss or tie and Vikings and Bears losses -- Coughlin implored his team to at least end the season with pride, rather than another ugly loss like the 33-14 defeat in Baltimore or the 34-0 shutout in Atlanta." Read more...
An Encore For Eagles' Michael Vick Against Giants: Not Same Old Story
Excerpt: "The last time Michael Vick was on the field, Cowboys linebacker Ernie Sims was sprinting at him untouched on a third-down blitz, slamming Vick down as he overthrew an open LeSean McCoy off his back foot.
Vick went off to the sideline dazed. The one-time franchise quarterback, in the third year of a $100 million contract, was immediately surrounded by Eagles trainers. A couple minutes later, Vick was off to the locker room, where he would be diagnosed with a concussion and ruled out for the remainder of the 38-23 Week 10 loss.
Vick hasn’t played since, and when doctors cleared him to return before last Sunday’s game against the Redskins — following what was termed a "significant" concussion — head coach Andy Reid decided to name rookie Nick Foles his starter for the remainder of the season. The writing was on the wall: The Nick Foles Era was in full effect and Michael Vick had played his last game as an Eagle." Read more...
Giants' Jason Pierre-Paul, Victor Cruz, And Chris Snee Named To Pro-Bowl
Excerpt: "Three Giants players -- defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, receiver Victor Cruz and right guard Chris Snee -- have been named to the 2012 NFC Pro Bowl team.
Pierre-Paul, who earned his second Pro Bowl honor, is the only one of the three named a starter. Snee and Cruz were named back-ups.
“Just like last year, I would much rather not play in the game because I want to be with my team at the Super Bowl," Pierre-Paul said in a team release, “but it’s a great honor to be selected among the best in the NFL at my position.”
Cruz, who leads the Giants with 82 catches for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns, is only the second Giants wide receiver to be selected to the Pro Bowl since Homer Jones in 1968. Steve Smith was chosen in 2009 after he caught a franchise-record 107 passes. This is the first Pro Bowl honor for Cruz.
“I’m honored and humbled to be selected,” Cruz said in the release. “It really is a dream come true for me. The Pro Bowl is a great individual achievement, but I know I couldn’t have been named to the Pro Bowl without the support of my teammates. Eli (Manning) is one of the great quarterbacks in the game. He has done so much for my career.
Right now, I’m really focused on going out Sunday and our team playing as well as it can, getting a great team win against the Eagles and hoping we get the opportunity to further our season.” Read more...
Giants' Hakeem Nicks Says His Status For Sunday Is Uncertain
Excerpt: "Hakeem Nicks' frustrating 2012 season may have concluded a game early.
Nicks said his status for the regular season finale against the Eagles is unknown. The wide receiver has battled an MCL injury he sustained in Week 2 that forced him to miss the next three games. He's played the last 10 games, but hasn't produced at his usual level.
"We’ll see. We really don’t know yet; they haven’t really told me nothing about it yet," Nicks said of his status for Sunday. "We’ll see. Whatever they choose for me to do I’m sure it’s going to be in the best benefit of the team and myself so I’ll just take it and roll with it."
Nicks has endured a difficult stretch, beginning when he broke the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during organized team activities in late May. He missed the entire offseason and only returned for the final preseason game. Nicks then sprained his MCL against the Buccaneers, in a game in which he caught 10 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown.
Nicks reached his lowest point in Sunday's loss to the Ravens when was held without a reception for the first time in his four-year career.
"I was (upset). I was probably just a little disappointed with myself. Being a playmaker you always want the ball, you always want the ball thrown at you, you always feel you can make the difference in a game," Nicks said.
"I’m going to always feel like that. I feel that’s what makes me the player that I am, I’ve always had that competitive drive in me. I feel if I didn’t have that it would be time for me to step away from the game, but I know I ain’t nowhere near that phase. I’m just gonna keep trying to get better. I got to heal up. I got some time to heal up." Read more...
Giants' Michael Boley Surprised At Reduced Playing Time
Excerpt: "There were some games this season when linebacker Michael Boley played every single defensive snap. He, along with middle linebacker Chase Blackburn, can be the designated defensive player to wear the helmet with the radio inside to communicate play calls.
But curiously, Boley's playing time dropped the past two weeks. He played just 49 percent of the defensive snaps against the Falcons and just 25 percent against the Ravens, a game in which the Giants often used a formation with four linebackers.
"I was surprised. But then again, it’s not my call," Boley said today.
Asked if he was frustrated, the eighth-year linebacker said, "a little bit, but coaches make a decision, we’re just employees. We can’t really get too frustrated about it."
Boley repeated several times that it was a coaches' decision. When asked about the drop-off in Boley's playing time, coach Tom Coughlin said Monday the reason was "not necessarily a health thing," though he added that Boley had some "cumulative" injury issues the past three weeks.
