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NEWARK STAR LEDGER
Giants To Host Sandy Hook Elementary School Community Members At Sunday's Game
Excerpt: "The Giants will host members of the Sandy Hook Elementary School community Sunday when they play the Eagles, the team announced today.
The school in Newtown, Conn. was the site of the shooting that claimed 26 lives -- 20 first-graders and six adults – on Dec. 14.
Approximately 200 students will participate in pregame ceremonies and watch the game, the Giants announced. An equal number of parents and faculty members and 50 Wounded Warriors will accompany the students.
The contingent will travel to the stadium from Newtown Sunday morning via a caravan of nine chartered Academy buses.
"I spoke to the team this morning about that and what it really means to all of us is we were so taken back and so shocked and felt so badly for the families," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said. "Not only the families of the children, but the families of the principal and the school psychologist, the real heroes who knew exactly what was coming and still charged and attacked and knew what the outcome would be.
"And it's Giant country and we know that."
Once on the field, the group from Sandy Hook and the Wounded Warriors will form two gauntlets – one for each tunnel connecting to the Giants and Eagles locker rooms. The teams will run through the gauntlets onto the field.
When the teams are on the field, the Sandy Hook residents, Wounded Warriors and players and coaches from both teams will circle the field for the national anthem and a moment of silence before the game.
"It means a great deal to us and we would certainly like to honor them and the best we can do is take each individual and play to the best of his ability and make a statement as a team as well," Coughlin said. "We're not alone in our passion and empathy for the school and for their lost loved ones. I'm sure
the entire country feels that way, but it's special for us to have them here this weekend." Read more...
Eagles Down Two Defensive Starters
Excerpt: "The Eagles will be without two defensive starters Sunday in their season finale against the Giants after defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and linebacker Mychal Kendricks were ruled out with concussions. Both are in Phase 2 of the concussion protocol.
Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (knee) practiced Friday and is expected to play. He's listed as probable. Tight end Evan Moore (back spasms) is doubtful.The Eagles are trying to knock the Giants out of the playoffs with Michael Vick re-installed as the starting quarterback. Maclin said earlier in the week it would mean "a lot" to ruin the defending Super Bowl champions' season.
"One thing you don't have to worry about is NFC East games," Eagles coach Andy Reid said.
"Guys get fired up for those."It won't be easy to beat the Giants without Cox and Kendricks.
The Eagles first and second-round picks, respectively, in this year's draft have been mainstays on the defense this season. Cox has been the Eagles' best interior lineman. He's tied for the team lead with 5.5 sacks and fifth in total tackles with 65. Kendricks is third on the team with 81 tackles and second with eight stops for a loss." Read more...
Giants' Kenny Phillips Calls 2012 "A Long Frustrating Season"
Excerpt: "Kenny Phillips hopes to play this Sunday against the Eagles. But he also hoped to play against the Ravens, too.
Just like this week, the Giants safety practiced each day leading up to the Ravens game and was listed as questionable with a right knee that has been ailing him since Week 4. But Phillips was inactive for the game.
"I was shocked. I had a great week of practice. The coaches were telling me how well I was doing," Phillips said. "I guess it just came down to, I guess, a numbers game, I’m not sure. Once again, they made the decision, and I just have to deal with it."
A "numbers game" must not have sat well with the former first-round pick and starter.
"Yeah, I was pretty (ticked) off," Phillips said. "But at the end of the day, there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ll just come to work and practice and work hard and let them make a decision."
Coach Tom Coughlin explained earlier in the week the decision to sit Phillips was based on if they thought he could play at a high enough level, and also filling the necessary roles on special teams -- the numbers Phillips referred to. It was the latest example of what Phillips described as a "long, frustrating year," since he injured his knee against the Eagles in September.
"Going into your last year (of your contract), you want to go out there, make a big splash, and just play as well as you can," Phillips said. "Especially coming off the Super Bowl. You feel good about your chances of repeating, get hurt early and then... Like I said, it’s been real frustrating. You’re on the field, and you’re off the field; you can play this week, you can’t play this week. It’s just been a long season, I’ll put it like that." Read more...
