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NFC EAST DIVISION CHAMPIONS
NEWARK STAR LEDGER
GIANTS' VICTOR CRUZ DRAWS WES WELKER COMPARISONS FROM FALCONS
Excerpt: "Haven't had enough Victor Cruz this week yet? Here's a few extras from Atlanta
Falcons camp today, where talk was again dominated by the Giants
wideout and the damage he can do.
Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud was asked to compare Cruz to another player in
"I would say, maybe a bigger Wes Welker?" DeCoud said. "They have the same
kind of quickness, the ability to make guys miss and to just get open, his
ability to be a slot receiver and you know, make plays for his quarterback, find
open areas and make plays with his feet once he gets the ball in his hands."
So, if you stop Cruz you stop the Giants?
"I mean, just slowing it down, they have Hakeem Nicks who's also a great
receiver, so we have to know where he is," DeCoud said. "If we can slow those
two guys down and play solid against the run I think it will be a good day for
us." Read more...
JUSTIN TUCK SAYS GIANTS "WILL GO AS FAR AS OUR QUARTERBACK AND D LINE TAKE US"
Excerpt: "The Giants have 11 sacks in their last
two games. That comes after they had 11 sacks in the seven games before
"One of them is Osi (Umenyiora) is back," defensive end Justin Tuck said
today after the second practice of the week in preparation for Sunday's playoff
game against the Falcons. "I think our intensity has been turned up in practice.
And we’ve been as healthy as we’ve been all year."
All of that combined is why the Giants' defense is confident heading into the
postseason and the players believe they can make a run here.
"We just have to cointinue to get better. We’ve had two good days of practice
so far," Tuck said. "The biggest thing for us is learning what they want to do
against us. Watching teams that have similar D-lines and run similar systems as
we do see what they try to do to slow them down and have ways to combat
After a pause, he added: "We can definitely make a lot of noise in this run.
We’re only going to go as far as our quarterback and D-line take us."
* * * *
Umenyiora had a sack on one of the first few plays he had against the
Cowboys. He came free when Tuck broke his rush to the outside and Umenyiora
"It was a designed stunt and something we worked on," Umenyiora said. "We
knew the guy on the outside was going to chip me so me and him worked the game.
He went high and I came up under the chip so I was happy it worked out that
Despite missing four games, Umenyiora didn't lose any of the chemistry with
his teammates, apparently.
"Oh no question. Me and Justin especially," Umenyiora said. "We’ve worked
together for a long time. A lot of times we don’t even have to look at each
other but I know exactly what he’s going to do and I know exactly how I’m going
to play off him because we’ve been in there so long together so it’s a positive
More coming in the next few hours on Umenyiora, who strongly hinted he's in
his final game(s) with the Giants." Read more...
GIANTS' HOT TOPIC: TALK SUPERSTITIONS, GAME DAY RITUALS, AND PLAYOFF PLANS
"Big Blue is back in the NFL playoffs, hosting a wild-card round game Sunday
against the Falcons, and we know Giants fans are excited. And, hey, if
Mathias Kiwanuka is right, buckle your seatbelts because it's going to be a
long playoff run and a great month.GIANTS' MATHIAS KIWANUKA: "THIS IS DEFINITELY A SUPER BOWL TEAM"
What we don't know, though, is how you plan on watching Sunday's game. Are
you going to be hosting a party with friends and family? Going out to a local
establishment? Heading to the game and tailgating early at MetLife Stadium?
Superstitious enough to watch alone on the same couch cushion as the past two
Tell us about those plans for Sunday. Drop down to the comments
section and leave a comment letting us know how you're watching the
If you have game-day rituals, we want to know about those, too. How early
will you be putting your blue clothing on? Will you switch spots in the room if
the Giants are losing early? Banning a fan of a non-playoff team (cough, Jets;
cough, Eagles) from stepping foot in the house? Let us know.