As a result, Coughlin said, the coaches felt he could not play "the way that he’s capable of playing" and thus used different personnel groupings. Blackburn, Jacquian Williams, Mark Herzlich and Spencer Paysinger started in the four-linebacker grouping against the Ravens and
Boley has had hamstring and hip injuries this season, and most recently a back issue that caused him to miss practice before the Falcons game. But he didn't feel his playing time should have been limited.
"I could have played more," Boley said of the Ravens game. "I think so. It’s water under the bridge now." Read more...
Martellus Bennett Would Consider "Hometown Discount" To Stay With Giants
Excerpt: "Martellus Bennett has let it be known that he's a happy camper here with the Giants. Whether or not the Giants make the playoffs, the chatty tight end hopes to extend his tenure with the team long past Sunday's game.
So much, in fact, that Bennett said he would at least consider taking less money to stay with the Giants.
"I could sit here and tell you I would, but it depends on what it is," Bennett said today. "You never know until the moment comes. But yeah, that is something I would do. A hometown discount? Yeah."
Bennett signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Giants as a free agent last spring. This was his first opportunity as the team's No. 1 tight end, after being situated behind Jason Witten during four seasons in Dallas. Bennett has 54 catches for 611 yards and five touchdowns with one game to play.
Bennett said he loves the Giants organization, his teammates and coaches as well as the area. He and his wife, Siggi, hope to buy a home in this area, regardless of if he re-signs with the Giants.
There have been no contract talks with the team up to this point, Bennett said.
"No, so I have no idea what's going to happen," Bennett said. "I would think that they would want me to stay. My first year in the offense, my first year as a starter, I thought I did pretty well. I could have did a lot of things better but it’s so much room for growth, and I finally got a taste of a little success. Hopefully, they want to keep me around, but if not, you never know in this league."
If given another season in the Giants offense, Bennett believes he can be "twice as good" as he was this year. Bennett hopes his next deal is a long-term one.
"I'm about to start having kids and stuff," he said. "My kids need to make friends, and I don’t want to be moving all the time. I would love to have a 4 or 5-year deal." Read more...
Giants' Victor Cruz "A Little Eager" Awaiting Pro Bowl Roster Announcement
Excerpt: "This season's Pro Bowl rosters will be revealed tonight and wide receiver Victor Cruz has perhaps the best chance to the crack the NFC squad for the Giants. Cruz led all NFC wide receivers in fan voting with 515,811 votes. Fan voting makes up one-third of the final equation, along with coach and player voting.
"It would be an extreme honor," Cruz said. "Growing up you watch the Pro Bowlers and see the guys that makes the team and think those guys are the best of the best. I would definitely be honored if I made the list."
Cruz got off to a torrid start this season, recording seven touchdowns and three 100-yard performances through the Giants' first seven games. But as the Giants offense has struggled, his numbers have dipped. He's had just two touchdowns since Week 7 – when he scored the game-winning 77-yard touchdown against the Redskins – and two 100-yard outputs. He has just three receptions in each of the last two games for a combined 36 yards.
"I'm a little eager," Cruz said of the impending announcement. "I'll be watching it."
He later added: "It would mean a lot. Obviously, in the past growing up you see the Pro Bowlers and you always think to yourself those are the best of the best and to be a part of that list coming from everything I came from it would be an honor." Read more...
Giants' Justin Tuck Returns To Practice, Ahmad Bradshaw Does Not
Excerpt: "Giants defensive end Justin Tuck, who missed last week's game at Baltimore with a shoulder injury, returned to the practice field today. Coach Tom Coughlin said Tuck would work in a limited capacity today, which would be a step up from last week, when he did not practice at all.
RB Ahmad Bradshaw (knee/foot), WR Hakeem Nicks (knee), DL Chris Canty (knee) and CB Prince Amukamara (hamstring) were off to the side and not practicing. RG Chris Snee (hip) and C David Baas (hip/shoulder) were not on the practice field, and TE Travis Beckum (knee) did not seem to be out there, either." Read more...
Giants' Tom Coughlin Tells is Team To Finish The Season With "A Game We Can Be Proud Of"
Excerpt: "This morning, after a second straight blowout loss that left their playoff chances dented, head coach Tom Coughlin's address to his team centered on one word: pride.
"It's all three phases playing well together," Coughlin said. "You have a couple phases that are not doing their job right now and they have to if we're going to resurrect a little bit of pride here in our last game."
At this point in the regular season, with just the finale remaining, teams across the NFL will play this weekend with that mentality – playing for pride -- knowing the offseason awaits them. But the Giants, like a few others, still have slim hopes of a postseason berth with a win and other favorable results.
