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    NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011 - 2:45 P.M.

    HERE NOW THE NEWS

    THE DATA WILL UPDATE THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND SHOW THE UPDATE TIME IN THE HEADER.

    THE PLAYOFFS HAVE BEGUN!

    NEWARK STAR LEDGER

    TONY ROMO THROWING, TAKING SNAPS AT PRACTICE

    "Romo made some soft tosses during the short period of practice open to
    reporters today. He wasn't wearing any kind of protection on his hand during
    those throws.



    When the team gathered for stretching, Romo slipped a black glove on his
    right hand. But he removed the glove before a few more throws and at least one
    play where he took a snap from center and handed off the ball. When it wasn't
    his turn, he stuffed both hands in his pockets.




    Romo bruised his hand Saturday against Philadelphia.




    Dallas (8-7) plays its regular season finale Sunday night at the Giants. The
    winner clinches the NFC East title and a playoff spot."

    GIANTS' OSI UMENYIORA WILL PRACTICE TODAY

    Excerpt: "The Giants pass rush looked rejuvenated in Saturday's
    win over the Jets
    , sacking Mark Sanchez five times and hitting him on 10
    other occasions. And early indications point to another boost for Sunday night
    against the Cowboys.


    In his daily press conference this morning, Tom Coughlin said Osi Umeniyiora,
    who has been battling ankle and knee injuries over the past month, will practice
    today.




    "He's tested everything, lots of times," Coughlin said. "That's what he's
    been doing. He's been working his tail off, he just hasn't been able to get
    right."




    Umenyiora hasn't played since November 28 against the Saints and has only
    played in eight of the Giants' 15 games this season -- he also missed the team's
    first three games. Umenyiora, who had
    a public contract dispute with the front office during training camp
    , has
    been productive when he has been on the field. Half of the defensive end's 14
    tackles have been sacks and he recorded two sacks in each of his first two
    games.




    We won't know how much he practiced until the team releases that information
    after the practice. Umenyiora will likely be limited as he works his way
    back." Read more...



    GIANTS' JASON PIERRE-PAUL NAMES NFC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK AGAIN



    "Jason Pierre-Paul is the NFC defensive player of the week.




    Again.




    The Giants' defensive end was handed the honor for the second time in three
    weeks after recording five tackles and two sacks against
    the Jets in Saturday's victory
    .




    Pierre-Paul's day was almost a lot more impressive statistically. He had a
    third sack overturned by a replay challenge when it was ruled Mark Sanchez
    didn't fumble because of the infamous "Tuck Rule."




    * * * *




    Giants coach Tom Coughlin said this morning he is "optimistic" wide receivers
    Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham (knee) will play on Sunday against the
    Cowboys.




    Coughlin said Nicks strained his hamstring against the Jets and played
    through it, though he didn't have that "other gear."




    Nicks was having his hamstring stretched often during Saturday's game. He
    also stood by the heater on the sideline to keep his legs warm."

    BACK TO THE BASICS, GIANTS' DEFENSE HOPES TO STAY STRONG WITH SEASON ON THE LINE

    Excerpt: "After weeks of confused defensive backs allowing receivers to run free
    through the secondary, the Giants’ cornerbacks and safeties knew what they were
    doing against the Jets, and it showed.


    They got their hands on eight passes (six knocked away and two intercepted),
    held Mark Sanchez to only 258 yards passing (a small number considering he threw
    the ball 59 times for an average of only 4.4 yards per attempt) and forced
    Sanchez to hold the ball on a few sacks.




    It was easy as A ...




    Actually, that’s all it was, thanks to defensive coordinator Perry
    Fewell’s simplified game plan.

    “He went back to the old ways. He
    solidified: ‘Regardless of they give us A, B, C or D, this is what we’re
    doing,’?” safety Deon Grant said on Monday. “Before, trying to protect certain
    people or whatever the case may be, we had a different call for A, a different
    call for B and so on.




    “Guys mentally were faster with it (against the Jets). That’s the way it was
    last year and in the beginning of the season this year.”




    Now, the question is, will it remain that way?




    On Sunday, the Giants face the Cowboys in what’s basically a one-game playoff
    to get into the playoffs. The winner will be the NFC East champion, which sounds
    encouraging for the Giants, considering they just beat Dallas three weeks
    ago.




    Of course, that victory easily could’ve been a loss because of a leaky Giants
    secondary that allowed Dez Bryant (50-yard touchdown) and Laurent Robinson
    (74-yard reception) to run free up the field. It was a rookie mistake by Prince
    Amukamara that let Robinson get free, but five days after Bryant high-stepped
    into the end zone and channeled his inner Victor Cruz with a salsa dance,
    veterans Corey Webster and Antrel Rolle were still debating who was right and
    who was wrong in the blown coverage on that play.




    All of those issues, as well as assignment problems against the Green Bay
    Packers, led to Fewell simplifying things. Suddenly, it was the offense that
    looked confused and the Giants’ defensive backs who were sure of themselves.




    Which is a good thing for them heading into a rematch with Tony Romo’s
    bruised hand and his targets, who connected to catch 21 passes for 321 yards and
    four touchdowns against the Giants on Dec. 11.




    “We’re extremely confident in our group,” Rolle said, “and we’ve proven to
    ourselves last week what kind of defense we can be if we put our minds together
    and practice hard throughout the week.”




    Fewell generated those good vibes in practice and meetings with his
    simplified (or as Grant put it, “solidified”) plan. The odds are, given the
    results and the rebuilt confidence of his secondary, he won’t change much this
    week." Read more...