Maybe you have your own Giants-themed basement or man-cave. If so, be sure
take pictures and upload
them to NJ.com. We want to see your best photos and even videos!
Fans are liking our
Giants Facebook page in droves. Don't miss out on all the latest news and
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Excerpt: "It may have taken until the final two weeks of the season, but the Giants
finally think they're playing their best football. And as recent history tells
us -- see the 2010 Packers -- there's no better time to play your best football
than when entering the playoffs.
Consequently, confidence is oozing out of East Rutherford -- to the point
where at least one player believes this team can go from 7-7 and out of the
postseason to champion in just over a month.
"This is definitely a Super Bowl team," linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka said. "We
just have to get it done." Read more...GIANTS HOT TOPIC: WHAT ARE THE GIANTS' BIGGEST VULNERABILITIES AND BIGGEST ADVANTAGES?
Excerpt: "Giants fans, what are going to be the keys to this Giants-Falcons divisional
playoff game? Who will be the players and units to watch on both sides?
Heading into only the Giants' third home playoff game in over a decade, what
worries you most about the Falcons? What are the Giants' biggest
vulnerabilities. And what should the Falcons and their fans be fearing? What are
the Giants' biggest advantages?
The Star-Ledger's Jorge Castillo writes today about the
Falcons' potent passing attack, eighth in the NFL, and indeed their weapons
all over the field on offense - they're the No. 7 scoring team in the league. Is
the new simplified Giants' coverage scheme up for the task?
Will the Giants' No. 3 sacking defense in the league be able to get to Matt
Ryan? The Falcons are sixth in the league in fewest sacks allowed. Will Eli
Manning be able to get the NFL's No. 5 passing attack going against the
20th-ranked passing defense? The Falcons are ranked 19th in sacks, 10th in
INTs." Read more...
FALCONS' TONY GONZALEZ FINDS WHAT HE WANTS DESPITE NOT JOINING GIANTS
Excerpt: "Looking back on it now, Tony Gonzalez figures the Giants just thought he was washed up.
In truth, the Atlanta Falcons tight end wanted to be in New York. When his
time with the Kansas City Chiefs ran its course in 2008, the 12-time Pro Bowler
directed his efforts toward the most attractive offense on the board.
He wanted to play with Eli Manning and Brandon Jacobs. He wanted to gel with
a group of proven wideouts. He wanted to go to the Super Bowl, which the Giants
had won the year before.
“I think about it all the time,” Gonzalez said at his locker today. “I was
pushing for that, too. But it didn’t happen; I think they thought I was too old
Gonzalez, 35, laughs about it now, assured that he’s found what he was
looking for here in Georgia. The first time he played the Giants as a Falcon
back in 2009, proving them wrong was admittedly in the back of his mind, he
burned them for eight catches, 82 yards and a touchdown.
“I had a pretty
good game,” he said with a smile.
But this time, the Giants are in the way of his ultimate goal, and not the
vehicle to make it there. Gonzalez has played for two NFL teams over 15 seasons,
amassing 13,338 yards and 95 touchdowns on 1,149 receptions, but has yet to
experience a playoff victory in four postseason games.
“I would never look back at myself and say ‘Woe is me,’?” Gonzalez said.
“That’s not going to be me, and if it is, I’ll kick myself in my own (butt) and
say ‘Get over it.’?”
But a playoff win, and the chance to push toward the Super Bowl, would mean
“I’m looking forward to it, because I do see the window closing on my career
so hopefully we can get it done,” he said. “But it’s not about just winning a
playoff game, I don’t care. It’s about going out there and hopefully winning a
In his downtime, Gonzalez sometimes seeks out the guidance of Hall of Fame
quarterback Warren Moon, who played from 1984 to 2000. Moon went to 10 playoff
games in his career (1984-2000) and won three, but never advanced past the
second round. His last playoff win was with the Houston Oilers in December 1991."