The Giants need a win over the Eagles, and a loss or tie by the Cowboys and losses by the Vikings and Bears to sneak into the postseason as the sixth and final seed. The only way that scenario plays out is if the Giants can turn things around against the Eagles after getting outscored 67-14 over the last two weeks.
"I would like to see our team play an astounding football game, a game in which the execution of our team is significantly better than what we have seen over the last couple weeks," Coughlin said.
A win, however, doesn't ensure a playoff berth, which would make the season a disappointment for a team with high expectations that started the season 6-2.
"Will I be proud of the season?" Coughlin asked rhetorically. "Right now I have a short memory and I've got these two games (on my mind). I'm proud of the individuals, I'm not proud of what's been accomplished." Read more...
NY DAILY NEWS
Boley "A Little Bit" Frustrated By Lack Of Action vs. Ravens
Excerpt: "For years, Michael Boley has been a mainstay in the Giants defense, one of their most reliable linebackers. But on Sunday, he saw a steep decrease in playing time. And on Wednesday, he admitted that the decline in snaps left him “a little bit” frustrated.
“A little bit,” he said. “But coaches make the decision, we’re just employees . . .That’s what they felt like going with, so, you know, you play it.”“I was surprised. But then again, it’s not my call."
Throughout last season, Boley rarely left the field, serving as a key leader for the ‘D’. But against Baltimore, he played only 25% of the defensive snaps, despite the fact that the Giants often used four linebackers at once. On Monday, Tom Coughlin had called Boley’s decline in playing time “a cumulative health thing,” hinting that the back, hip and hamstring issues the linebacker dealt with all season had compromised his ability slightly.Boley said Wednesday that that “could have” factored, and he admitted that 2012 has not been “how I would like it to be.”
But he added that he’s “still here, still playing,” and that he felt he could have been effective on Sunday, especially since “at this time of year, nobody is 100%.”“I could have played more, I think so,” Boley said. “It’s water under the bridge now.” Read more...
Giants' Coach Tom Coughlin Wants Big Blue To Ring Out 2012 Strong
Excerpt: "Tom Coughln has been searching for weeks for something to spark his struggling team, to remind his players how to play like the champions they used to be. Now, with time running out, he reminded them they still have something important to play for.SITE LINK
He wasn’t talking about the playoffs, either. Coughlin was talking about playing for their pride. “That’s what I talked to our team about this morning,” Coughlin said Wednesday. “Pride, honor, dignity, playing the game the way we’re capable of playing the game. Finish the season with a game we can all be proud of.”
MYERS: IF GIANTS WIN, THEY COULD BECOME REDSKIN FANS
INSIDER: BOLEY'S TIME GONE IN A SNAP
That would be quite an improvement, considering the embarrassing results of the last two weeks when the Giants (8-7) were outscored in Atlanta and Baltimore by a combined score of 67-14. Now the Giants, losers of five of their last seven, face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at the Meadowlands in a potentially meaningless season finale. They can make the playoffs only if they win while the Bears, Vikings and Cowboys all lose.
That may not be impossible, but it’s certainly a longshot, which is why Coughlin — who famously promised the “restoration of Giants pride” when he was hired in 2004 — talked to his beleaguered players about trying “to resurrect a little bit of pride here in our last game.” It was a challenge that he said he was sure “will resonate on a little.”
And it sounded as if it definitely did. As safety Antrel Rolle said, “You go out there and you play for pride because that’s all we have. At the end of the day, that’s all we have. We’re going to find a lot about a lot of guys in this locker room based on this game,” Rolle added. “I think we’re going to speak a lot of volume for the kind of caliber guys we have in this locker room. . . . If you’ve got pride about this sport, then you know it will be shown on Sunday. If you don’t, then it will be shown on Sunday. It’s that simple.” Read more...
THE NEW YORK POST
With Fate Out Of Hands, Coughln Insists On Strong Finish
Excerpt: "Tom Coughlin walked into the morning meeting yesterday and laid it all out for the Giants, told them specifically what is at stake in Sunday’s regular-season finale. The microscopic chance the Giants have of squeezing into the playoffs was not the central theme.
“Pride, honor, dignity, playing the game the way we’re capable of playing the game,” Coughlin said. “Finish the season with a game we can all be proud of.
”There’s been nothing to be proud of the past two weeks, as the Giants had their postseason destiny in their hands and fumbled it in losses to the Falcons and Ravens by a combined 67-13. The three-word phrase no team wants the season to be reduced to — playing for pride — is at the Giants’ doorstep as they try to prove they aren’t doormats closing up shop one year after winning the Super Bowl.