Giants' Secondary Again Reeling With Injuries And Uncertainty Heading Into Season Finale
Eccerpt: "For Jayron Hosley, the exercise was as routine as it gets.
The rookie cornerback was running down the field at practice Thursday when he suddenly felt a sharp pain in his left quadriceps. He left practice and was held out of yesterday session. He was then listed as doubtful to play tomorrow against the Eagles.
And just like that, the Giants are in a predicament in the secondary for their regular-season finale.
Hosley, as he did last week against the Ravens, was supposed to fill in at cornerback opposite Corey Webster for the hindered Prince Amukamara, who is dealing with a hamstring injury.
Now, the Giants may need to turn to journeyman Justin Tryon and rookie Terrence Frederick. Tryon has struggled in his brief time at cornerback this season, and Frederick, who has spent most of his time with the Giants on the practice squad, has never taken a snap at cornerback in the NFL.
"I’m expecting to get some reps," said Frederick, a seventh-round pick whose only NFL game experience came on special teams against the Falcons. "If my number’s called, I’m going to be ready to play."
Amukamara, also listed as doubtful, was limited at practice yesterday and said he had "no problems," but admitted feeling pain in his hamstring, which he injured against the Saints in Week 14.
"I have to keep my mind-set as if I’m going to play," Amukamara said.
Amukamara and Hosley’s health issues are the latest in a season saturated with them for a depleted Giants secondary vulnerable to the big play.
They began when cornerback Terrell Thomas re-injured his knee in training camp and was placed on season-ending injured reserve. They continued when Amukamara sustained a high-ankle sprain and Hosley went down with a toe injury in the preseason.
Backup cornerback Michael Coe, now a Dallas Cowboy, bounced on and off the injury report with hamstring trouble until he was placed on season-ending injured reserve and later waived.
"It’s definitely frustrating," Hosley said. "You want to go out there and fight."
But the most notable injury is at safety. When Kenny Phillips sprained his right knee in Week 4 against the Eagles, he expected to be 100 percent in time for the stretch run. He isn’t.
In his first game back against the Packers in Week 12, Phillips aggravated the injury." Read more...
Giants' Victor Cruz Says He Isn't Disappointed About Not Havng A New Contract Yet
Excerpt: "Victor Cruz made it clear earlier in the season that he hoped he and the Giants would agree to a new contract by the end of the season. He said he wanted to avoid it hanging over him and letting it become a distraction.
Well, the season is nearing its end and the third-year wide receiver still hasn't signed a new deal.
"I'm not disappointed," Cruz said. "I think we're still moving in the right direction. I think we just – you know, it's a negotiation. Everything's not going to happen the way you want it to and we're just going back and forth and hopefully we'll get things squared away soon."
Cruz is making $540,000 this season in the final year of his rookie deal and is set to become a restricted free agent in the offseason.
As a restricted free agent, the team could keep the Paterson native for another year with a one-year tender, but he’s seeking a long-term deal. After bursting onto the national scene last season, Cruz got off to a hot start in 2012 but has just two touchdowns in the Giants' last eight games.
Overall, Cruz is 12th in the NFL in catches (82), 14th in yards (1,040), and tied for eighth in touchdowns (nine). He is the only player in franchise history with 80 receptions, 1,000 yards and nine scores in a season. And he's done it twice. He set the Giants' single-season receiving record last season with 1,596 yards." Read more...
NY DAILY NEWS
Giants' Secondary Depleted Against Vick, Eagles
Excerpt: "You probably thought things couldn’t get any worse for a beleaguered Giants defense that’s been shredded for 67 points in its last two games.Read more...
Then came Friday. And now things are looking even uglier.
The Giants announced that two key corners — second-year man Prince Amukamara (hamstring) and rookie Jayron Hosley (quadriceps) — are doubtful to play in Sunday’s regular-season finale against Philadelphia. And that means an already-struggling secondary could face the Eagles — and nemesis quarterback Michael Vick — with just three healthy cornerbacks.
Amukamara indicated that he might be a game-time decision and added that he has to be “smart about it.” Hosley was even less optimistic, stressing that it’s “a short time until the game, so we have to take it day by day and see how it goes.”