    GIANTS' JASON PIERRE-PAUL, ELI MANNING NAMES TO PRO BOWL, VICTOR CRUZ SNUBBED

    "Jason Pierre-Paul only began playing football in his senior year of high
    school after giving in to a nagging high school coach who saw natural ability in
    the 6-foot-5 youngster.


    Five years later, he is one of the NFL’s best defensive ends, and was
    recognized as such Tuesday when he was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team.




    He will be joined by quarterback Eli Manning, who was selected to his second
    Pro Bowl. The game will be played Jan. 29 in Honolulu.




    “I don’t really understand the whole Pro Bowl thing, but it means a lot,”
    Pierre-Paul said in the Giants’ announcement. “It means I’m doing good.”




    Although his understanding of the Pro Bowl may still need work, Pierre-Paul’s
    understanding of the game on the field is catching up to his natural
    ability.




    After recording 4½ sacks his rookie season, Pierre-Paul ranks fourth in the
    NFL in sacks with 15½ this year and has started 11 of the 15 games.




    The University of South Florida product burst onto the national stage in
    prime time against Dallas on Dec. 11. In the Giants’ 37-34 come-from-behind
    victory, Pierre-Paul recorded two sacks, forced a safety and blocked the
    Cowboys’ game-tying field goal attempt with one second
    remaining.

    “Honestly, I told my best friend, ‘This year I’m going to do
    way better than I did last year because I know what I’m going into, I know what
    to expect,’?” said Pierre-Paul, who wasn’t even on the fan ballot this season.
    “Last year, I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know too much of the
    playbook. This year I knew that everyone was starting from scratch again, and I
    knew that I was going to have a breakout season.”




    This hasn’t been a breakout season for Manning, but it arguably has been his
    best. He is fourth in the NFL in passing yards (4,587), seventh in touchdowns
    (26) – including an NFL record-tying 14 in the fourth quarter — and has led the
    Giants to victory six times when they trailed or were tied in the fourth
    quarter.




    “I think I have thrown the ball well, but again, I think the receivers have
    done a good job,” Manning said in the Giants’ announcement.




    “We had some guys step up, so a lot of credit goes to them. I feel like I
    improved on some things. There are still some improvements to be made, and
    obviously my whole mind-set is the team having success and us winning
    games.”




    Like Pierre-Paul, wide receiver Victor Cruz has emerged as one of the
    league’s best at his position in his second season. He, too, has the gaudy
    statistics — and a signature touchdown celebration dance to boot.




    But it wasn’t enough to earn a spot in the Pro Bowl — at least initially.
    Cruz was a second alternate, along with guard Chris Snee, who had been selected
    each of the past three seasons.




    Cruz ranks third in the NFL in receiving yards (1,358) and ninth in
    touchdowns (8).




    Of course, in the end, the Giants hope they all will be too busy preparing
    for the Super Bowl in Indianapolis instead of playing the meaningless exhibition
    in Honolulu."

    GIANTS LOOK TO MAINTAIN CONSISTENCY AND INTENSITY AGAINST COWBOYS WITH NFC EAST TITLE ON THE LINE

    Excerpt: "Those who have watched the Giants
    this season and wondered how the intensity level can be up-and-down, why they
    play down to their opponents and why they seem to take matchups for granted,
    should know that’s precisely what the players are saying behind closed
    doors.


    And they can’t figure it out, either.




    “There have been times we played teams we knew we were better than and we
    just came out and didn’t show it,” linebacker Michael Boley said Monday, as the
    players returned to work following Saturday’s victory over the Jets. “Somebody
    talked in our meeting room and said, ‘If we know we’re better than them, let’s
    come out and treat them as we’re better than them. Don’t play down to their
    level. Let’s set a bar for what we want to do and come out and do that.’?”




    It would seem no such talk would be necessary this coming Sunday in the
    battle for the NFC East.




    “Everyone knows what’s at stake. Dallas
    Cowboys, New York Giants at MetLife Stadium
    ,” Justin Tuck said. “It’s going
    to be a fun game, ‘Sunday Night Football,’ everybody will be watching.”




    Tuck threw in everything except Brent Musburger’s, “You’re looking live ...”
    to hype the scene for this one.




    It’s as big a non-playoff game as one can imagine, and the players claim
    they’ll be ready. But this is the same group that failed to respond to getting
    “punched in the mouth by the Eagles” and admittedly sleep-walked through a week
    of preparation leading up to the loss to the Redskins.




    Tuck, Boley and others have been fooled before by a team that’s failed to
    maintain its intensity level.




    In fact, the Giants actually have a better record in games as underdogs (4-3)
    than when they’re favored (4-4). They’ve lost their last two games as favorites
    and haven’t won while in that role since beating the Dolphins on Oct. 30."

    NY DAILY NEWS

    A GIANT PLAN TO BEAT COWBOYS

    Excerpt: "
    It took a miracle for the Giants to beat the Cowboys three weeks ago. It took
    Eli
    Manning
    ’s wildest fourth-quarter comeback of the season. It took the
    outstretched hand of Jason Pierre-Paul
    to block what could’ve been a game-tying field goal.



    Not that it was much different from the rest of the Giants’ season, in which
    10 of their games have come down to the final two minutes (and it nearly became
    11 against the Jets). Their pattern all season has been to rope-a-dope their
    opponents until Manning provides a final flurry and hopefully knock them
    out.




    As the Giants (8-7) prepare for a showdown with the Cowboys (8-7) on Sunday
    night with the NFC East title and a playoff berth at stake, the
    wait-for-a-Manning-miracle plan may not be the best strategy.