“We’re going to find a lot about a lot of guys in this locker room based off this game — their approach, how you go out there and play the game,’’ Antrel Rolle said. “I think we’re going to speak a lot of volume for the kind of caliber guys we have in this locker room.’
’No one knows what comes next, which is the confounding part of this whole unsavory mix for a team that believed it was at its best when the stakes were highest. The Giants are 2-5 since a 6-2 start and the past two games have shaken their confidence. Sure, up next, the Eagles are an NFC East rival but the Eagles are 4-11 and have lost 10 of their last 11 games. Still, the Giants admit they have no idea if they will put up a fight or fade quietly into the offseason." Read more...
Giants Brace For Big Effort In Reid's Swan Song With Eagles
Excerpt: "Expect extra and the unexpected. But see to yourself first, especially against a division rival. That’s how the Giants view the Eagles.
Andy Reid began the 2000 season with an onside kick. And even if the Philadelphia coach exits with an empty-the-trick-playbook bang in what almost definitely is his last game with the Eagles on Sunday, the playoff precarious Giants insist they are concerned first and foremost with themselves.But yeah, they expect a little extra from the Eagles.
“His players always loved Coach Reid,” Victor Cruz said. “I feel like they have a special thing for him and if it is going to be his last game, I’m sure they’re going to want to play their hearts out and win that ball game for him.”
Reid on a conference call downplayed this possibly being the final game in his 14-season Philadelphia run. After losing 10 of 11 games following a 3-1 start, a divine mandate could be all that will save his job.
“You know what? I really haven’t gone there. I normally don’t do those kind of exams,” Reid said. “It’s hard to look forward and look behind in this business, so you look straight ahead at the opponent and we’ve got the holiday week and all that going on, so I’m really focused in on just getting ready for the Giants.” Read more...
Giants Playing For More Than Dignity
Excerpt: "When you play in a Super Bowl and win it, and a year later you are asked by your head coach to make the season finale a Pride Bowl, you better wake up and recognize that there isn’t only a season on the line, but jobs as well.
Tom Coughlin’s last-gasp appeal for Pride, Honor and Dignity Sunday against the Eagles sounds more like a whistle in the dark now that there is so little playoff light at the end of the Big Blue tunnel.These 2012 Giants have authored another unacceptable collapse that has them praying for reign from the Lions, Packers and Redskins, and more than a few of them better look in the mirror while they still can, because Big Brother will be watching, and watching closely, and if they cannot summon the Pride, Dignity and Honor the organization expects from them every season, then they do not deserve to be Giants.
Coughlin’s message comes two weeks late. It is, of course, a message no head coach of a defending champion should ever have to make in December.Why has this happened?FIGHT: From his helpless perch on the sidelines in Baltimore, Justin Tuck (shoulder), who vows to play Sunday, saw a bully who has lost all confidence.“When we get punched in the mouth early in a football game, we haven’t responded as we have in the past,” Tuck said. “That was something that we prided ourselves on all year last year, finishing to the end. And we came back from games where teams jump out fast on us and things like that. This year, that didn’t happen. I think a lot of that has to do with confidence.” Read more...
Coach Tom Coughlin Looking For "Pride, Honor, Dignity" From Giants
Excerpt: "Tom Coughlin dropped the “P’’ word on the Giants on Wednesday, plus a few other motivational buzzwords heading into the regular-season finale and most likely a 2012 season without any playoffs to show for it.Boley Hopes To Be Back At LB in 2013
Coughlin said he has a definite goal in mind for Sunday’s game against the Eagles. He wants to use the game to “resurrect a little bit of pride here in our last game."
The Giants are coming off back-to-back losses to the Falcons (34-0) and Ravens (33-14) to leave their post-season hopes on life support. The Giants need to beat the Eagles and then have three other games go their way. The Lions need to beat the Bears, the Packers need to beat the Vikings and Sunday night the Redskins need to beat or tie the Cowboys. If everything falls into place, the Giants get the a wild card berth as the NFC’s No. 6 seed.
It doesn’t sound as if Coughlin is obsessing over that scenario coming true.
“I would like to see our team play an outstanding football game, a game in which the execution of our team is significantly better than what we have seen over the last couple weeks," Coughlin said, adding he wasn’t getting into “playoff scenarios and all that business.’’ Read more...
Excerpt: "Michael Boley didn’t play much Sunday in Baltimore, leading to speculation he might not fit in the Giants’ plans for 2013.
Boley says he wants to return to play out the final year of his contract and then wants to remain even longer. A starting outside linebacker on last year’s Super Bowl winner, Boley hasn’t had an especially strong season.“I’d hope so,’’ Boley said yesterday when asked if he feels he’s coming back. “I hope I’ve done enough. I love it here, I’d love to finish my career here. Hopefully get another contract here and play for some more years.’’
