EXCERPTS FROM EXTERNAL NEWS ARTICLES REGARDING THE NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS ARE POSTED UNDER THEIR SOURCES. MISCELLANEOUS SPORTS ARTICLES ARE POSTED UNDER THE "MISCELLANEOUS" SECTION AT THE END OF THE THREAD. LINKS FOR ALL LISTED SOURCES ARE INCLUDED TO ALLOW MEMBERS TO INDEPENDENTLY BROWSE AT THEIR LEISURE.
NEWARK STAR LEDGER
NY DAILY NEWS
No Panic In Big Blueprint
Excerpt: "Tom Coughlin is 66 years old and seems to have the energy of a man in his 40s. If he’s planning on retiring anytime soon, no one seems to know it. And Eli Manning will turn 32 on Thursday, and just based on what his brother is doing, he seems to have the genetics to play at least another 5-6 years.
So the idea that the Giants’ championship window is closing anytime soon is silly. They missed the playoffs by one game, thanks to four losses by a touchdown or less. They are still a “relevant” team, as GM Jerry Reese said and not far off from being a Super Bowl contender."
There’s no reason they can’t quickly retool and compete for a championship next year.
“Absolutely. No question,” Justin Tucksaid. “Obviously when you talk about championships it always starts with the quarterback position. And we have a great one. Then you go to the sum of the parts.”
Those parts, Tuck accurately said, include an offensive line that gave up a league-low 20 sacks, a running back (Ahmad Bradshaw) who gained 1,000 yards, and a young and dynamic receiving duo in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. Yes, he admitted, the defense has “some holes” but it’s hardly void of talent, either.
“For whatever reason, it didn’t happen for us this year,” Tuck said. “But I have no reason to doubt we’ll have the opportunity to turn that around next year.”
It won’t take a massive rebuilding project or a spending spree either. The Giants are close to another run. Here’s how they can get closer:" Read more...
Osi Knows His Days In Blue Are Numbered
Excerpt: "Osi Umenyiora waited a long time to be an unrestricted free agent and he’s not going to waste that opportunity, even though he knows that means it’s “time to move on” from New York.
The 31-year-old defensive end said his time with the Giants is most likely over during an interview on ESPN Radio on Monday. He had been hinting at that for weeks, although he always left the door to a return open.
Now that door appears closed.
“I just feel fortunate to be able to play 10 years in New York in this city and that organization,” Umenyiora said on “The Michael Kay Show.” “It was a great run, a great ride. I think now is probably time to move on.”
The Giants likely agree, since Umenyiora is surely going to seek a lucrative contract when the free-agent signing period opens in mid-March. He’s been unhappy for years playing under the seven-year contract extension he signed late in 2005 that could’ve been worth as much as $41 million, but in reality paid him about $10 million less." Read more...
THE NEW YORK POST
Why This Veteran Team Failed Is A Great Mystery
Excerpt: "Don’t be surprised if the detailed, painstaking study reveals nothing.
Don’t be shocked if Tom Coughlin’s conversations with his players produce words but not answers, not even theories, certainly not any evidence to explain why.
Why a time-tested team with a Super Bowl pedigree, veteran leadership, relative health, firm coaching and a clear understanding of the opportunity at hand arrived for games in Atlanta and Baltimore but failed to show up. If the Giants, coming off a pinball wizard 52-27 rout of the Saints, armed with an 8-6 record and their playoff destiny in their hands, had left the Georgia Dome on the wrong end of a 23-17 loss to the Falcons it would have been damaging, but would have not prompted the “soul searching’’ Coughlin said was needed.
If the following week, still in complete control of their postseason fate, the Giants battled long and hard with the Ravens, dropped a ball or missed a tackle late and lost 17-14 it would have severely, critically wounded any notion of a title defense. It would have signaled the 2012 Giants were not quite good enough. But it would not have triggered such disbelief.
Losing 34-0 and 33-14 in back-to-back weeks, Coughlin said, will “probably drive me insane’’ because it represents a tear in the fabric of what he has crafted over these nine years.Sure, the most agonizing losses for the Giants were 19-17 in Philadelphia and 17-16 in Washington, but there are easily-recognizable reasons why they came up short — tangible football failings. At another time, in another season, co-owner John Mara would have viewed the December double-dose tank job that got his team beat by a combined 67-14 and concluded that big changes were needed.
That’s what he surmised as recently as 2009, when two losses by a combined 85-16 score to end an 8-8 season sparked a furious Mara to state “The status quo ... is not acceptable,’’ warning the break-even record “felt a lot more like 2-14 to me’’ and even, in a sense, putting Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese on notice, revealing “I’m not happy right now, and THEY know that.’’