    It’s easy to remember what nearly went so wrong for the Giants in Dallas on
    Dec. 11, when they had to furiously rally for a 37-34 win that kept their season
    alive. They had 510 yards of offense, but nearly 40% of it (196 yards) came in
    the final 13 minutes. They were also forced to move 138 yards in less than four
    minutes after the Cowboys took a 12-point lead with 5:41 to play.




    As a result, the Giants got a great example of what to do and what not to do
    on Sunday night in the most important game this rivalry has seen since the 2007
    division playoffs. The keys to a Giants victory should be fresh in their mind,
    and abundantly clear:




    1. Will the real Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks please
    stand up?




    It’s been lost in other issues the last two weeks, but Manning has suddenly
    hit the slump that so many of his critics expected him to have. He was playing
    like an MVP, and his 400-yard game in Dallas was his second in three weeks. The
    last two weeks he completed just 47.8% of his passes (32 of 67) for 482 yards, a
    touchdown and four interceptions. That’s a passer rating of just 51.9.




    Maybe more of a mystery is what has happened to Nicks, who had eight catches
    for 163 yards against the Cowboys, but has caught just six passes for 73 yards
    the last two games and has had almost as many drops, including two against
    Washington, that would’ve been touchdowns. Even Tom Coughlin said that
    “with him, drops are really shocking. He has incredible hands and big hands. He
    just snatches the ball out of the air.”

    Whatever their issues, Manning and Nicks came up big against the Cowboys, and
    history says this game will likely be a shootout. If Manning is off his game, Tony
    Romo
    (who had 321 yards and four touchdowns against the Giants three weeks
    ago) has the arm and the weapons to beat him. If Nicks keeps dropping passes,
    Manning’s job might be impossible.



    2. The third option is the charm




    With Nicks relegated to being a non-factor against the Jets ( one catch, 20
    yards), the Giants were bailed out by Victor Cruz’s 99-yard
    touchdown, which was really a 12-yard pass that featured three missed tackles.
    That boosted Cruz to a three-catch, 164-yard day.




    It also exposed something the Cowboys could take advantage of — the Giants
    have a 1-2 punch, but they didn’t have a third option. With Mario Manningham
    (knee) and tight end Jake Ballard (knee)
    out, nobody else stepped up. Receivers Ramses Barden and Devin
    Thomas
    had one catch each, but they weren’t consistently open and no tight
    end got involved. The options were so limited that Manning once threw to rookie
    Jerrel Jernigan,
    who doesn’t have an NFL catch — and Darrelle Revis was
    covering him at the time.




    Maybe Manningham or Ballard will be back this week, and that will help. If
    not, somebody needs to provide a consistent third target, otherwise the Cowboys
    can take Nicks out of the game and the Giants’ passing attack could struggle
    worse than it did against the Jets.




    3. Never lose sight of DeMarcus
    Ware




    With all due respect to Jason Pierre-Paul, DeMarcus Ware wins the title of
    “Most dangerous defensive player on the field” in this game, based on his
    lengthy resume and 18 sacks, including three in the last two
    games.

    He was a non-factor in Week 14 against the Giants, possibly due to a neck
    injury. He’s also had only eight sacks in seven career games against Giants LT
    David Diehl, dating
    back to 2007 (that includes a three-sack game in 2008). But like Pierre-Paul, he
    can be a one-man wrecking crew if he gets loose. Diehl needs to contain him, and
    so does RT Kareem McKenzie
    when Ware flips sides.



    The Giants’ biggest key to this game will be giving Manning time to throw,
    and Ware, who ranks second in the NFL in sacks (a half-sack behind Minnesota’s
    Jared Allen) is the man
    who can knock the Giants quarterback off his game." Read more...

    NFL PPOWER RANKINGS: GIANTS WIN BATTLE FOR NEW YORK AND CLIMB TO # 11; PACKERS, SAINTS AND 49ERS LEAD THE WAY

    Excerpt: "The Giants won New York and New Jersey for the NFC Saturday and the Daily
    News power rankings concur. The NFC is the power conference, with the top three
    teams in the next-to-last regular season poll.



    The Packers continue in the top spot, where they've been since they defeated
    the Saints in the first game of the year, a victory that looms ever larger now.
    Had the Saints won at Lambeau Field that night, they would be in line for the
    top seed right now. With the way their offense has been rolling in the
    Superdome, they would be the clear Super Bowl favorites.




    The surprising 49ers continue in the third spot, followed by three AFC teams,
    the Patriots, Ravens and Steelers, who might as well be 4-a, b and c.




    As for the locals, the Giants climbed five spots to No. 11, ahead of the
    Cowboys, whom they face with everything on the line in the last game of the NFL
    season. The Jets dropped two spots to No. 17.




    1. (1) Packers (14-1): An imperfect season, an imperfect
    team, but still the NFL's best.




    2. (2) Saints (12-3): Unbeatable at home.




    3. (3) 49ers (12-3): Best defense in football.




    4. (4) Patriots (12-3): Top seed will be very beatable.




    5. (5) Ravens (11-4): A lot depends on securing first-round
    bye, home field.




    6. (6) Steelers (11-4): Will they rest Roethlisberger
    against Browns?




    7. (9) Lions (10-5): Getting hot again at right time.




    8. (7) Texans (10-5): Can they win a playoff game with T.J.
    Yates
    ?




    9. (8) Falcons (9-6): Bad news for Falcs: Saints could be
    first-round foe.