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell used a linebacker-heavy scheme against the Ravens, yet Boley got only 21 snaps, fewer than Chase Blackburn (79), Mark Herzlich (60), Jacquian Williams (36), Keith Rivers (35) and Spencer Paysinger (31). Tom Coughlin said Boley’s reduced role was because of a “cumulative health thing’’ after Boley missed practice time the past few weeks with hip and back issues.Boley said he was fine.“I could have played more,’’ he said. “I think so. It’s water under the bridge now.’’ Read more...
THE BERGEN RECORD
Giants' Notes: Hakeem Nicks Still Nicked
Excerpt: "Hakeem Nicks believes rest will end up being the best remedy to heal the foot and knee injuries that have lingered and held him back all season.Giants Vow To Play For Pride In Regular Season Finale vs. Eagles
Nicks did not have a catch against the Ravens and he did not rule out sitting during Sunday’s regular season finale against the Eagles.
"I was probably just disappointed in myself. Being a playmaker, you always want the ball," Nicks said. "You always want to get the ball thrown at you, always feel like you can make a difference. I’ll always feel like that. I feel like that’s what makes me the player I am. I’ve always had the competitive drive in me. I feel like if I didn’t have it, it would be time for me to step away from the game. I know that I’m nowhere near that phase.
"I’ll just keep trying to get better. I’ve got to heal up and I’ve got some time to heal up." Read more...
Excerpt: "The Giants are disappointed, but Antrel Rolle promises they are not yet defeated with one regular season game remaining in a once-promising season.
Post-practice talk Wednesday afternoon centered on Big Blue being focused on defending the honor of a franchise and its fan base, not to mention their own competitive spirit as professionals. The quest to repeat as Super Bowl champions never came up.
The Giants have gone from jockeying for playoff positioning to playing for pride, even though mathematically they still have not been eliminated from contention.
The message echoing throughout Timex Performance Center was simple and everyone in the building likely got the chance to listen to the rallying cry at some point.
Yet, no one could guarantee all of the Giants will be able to embrace what they heard.
"What I talked to our team about [Wednesday] morning was pride, honor, dignity," Tom Coughlin said. "Play the game the way we're capable of playing the game. Finish this season with a game we can all be proud of. I think they're a group of outstanding character people who listen to what is said and I think that it does strike them. No one wants to finish the season like we have the last couple of games.
"I'm sure that will resonate a little on their part."
And if it does, the Giants (8-7) will still need a lot of help to get to where they want to be.
Not only is the challenge of snapping out of their doldrums to defeat Philadelphia more of a daunting one than might be expected, but the Giants would then need losses by Minnesota and Chicago, and either a loss or a tie by Dallas to back their way into the playoffs as a wild-card.
Still, beating the Eagles (4-11) would allow the Giants, as Rolle puts it, to "understand that, you know, we didn't go out like chumps. We're fighters and at least we'll have a fighting chance at that point. You can always give yourself a chance if you even get in the dance, and once you get in the dance, anything is possible at that point as we all know.
"So you've got to go out there and fight, and give yourself a chance. … This season's not over." Read more...
NEW YORK TIMES
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Cruz, JPP, And Snee Named To Pro Bowl
Victor Cruz, Chris Snee, and Json Pierre-Paul (only starter) – have been selected to the 2012 NFC Pro Bowl team."
It’s the first such honor for Cruz, the second for Pierre-Paul and the fourth for Snee.
The Pro Bowl will be in Honolulu on January 27, a week before Super Bowl XLVII. Players from the Super Bowl teams do not participate in the Pro Bowl.
Cruz, a third-year pro, leads the Giants with 82 catches for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns. He is the only player in franchise history with 80 receptions, 1,000 yards and nine scores – and he’s done it two years in a row.
Cruz’s 82 catches place him seventh in the NFC and 12th in the NFL and his 1,040 yards are ninth in the conference and 14th in the league. He is one of 10 NFL players with at least nine touchdown catches.
“I’m honored and humbled to be selected,” Cruz said. “It really is a dream come true for me. The Pro Bowl is a great individual achievement, but I know I couldn’t have been named to the Pro Bowl without the support of my teammates. Eli (Manning) is one of the great quarterbacks in the game. He has done so much for my career. Right now, I’m really focused on going out Sunday and our team playing as well as it can, getting a great team win against the Eagles and hoping we get the opportunity to further our season.”
Cruz is only the second Giants wide receiver to be selected to the Pro Bowl since Homer Jones in 1969; Steve Smith was chosen in 2009 after he caught a franchise-record 107 passes.
