HERE NOW THE NEWS
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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.GIANTS' OSI UMENYIORA WILL PRACTICE TODAY
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."
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
"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
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
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.BACK TO THE BASICS, GIANTS' DEFENSE HOPES TO STAY STRONG WITH SEASON ON THE LINE
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
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."
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
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
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
“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
“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
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
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
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
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.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.NBC'S CHRIS COLLINSWORTH READY TO APOLOGIZE TO GIANTS' ANTREL ROLLE, IF HE'S WRONG
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. 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.
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,
"We're down to the bare minimums."
The Silk City native was selected only as a second alternate on the NFC's Pro
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
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
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
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
"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.'
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
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
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
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
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.
Giants Hakeem Nicks (R) celebrates his touchdown on the St. Louis Rams with
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
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."
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?
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.http://www.bigblueview.com/section/news
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 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
"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."
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."
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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 - VIDEONFC EAST TITLE FIGHT - VIDEO
GIANTS EXCITED FOR COWBOYS REMATCH - VIDEO
OFFENSIVE CHANGES FOR GIANTS - VIDEO
TONY ROMO'S INJURY A GIANTS' ADVANTAGE? - VIDEO
PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY
PRO FOOTBALL FOCUS
SPAGNUOLO COULD RETURN TO EAGLES IF FIRED BY RAMS
SWELLING SUBSIDING ON ROMO'S INURED THROWING HAND