    10. (14) Bengals (9-6): Final game vs. Ravens will define
    this team in every way.




    11. (16) GIANTS (8-7): Great win. Now what?"

    NBC'S CHRIS COLLINSWORTH READY TO APOLOGIZE TO GIANTS' ANTREL ROLLE, IF HE'S WRONG

    "
    Cris Collinsworth
    won’t avoid Antrel Rolle at the
    Meadowlands this week when he arrives with NBC’s Sunday Night Football crew.
    He’s even willing to apologize for saying the Giants safety was “barbecued” on a
    fourth-quarter touchdown pass in Dallas three weeks ago.



    But only if someone proves that he was wrong.




    “I have apologized for things many, many times, and I will many, many times
    in the future — when I’m wrong,” Collinsworth told the Daily News. “If I’m wrong
    in this case I will do the exact same thing.




    “But somebody’s got to show me where I was wrong.”




    So far, no one has.

    All Collinsworth knows for sure, as he begins to
    prepare for his second Giants-Cowboys broadcast in the last four weeks, is that
    after criticizing Rolle and ripping the Giants for “amateurish coverage” on a
    50-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Dez Bryant, late in the
    Giants’ 37-34 win, Rolle hit back hard two days later. Without naming the NBC
    analyst specifically, Rolle lashed out at “commentators” who talk like “they
    know what they’re talking about, but in reality they don’t half of the
    time.”




    Rolle’s point was that his critics “don’t know how we’re playing our
    defense,” which Collinsworth conceded is true. But there was obviously something
    incredibly wrong with that defense for Bryant to get that wide open, and
    Collinsworth says it’s his job to say what he sees.




    “I mean, how many times has a guy thrown an interception and you find out
    after the game is over that the receiver, instead of turning in, turned out?”
    Collinsworth said. “And you say ‘Oh, what’s Eli thinking on that play?’ You know
    what I mean? We would be reduced to saying absolutely nothing if we don’t give
    our opinions on the show. That’s kind of what we do.”




    As a result, Collinsworth said, “the idea that somebody is mad at you at the
    end of the broadcast is not exactly headline news.” He said it’s also not
    unusual that after the show he acknowledged he could’ve made his point another
    way.




    “If I had it to do all over again, I would’ve said ‘And the Giants got
    barbecued on that play,’” Collinsworth said, “which probably would’ve been a
    better choice.”




    Still, as Collinsworth pointed out, Rolle was the last line of defense on the
    play in question and clearly he and cornerback Corey
    Webster
    — the other defensive back on Bryant’s side — were not on the same
    page. That’s why he got a laugh out of the fact that both Rolle and Webster
    insisted they were in exactly the right spot, playing the right defense at the
    time.




    “OK, so the fact that somebody was wide open 40 yards down the field and
    there were two defensive backs on that side, they were both right?” Collinsworth
    said. “Well, then clearly I must be wrong. I must be out of my mind.”




    He’ll find out for sure when he arrives in New Jersey, because he plans to
    ask both players and their coaches about the play. If they’re willing to tell
    the truth about what happened, Collinsworth has no problem with apologizing on
    air on Sunday night.




    “Believe me, if I’m dead flat-out wrong, if it ends up Antrel was right and
    he was completely blame-free on the play, and I will say that,” Collinsworth
    said. “But the answer can’t be that everybody’s right. I’m not putting that on
    TV." Read more...

    NY POST

    GIANTS' HATE OF COWBOYS RUNS DEEP

    Excerpt: "Take what the Giants felt about the Jets based on playing them once every
    four years and having to share a stadium and community, take that animus and
    bottle it, leave it percolating decade after decade, shake it up twice a year
    and when the cork is popped this New Year’s the odorous ooze that flows out is
    what the Giants think about the Cowboys.



    The Jets were the JV of villains; the varsity of bad guys comes next, making
    Sunday night’s playoff to get into the playoffs also a time for 51 years of
    festering resentment to rise from Yankee Stadium and the Yale Bowl and old
    Giants Stadium and swirl around MetLife Stadium. The Cowboys once prompted some
    rare trash talk out of the mouth of the late Wellington Mara, and what the
    former Giants owner handed down to his children has been passed down, one
    generation to the next, from fans of Y.A. to Eli, from Huff to
    Tuck.





    It was on the back end of a lost season, the Giants at 4-7 facing the
    playoff-bound Cowboys at 7-4 on Nov. 24, 2006 in what would be Dan Reeves’ last
    year as head coach. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, as usual, was patrolling his
    beloved team’s sideline, but the Giants played like men against the ’Boys,
    scoring a 20-6 upset. So pleased to send Jones back to Dallas with a loss, Wellington Mara uttered the
    now-famous line: “It’s nice to see arrogance humbled,’’ and breezily added: “I
    enjoyed it very much.’’




    Jones still is scampering down to the field, most recently last week when in
    almost comical fashion he bolted down from his luxury suite, rushing to
    ground-level to inform coach Jason Garrett that the Giants had beaten the Jets,
    making the Cowboys-Eagles game meaningless. Jones, who is the owner and also the
    general manager, easily could have gone into the coaches’ box, put on the
    headset and relayed this information to Garrett, but later explained he did not
    want anything “to drop between the lines, communication-wise.’’ Jones wanted to
    make sure Garrett knew enough to take key players such as Tony Romo — who had
    bruised his throwing hand — and running back Felix Jones out of the game.




    “That’s Jason’s decision, but he doesn’t need to be making that one by
    himself,’’ Jones said on his radio show in Dallas, adding he told Garrett: “You
    make the decision, but our emphasis should be on New York.’’