Snee, a nine-year veteran, has started every game this season and all 148 regular-season and postseason games he has played in his career at right guard. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
“It’s always an honor to be selected to the Pro Bowl,” Snee said. “It doesn’t quite feel right, coming off of our last two performances, but it is an honor because you’ve earned the respect of your peers, the coaches and, of course, the fans.”
Snee is the first Giants player to be selected to four Pro Bowls since tight end Jeremy Shockey was chosen for his fourth in 2006 and the first Giants offensive lineman to be honored so often since Hall of Famer Rosie Brown was selected to his ninth Pro Bowl in 1965.
Pierre-Paul is a third-year pro who has played in all 47 games in his career. This season, he leads the Giants with 6.5 sacks, down from his total of 16.5 in 2011. But Pierre-Paul has been a well-rounded player. He is fourth on the Giants with 61 tackles (39 solo) and leads the team with 12 tackles for losses. In a victory in Dallas, Pierre-Paul intercepted a pass and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown.
“Just like last year, I would much rather not play in the game because I want to be with my team at the Super Bowl," Pierre-Paul said, “but it’s a great honor to be selected among the best in the NFL at my position.”
Five other Giants were named alternates.
Kicker Lawrence Tynes, who leads the NFL with 33 field goals, is a first alternate.
Quarterback Eli Manning, a Pro Bowler in 2011, and rookie (as a kickoff returner) are second alternates.
Center David Baas and safety Stevie Brown are fourth alternates.
Giants Look To Play With Pride vs. Eagles
"The Giants have played poorly in their last two games, but Tom Coughlin did not focus on execution and strategy when he began the work week with his traditional 8 a.m. Wednesday team meeting.
“What I talked to our team about this morning was pride, honor, dignity,” Coughlin said. “Play the game the way we’re capable of playing the game. Finish this season with a game we can all be proud of.
“I think they’re a group of outstanding character people who listen to what is said and I think that it does strike them. No one wants to finish the season like we have the last couple of games. I’m sure that will resonate a little on their part.”
The 8-7 Giants are in the unenviable position of needing help from three other teams to make the playoffs and looking to lift themselves up after back-to-back losses to Atlanta and Baltimore by a combined 67-14. But their first order of business is to defeat the 4-11 Philadelphia Eagles Sunday in MetLife Stadium. And they can’t do that if they’re sulking about the two previous games.
“That’s all you can do; you put it behind you,” quarterback Eli Manning said. “That’s all you can do each week. You just go from one week to another. Whether you’ve played your best game or a game that you know you could’ve played better, you put it behind us and you try to figure out how you can play at a higher level where we have some opportunities and just make a game of it. Get the game into the fourth quarter and try to win it then.”
“Every Wednesday you come in and put the last game behind you and it can’t be any different,” guard Chris Snee said. “As frustrating as this has been, beating the teams that we did and losing to the teams that we have, it’s been frustrating. We haven’t played well. It’s hard to explain. It’s hard to understand, but that’s what’s happened and you have to put it behind you.”
The Giants have been in this situation in the recent past, with mixed results.
In 2009, they were shocked and disappointed after losing the Giants Stadium finale to Carolina, 41-9. That defeat dropped them to 8-7. The next week, Coughlin talked about how much better a 9-7 record would be than an 8-8 mark. Then the Giants went to Minnesota and were crushed by the Vikings, 44-7.
Two years ago, the Giants lost back-to-back games to Philadelphia and Green Bay to fall to 9-6. They went to Washington needing a victory and assistance to make the playoffs. They got the win – 17-14 over the Redskins – but not the help and did not qualify for the postseason despite a 10-6 record.
Now here we are again.
“We're going to find out a lot about a lot of guys in this locker room based off this game - their approach, how you go out there and play the game,” safety Antrel Rolle said. “I think we're going to speak a lot of volume for the kind of caliber guys we have in this locker room. … You go out there and you play for pride because that's all we have. At the end of the day, that's all we have. We go out there and play for pride and we go out there and try to be the best football player you can be.”
“The last couple of weeks we really have played like crap and I don’t think there’s anything for us… I saw some stuff about people saying we quit and things like that,” defensive end and captain Justin Tuck said. “I don’t think that’s it. As a matter of fact, I know that’s not it. When you watch the film you see guys hustling, but something is off and we have to try our best to find what it is. And I think it starts with everybody just worrying about their individual techniques. We had a guy say in one of our meetings out of the 53 guys on this football team if all of us can go to sleep with ourselves tonight knowing that we put forth the greatest effort with preparing and on the football field, we’re going to be fine and that’s all we’re asking from our guys. Make sure that you do your job and in turn if you get 11 guys doing their job, then that’s when you play well as a football team.”