And this was after the coach and GM produced a remarkable Super Bowl victory only two seasons earlier.In time, Mara will probably come to judge the embarrassing losses to the Falcons and Ravens as blips on the screen that cannot be identified.“I don’t think there’s an answer right there,’’ Eli Manning said. “I think it’s just a matter of we didn’t have our A-game. In those crucial situations, you’ve got to have it. You’ve got to be at your best, and you’ve got to want it, and we didn’t have it.’’ Read more...
Giants' Final Report Card
Chris Canty called it a “fall from grace’’ and he was on the money. Forget dominance, this was often a jail break.
There was never, ever any hint that the opposing running game (a bloated 129 yards per game) was under control. There was never, ever any sign that the secondary could clamp down, allowing a ridiculous 13 pass plays of 40 or more yards. Most shockingly, there was never, ever any semblance of a formidable pass rush as the ballyhooed “best line in the NFL” failed to deliver.Jason Pierre-Paul’s sack total dropped by 10 to 6 1/2 and he’s got to deal better with all the extra attention. Osi Umenyiora stayed healthy, but, despite his protestations, he’s a situational pass-rusher. Justin Tuck’s demise (four sacks) is more troubling, as he was a shell of his former self. It looked as if Linval Joseph inside wore down.
It seemed as if the linebacker corps was deeper and more athletic than ever, but the results weren’t there, although Chase Blackburn always showed up and the expected starting battle with Mark Herzlich never materialized. Same cannot be said of Michael Boley.
The defense’s only redeeming feature? The ability to force turnovers (35), led by surprising Stevie Brown (eight INTs).
Antrel Rolle plays all over the field and is hurt by getting moved around so much. Corey Webster in the past has been a reliable cornerback but he was alarmingly ineffective. Prince Amukamara showed signs why he was a first-round pick, but he needs to stay on the field. Doubtful injury-plagued Kenny Phillips will be back, opening the door for intriguing Will Hill. D" Read more..
THE BERGEN RECORD
Giants In 2012: Final Report Card
Excerpt: "Running game: C
The Giants were better statistically than last season, when they finished last in rushing, but struggles in short-yardage and the inability to provide balance in key games down the stretch cost this team mightily. Ahmad Bradshaw eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the second time, but injury issues again affected his impact over the long haul. David Wilson showed tremendous flashes. FB Henry Hynoski had perhaps the most consistent season of any offensive player. C David Baas was tough inside and showed why the Giants invested in him as a free agent before last season.
Passing game: C
Run defense: D
Eli Manning acknowledged he did not take the step forward in terms of the improvement he was hoping for. Part of the reason for his inconsistency were the struggles of Hakeem Nicks, who was not himself after the Week 2 performance (10 catches, 199 yards, TD) during which he sprained his left knee. He was held without a catch in Week 16 and played just one snap in Week 17. He is hoping to avoid surgery in the off-season. Victor Cruz earned a Pro Bowl invite and proved he is not a "one-hit wonder." TE Martellus Bennett had a career season.
Of all the things that went wrong, the Giants' inability to stop the run was the most glaring. Opponents ran left, right and up the middle — at times with ease — gutting the defense and neutralizing its greatest strength: the pass rush. MLB Chase Blackburn had the best season of his career, but he is a free agent. OLB Michael Boley was inconsistent and he lost snaps to younger LBs Mark Herzlich, Jacquian Williams and Spencer Paysinger late in the year. They took a big hit at DT when seventh-round draft pick Markus Kuhn went down with a torn ACL, but Linval Joseph showed he might be ready to bump up to Pro Bowl status next season.
Pass defense: C-minus
The pass rush was invisible at times and, though some of that was circumstance – terrible run defense, playing from behind – the personnel needed to perform better. Jason Pierre-Paul was voted a Pro Bowl starter, but the Giants expected more. A primary focus of the off-season will be figuring out how to improve the secondary after its vulnerability to the big pass play was exploited. Good years for S Stevie Brown, S Antrel Rolle, CB Prince Amukamara and S Will Hill were offset by an uneven campaign for S Kenny Phillips (knee injury) and a woeful showing by CB Corey Webster." Read more...
NEW YORK TIMES
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Domenik Hixon Wary Of Potentially Leaving Giants: "Grass Isn't Green On The Other Side
Excerpt: "Often clutch and always under-appreciated, wide receiver Domenik Hixon is one of many to-be free agents the New York Giants will need to address this offseason. However, unlike most free agents in recent years, Hixon isn't in a rush out the front door, and has been made to understand that the money may be greener away from New York, but the grass most certainly isn't.
