That game might have been the turning point in the season. Even though the
Parcells, the greatest Giants coach of them all, won his first Super Bowl in
his fourth season and his second Super Bowl in his eighth and final year. Who
knows how many more he might have won for Big Blue if he had stayed around?
Coughlin won a Super Bowl in his fourth season as the Giants’ head coach.
He’s now trying to win another in his eighth season and would take a giant step
toward that goal with a victory Sunday in the divisional round of the playoffs
against the defending champion Packers at Lambeau Field.
Coughlin comes from the Parcells coaching tree, serving as Tuna’s wide
receivers coach with the Giants from 1988 through 1990. If Parcells possessed
the qualities that you would envision for the coach of the New York Football
Giants, then there’s a lot of Parcells in Coughlin.
“I just think he’s always been a very, very solid football guy,” Parcells
told the Daily News this week. “Hard working, determined, competitive and he’s
definitely his own guy as a head coach. I thought he had tremendous ability to
lead when he was an assistant coach. I could tell when he organized our
receivers. I thought he would have a chance to be a good head
Although it seems like Parcells was around forever and that
Coughlin has just gotten here, they have now coached the Giants for the same
number of years. Coughlin is the oldest current head coach in the NFL at 65. All
indications are he will surpass Parcells next year and become the second longest
tenured coach in Giants history behind Steve Owen, who coached
them from 1931-53.
Just like Parcells was nearly fired by the Giants after he was 3-12-1 in 1983
in his first season, Coughlin was nearly fired after the 2006 season. He changed
his ways, lightened up with his players and won the Super Bowl the next
When the Giants were in the midst of their annual second-half collapse this
season, I felt Coughlin’s time with the team should be up if the Giants didn’t
make the playoffs after their 6-2 start. It got as bad as 6-6 after a four-game
losing streak, but then Coughlin saved his job and the Giants’ season by winning
three of the last four.
It was the third time the Giants have won the NFC East with Coughlin. They
won it three times with Parcells, too.
“When you’ve had a little slump like he had it, it’s tough to dig out,”
Parcells said. “You’re just on a week-to-week basis. One bad outing or one bad
play and you’re going home. It’s very hard to hold a team in there. He did it,
to his credit.”
The players showed their respect for Coughlin by not quitting on him. They
might not have given maximum effort after the game got out of control in New
Orleans, but they came back the next week and fought hard in the 38-35 loss to
HERE NOW THE NEWS
THE DATA WILL UPDATE THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND SHOW THE UPDATE TIME IN THE HEADER.
NFC EAST DIVISION CHAMPIONS
PLAYOFFS 1 - 0: ON TO GREEN BAY
OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH THE PHILBIN FAMILY
LINK CONTAINS INFORMATION ABOUT THE FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR MICHAEL
PHILBIN. ANYONE INTERESTED CAN SEND AN ELECTRONIC MESSAGE OF CONDOLENCE
SHOULD THEY FEEL THAT TO BE APPROPRIATE.
NEWARK STAR LEDGER
PACKERS' DB TRAMON WILLIAMS SAYS MARIO MANNINGHAM WILL NOT FLY UNDER HIS RADAR
Excerpt: "Tramon Williams knows that the Giants receiving corps offers a little bit of
"Big guys, small guys, quick guys, they have different dimensions about them
that you have to look out for each and every last one of them," he said. "So
that's kind of what brings the challenge, knowing what guy you go against."
But in terms of Mario Manningham, who hauled in four passes for 68 yards
and a touchdown last week, he knows exactly what to expect. Even though the
emergence of Victor Cruz has scrambled the ranks at wide receiver, he doesn't
expect Manningham to catch Green Bay's beleaguered secondary by surprise.
"I guess his injury gave Victor a chance to step in and be that guy and
Victor hasn't disappointed. Manningham is a good receiver, I think out of all of
them, he's the fastest. He's a real quick guy, he's definitely one that flies
under the radar. We've played them before, I know what he can do. He won't fly
under my radar."
Even though Cruz makes that focus difficult.
"The publicity Cruz has gotten, it's hard not to focus on him. Cruz is a
receiver who, he's good at the line and he's good at finding holes in the zone.