That’s a given. The questions, can the Giants rise above their disappointment? Two weeks ago, they went to Atlanta knowing they could capture the NFC East title by winning out. Instead, they got shut out. They traveled to Baltimore knowing two season-ending victories would put them in the playoffs and they again played poorly. Now their destiny lies in the hands of others, even if they win.
That has to be hard to swallow for any professional athlete.
“The last two weeks have been pretty embarrassing,” kicker Lawrence Tynes said. “There’s no other word to say. When you go out and play like we have for the last two weeks it’s not a reflection of our head coach or this organization and what they’ve done in the past, but it puts a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths. So we have to play better. You have to dig down deep and figure something out between now and Sunday to at least go out if we’re not in the playoffs thinking I played well in the last game of the year, something to build on. But it’s certainly something we’re thinking about this week.”
“This isn’t where we saw ourselves a couple of weeks ago,” wide receiver Victor Crtuz said. “Obviously, we’re not satisfied. But we have to come out and play some good football, win this ballgame, and kind of sit back and see what happens.”
*The Giants today placed tight end Travis Beckum on injured reserve. The fourth-year pro injured his left knee in practice last Friday. In the second quarter of Super Bowl XLVI, Beckum tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Beckum spent the first half of the season on the reserve/physically unable to perform list. He played in only four games and did not catch a pass this season.
Beckum’s spot on the roster was filled by defensive back Terrence Frederick , who was signed off the practice squad. Frederick played in one game this year, making his NFL debut on special teams at Atlanta. Frederick was replaced on the practice squad by cornerback Brandon Bing, who spent much of the 2011 season on the squad.
*Six Giants did not practice today: cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring), center David Baas (hip/shoulder), running back Ahmad Bradshaw (knee/foot), defensive tackle Chris Canty (knee), wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (knee) and guard Chris Snee (hip).
*Safety Kenny Phillips (knee) and Tuck (shoulder) were limited. Safety Tyler Sash (hamstring) practiced fully.
Tuck, who was inactive in Baltimore, said he intends to play against the Eagles.
*To make the playoffs, the Giants must beat Philadelphia and Chicago, Minnesota and Dallas must all lose. Coughlin had no interest in discussing those scenarios today.
“My concern is that our team plays well in the 16th game of the year for us,” Coughlin said. “That’s my concern. I would like to see our team play an outstanding football game, a game in which the execution of our team is significantly better than what we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks. The answers to all of the speculative questions you want to ask, maybe they’ll come at some point, but they’re not going to be answered now. What I’m looking for is improvement in our football team and how we execute offensively and defensively.”
WR Hakeem Nicks Reception Streak Ends
Hakeem Nicks played in the 54th regular-season game of his career Sunday in Baltimore. What distinguished that game from the first 53 was that he did not catch a pass.
After the 33-14 loss to the Ravens, Nicks didn’t want to talk about the end of his streak. Today, he admitted it upset him.
“I was probably just disappointed in myself,” said Nicks, who was targeted three times, including on Eli Manning's first pass. “Being a playmaker, you always want the ball. You always want to get the ball thrown at you, always feel like you can make a difference. I’ll always feel like that. I feel like that’s what makes me the player I am. I’ve always had the competitive drive in me. I feel like if I didn’t have it, it would be time for me to step away from the game. I know that I’m nowhere near that phase. I’ll just keep trying to get better. I’ve got to heal up and I’ve got some time to heal up.”
Nicks has battled all season. He missed training camp and most of the preseason because of offseason foot surgery. In Week 2, he suffered a knee injury vs. Tampa Bay. He missed the next three games and has not been at full-strength since.
Nicks has practiced sporadically this season and Eli Manning admitted this week that has affected their chemistry in games.
“I love Hakeem and the way he competes,” Manning said. “He’s doing everything he can to be out there. He’s obviously dealing with a frustrating issue that’s limiting him a little bit. He’s out there trying to do his best, so we just have to keep working, try to get on the same page. He missed most of training camp, all of the offseason, so you don’t get that rep time. We don’t get practice reps. He gets a few reps, he’s not quite at full-speed. The timing is off on a few things and it can make it hard to be as effective as you need to be and be on the perfect timing that is required to be really successful.”
Nicks, who never looks to pass blame, couldn’t disagree with his quarterback.
“I was injured this year, it happens in football,” Nicks said. “You can’t control that aspect. You’ve just got to hope for the best, expect the best, and play hard each and every day. Coming off of a long season last season, get right back into it this season, and having a rough offseason, it is what it is. I just had to play with the hand that I was dealt. I’m not going to sit here and make excuses for it. As a man, you’ve got to take… I’ll learn from this, I’ll definitely get better from it, and look forward to it.”