"I talked to some guys who have left from here and the grass isn’t green on the other side," Hixon said. "We’ll see what happens. It’s an exciting time though."
One of the guys Hixon likely talked to is former running back Brandon Jacobs, who was recently released by the San Francisco 49ers after a public spat left him suspended for the latter part of the year. And never was there a more perfect example of "grass not being greener."
Of course, one could also ask wide receivers Steve Smith and Plaxico Burress, tight ends Jake Ballard and Kevin Boss (although the former didn't leave by choice) and cornerback Aaron Ross.
More often than not, players who choose to leave the Giants for more money often appear to be kicking themselves, wishing they could return. Hixon certainly doesn't want to become one of those, but he's also earned himself some consideration around the league and the potential for a solid contract. And he's thankful to Big Blue for that opportunity." Read more...
Giants' Justin Tuck: "I Plan On Being Here A Very Long Time"
Excerpt: "By all accounts, New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck had a tremendously disappointing 2012 campaign. He only sacked the quarterback four times, which was his lowest total since 2006 (when he only appeared in 6 games). Tuck averaged just 3 tackles per game this season, which was also his lowest mark since 2006. His body language was questionable, as he often appeared frustrated and dejected on and off the field this season.Save for the final six games of 2011, Tuck has been completely ineffective over the last two seasons. He has trouble beating offensive linemen after initial contact and he rarely wins his individual matchup anymore. Whether it's a product of age, injury, motivation or all of the above, Justin Tuck's reputation and past accomplishments are the only keeping him on this roster. Despite his lack of production over the last two seasons, Tuck does is not ready to entertain questions regarding a departure from New York.
"Listen, man," he said flatly. "I’ll be very frank and honest in saying this: I plan on being here a very long time. And that’s pretty much all I have to say about it."
Tuck may plan on being with the Giants for a long time, but he will be entering a contract year in 2013. He's done a great service to Big Blue for playing his prime years at well below market value. It's not often that a Pro Bowl caliber defensive end is willing to play for an average of $6 million per season. However, if he doesn't return to form next year, the Giants are not going to resign a 31 year old defensive end who has not produced in three seasons." Read more...
BIG BLUE VIEW
Reasons To Celebrate: Giants' Emerging Rookie Class
Excferpt: "The 2012 season has come and gone. Back in April, the New York Giants selected a draft class to help fill the gaps in the roster after losing some significant players like Brandon Jacobs, Mario Manningham, and Jake Ballard. Some of the rookies have shown brilliance, while others have struggled. Overall though, every single one of these players has the ability to be on the roster and prove their worth.
It took a while for first-round pick David Wilson, the running back from Virginia Tech, to really find his place in the Giants offense. An opening night fumble against the Dallas Cowboys was no help and it landed Wilson to work strictly on kickoff returns with very few chances for snaps and carries. The Week 14 game against the New Orleans Saints changed that dramatically. Wilson ended the season with 358 yards on 71 carries and had no fumbles since that Week 1 incident. The future is very promising for this young man and the Giants' run game.
"Coaches get a little bit nervous when young players ... you put them in and they turn the ball over early in the game. He proved himself and got back in there and we think he's going to be a terrific player for us," said Giants' General Manager Jerry Reese. "He's a dynamic, really kind of world class athlete. We think he has a bright future for us."
Second-round pick Rueben Randle, the wide receiver from LSU also went through some questions this season, but it was mostly brought upon everyone by Cris Collinsworth who questioned Randle's work ethic. He and Wilson have shown in the last few weeks that the future is bright for the two young men. On Sunday against the Eagles, Randle ended his season with two touchdown catches on the day. Randle ended his season with 19 catches for 298 yards and three touchdowns.
Jayron Hosley flashed the ability in the preseason to possibly help the Giants' cornerbacks, but he's dealt with a lot of injuries. The third-round pick out of Virginia Tech had an up and down season. had flashed some moments of brilliance, but also had moments he wants to forget. Hosley's future with the Giants, though, does look good.
"You saw him return some punts in the preseason, but after he hurt his foot and had some injuries there, we took him off the punt return duties, but we think he's going to be a really good player for us," said Reese. "He has that 'moxy' about him that you like. He had some growing pains like all rookies do, but he flashed some things that we like from him as a third-round pick."