VICTOR CRUZ'S BREAKOUT SEASON DOESN'T SURPRISE GIANTS
"David Diehl made occasional appearances at some of the workouts Giants quarterback Eli Manning held in the
offseason during the lockout. Diehl’s a lineman, so there wasn’t much he could
do, though he did run a few routes one day just for laughs.
However, it was serious business for Victor Cruz.
“He was at every single workout with Eli, getting his reps, getting crisp in
his route running, doing all those things,” Diehl said. “So the way he’s played
this season, for us, it’s no surprise.”
The fact he’s an impact player is one thing. But five touchdowns of 68 yards
or more, including a 74-yarder against the Dallas Cowboys, is no surprise?
Well, not anymore, because Cruz
has made the big play seem as simple as a short hook or out route. As a
matter of fact, that’s how a few of them began.
His touchdown against Dallas was a 5-yard out followed by a 69-yard scamper,
his 99-yarder against the Jets was caught 10 yards from the line of scrimmage
and his 74-yard touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles began as an 8-yard
But there have also been jump balls a 6-footer has no business winning, such
as his 68-yarder on a tip-and-catch against the Seattle Seahawks plus a 28-yard
touchdown over the Eagles’ Nnamdi Asomugha.
This season, Cruz became the first player since Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch for
the 1951 Rams to score five touchdowns of 65 yards or more. (Hirsch had
“Any time I get a chance to get the ball,” Cruz said, “I want to make the big
And he’s done just that.
“He does a great job after catching the ball of making guys miss, making big
plays,” Manning said. “He’s got a knack for making a little tick or a play that
is designed to get 4, 5 or 6 yards and turn it into 60- and 70-yard plays.
“He’s not trying to do that every time. It’s just the way he plays, it turns
out that way.”
Things could turn out that way this Sunday in the playoff game against the
Atlanta Falcons, who have allowed 56 pass plays of 20 or more yards (ninth most
in the NFL) and 12 of 40 yards or longer (tied for fifth most).
Perhaps Atlanta’s best shot at defending Cruz is cornerback Brent Grimes.
He’s quick, athletic and can rise up to compensate for his 5-10, 183-pound
Only one problem: Grimes had knee surgery in December, played in only one of
the last five games, missed practice yesterday and is very much up in the air
So look out for the big play.
“You have to be disciplined and know when to strike and make that big play
and hit them over the top,” Cruz said.
“It’s going to take discipline on top of making some big plays because you
have to make some big plays to change the momentum of the game and allow things
to go in our favor.”
Falcons wide receiver Roddy White suggested Cruz should enjoy these big plays
while he can because “next year, he may be in for a rude awakening” once
defenses have an offseason to game plan for him.
Well, maybe not, considering teams have been trying to double-team him for a
few weeks now.
The Cowboys devoted two defenders at the line a few weeks ago and then tried
to bracket him with a safety this past weekend, only to see him get to the edge
and run up the sideline.
So maybe that’s why White, who held out for a six-year, $48 million deal in
2009, said Cruz “deserves” a big payday.
That’ll be determined soon enough, perhaps next season. For now, what’s clear
is Cruz deserves the big plays he’s making.
“It’s a great credit to Victor. He’s worked extremely hard learning this
offense,” Manning said, pointing those offseason workouts while also adding:
“He’s done a great job making plays, on some short throws, making guys miss and
doing a lot of the work on his own.”FOR GIANTS, FALCONS ARE ANOTHER IN A LINE OF OPPONENTS WITH TOUGH PASSING UNITS
Excerpt: "All week, the Giants have reiterated
how the regular season — the grueling schedule, the barrage of injuries, the
frustrating stretches — has left them “battle-tested.” Many of those battles
were waged by the defense, and more specifically, the secondary.
Now comes another test to open the playoffs on Sunday against the Atlanta
Falcons — and another for the secondary in the form of one of the league’s top
offenses with a myriad of weapons.