Giants Need To "Play With Pride" And More From Afternoon Tea With Tom Coughlin
Excerpt: " New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin took the podium in a very focused mood on Wednesday, and pulled no punches. He got right down to business discussing the Eagles, and said the playoff scenario doesn't matter. He wants to see his team play an "excellent football game" on Sunday and let the chips fall where they may.
"Pride, honor and dignity," Coughlin said he had preached to his players. "Finish the season with a game we can all be proud of."
As for injuries, the final regular season pre-practice injury report included 10 players. They were Prince Amukamara (hamstring), David Baas (hip/shoulder), Travis Beckum (knee), Ahmad Bradshaw (knee/foot), Chris Canty (knee), Hakeem Nicks (knee), Kenny Phillips (knee), Tyler Sash (hamstring), Chris Snee (hip) and Justin Tuck (shoulder).
Of the players listed on the pre-practice injury report, Canty and Bradshaw will not practice. Snee and Baas "may" do a little something, and Tuck will be limited. The coach offered no status update on the other five players.
Coughlin continued to stress throughout his conference that the playoff scenarios and possibilities are irrelevant. He was adamant that the Giants return to playing with pride and emotion, and said they are "excited to play in front of the fans" on Sunday." Read more...
BIG BLUE VIEW
Martellus Bennett On Right Track
Excerpt: "Tight end Martellus Bennett came to the Giants looking for a chance to grow as a player, and he apparently got what he was looking for.Michael Boley Was Surprised By Limited Role Last Week
“I think the best thing about this season is from game to game, and each week at practice you could see how much better I improved,” he said.“As a player I’m still growing up. I haven’t hit a plateau or anything like that. I’m just still increasing my ability and playing better week to week, whether it’s blocking, running routes, the way I’m getting open, things like that. Every week has been getting better and better and better. So I think the sky’s the limit.”
So happy has Bennett been, that he wouldn’t mind re-signing with the Giants for more than the one-year “show me” contract he got to come here as an unrestricted free agent from Dallas last spring.
“I’m happy I’ve been here and I want to be here for a long time. But you all know how that goes. For the most part I think I’ve been improving. That’s the biggest thing for me. Each week I’ve been improving. To get another season in this offense, I think I can be twice as good as I was this year and continue to improve.” Read more...
Excerpt: "If you were surprised that linebacker Michael Boley, who was not listed on the injury report last week, only played in 21 snaps on the defense despite the heavy linebacker set that defensive coordinator Perry Fewell experimented with, you weren’t alone.
Boley, the team’s starting weakside linebacker, was also caught off guard.
“I could have played more,” he said.
“I think so. It’s water under the bridge now.”Boley, who said the decision to limit him was made by the coaches, has, like many of his teammates, been dealing with issues that come with the wear and tear of a 16-game NFL season. .
On Monday, head coach Tom Coughlin, speaking about the four-linebacker set and the absence of Boley in that alignment, said, “It was not necessarily a health thing. It had been a cumulative health thing; he was having some issues for three weeks that we felt was not allowing him to play the way that he’s capable of playing and that’s the reason we went into the game with, again, these different personnel combinations.”
Boley conceded that his physical issues could have played into the decision, though it was clear by his tone he didn’t really believe that.
“Like I said, obviously we all want to play all the time, but unfortunately we don’t make the decisions.” Read more...
THE RED ZONE.
Tom Coughlin Challenges Giants
Excerpt: " Forget about the playoff scenarios and what has to happen for the New York Giants to sneak into the playoffs.
Tom Coughlin wants to see the defending world champions "resurrect a little bit of pride."
"That is what I talked to our team this morning -- pride, honor, dignity, play the game that we are capable of playing," a stern Coughlin said Wednesday. "Finish the season with a game we can all be proud of."
When asked if he is proud of the season the Giants (8-7) have had, Coughlin said he can't shake the last two losses to Atlanta and Baltimore out of his mind after seeing the Giants lose by a combined 67-14.
"Will I be proud of the season?" Coughlin asked. "Right now I have a short memory and I've got these two games (on my mind). I am proud of the individuals. I am not proud of what's been accomplished."
After throwing control of their own playoff fate away by getting crushed on the road by the Falcons and Ravens, the Giants have to beat Philadelphia on Sunday at home and need losses by Dallas, Chicago and Minnesota to make the playoffs." Read more...
Giants Place Beckum On IR - Bing Signed To Practice Squad
Excerpt: "Tight end Travis Beckum was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday with a knee injury.
Beckum injured his knee in practice last Friday, according to the Giants. The team signed defensive back Terrence Frederick off the practice squad to take Beckum's roster spot.
Cornerback Brandon Bing was signed to the practice squad." Read more...
Andy Reid Says He Hasn't Thought About Sunday Possibly Being His Last Game With Eagles