    It is impossible to even remotely consider John Mara or GM Jerry Reese high-tailing it down to the
    sideline — in full view of everyone, showing who really runs the show — to
    “suggest’’ to Tom Coughlin how to properly deploy his personnel." Read more...



    MANNING, ROMO HAVE DONE THIS DANCE BEFORE



    Excerpt: "One game to win.




    One quarterback to win it.




    In this corner, wearing the white trunks with the star, former Brett Favre
    impersonator, former Bill Parcells quarterback, former Jessica Simpson boyfriend ... Tonyyyyyyyyy Romo
    ... Romo.




    In this corner, wearing the blue NYG trunks, younger brother of Peyton
    Manning, self-proclaimed elite quarterback ... former Super Bowl MVP ... Eliiiiiiii Manning ... Manning.




    The fates of two storied franchises hang on the right arms of their
    respective franchise quarterbacks come New Year’s Night.




    Manning has won a Super Bowl.





    Romo has not.




    Manning has the big-game reputation.




    Romo does not.




    Romo has a bruised throwing hand.




    Manning does not.




    Come Sunday night, this could mean everything ... or nothing.




    Because this is winner-take-all, where anything, and everything, can
    happen.




    Manning either cements his standing as the quarterback who stared down Tom Brady in Super Bowl XLII and again
    this season in Foxborough, or America’s Quarterback forges a significant
    breakthrough with America watching and spikes the naysayers who wonder why he
    has managed but one playoff win.




    Their last Shootout at the Jerry
    Jones
    Corral on Dec. 11 was a spine-tingling, nail-biting, white
    knuckler:




    Manning (27-of-47, 400 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) heroically brought the desperate
    Giants back from a 12-point deficit with just under six minutes remaining when
    he engineered touchdown drives of 80 and 58 yards. Romo (21-of-31, 321 yards, 4
    TDs, 0 INTs) stood eyeball-to-eyeball with Manning and didn’t blink — until he
    overthrew a wide-open Miles Austin
    for what would have been the game-winner.




    The Post takes a look at Manning versus Romo through the years (Romo missed a
    game in 2008 and another last year with injuries):" Read more...

    GIANTS' PIERRE-PAUL, MANNING SELECTED TO PRO BOWL

    Excerpt: "Before the season, Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul confided to his
    best friend, “This year I’m going to do way better than I did last year because
    I know what I’m going into, I know what to expect.’’



    Little did Pierre-Paul what exactly “way better’’ would mean.




    “Last year, I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know too much of the
    playbook,’’ Pierre-Paul said. “This year I knew that everyone was starting from
    scratch again and I knew that I was going to have a breakout season this year.
    Nobody else did, but I told my best friend and he was like, ‘Yeah, I believe
    you.’ And sure enough, I did.”




    He did. It was such a breakout year that on Tuesday it was revealed that
    Pierre-Paul, in his second NFL season, is one of two Giants players selected to
    play for the NFC squad in the Pro Bowl.




    Eli Manning, guiding the NFL’s No. 4-ranked passing offense, was selected to
    the Pro Bowl for the second time. His first selection was after the 2008
    season.




    “He definitely deserves it,” Manning said of Pierre-Paul. “He’s had a
    phenomenal year. It’s amazing, it doesn’t look like he ever comes off the field.
    Making sacks, but also making a lot of tackles, just being around the football,
    knocking balls down, causing fumbles, getting safeties -- he’s all over the
    place.’’




    Receiver Victor Cruz, who has a team-high 76 receptions and set a franchise
    single-season record 1,358 receiving yards, was named a second alternate to the
    NFC squad, as was right guard Chris Snee, who made the Pro Bowl in each of the
    past three seasons.




    Pierre-Paul is fourth in the NFL with 15 1/2 sacks, the most by a Giants
    player since Michael Strahan had 18 1/2 in 2003.




    “When we first started preseason and we played against Carolina and I
    recorded two sacks in that game, I said, ‘OK, this year is my year, I can do it
    this year,’” Pierre-Paul said. “That’s when I was like, let me just play to my
    full potential and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. However many snaps I
    play for, when I’m on the field I going 120 percent. Not 100 percent, but 120.
    That’s how I’ve played ever since.”




    Pierre-Paul’s name did not even appear on the Pro Bowl ballot distributed to
    fans because even though the Giants knew he had potential, they decided to
    nominate veterans Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. The Giants defense struggled
    much of this season but Pierre-Paul was a constant dominating force. Fans,
    coaches and players vote for the Pro Bowl teams.




    “It means a lot,” said Pierre-Paul, who turns 23 Sunday. “I don’t really
    understand the whole Pro Bowl thing, but it means a lot. It means I’m doing
    good.” Read more...

    THE BERGEN RECORD


    VICTOR CRUZ TAKING GIANTS STEPS



    "The nearly empty warehouse is a long way from the Fourth Ward streets of Paterson.




    Victor Cruz traveled to the New Rochelle, N.Y., facility Tuesday mindful of
    the difficult journey he had on the road to burgeoning NFL stardom.




    Growing up in his gritty home town. Being passed over for scholarship offers
    by major colleges. Failing to be drafted.




    But as the Giants' receiver arrived at the warehouse to inspect what remained
    of the first line of his clothing company, Young Whales, he also was reminded
    just how "blessed" he is.




    Most of his stock had sold.




    "We had a whole Christmas line," Cruz said. "One hundred pieces of every
    style. We had 10 to 12 styles: baseball-style shirts, crew neck sweaters,
    T-shirts, hoodies.