Suddenly, a Giants secondary that’s allowing 257 passing yards per game (fifth-worst in the league) could be targeted even more as Big Blue fights to keep its faint playoff hopes alive.
“Well, we have the three guys,” Tom Coughlin said when asked how the Giants will handle their corner situation. “And we’ll see what Prince is like. We’ll go from there.”
Cruz OK With Slow Contract Talks
Excerpt: "Victor Cruz still doesn’t have the new contract that he aggressively campaigned for in the offseason. But on Friday, he insisted that he doesn’t mind, and that negotiations are still moving forward.
“No, I’m not disappointed,” Cruz said. “I think we’re still moving in the right direction. You know, it’s a negotiation and everything’s not going to happen the way you want it to. We’re just going back and forth, and hopefully we get things squared away soon.”
Cruz, who is wrapping up his second straight 80-catch, 1,000-yard, nine-TD season and is headed to his first Pro Bowl, made $540,000 this year and will be a restricted free agent this offseason. He said he’s in “no rush” to complete a new deal.
“I’m just being patient, man,” Cruz said. “I’m gonna go enjoy this last game, hopefully enjoy this playoff berth. If not, enjoy the Pro Bowl and just relax a little bit.”
NOT FINE WITH FINE
The NFL fined Ed Reed $55,000 for the safety’s fourth-quarter hit on Cruz last Sunday, a hit the league decided was “striking a defenseless player in the head and neck area.” But even Cruz admitted that the fine was excessive.Read more...
“I think it’s pretty steep,” Cruz said. “It’s a pretty hefty fine, but it wasn’t my decision.”
Giants To Hose Sandy Hook Victims For Sunday's Game
Excerpt: "A large contingent of special fans will take in the Giants’ regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Nearly 400 students, parents and faculty members from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., will attend the game and play a key role in pregame festivities, the team announced on Friday.
Coach Tom Coughlin told the Giants the news on Friday morning.
“To have that group from the Sandy Hook Elementary School and the Newtown community come down for this game with Philadelphia, it means a great deal to us, and we would certainly like to honor them,” Coughlin said. “the best we can do is take each individual and play to the best of his ability and make a statement as a team as well . . . It’s special for us to have them here this weekend.” Read more...
THE NEW YORK POST
January Run Remains In Big Blue's Sights
Exerpt: "Justin Tuck was changing into his street clothes yesterday after what he hopes wasn’t his last full practice of the season when someone mentioned the retirement of former Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui.
Tuck remembered how Matsui, in his final year as a Yankee when many thought his best days were behind him, excelled enough in the 2009 postseason to be named the World Series Most Valuable Player.
“I’m trying to channel some Matsui these next four or five weeks,” Tuck said.Notice the “four or five weeks” part.
Despite the Giants’ remote chances of making the playoffs, there were no suitcases or trash bags visible at any of their lockers yesterday. The general theme in East Rutherford is there is plenty to play for when the Giants (8-7) face the Eagles (4-11) tomorrow at MetLife Stadium in the regular-season finale. Coach Tom
Coughlin wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We need to go play a very good football game,” Coughlin said. “That’s the purpose here. It’s not about scenarios or anything of that nature. It’s about us taking our football team and playing as well as we can possibly play. And then we’ll worry about everything else.”A 2-5 record after a 6-2 start has been a disappointment in many respects. But Coughlin didn’t want to hear that word. This is no time for reflection.
“Disappointment? We’re in the season,” Coughlin said. “That’s a strange word right now. That’s yesterday.
We’ve got to deal with right now, in the moment.”Coughlin has stressed all week the playoffs remain a possibility if the Giants win and a few other things happen. Yes, it’s a long shot, but at least it’s a shot.“Regardless of how things play out we need to put a positive game on film and move forward,” offensive lineman Kevin Boothe said." Read more...
Victor Cruz: Weight's Off Giants' Shoulders
Excerpt: "Victor Cruz believes the Giants felt tension over the past three weeks — even if they didn’t realize it.