Eli's good at getting the ball to him when he finds those holes."
Williams called his performance this season "average" and said that the
entire secondary is looking forward to moving on from a season where they
finished dead last in passing defense, giving up just a hair under 300 yards per
"I definitely see this as a clean slate to start off with and we're going to
leave it all out on the field," Williams said." Read more...GIANTS' AHMAD BRADSHAW SAYS MEDICATION IS HEALING HIS STRESS FRACTURE HEAL
Excerpt: "Ahmad Bradshaw says his back issue that appeared on the injury report this
week is no big deal.
Oh, and the stress fracture in foot is doing just fine, thank you very
“I’ve been taking something called ‘Forteo,’” the Giants' running back said today after being
limited in practice. “It’s like a steroid or a protein that helps you grow
The Forteo website
says the product is designed for "men and postmenopausal women with osteoporosis
who are at high risk for having broken bones."
Yeah, I believe they have a new market on their hands.
“The foot looks great, the fracture’s filling in with bone and we’re excited
about it,” said Bradshaw, who’s listed as probable for Sunday’s game against the
Packers. “(Forteo) helps with pain and fills the fracture with bone.”
On another note, Bradshaw is a physical runner, so B.J.
Raji’s comments about the offensive line not being physical enough surely
didn’t sit well with him.
“We know how tough we are,” Bradshaw said. “We bring physicality to the game
every game we play. They’re great guys, the guys up front they take pride in
what they do. We’re not worrying about what they’re talking about over
there.” Read more...
GIANTS' STEVE TISCH SAYS HE HAS THE SAME CONFIDENCE IN THE TEAM AS HE DID IN 2007
"Even Steve Tisch couldn’t help but conjure up one similarity between the 2011
Giants and the 2007, Super Bowl-winning team. And it has nothing to do with the
players on the field.GIANTS' OFFENSIVE LINEMEN CLAIM TO TAKE PACKERS B.J. RAJI'S QUESTIONING THEIR PHYSICALITY IN STRIDE
“I do because it’s the same leadership,” Tisch, the Giants Chairman and
Executive President, told reporters today when asked if he has the same
confidence in this team as the 2007 squad. “I think Coach [Tom] Coughlin has
prepared this team for the Packers game. I can’t talk about beyond the Packers
because I just don’t want to go there, but I think we’re ready for Green Bay in
Green Bay Sunday afternoon and this is a very well-coached, well-prepared, very
focused, extremely united team.”
Tisch admitted that he had “personal frustrations” when the team was mired in
a four-game losing streak and then lost to the lowly Redskins at home following
a huge win at Dallas. He believes the win over the Jets was the turning
“In a way, just because of the competitive nature of our relationship with
the Jets, in its own unique way, it was kind of like a mini Super Bowl and it
was a very important game,” Tisch said. “There was a lot more at stake than just
a regular season game against the Jets. New York City; pride; Jets fans, Giants
fans; two different cultures; two different mythologies. It was their home game
[so it] added just an extra level of ‘we did it, we’re good, we’re moving on,
The 29-14 victory over their fellow MetLife Stadium tenants also did more
than set the momentum the Giants have carried over since.
“I think emotionally it solidified a lot of feelings,” he said.
Despite the competitiveness between the “two cultures” and “mythologies,”
Tisch said he didn’t take pleasure in watching the Jets implode as they have
since failing to advance to the playoffs.
“No, the Jets aren’t the enemy,” Tisch said. “We’re partners in this stadium,
we are co-hosting a Super Bowl in 2014, we both have great football teams, great
coaching, great players. A fan base that is divided amongst Jets fans and Giants
fans. They’re our partners, not our enemies.