    "We're down to the bare minimums."




    The Silk City native was selected only as a second alternate on the NFC's Pro
    Bowl roster.




    But Cruz still has no complaints as he and the Giants prepare for their
    Sunday night showdown with the Dallas Cowboys with the NFC East and a playoff
    berth at stake.




    "It just feels like God has blessed me and put me in the right positions," he
    said. "I'm just having the most incredible year of my life."




    Cruz has gone from an unknown kid from Paterson
    Catholic to UMass to one of the NFL's most exciting players. He ranks third in
    the league in receiving yards (1,358) and is tied for 10th in receptions
    (76).




    Last week, he surpassed the franchise record for most receiving yards in a
    season and recorded the longest play in team history, a 99-yard catch-and-run
    touchdown in the victory over the Jets.




    And now he is a modest but successful clothing entrepreneur.




    "I wake up every day and just pinch myself and think about how far I've come
    and all the stuff I've done," Cruz said.




    Young Whales – a venture he started with partner and former Giant Nate
    Collins, a defensive tackle for the Jacksonville Jaguars – is just the latest
    endeavor that Cruz's touch has turned to gold.




    "He's a huge asset. I call him 'Hollywood Cruz,' " Collins said. "Every time
    I turn on the TV, I tell him 'It's you!' 'cause he's always on."




    The dream was a simple one, just an idea that took root with the friends in
    the summer of 2010, while the rookies tried to earn roster spots at Giants
    training camp.




    They shared a thing for fashion, especially designer T-shirts, which they
    decided were too expensive.




    So they researched the business – "The stats showed how easy it is not to
    make money," Collins said — and found Josh Kimerling, who has his own line and
    provided guidance and connections.




    They started up the company in April with initial investments of $5,000
    each.




    Collins came up with the name – word play on the slang term for a high-stakes
    casino gambler. And with the help of an illustrator, they designed their logo —
    a whale with a top hat and a bag of money.




    By September they had put together a line of T-shirts, sweaters and hoodies
    that they sell on their website, youngwhales.bigcartel.com.




    When a photo shoot was scheduled to promote the clothes for the website, Cruz
    attended.




    "I was like, 'Where are all the models?' " he asked. "And Josh says, 'They're
    right here.' "




    So Cruz and fellow Giant Ramses Barden are among those featured.




    Now Cruz and Collins are planning a spring line.




    "I think it kind of hit me this past week," he said. "I'm getting Pro Bowl
    questions. I'm like, 'Wow, going into the year, I wasn't even thinking about the
    Pro Bowl. I was just thinking about trying to get a lot of playing time.'




    "It's surreal."




    More good news awaits as his girlfriend Elaina Watley – the operations
    manager of Young Whales — is pregnant with their first child, a daughter due in
    late January.




    Cruz sees a bright future.




    "I'm a big fashion junkie," he said. "Fashion is kind of what I like doing on
    the side. I can see this growing into something bigger."

    THE NEW YORK TIMES

    CHARGING FOR DOWNLOADS REST OF MONTH

    http://www.nytimes.com/pages/sports/football/index.html

    GIANTS 101

    GIANTS A CANDIDATE TO SIGN STEVE SPAGNUOLO, SAYS SAL PAOLANTONIO

    "In recent days, reports of Steve
    Spagnuolo
    's impending termination as St. Louis
    Rams head coach have swept the Internet. The inevitability has led to much
    speculation about his next destination, with most concluding -and some even reporting- that he'll land in Philadelphia as the Eagles' next defensive
    coordinator.


    NFL "expert" Sal
    Paolantonio disagrees. In fact, Sal Pal believes the New York Giants are a serious candidate to bring back Spags as
    their defensive coordinator.





    "If the Eagles want Spagnuolo to come back to Philadelphia, they're going to have to make a huge pitch
    to do that," Paolantonio said. "I think Spagnuolo has a better chance of going
    to New York
    than Philadelphia."




    Sal Pal also hinted that should the Giants bring back Spags as DC, it will be
    done under the premise that when Tom Coughlin ultimately leaves New York,
    Spags will assume the role of head coach.





    "He'd be the head coach in waiting," Paolantonio added. "That will peeve
    their pitch to Spags."




    With current defensive coordinator Perry
    Fewell
    in the final year of his contract, the Giants could technically look
    to bring back Spags without firing him, but Coughlin generally tends to be very
    loyal to his coordinators. It will be interesting to see if Sal Pal hit this one
    on the nose or if he was, again, just blowing a lot of hot air."

    GIANTS' ANTREL ROLLE: NOTHING ELSE MATTERS; ONLY THE DALLAS COWBOYS

    "For the New York
    Giants
    and Dallas
    Cowboys, their previous 15 games are now all but irrelevant. Heading into week
    17 of the NFL season, the
    only thing that truly matters is the NFC East battle on Sunday night that will
    determine the division winner and whose season continues.



    New York
    Giants
    Hakeem Nicks (R) celebrates his touchdown on the St. Louis Rams with
    teammate Antrel
    Rolle
    during the first quarter of their NFL football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, September
    19, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)


    The winner gets new life and a chance to fight for a Super Bowl appearance.
    The loser? They go home empty handed.




    Giants safety Antrel
    Rolle
    is not at all interested in being the latter.





    “This is the most important game of our season. Everything else is wiped out.
    Nothing else matters at this point. Only the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night," Rolle said.




    Rolle had recently gotten himself into some hot water when he declared the
    Giants would beat the Washington Redskins 99 out of 100 times before ultimately
    losing to their division rivals for the second straight time, so he stopped
    short of making another such prediction for Sunday's game.