With the Giants on the verge of missing the playoffs as they finish their regular season tomorrow against the Eagles, Cruz yesterday said playing must-win games down the stretch affected the psyche of the team.But now, with the team’s postseason hopes flickering, he does not believe the Giants feel any more pressure going into tomorrow’s rivalry game.
“I think there was a little bit [of tension] there,” Cruz said. “I think whether we even knew it or not, I think there was some pressure, obviously, going into the last four games where we had to win and we had to keep doing the things we had to do with everybody looking back at last year.
“I feel like there’s no pressure for us [now]. We’ve just got to go out there and take care of business and we understand that. You can kind of feel the tension slip away from this team, and we’re just relaxed and ready to go.
”How is there zero pressure on the Giants if they need to win tomorrow to have a shot at the playoffs? They also need wins by the Lions, Packers and Redskins (or tie) to get in.
“I just think because of all that we’ve been through this year, I think we just understand that now it’s either do or die and we’ve just got to go out there and relax and play football,” Cruz said. “That’s the only thing that’s guaranteed for us right now, is this game [tomorrow] and all we have to do is just relax and play some ball.
”Cruz arguably has been the Giants’ most productive player this season, with 82 catches, 1040 yards and nine touchdowns to earn a Pro Bowl nod." Read more...
Tryon Not To Be Short At Corner
Excerpt: "Prince Amukamara and Jayron Hosley are listed as doubtful for tomorrow’s game against the Eagles, meaning Justin Tryon may need to make an emergency start at cornerback.
Amukamara, dealing with a hamstring injury, did not practice Wednesday or Thursday before working in a limited capacity yesterday. Hosley hurt his quad Thursday and did not practice yesterday.
After Corey Webster, the only healthy corners on the Giants’ active roster are Tryon and Terrence Frederick.
Tryon has not started a game this season, working mainly on special teams, while Frederick has played in just one game and was recently activated off the practice squad.
“We have the three guys and we’ll see what Prince is like,” Tom Coughlin said. “We’ll go from there.
”If Amukamara and Hosley are out, safety Antrel Rolle may play some nickel corner. The Giants also might need to activate another corner, perhaps Brandon Bing or Laron Scott.
Amukamara, who was able to play just four snaps last week, said he felt fine yesterday.“I’m always going to feel a little bit of pain in my hamstring, but it wasn’t severe to shut me down,” he said. “I have to keep my mindset as if I’m going to play.” Read more...
THE BERGEN RECORD
Giants To Host Newtown Contingent
Excerpt: "A contingent of approximately 400 representing Sandy Hook Elementary School, including 200 students, will be guests of the Giants for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game against the Eagles at MetLife Stadium.SITE LINK
The invited group from the grief-stricken Newtown (Conn.) community will participate in a pre-game ceremony during introductions on the field that also will include 50 Wounded Warriors, the Giants and the Eagles.
There will be a moment of silence for the 20 children and six adults who were killed in a shooting at the school Dec. 14.
"We were so taken back and so shocked and felt so badly for the families, not only the families of the children but the principal and the school psychologist and the real heroes who knew exactly what was coming and still charged and attacked and knew what the outcome would be," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.
"And it’s Giant Country. And we know that. To have that group from the Sandy Hook Elementary School and the Newtown community come down for this game with Philadelphia, it means a great deal to us and we would certainly like to honor them. The best we can do is take each individual and play to the best of his ability and make a statement as a team as well. We’re not alone in our passion and empathy for the school and their lost loved ones. I’m sure the entire country feels that way."
"But it’s special for us to have them here this weekend."
The Giants will provide buses for the families to bring them to and from MetLife Stadium. Among those attending will be the family of Jack Pinto, the 6-year-old who was buried in a Victor Cruz jersey." Read more...
NEW YORK TIMES
WALL STREET JOURNAL
The dramatic end of the spectrum speaks of cleaning house again. The rose-colored glasses-wearing folks still hold out endless hope. The realistic middle knows that change needs to happen in order for the team to move forward seriously. Head coach Tom Coughlin hasn’t embarked upon change just yet and is still on his “one game at a time” spiel.