“I’m thrilled where we are right now, where we find ourselves on the eve of
traveling to Green Bay. The other seven teams that are in the playoffs this
weekend I’m very happy for. It’s going to be great. This is a great weekend for
football fans and for football players and for the eight teams at this stage of
the playoffs. And I’m thrilled for those of us that get to play this
Of the eight teams remaining, four have Super Bowl MVPs at quarterback – and
knowing one is his gives him additional assurance going into Sunday’s game at
“Let me break that down by saying I have tremendous confidence in Eli,
week-in, week-out,” Tisch said. “Preseason, regular season, postseason. Knowing
Eli does have the experience and that Eli has a great capacity to not get
frustrated and to not get flustered and we’ve seen that for the last couple
seasons. How focused he is. He’s finding his receivers and he’s playing with a
tremendous level of confidence. I’m thrilled that he’s our guy and that he’s our
quarterback and he’s taken us into the playoffs this weekend and hopefully
"Chris Snee was apparently really troubled by Packers defensive lineman B.J.
Raji’s saying the Giants’ offensive line
“I didn’t sleep all night,” Snee said today. “B.J. was just in my mind.”
Okay, so I’m not exactly Sheldon Cooper. I can sense sarcasm pretty well, and
I feel a lot of it right here.
“All kidding aside, no one cares what B.J. had to say,” Snee said.
“Sometimes, when you’re young, you make it to the Pro Bowl, you make it to the
Super Bowl, you have your
own commercial, you feel the need to talk. We’ll do our talking on
That was the gist of what the offensive linemen had to say. Well, that and
the fact they don’t care.
“I don’t care,” center David Baas said.
Yeah, I know I was just saying…
“Honestly, I don’t care,” Baas said again. “I’ll do my talking on Sunday,
with my pads. I don’t care. He can say whatever he wants to say. It doesn’t
matter. I don’t care.”
Right, as I was saying…
“Don’t care,” Baas said.
So he doesn’t care.
“Because I don’t,” Baas said. “It doesn’t matter, truly. We’re going to do
our talking on Sunday, period. End of Story. That’s all I’ve got.”
Could there be a worse insult for offensive linemen than saying they’re not
“Sure, there’s a whole bunch of things,” Boothe said. “Dirtbags. I think (Justin)
Tuck will let you know about that.”
Boothe claimed Raji’s comments would have no effect.
“Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion. This is America,” he said. “We
have to play on Sunday and we’re happy to be in the position we are.
“If you need extra motivation this time of year there’s something wrong with
you. He said it, that’s fine, but it doesn’t change our preparation.”GIANTS-PACKERS GAME PREVIEW: CAN GIANTS PULL UPSET IN GREEN BAY?
"I probably should’ve added the words “sort of” to the headline because this
is going to be a catch-all kind of entry here.
It’s been a crazy week and the increased coverage means we’ve already broken
down most of the angles associated with the game. Plus, Jorge will be along on
Sunday with another solid gameday breakdown of all of the matchups. So rather
than repeat myself, I figured I’d clean everything up and provide you with some
of the stuff we weren’t able to squeeze in over the past few days.* * * *
SUNDAY’S GAME: at Packers, Lambeau Field, 4:30 p.m., Fox
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Offense: RT Kareem McKenzie didn’t have the greatest of days
the last time he faced LB Clay Matthews. By my count, he gave
up two pressures plus the sack and forced fumble.
This past weekend, Troy Aikman said offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride
wanted to provide LT David Diehl with some help. On Sunday,
look for the opposite.
In the meeting between the teams on Dec. 4, the Giants often had TE
Jake Ballard to McKenzie’s right to provide help on Matthews,
especially when they wanted to take a shot downfield. They even had a funky line
on a third-and-6, with Diehl basically serving as the tight end on the right
side with Ballard as a wing next to him. That plan worked perfectly, as Matthews
slanted to the right and got washed all the way to the inside. QB Eli Manning
was hurried on the play because CB Charles Woodson got inside of Ballard to
flush him out, but once Manning escaped Woodson, there was no one else there. He
delivered a strike for an 18-yard gain.
Long story short, watch for the Giants to provide some help with Matthews.
And when Ballard stays in to block, see if it’s because they’re trying to take
that deep downfield shot. Also look to see if the Packers learned from the film,
use Matthews as sort of a decoy and bring pressure from the other side.