    “We understand what’s on the line right here. And we’re going to come play
    ball,” Rolle said. “I don’t know what the outcome of the game is going to be.
    But whatever happens on either side, I know it’s not going to be
    easy.”




    This subdued Rolle is an interesting change from the norm, but with so much
    at stake, he seems unwilling to give Dallas any extra motivation. And kudos to him. The last
    thing Big Blue needs to do is anger and disrespect a team that has every bit as
    much to lose as they do."

    http://www.giants101.com/

    BIG BLUE VIEW

    NY GIANTS; NEWS AND NOTES: ALL THE MARBLES EDITION


    Excerpt: "Good morning fellow Giants fans. I sent
    a text to my Cowboys' fan client Tuesday night, the one who I texted the night
    the Giants beat the Cowboys, and had said "Mark my words--Giants 37, Cowboys
    34," to which he said afterward, "I hope you bet on the game." Anyway, all I
    said Tuesday was this--"All the marbles." That's it, and that's what is at stake
    Sunday night as the Giants host the Dallas Cowboys for
    the NFC East. It's like a one-game playoff in baseball, or a Game 7 in any
    sport. Of course, the winner will host a playoff game the following weekend,
    while the loser goes home. But it's been a long time that the Giants have played
    a regular season game with this much meaning. I know it's only Wednesday, but
    I'm chomping at the bit. How about you guys?


    Rams'
    Steve Spagnuolo To Be Fired, Named Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Coordinator,
    According To Report - SB Nation New York

    St. Louis Rams head
    coach Steve Spagnuolo is expected to be fired after the season, and the San
    Diego Union-Tribune reports that it is "all but certain" Spagnuolo will take
    over as Philadelphia
    Eagles
    defensive coordinator.




    Did anyone else become physically ill when they read this? Kind of like when
    Steve Smith signed with Philly (of course, that didn't turn out so well, but he
    DID score the winning TD against us last month). I want to not believe it, but
    these rumors almost always become reality when you're a Giants fan." Read more...

    SPAGNUOLO COULD RETURN TO EAGLES IF FIRED BY RAMS: REPORT

    "St. Louis Rams head coach Steve
    Spagnuolo
    is likely to return to Philadelphia to become the Eagles'
    defensive coordinator if, as expected, he is fired at the end of the season.



    Spagnuolo, an Eagles assistant from 1999-2006, is "all but certain" to
    replace first-year coordinator Juan Castillo in Philly as Rams owner Stan
    Kroenke clears the deck in St. Louis, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Spagnuolo left
    Philadelphia to become the Giants defensive coordinator.




    The 52-year-old's reputation boomed after helping to mastermind the Giants'
    shock victory over the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, has led St. Louis to only 10 wins in
    his first three seasons as a head coach.







    The same report suggests Kroenke will also fire general manager Billy Devaney
    and move for A.J. Smith, should the Chargers GM be fired by San Diego along with
    head coach Norv Turner.




    But the newspaper quoted league and agent sources as saying Smith will end
    his association with Turner to instead hire
    ESPN
    analyst Jon Gruden as his
    head coach should he be hired as Rams general manager.




    Sources said that Gruden, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders head coach, plans
    to return to the NFL next year despite signing an exclusive five-year contract
    with the sports network in October, which is scheduled to begin in September
    2012."



    2012 PR0 BOWL ROSTERS: ELI MANNING, JASON PIERRE-PAUL TO REPRESENT GIANTS



    "Quarterback Eli Manning and
    defensive end Jason
    Pierre-Paul
    will represent the New York Giants in
    the Pro Bowl on Jan. 29, 2012 in Hawaii. Full rosters were announced Tuesday
    night.




    "It's a real honor," Manning said. "Obviously, when you make it to the Pro
    Bowl it's because your team, the offensive line, my receivers are doing a great
    job protecting me, getting open, making plays. It is an honor. Considering some
    of the other quarterbacks in the NFC who have had outstanding seasons, I'm
    really thrilled and truly honored to be named to the Pro Bowl team."

    "It
    means a lot," Pierre-Paul said. "I don't really understand the whole Pro Bowl
    thing, but it means a lot. It means I'm doing good."




    Wide receiver Victor Cruz
    and guard Chris Snee were
    named second alternates to the NFC team.




    "It's a great time, just to see some of the other athletes, guys you compete
    against, guys that you respect and watch them play and get to hang out with
    them, get to talk to them, get to see their personalities outside of football,"
    Manning said. "It's a very laidback and fun time. Obviously, with the new way
    that the Pro Bowl has gone, you don't really want to be playing in the game.
    You'd rather be getting ready for the Super Bowl. So hopefully that's the case
    and we'll see what happens."

    http://www.bigblueview.com/section/news

    INSIDE FOOTBALL

    http://www.insidefootball.com/


    GIANTS GAB






    YARDBARKER



    http://www.yardbarker.com/nfl/teams/new_york_giants/56

    SPORTING NEWS

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/nfl/stories

    NYG REPORTER


    http://nygreporter.com/


    NFL.COM

    http://www.nfl.com/teams/newyorkgiants/profile?team=NYG


    YAHOOSPORTS

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl

    FOX SPORTS
    ..
    http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/team/new-york-giants/67056

    NBCSPORTS

    http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/3032875/ns/sports-nfl

    CBSSPORTS

    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/teams/p...ew-york-giants

    SI.COM



    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/foo...ts/?eref=sinav



    ESPN.COM

    TC LEADS BANGED-UP GIANTS BY EXAMPLE

    Excerpt: "In the past week, Tom Coughlin reminded everyone, including his own team,
    what he is all about.