The Giants used their fourth pick on Adrien Robinson, a tight end out of Cincinnati. After losing Jake Ballard to the New England Patriots andTravis Beckum to another injury, the Giants were at the time seriously limited at tight end. However, they brought Martellus Bennett over from Dallas, who had a career year with the Giants. Robinson just never had the opportunity to suit up for games.
"We still have very high hopes for him," said Reese. "He's a big, talented guy that's fast and can run and can do all the things. It's unfortunate that we weren't able to get him the suit on Sundays and get him some experience playing in the National Football League. We hope he'll continue to develop ... have an off-season under his belt to go through. Hopefully he'll be able to help us moving forward as a tight end in our tight end stable." Read more...
Giants' Roster Power Rankings: Rating The Giants, Final Report
Excerpt: "Here are your final 2012 New York Giants' roster power rankings. This is a cumulative ranking of where I think each player belongs from top to bottom for the season.
One thing I decided to do was add the five players to the end-of-the-season rankings who spent part of the season on the active roster before finishing on Injured Reserve. I have done my best to judge the overall contribution of each player for the season.Let me know what you agree or disagree with.
1. Eli Manning -- He didn't play as well in 2012 as the Giants needed him to.LW: 1
2. Jason Pierre-Paul -- The Giants have to get something closer to the 16.5 sacks he produced in 2011 next season, not the 6.5 he had this year. HINT: For me it starts by getting him at right defensive end more often. LW: 2
3. Victor Cruz -- A second straight 1,000-yard plus season. LW: 3
4. Ahmad Bradshaw -- Lots of heart, and plenty of production when his feet allow. Will he be back next season? LW: 4
5. Antrel Rolle -- With apologies to Justin Tuck, Rolle is clearly now the heart -- and the voice -- of the Giants' defense. LW: 5
6. Will Beatty -- He can be a free agent, and the Giants had better lock this guy up with a sizeable long-term contract. There aren't a lot of left tackles who were better this season. LW: 6
7. Chris Snee -- A very good year for the veteran guard. Not what he was about four seasons ago, but still a good player. LW: 8
8. Chase Blackburn -- Having Blackburn finish this high in our rankings is a credit to him, an over-achiever with limited athleticism. It is, however, an indictment of a Giants' defense that desperately needs an upgrade in talent at linebacker. LW: 11
9. Linval Joseph -- A very good season, but not a Pro Bowl level one. Hopefully, he gets to that level in 2013. LW: 10
10. Hakeem Nicks -- All the courage in the world to play thru the injuries he played with in 2012, but Nicks was not as productive as the Giants needed him to be. In the end, he should have taken the 6-8 weeks off that doctors recommended rather than returning in two. LW: 7" Read more...
THE RED ZONE.
Ahmad Bradshaw Has Doubt About Giants' Future
Excerpt: "Ahmad Bradshaw continues to talk like he may have played his last game as a Giant, Kieran Darcy of ESPN New Yorkreports.
A day after the 2012 season ended, the team convened for a final time at the Timex Performance Center
on Monday, and Bradshaw spoke briefly with reporters in the locker room.
"It’s a great opportunity to see these faces," Bradshaw said, of his teammates. "You never know who's gonna be back next season, including me."
Bradshaw rushed for 107 yards in the Giants' season-ending 42-7 win over the Eagles on Sunday, eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark for the second time in his career. He's just 26 years old, but sounded uncertain about his future after the game."
He sounded uncertain on Monday as well. "I don’t know anything," Bradshaw said. "We don’t know who might not come back, so it’s good to see these faces." Read more...
Osi Umenyiora Ready For Life After New York Giants
Osi Umenyiora wants to start at defensive end. And he doesn't want to be used only in passing situations.The 10-year NFL veteran knows that's probably not happening with the New York Giants.
Excerpt: ""I feel fortunate to be able to play 10 years in New York," Umenyiora said on "The Michael Kay Show," via ESPNNewYork.com. "It was a great run. I think now is probably the time to move on. There's really not much left for me to accomplish here in New York. Look at things that have been done here, what is there that is to be done that I haven't done? We won a championship twice. I think I've been a Pro Bowl player. Everything has pretty much gone better than I could have imagined in New York.
"So if there is a time to leave, it probably would be now, but there is no telling what would happen."
Umenyiora had 43 tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles in 16 games this season. He started in just four games."I've earned the right to be a free agent," Umenyiora said. "It's been 10 years. I signed a seven-year deal, and they made me play out all seven of those years. If they wanted me back, I think something would have been done before now." Read more...
Andy Reid To Cardinals?