It’s nothing new. At this point, the Giants’ defense is accustomed to the
challenge. During the regular season, they opposed five of the league’s top nine
passing offenses on seven occasions, including the league’s three most prolific
attacks: New Orleans, New England and Green Bay, and Dallas and Philadelphia
This Sunday, it will be an Atlanta Falcons unit that ranked eighth in
passing, 10th in total offense and seventh in points scored utilizing an
assortment of options at quarterback Matt Ryan’s disposal.
“You have to take away their playmakers,” safety Antrel Rolle said. “You name
it — they have them stacked at each and every position.”
On the outside, Ryan has his choice of one of the best receiving duos in the
NFL: the consistent Roddy White and the physical,
speedy rookie Julio Jones. For good measure, there’s the NFL’s
second-all-time leader in receiving yards at tight end, Tony Gonzalez.
Then in the backfield there’s the bruising Michael Turner, who finished third
in the NFL with 1,340 rushing yards and is coming off a 172-yard performance in
the Falcons’ regular-season finale — a 45-24 victory over the Bucs in which he
averaged 10.1 yards per carry.
Just a few weeks ago, after a meltdown in the secondary against Dallas that
nearly derailed their playoff hopes, this would have spelled disaster for the
Giants. But not after the defense has put together perhaps its best stretch this
season, allowing just 14 points in each of the last two games and carrying the
team to victory in must-win situations.
“I just think any game that you go through obviously is going to help you,”
cornerback Corey Webster said. “You play those games early on, watch film, go
back to the drawing board and learn from them. I think we did a good job of
correcting the mistakes that we made. It has made us a better team, the way
we’ve been competing the last couple weeks.”
In recent weeks, players have said much of the secondary’s improvement is due
to defensive coordinator Perry Fewell simplifying schemes. Gone are the
head-scratching lapses in coverage that plagued the team for a lengthy
“Everything’s clicked,” safety Deon Grant said. “We were just trying to do
too much. It’s more of that. We were trying to do too much in the middle of the
season. We were trying to cover up for this — too many players, too many
individuals trying to do the next guy’s job. We just realized that’s not
working.” Read more...
D'ALESSANDRO: ELI MANNING PROVES CRITICS WRONG AS GIANTS RETURN TO POSTSEASON
Excerpt: "Now that we’ve answered that Elite Question after 17 weeks of sustained
excellence, we respectfully submit this follow-up about Giants quarterback Eli Manning: Who says
that’s good enough?
That’s not meant to be contrary or snarky, it’s just that we live in an age
when another quarterback in town can win four playoff games on the road in two
years, and then be universally derided as a has-been by Year 3.
So why the unerring confidence in Eli?
Why the crystalline certainty in a guy who hasn’t won a playoff game in four
Why the universal approbation for a fellow who has never won a postseason
game in his own building?
Is it something he’s said? Is it something he’s done?
No, and no.
Maybe you just expect the best from Eli Manning because he’s a former Super
Bowl MVP — a trophy he won after a mediocre season, by the way — and is now
light-years better than the player we saw in Glendale, Ariz.
We only know that it’s something he’ll never give much thought to. Eli
doesn’t do introspection. Not even for special occasions, like the visit from
the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. So sometimes — just for kicks, mindful that it’s
an exercise in futility — we wonder whether he’s willing to show some outward
sign of the inviolable faith everyone else seems to have in Eli himself.
“Futile,” Chris Snee warned us.
Yeah, but it beats talking about the Giants’ blocking schemes or the Iowa
caucus, we told Mr. Right Guard.
“Eli doesn’t change,” Snee said. “Ever. For any circumstance.”
But this is a good thing, one might guess.
“I would think so,” Snee replied. “It’s funny how times change. A couple of
years ago, Eli would be bashed for being nonemotional, and we were saying that
this is what we like in our quarterback — how even-keeled he is. But he doesn’t
change. He’s very consistent. That’s what makes him so good.” Read more...