    The New York
    Giants
    coach responded to Rex Ryan's barking with his old mantra, "Talk is
    cheap; play the game."




    He sat down with team leaders such as Justin Tuck to make sure that everybody was
    all-in and that, with the Giants' season hanging in the balance, players turned
    in their best week of practice with a laser-like focus.




    "Our team practiced like wild men all week long," safety Antrel Rolle said on his weekly radio
    appearance on WFAN. "We had an outstanding [week of] practice ... an
    electrifying [week of] practice."



    Then, during the Giants' 29-14 win over the mouthy Jets, Coughlin injured his
    left leg when running back D.J. Ware was inadvertently shoved into
    him.




    The 65-year-old coach clearly was in pain and probably still is, given that
    he walked to his Monday news conference with a visible limp and slowly stepped
    up a short flight of stairs with a stiff leg.




    But, in the biggest week of the Giants' season, Coughlin refused to go to the
    hospital to undergo an MRI or have any other tests done.




    Coughlin might be stubborn, but the message he is sending to his team is
    clear: Nothing will stand in the way of his doing everything he can to beat the
    Cowboys.




    And the message was received.




    "We are all all-in," Tuck said. "And Coach Coughlin is the same as all of us.
    I know that knee, that leg is banged up a little bit. But he wasn't showing any
    ill effects [on Monday]. [Coughlin] came in excited about the opportunity this
    week."




    "That's 65 years of wisdom I guess," Tuck said of Coughlin's methods to
    inspire his team. "He knows how to push the right buttons at the right
    time."




    The Giants (8-7) have won just two of their past seven games since getting
    off to a 6-2 start. But they still control their fate, and one more win over the
    Dallas
    Cowboys
    will earn them the NFC East title.




    Coughlin showed this past week against the Jets that his actions resonate and
    that the team still responds to him.




    If Coughlin is coaching for his job -- and there has been no indication from
    Giants brass that he is -- ownership certainly noticed and appreciated the
    coach's effort this past week.




    "He is never going to give up," team CEO and owner John Mara said about
    Coughlin after the win over the Jets. "He seems to be at his best when everybody
    puts his back against the wall."




    "You have to kill him to keep him down," Mara said, referring to Coughlin's
    injury.




    Coughlin's job security seems to be a topic every December. A loss to Dallas
    would keep the Giants out of the postseason for a third straight year. But
    ownership always seems to be looking for reasons to keep Coughlin rather than
    reasons to find a new head coach.




    Mara admitted he wanted to beat the Jets badly, and Coughlin helped deliver
    the win in a fashion ownership prefers." Read more...



    NFC PRO BOWL SNUBS - VIDEO

    NFC EAST TITLE FIGHT - VIDEO

    GIANTS EXCITED FOR COWBOYS REMATCH - VIDEO

    OFFENSIVE CHANGES FOR GIANTS - VIDEO

    TONY ROMO'S INJURY A GIANTS' ADVANTAGE? - VIDEO


    http://espn.go.com/nfl/team/_/name/nyg/new-york-giants

    FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS


    http://www.footballoutsiders.com/

    PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY

    http://www.profootballweekly.com/team/giants/

    PRO FOOTBALL FOCUS

    http://www.profootballfocus.com/

    MISCELLANEOUS

    SPAGNUOLO COULD RETURN TO EAGLES IF FIRED BY RAMS

    SWELLING SUBSIDING ON ROMO'S INURED THROWING HAND


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1








    # 80

  2. #2
    Bench Player
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    56

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011 - 8:47 A.M.



    Thanks Ro.....




    its me....[]





  3. #3

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011 - 8:47 A.M.

    thanks for the news Roanoke!

  4. #4
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    100,581

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011 - 8:47 A.M.

    [quote user="Buckeroo"]

    Thanks Ro.....




    its me....[]




    [/quote]

    LMAO
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1








    # 80

  5. #5
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011 - 8:47 A.M.

    [quote user="BigBlue1971"]thanks for the news Roanoke![/quote]

    [Y]
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1








    # 80

  6. #6
    Starter oldschoolcat's Avatar
    Join Date
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    New Jersey
    Posts
    167

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011 - 8:47 A.M.

    JPP is a beast, Osi yeah!

  7. #7
    All-Pro G-Men Surg.'s Avatar
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    Down south In Cowturd country
    Posts
    10,616

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011 - 8:47 A.M.

    I hope Nicks can make it sunday night and comes out all right . Thanks RF !
    " Success is never final, but failure can be " B.P.

  8. #8
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011 - 8:47 A.M.

    [quote user="G-Men Surg."]I hope Nicks can make it sunday night and comes out all right . Thanks RF ![/quote]

    I suspect he and Manningham will play but hope they also practice before Sunday
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1








    # 80

  9. #9
    All-Pro G-Men Surg.'s Avatar
    Join Date
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    Posts
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011 - 8:47 A.M.

    [quote user="RoanokeFan"][quote user="G-Men Surg."]I hope Nicks can make it sunday night and comes out all right . Thanks RF ![/quote]

    I suspect he and Manningham will play but hope they also practice before Sunday
    [/quote]
    I suspect Nicks is not going to be 100%. Manningham has to play and pick up the slack
    " Success is never final, but failure can be " B.P.

  10. #10

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011 - 8:47 A.M.

    This one got me stoked:
    Paul Schwartz's NYPost article "Giants hate of Cowboys runs deep"

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