Giants Going From Repeat To Rebuild
Excerpt: "Just months ago, there were words uttered around the New YorkFootballGiants that included: champions, dynasty and repeat. Down the line, verses comparable to the 2007 “Resiliency” mantra came about. Neither seems to be on the cusp of fruition. Instead, disappointment is thick in the air. Blame is being shifted. Heads are being called for. Some very un-Giants-like things are happening.
"My concern is that our team plays well in the 16th game of the year for us," Coughlin said. "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. That's what I talked to our team about this morning – was pride, honor, dignity, playing the game the way we're capable of playing the game. … What I'm looking for is improvement in our football team and how we execute offensively and defensively. Finish the season with a game we can all be proud of." Read more...
BIG BLUE VIEW
Giants' Coach Tom Coughlin Agrees With Perry Fewell...Sort of
Excerpt: "Perry Fewell was pretty direct on Thursday when the defensive coordinator basically absolved himself of blame for the team's defensive struggles and pinned it squarely on under-performing players, saying "we’re in position to make plays, and we haven’t made plays."
Does head coach Tom Coughlin agree? Well, sort of. Maybe. it was actually kind of hard to tell how much blame Coughlin assigns to Fewell from the answer he gave when asked about it on Friday.
"Those are his words and that's the way he feels," Coughlin said. "I don't think the defensive players would argue with you at all. We're in position. We haven't really tackled well. We haven't made the plays.
"It's not just on defense; we haven't made any plays on offense, either. That's one of the things that, for so many weeks, we were counting on and looking at always; big plays, and the last two weeks, they really haven't been there."
[Complete Friday Injury Report]
So, the head coach agrees that plays aren't being made, but didn't exactly absolve Fewell by saying "that's the way he feels."
We won't find out the answer to how Coughlin and the organization feel about the job Fewell has done with the Giants until the off-season.
Of more immediate concern is what kind of effort the Giants will give Sunday in a game they have to win to keep their flickering playoff hopes alive. Coughlin said Friday he thought the attitude of his team has been "pretty good" this week."The guys are looking forward to the game. They're looking forward to the opportunity that's been given to them. They practiced well. They seem to be in it. Yesterday was a good practice. Today was also pretty good," Coughlin said." Read more...
Giants vs. Eagles: What To Watch On Sunday
Excerpt: "The New York Giants play their final regular season game of 2012 on Sunday when they host the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. ET/FOX). The Giants need a victory to have any chance of making the playoffs, but the 4-11 Eagles have beaten the Giants eight of the last nine times the teams have played.
Here are five things to watch Sunday, which seems likely to be the final time you see the Giants play until the 2013 preseason.[NFL.com video preview]
Who will play?
The Giants have a long list of injured players. Will guys like Chris Snee,Ahmad Bradshaw, Hakeem Nicks, Justin Tuck and Kenny Phillips -- who aren't nearly 100 percent -- drag themselves to the field for one last game this season? So many things have to happen for the game to be meaningful in terms of the playoffs that you wonder how many of them will be 'All In.'
Will the Giants play with pride or pack it in?
There has been a lot of talk this week about playing with pride, or finishing the season with a better performance than the putrid ones they have given the past two weeks. As the saying goes, though, the proof is in the pudding. The Giants have talked too much this season about what they are capable of at their best while performing too often at their worst. Will they show enough commitment and pride to end the season on a good note, or will they play like they are already in vacation mode? Your guess is as good as mine." Read more...
Folger's Forecast: Giants vs. Eagles
Excerpt: "Mark Twain once said, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”
A few diehards may still have faith in this team but we’re not one of them. We don’t anticipate the kind of late-season surge that both recent Super Bowl champions made, and yet, the Giants can still sneak into the playoffs as a wildcard.
If they do, can they make any noise? We don’t see it, but then we’ve been wrong plenty of times before and would hope to be wrong this time.The Eagles would probably like nothing more than to finish off the Giants’ season. Michael Vick will be at quarterback with Nick Foles now on injured reserve, and LeSean McCoy is back from an extended injury absence looking refreshed.
Regardless, the Eagles are a mess right now, and it’s hard to see them competing for four quarters–unless the Giants come out sleep-walking once again.