GIANTS' MICHAEL BOLEY SAYS HE HOLDS NO GRUDGE AGAINST FALCONS
"Giants linebacker Michael Boley said
he doesn’t have any bad feelings toward the Atlanta Falcons, the organization
that made him a fifth-round pick in 2005 and started him in 52 games over four
“I’m not bitter, they gave me my first shot, so I thank the team for that,”
said Boley, who will help the Giants face Atlanta in the playoffs Sunday. “I had
some good times there, definitely had my bad times that (Bobby) Petrino year,
but other than that it was cool.”
Boley was benched by current Falcons coach Mike Smith for a portion of his
final season in Atlanta. He said he made a point when he had 13 tackles and a
sack against the Falcons in 2009.
“My point was heard very well,” he said."
GIANTS' DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR, PERRY FEWELL, SIGNED THROUGH 2012
Excerpt: "Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is signed with the team through
next season, according to someone informed of Fewell's contract status.
The person, who requested anonymity because the team doesn't usually divulge
the deals for their coaches, said Fewell received an extension last offseason
after his round of head-coaching interviews with the Broncos, Panthers, Browns
and Titans. Fewell
was the runner-up to Ron Rivera in Carolina.
Fewell initially signed a two-year deal with the Giants after the team fired
Bill Sheridan following the 2009 season." Read more...
GIANTS' JASON PIERRE-PAUL NAMED NFC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE MONTH
"Over the past month, DE Jason Pierre-Paul has established himself as one of
the NFL's elite defensive linemen, garnering the NFC Defensive Player of the
Week award twice and earning a spot in the Pro Bowl in the process.
It only makes sense that he was named the NFC's Defensive Player of the Month
for December/January today.
In the season’s final five games over the month-plus stretch, Pierre-Paul had
37 tackles (28 solo), including six sacks for 46 yards in losses. He twice had
two sacks in a game, both of which were followed with the weekly award.
Yet, Pierre-Paul -- along with his coaches and teammates -- believes there's
still some untapped potential considering he's only in his second pro season and
began playing football his senior year of high school.
“I knew that I was going to have a great year this year,” Pierre-Paul said.
“I came in and last year (as a rookie) I had an alright season and I wanted to
do better than what I did last year. Next year, or next season in 2012, I should
be better than this year.”
It was in the Giants' 37-34 win over the Cowboys on Dec. 11 that Pierre-Paul
burst onto the national spotlight. The second-year defensive end led the Giants
with eight tackles, including two sacks of Tony Romo, the first of which
resulted in a safety. He also forced a fumble that led to a Giants field goal
and secured the victory by blocking Dan Bailey’s 47-yard field goal attempt with
one second left.
He followed that up by registering a career-high 16 tackles and a sack
against Washington, and five tackles and two sacks against the Jets.
Pierre-Paul finished the season with 16.5 sacks and became the only Giants
player in history other than Lawrence Taylor and Michael Strahan with at least
16 sacks in a season."GIANTS' INJURY REPORT DWINDLING AS JAKE BALLARD AND MARK HERZLICH MAKE PROGRESS
"The Giants’ injury report is finally dwindling, as players return to the
field and the team continues to get healthier at the right time. There were just
five names on today’s injury report and two – RB Da’Rel Scott (knee) and DE Osi
Umenyiora (ankle/knee) – practiced fully.
But two others are still battling injuries that could keep them on the
sideline Sunday against the Falcons.
TE Jake Ballard was limited in today’s practice and said tomorrow’s session
will be the major test for him and his chances of playing on Sunday. Tomorrow
he’ll get more reps and a chance to run and cut to test his partially torn
“It’s all about running,” Ballard said. “I can block -- it’s all about
whether I can run routes and be effective doing that or not.”