Defense: I think we’ve covered the matchups here from front
to back, so here’s something that didn’t make my
story today on the race to QB Aaron Rodgers: Michael Strahan’s scouting
report on the Giants’ pass rushers, courtesy of a conference call held by Fox
the other day:
On DE Osi Umenyiora: “He relies more on finesse, more on
beating you around the edge. More edges and corners. Occasionally, he'll bull
rush just to keep you honest, to let you know he has power. But he's gonna work
your edges and try to strip the quarterback.”
On DE Jason
Pierre-Paul: “JPP is still raw. Jason's gonna run in, bull rush you,
try to slip off and take whatever you give him. He's more a guy who's out there
off of raw talent and natural ability and just taking what the offensive line
give you. If he rushes you and he feels like you're leaning inside, he'll go
outside. If he feels like you're leaning outside, he'll go inside.”
Justin Tuck: “Tuck is a guy who will set you up. Tuck is very
smart and understands the best thing to do with his body. He's big enough to
play inside, where he can control and use his speed as well as strength on
attack on offensive guards. ... On the offensive tackle, he uses more of his
power and more of his ability to set up his power. And then when the guy is
ready for the power, Tuck has a great ability to slap your hands away and beat
you around the edge.”
Intangibles: I spent a good portion of the morning providing the
opposing view for my pal Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, so
check it out. We addressed some intangibles in there, such as the effect
Pierre-Paul’s alleged guarantee.
THE LINE: Packers by 7½. Over-under 52½.
THE PICK: Maybe I’m a bit too influenced by ’07 here but to
me the NFL playoffs are about momentum and confidence more than anything these
days. And the way the Giants are playing on defense, I truly believe they can
slow the Packers down just a tad. Field goals instead of touchdowns would be
enormous. Perhaps I’ll regret this one on Monday but I can’t help it: Giants 26,
Packers 23.GIANTS' LB MARCH HERZLICH IS ONLY PLAYER RULES OUR FOR SUNDAY
ONE MORE THING: Usually, this is a game-specific thing but
this week we’ll break form because I promised an update on former Giants’ OLs
Shaun O’Hara and Rich Seubert, who were awesome in helping me with my
retrospective look at the Giants’ victory in Lambeau four years ago.
Neither player is officially retired, though both are leaning that way. In
fact, that’s exactly what O’Hara said.
“Some weeks, I feel like I can get out there and still do it,” he said.
“Other weeks, I don’t.”
Asked if this will be one of the weeks he’ll feel he can do it, O’Hara
replied, “Yeah, I’m sure.”
Meanwhile, Seubert has moved to California. His neighbors don’t know who he
is and he joked they wonder what he does for a living that he can drive the kids
to school and come back home for the rest of the day.
“I tell them I’m looking for work,” he said. “It’s the truth.”
Seubert, who said he plans to hunt prairie dogs in Cali (I'm not sure if he
was serious), didn’t want his knee to tell him when he’s done playing. That
might very well wind up being the case. If so, that’s plenty fine for a guy who
battled his way to one honorable NFL career."
"2:00 PM UPDATE
The list is down to one.
LB Mark Herzlich, who has been sidelined since fracturing his ankle against
the Saints on Nov. 28, was the only player not practicing today and has been
ruled out for Sunday. During the portion of the session open to the media,
Herzlich was on the side doing some light jogging and agility drills.
He said it was the most work he's done since injuring the ankle and if the
Giants win Sunday he hopes to practice next week.
"Last week when I tried to do some running, it didn't really work out too
well," Herzlich said. "This week felt really good, pain-free."
RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot/back), as expected, was practicing and is listed as
probable for Sunday. It has been standard for Bradshaw to sit out of practice
until Friday since he came back from a fractured foot, though this week was a
bit more complicated due to a back injury he suffered against Atlanta. Tom
Coughlin, however, said it was just a sore back and will not hinder Bradshaw.
S Deon Grant (quad) and CB Corey Webster (hamstring) are both practicing
after being listed as limited for Thursday's session. Both were limited today
and are listed as probable for Sunday.
DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle/knee) was also limited and is listed as probable.
CB Aaron Ross (concussion) and D.J. Ware (concussion) practiced fully and are
listed as probable."