Giants on Offense
The most obvious cause for this team’s offensive woes is the broken foot that receiver Hakeem Nicks suffered in the off-season. The subsequent knee injury that he incurred while likely compensating for the sore foot has turned him into an ordinary receiver.Last year, the Giants’ three wideouts overcame the problems caused by a very spotty offensive line. This year the wideouts are being covered, and the offensive line is springing leaks all over the place.
So if you’re wondering why Eli Manning hasn’t been able to carry this offense on his shoulders, as he’s done so many times before, look no further than the domino effect that Nicks’ multiple leg injuries has produced. Manning has had neither a running game, nor time in the pocket to look downfield, and so he’s looking very ordinary.It’s been two years-plus that the running game has struggled.
It’s really time for the coaches to give David Wilson more touches, especially with Ahmad Bradshaw’s knee injury making him not only a plodding runner, but a sub-par pass blocker.Wilson only touched the ball once after his 14-yard touchdown run last week. Let’s hope that this wasn’t a case of the coaches punishing him for his end zone back-flip celebration.Last week, Manning tried forcing the ball to Rueben Randle, which is an imperative that we fully support.
The Giants are going to need this rookie to contribute next year. This is a great time to get him some much-needed playing time so he can see what he needs to do to become a reliable target. Of course, Wilson also needs to get that field time, but the coaches are sure being stubborn when it comes to him.The Eagles’ defense has been a shambles most of the season. They are fast, but they are not physical and they lack discipline. The best way to defeat them is to hurt them on the ground. Can this Giants’ offense do that? The only chance is with young Wilson carrying the ball. We hate to keep beating a dead horse, but this rookie has to play." Read more...
THE RED ZONE.
Giants To Host Sandy Hook Families At Game
The New York Giants will host community members from Newtown, Conn., at Sunday's regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles, the team announced Friday. The Giants will bus in Sandy Hook Elementary students, parents, teachers and administrators for the game."I spoke to the team this morning about that, and what it really means to all of us is we were so taken back and so shocked and felt so badly for the families," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said, via The Star-Ledger, referring to the Dec. 14 school shooting that claimed 26 lives. "Not only the families of the children, but the families of the principal and the school psychologist, the real heroes who knew exactly what was coming and still charged and attacked and knew what the outcome would be.
"And it's Giant country, and we know that." Read more...
Giants' Pride On Line Against Eagles
Excerpt: "The title defense was not supposed to go like this.
Tom Coughlin was hoping that his team would be hitting its stride and preparing for perhaps a repeat run heading into its season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.Instead, Coughlin finds himself challenging his team to show some "pride" and the New York Giants find themselves desperately searching for answers why they let the NFC East and control of their playoff fate slip away so easily.
"There's not going to be any satisfactory answer, no matter what I say," Coughlin said. "We need some real soul searching, not only by me, but by the people in that locker room."
If the Giants don't sneak into the playoffs on Sunday, they'll have an entire offseason to self-evaluate. They'll surely try to make sense of why they were embarrassed in Atlanta and Baltimore by a combined 67-14 score, and how they let everything go awry.
There's still a sliver of hope that they can turn things around. Clinging to slim playoff hopes, the Giants need a win against Philadelphia and losses by Dallas, Minnesota and Chicago to get into the postseason.Coughlin has asked his team to show some "pride, honor, dignity" against the Eagles." Read more...
Personnel Changes Comig For Giants
Excerpt: "Expect the Giants — even if they somehow sneak into the postseason — to shave some salaries and allow some veterans to walk in the offseason. Bank on it: There will be more changes this offseason for Big Blue than there have been perhaps in the past two offseasons combined.
Impending free-agent DE Osi Umenyiora has not hidden the fact that there could be a better opportunity elsewhere — and the Giants are prepared for some parting shots, too. OT David Diehl, having lost his job at one point, is a strong possibility to be playing elsewhere next season." Read more...
NFL: Andy Reid Could Stay On As Eagles' Coach
Saints, Suspended Coach Sean Payton Agree To Muli-Year Deal