Since Ballard sustained the injury the Giants have turned to a combination of
Bear Pascoe and Travis Beckum. Pascoe had four catches for 40 yards since
Ballard sustained the injury against Washington in Week 15.
Ballard said it was difficult watching the team the last two weeks and not
being able to play in such important games, but his outlook is a lot more
optimistic this week.
“From last to this week, I definitely feel a lot more confident in my knee,”
Ballard said. “I’ll be taking a lot more reps tomorrow and I’ll have more of an
idea of what’s going to happen.”
LB Mark Herzlich’s chances of suiting up Sunday are also higher than last
week, but it remains a long shot. Herzlich has been out since suffering an ankle
injury against the Saints on Nov. 28 and said the ankle still isn’t pain-free.
He said he went to the hospital yesterday and imaging showed that “the
healing is coming along.” Today, he made it out to the practice field today,
participating in the jog through and stretching before he worked with the
training staff on the side.
It’s not much, but it’s improvement.
“I got out there and did a little bit at least, so it’s progress,” the rookie
As expected, RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) was held out and won’t likely practice
until Friday."FALCONS' WR RODDY WHITE SYAD VICTOR CRUZ IS IN FOR A "RUDE AWAKENING" AND "GOOD PAY DAY" NEXT YEAR
"The hardest part of having a breakout year, Roddy White said, is the way
defenses start to game plan against you.FALCONS' OFFENSIVE LINEMEN SAY THEY AREN'T A GROUP OF "DIRTBAGS"
And for that, he feels like Giants wideout Victor Cruz – who leads
the team with 82 receptions for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns – may be
surprised by what he sees next season.
"Next year, he may be in for a rude awakening," White said.
In spite of that, White said he's a fan of Cruz's and thinks that he's
definitely in for a big pay day. White held out for his back in 2009 after two
straight 1,200-plus yard seasons and ended up with a six-year deal with $48
"Any time you put out those kinds of numbers, he’s going to be in for a
really good pay day, but he deserves it," White said. "Any guy that goes out
there and puts up 1,500 yards, that’s remarkable. That’s one of the nicest
seasons you can have so I think the Giants should pay him."
After saying that, White began to laugh at the notion of suggesting another
player should get a bigger deal. "I’m a Victor Cruz fan," he said. "I think they
should pay him."
White said he's seen Cruz on television and film a few times. On his
touchdown salsa dance, which seems to be emulated around the league, White
"I’ve seen it a couple times, it’s pretty nice, a pretty nice dance. It’s
elegant, very nice."
Excerpt: "Justin Tuck told reporters on Monday that "most people" would refer to the Falcons'
offensive line as "dirtbags." And by today, Atlanta's starting left tackle,
Will Svitek, was considering some marketing opportunities that may come along
with such a nickname.
"I have to find out the Wikipedia definition of dirtbag, I don't know there.
I was joking maybe we should make T-shirts and start branding this, you know?"
he said. "We could make a profit in the New York market, it's an
Svitek said that he's been receiving e-mails and text messages from friends
all week, joking about the comment.
But in all seriousness, he echoed the same sentiment as most of the offensive
linemen wearing red and black, saying that the Falcons "play to the whistle" and
that it may be misinterpreted sometimes.
He rephrased it, and said that they may be "pests."