D'ALESSANDRO: GIANTS' STEVE WEATHERFORD IS NOT YOUR AVERAGE PUNTER
"If you were to enter the Giants’
locker room during this joyous week, your attention would immediately be
captured by a stall along the right wall, 10 feet from the entrance — the only
one that is still festooned with the trimmings of Christmas.
That holiday was, what, 19 days ago? Not here. You’ll still find bells,
wreathes, stockings, outdoor lights (not those wimpy, blinky LEDs, either —
heavy bulbs), and even a place mat that reads “Ho Ho Ho,” all of which
apparently brings year-round joy to Steve Weatherford’s work environment.
“I don’t care what the calendar says — I’m still living the dream, man,” says
the punter. “So is (kicker Lawrence) Tynes — take a look at his locker, he has
stuff up. We specialists are still inthe Christmas spirit. We’re in the business
of giving out losses right now, and Green Bay is next. And it is better to give
Hark, a punter who talketh the trash.
But that’s not what Weatherford is about, really.
It’s hard to appreciate his particular craft, but it was easy to notice that
this guy did his job as well as anyone during the annihilation of Atlanta. Most
of us tend to think his world spins on power, distance and hang time, but the
finesse and accuracy Weatherford demonstrated Sunday completely locked up the
Falcons’ return game, and coach Tom Coughlin made a point of noticing.
Curiously, the coach did this without mentioning Weatherford by name, and we
got the distinct impression it was omitted because Coughlin was having trouble
“I thought the punter had a great day,” the coach said. “He punted the ball
four times and there was no return yardage by (Eric) Weems, who is an
outstanding returner. We were able to deal with a guy who is a game-changer
without having any yardage from him.”
Maybe this is what it’s like for a punter, who really lives on the edge of
the football tableau, and remains nameless as long as he does his job.
Case in point: “I have a special teams meeting in a little while,”
Weatherford said. “Which I don’t really get much out of, to be honest with you.”
We always assumed that the only coaching a punter receives is something like,
“Kick it out of bounds.” And he replies with sarcastic gratitude, “Wow, thanks
for the great tip.”
“Yeah, that’s pretty much how it is in the pros,” Weatherford confirmed.
“It’s not like baseball, where you have a hitting coach. There’s only one of us
— we don’t (merit) our own coach, just a guy who films me in practice so I can
“But if a guy isn’t doing the job, basically you just cut him and get another
one. Or maybe you outsource it and bring in a kicking consultant, but that’s
And so is Weatherford.
The good-humored, 29-year-old Hoosier is not your average NFL punter. For
starters, he is an athletic marvel, an All-American in two sports at the
University of Illinois — football and track, with his decathlon talents taking
him to prominence at the Drake and Penn Relays. And in terms of musculature, he
is a beast.
Example: Weatherford is only 6-2, 211 pounds, but can leg press 1,000 pounds
Which means, basically, that the Giants’ punter can kick over a Smart car, if
the mood struck.
“Ha, that 1,000-pound leg press could be one of those myths that Steve has
been sprinkling throughout the locker room,” harrumphed right guard Chris Snee,
the unofficial king of the weight room. “But it does look like he lifts some
weights, as much as he parades around here with his shirt off.”
A less skeptical assessment: “Oh, I can definitely see that,” guard Kevin
Boothe said. “The dude’s an action figure. You look in (the weight room), and
he’s doing pull-ups all day — it’s ridiculous. And he does it because he thinks
The job — lately, anyway — has been a blast, no pun intended. Weatherford
finished in the middle of the league in most categories, but think about it:
Other than Victor Cruz replacing Steve Smith, has there been a more important
Giants upgrade than Weatherford on special teams?
If you’re unsure, think back to the image of Coughlin excoriating Matt Dodge
as their 2010 playoff hopes went up in flames against Philly.
Unlike his predecessor, Weatherford can drive it out of bounds when he needs
to. He likens his craft to golf: He has a long-range game and a short-range
game, “and even though I’m a terrible golfer, I have several clubs in my bag — I
can hit it short and high like a 9-iron, or use a driver and hit it high and
far. And like golf, if you’re off by a millimeter in your mechanics, you can
look really dumb.”
What number does he look at? Not coffin corners or fair catches or hang-time
“Net punt,” he said. “If you hit it 60 and it’s returned 40, it’s like
hitting a 20-yarder for a fair catch, and that doesn’t do us any good. So if I
hit a 45-yarder that goes out of bounds, it’s like hitting it 70 and getting it
returned 25, except there’s no chance for him to score.
“Tom Coughlin likes that, for the simple fact that if executed correctly it’s
a facet of a game that he doesn’t have to worry about.”
It also saves him from the trouble of learning his punter’s name."CATCHING AARON RODGERS WILL BE A RACE AGAINST TIME FOR GIANTS' D-LINE
Excerpt: "Osi Umenyiora was asked what’s the fastest he’s ever gotten to the
quarterback. He took a breath, as if it would take him a while to recall. In 1.2
seconds, he provided the answer.
“1.7 seconds,” the Giants’ defensive
end said. “San Francisco, 2007. Quickest I’ve ever been there. I was unblocked,
If only it were that easy for the Giants’ defensive linemen this Sunday in
Green Bay against Aaron Rodgers. Maybe if they were all unblocked, they’d
consider it to finally be a fair fight against one of the quickest releases in
But that surely won’t be the case as the Packers try to neutralize the
Giants’ best defensive weapon — their pass rush — by making sure Rodgers’ hand
is empty by the time a blue helmet gets near him.
The Giants’ pass rushers like to say it’s a “race to the quarterback” to get
there before one of their teammates. This weekend, they won’t care which of them
gets there first, as long as they do it while Rodgers is still holding the
“We have some things that we’re trying to do on the back end to kind of get
him to hold the ball a little bit longer, but the pressure is on our D-line,”
Justin Tuck said. “Even when you can’t get to him, just to let him feel you,
make sure you’re around him, maybe some batted passes. Things like that.”
The last time the Giants faced the Packers, they did a decent job of forcing
Rodgers to hold the ball at times. His average release from snap to delivery was
But minus play-action passes, which take more time to develop, that number
dips to 2.8. Eliminate a 5.6-second scramble on which Rodgers took his time
because the Giants’ three-man rush didn’t hurry him at all — the end result was
a 7-yard touchdown pass to Donald Driver in the right side of the end zone — and
the average dips to 2.7 seconds.
Of the Giants’ 50 sacks in the regular season and playoffs, only 19 came in
2.7 seconds or less. So their internal clocks tell them they have to get to
Rodgers very quickly.
Even if they try not to act like it.
“You can’t think like that because you try to execute your moves quicker and
it doesn’t work,” Umenyiora said. “I mean, it’s frustrating to see how quickly
he gets rid of the ball at times but we have to know he’s not going to do that
every time. At times, he’s going to hold the ball. And when he does, we’re going
to have to get there.” Read more...
GIANTS' REVIVED SMASH-MOUTH ATTACK WILL BE KEY AGAINST PACKERS
Excerpt: "The Giants’ brand of football was
left for dead. No longer were they able to run the ball with the same bravado,
the same physicality that had become synonymous with the Tom Coughlin era.
Consequently, they finished last in the NFL in rushing and relied heavily on the
It reached the point that the offense was simply looking to avoid negative
run plays. Expectations were lowered and egos were held in check.
That was until last Sunday.
In their 24-2 rout of the Falcons, the Giants mercilessly wore down the
stingy Atlanta defense in the second half, jamming the run down their throats to
the tune of a season-high 172 rushing yards.
Just like that, Giants Football seems to be back — and it couldn’t have come
at a better time as they head to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers’
explosive offense Sunday.
It’s simple logic: The less time an offense has on the field, the fewer
opportunities it has to score. And against an offense as potent as the Packers’,
simply keeping it off the field — no matter how well the Giants defense is
playing — may be the most effective method to limit it from scoring.
What isn’t as elementary is figuring out how to execute that. Popular notion
says an effective run game is the key to ball control, and such may be the case,
but the Giants will look to control the ball it however they can against a
Packers defense ranked last in the NFL this season.