"I know we definitely don't do things after the whistle because it's illegal,
you'll get a 15-yard penalty, A, and you'll get a fine from the league office,
B," he said. "We don't want either of those, like I said, I think we play to the
whistle. We're going to be pests, we're going to always be hovering around, but
if (Tuck) thinks that's being dirty or being cheap, we can't control that, we
don't think it is. We have our style, we've always done it and that's the kind
of way we do things here." Read more...\
VIDEO: FALCONS PREPARE FOR GIANTS
NY DAILY NEWS
SUPER BOWL RUN RESTS ON ELI MANNING'S SHOULDERS
"There may never be anything more magical for Eli Manning than the
moments he had during the run to Super Bowl XLII. His performance was at times
brilliant, often dramatic and always clutch. NY POST
GIANTS CAN LEAN ON RUNNING GAME IF FALCONS GROUND MANNING
Excerpt: "If Eli Manning has to carry the
Giants on Sunday, or for however long this playoff experience lasts, he can do
Excerpt: "Justin Tuck might think they're "dirtbags" for their style of play, but the
Falcons' offensive line are offering no apologies.GIANTS FROM BOSTON COLLEGE RATE FALCONS' QB
Atlanta tackles Will Svitek and Tyson Clabo defended themselves Wednesday
after Tuck -- who they face Sunday when the Giants play host to an NFC wild-card
game at MetLife Stadium -- became the latest NFL defensive lineman to accuse the
Falcons of crossing the line with their tactics by claiming "most people would
say they are dirtbags."
"That's his point of view," Svitek said. "If he views us as cheap, then so be
it. We're going to do what we do. We take pride in being physical. You don't
want to be viewed as soft. We're always going to be there, and we want them to
know we're there."
The Falcons' linemen are in the crosshairs -- even the suspended Ndamukong
Suh called them dirty -- because their favored approach is cut blocking, or
going low to take out a defender's legs. It's legal but can lead to a serious
injury when not done properly.
If that's dirty, Svitek said, then so be it.
"We cut like everybody else," he said. "That's not illegal, and we don't get
fined. We're not trying to hurt anybody. Diving at people's legs is just part of
the game. It's not done in a cheap way."
Clabo, who spent a couple of weeks on the Giants' practice squad in 2004,
echoed Svitek and added that the other accusation against Atlanta's linemen --
that they flop at the end of plays in order to get retaliation penalties on
defenders -- is equally undeserved." Read more...
"Even as a redshirt freshman running the scout team at Boston College, Matt Ryan stood out to his teammates.
“You could kind of tell then that he had that special quality,” said Giants
guard Chris Snee, one of those BC teammates. “He ran the scout team against our
defense, and they called him ‘Matty Ice’ ... that’s when he got that nickname in
college. He’s a heck of a quarterback.”
Snee, who will face the Falcons quarterback Sunday in their NFC Wild Card
playoff game at MetLife Stadium, said Ryan stood out because of his immediate
“As a freshman, you’re kind of feeling everyone out, but he stepped right and
took command of the scout team huddle, and really just approached it like he was
preparing for a game, which really caught the eye of the coaches,” he said. “The
rest is history.”
Another former college teammate of Ryan’s, Giants linebacker Mathias
Kiwanuka, said he was immediately impressed by the quarterback’s play-making
ability — even in difficult situations.
“He’s not afraid to make mistakes,” Kiwanuka said. “He doesn’t make a lot of
them now ... but when he was a young kid coming into BC, he’d make those
mistakes but he’d never waver.”
Ryan, who was taken by the Falcons with the second overall pick in the 2008
draft, finished this season with career highs in yards (4,177), touchdowns (29)
and quarterback rating (92.2) in his fourth season.
Kiwanuka said he wasn’t surprised by the success Ryan has enjoyed.
“He’s a gifted, physically talented individual,” Kiwanuka said. “And he’s got
that confidence about him.”
What should the Giants do to slow Ryan down?
“Hit him,” Kiwanuka said, smiling. “You can be the best quarterback in the
world, but if your head’s ringing, it’s hard to throw that ball.”
THE BERGEN RECORD
BOLEY FOCUSED ON PLAYOFF WIN, NOT REVENGE
Excerpt: "Michael Boley did not forget the benching.
And the Giants linebacker did not forget how the Atlanta Falcons made it
clear after the 2008 season that they did not want him back when he became a
But he says those old wounds won’t be a factor Sunday when the Giants host
the Falcons in their playoff game.
"I’m in a better situation. Looking back, I can’t even think of a place I’d
rather be right now," Boley said. "When free agency started and they said the