“That’s an objective that we always have and the key is how do you get that
done? That’s the thing,” offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. “The
conventional wisdom, to be honest, was quite superficial and probably doesn’t
hold much water — you run the ball. What you have to do is hold onto the ball
and the only way you hold onto the ball, whether you’re running or passing, is
to get first downs.” Read more...
GIANTS' RECEIVERS MAKE PACT TO GO SLEEVELESS IN GREEN BAY
"The predicted high for Green Bay, Wisc., on Sunday is 27 degrees. The
predicted low is 23. But regardless of the weather forecast, the Giants' receivers have already made a pact
not to wear sleeves under their uniforms.
"Hakeem started it after the Washington game, because he felt like we came
out and we played a little tentative because we were worried about the cold and
stuff like that," Victor Cruz said. "So we’ll come out no sleeves, and just
mentally be ready to go."
The Giants receiving corps didn't have its best game that day against
Washington Redskins. Wearing sleeves with a game-time temperature of 29, and a
wind-chill factor of 20, Nicks had a pair of drops while quarterback Eli Manning
had his fifth-lowest passing yardage total of the season and the Giants scored
just 10 points in the loss.
"As a corps, we just came out and we were too worried about the cold, and
worried about what we were going to wear and be warm out there," Cruz said. "As
opposed to just focusing on what the task was at hand. And it kind of stopped
our progress a little bit on the offensive end."
Cruz said sleeves don't impede receivers catching the ball, because they are
taught to make catches with their hands. It is more of a mindset, he said. They
fared well without sleeves in their streak of three straight wins against the
Jets, Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons.
The game-time temperature of 48 against Dallas in the season-finale dropped
into the night, and there was rain. Cruz caught six passes for 178 yards and a
touchdown as the Giants clinched the NFC East.
"We went no sleeves that game," he said, "and as you can see, we did pretty
PACKERS' B.J. RAJI BRINGS JERSEY EDGE TO THE PREGAME PLAYOFF BANTER
Excerpt: "The big man’s face scrunched up and his lips pursed when he heard the latest
round of smack talk flung at the Green Bay Packers’ defense.
B.J. Raji knows they’re last in the NFL in total defense and that they’re
just a shade better than the 2006 Indianapolis Colts, the worst defense to win a
But anyway ...
The Giants’ receiving corps said
statistically you guys aren’t that good ...
“I’m from that side of the country, so the talking is never too much,” Raji
said. “Their receivers are great ... but I don’t think any of their tight ends
are in a position to say too much, they’re not their best players at that
How physical are the Giants. Is that one of the toughest offenses you’ll
“I mean, I played them once this year and once last year. I can only judge by
my vantage point up front, not necessarily the most physical — their backs are
pretty physical, but not the toughest O-line,” Raji said. “Not saying their
soft, but not the toughest group I’ve been against.”
Leave it to Raji, a 6-2, 337-pound nose tackle who grew up in Washington
Township and starred at Westwood Regional High, to give it right back. But when
it comes to Sunday’s NFC divisional round game against the Giants, he’s poised
to lead the defensive line that has the power to shake up an opponent that’s
been riding high for three weeks straight." Read more...
GIANTS' BRANDON JACOBS SAYS HE'S FRESHER THAN HE HAS EVER BEEN BEFORE
Excerpt: "Every running back wants every carry. It's a point of pride to be the
featured back. But as NFL teams continue to rely on a couple -- or more --
running backs to burden the load, carries are spread more often than in the
Such was the case with the Giants this season and now they are reaping the
A season after carrying the ball 147 times, Brandon Jacobs had just five more
carries this season and said he feels the best he's ever had this late in a
"Oh, no question," Jacobs said when asked if this was the best he's felt. "I
feel really good. And I don’t know the reason for that, but I feel good."
It was apparent in the Giants' 24-2 win Sunday against the Falcons, in which
he and Ahmad Bradshaw each had 14 carries and the Giants wore down a smaller
Atlanta defense. Not only did Jacobs run with his typical downhill style, but he
was able to use some speed to get to the outside on a couple runs, including a
34-yard scamper, on his way to game-high 92 rushing yards." Read more...GIANTS' OSI UMENYIORA SAYS IMPROVED DEFENSE IS ABOUT MORE THAN HIS RETURN
Excerpt: "One of the reasons the Giants’ players
are confident they’re a different defense heading into this matchup against the
the presence of Osi Umenyiora, who missed the first meeting with a
Though Umenyiora appreciates the sentiment but says the improved play of the
defense of late is about more than him.
“No, definitely not,” the Giants’ defensive end said today after practice.
“We’re playing a lot better. I don’t know why but it seems everything’s coming
together. On the back end we’re playing better, up front we’re playing better.
The calls are coming in better. We seem to be playing a lot better than we were
Umenyiora agrees his return would be a “logical” explanation but sees more to
it. Since he returned the defense has eight sacks in two games. (Two of the
sacks were his.)
“As a defense, on the defensive line, we were playing well when I wasn’t
there. I can’t attribute that success to me,” he said. “I feel for some reason
everything is just coming together at the right time.”
Umenyiora laughed when asked if he feels like his old self.
"I never left, man, I never did. I was just hurt," he said. "Everybody likes
to forget things but I don’t forget."
* * * *
Umenyiora was one of a few players to say today’s practice was a good
“It was sharp,” he said. “The last couple of weeks we’ve had good practices.
Today has been no exception and hopefully we finish it off strong tomorrow.”
Tom Coughlin liked the energy level. So did linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka.
“The confidence level’s obviously high. The energy’s been there and the
intensity,” he said. “Today was one of our best practices of the year. You had
everybody flying around. Everybody who could be out there was out there. We’re
getting ready to go.” Read more...PACKERS GEAR UP FOR HARSH WEATHER CONDITIONS
Excerpt: "With snow blanketing the Green Bay area for the first significant accumulation
of the winter, the Packers decided to stay indoors instead of practicing outside
in the elements.
Head coach Mike McCarthy said they managed to drop the temperature in their
facility to a brisk 30 degrees — seven degrees warmer than the projected low for
Sunday — and built up a sturdy wind from the exhaust fans.
He said staying indoors was not because the outdoor field was not ready in
time. They kept the doors open to the practice facility, allowing some of the
snow and periphery winds to blow in and keep the temperature down.
“(The field) could have been (ready), but the report coming out to practice
was 25 mph gusts of wind and we’re expecting 6-8 mph winds on Sunday,” McCarthy
said. “So we made the decision based on the weather.”
Some Packers, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers, said that they’d hoped for
the cold weather and possible snowfall (there’s a meager 10 percent chance of
precipitation on Sunday). McCarthy said that there was an increased focus in
practice on handling the football in such temperatures.
“It’s more of a challenge,” McCarthy said. “The ball takes on a different
texture and I think it’s really important that the quarterbacks, in particular,
(know) how they handle it.”
And although there’s up to 8 inches expected to fall by tonight, the field
should be spotless for Sunday.
As is tradition, the team will recruit fans to shovel out the stadium and
stands for $10 per hour throughout the day.
Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin was not at practice today.
The funeral for his
son Michael, who drowned an hour south of Green Bay in the Fox River Sunday
morning, is at 2 p.m. Friday." Read more...
PACKERS' B.J, RAJI SAYS HE'S NOT OVERLY IMPRESSED WITH GIANTS' OFFENSIVE LINE
Excerpt: "B.J. Raji believes that the Giants physicality stems from the players in the
backfield -- namely Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw -- and doesn't have much
to do with the five guys blocking for them.
"I mean, I played them once this year and once last year. I can only judge by
my vantage point up front, not necessarily the most physical -- their backs are
pretty physical, but not the toughest o-line," Raji said. "Not saying they're
soft, but not the toughest group I've been against.
He felt the same way about the Giants tight ends, who "aren't in any position
to say too much. They're not the best players at their position that we've
"The backs are pretty tough," he said. "When Brandon is running, and Ahmad is
always tough. When Brandon is running like Brandon, he's very tough to tackle."
Raji, who was raised in Washington Twp. in Bergen County, said that Jacobs'
size is such an anomaly that it requires a second look. Their defensive line,
who regularly watches film on their off days at the facility together (Tuesday)
had a cut-up video of Jacobs and Bradshaw from the last three weeks.
And though Raji has high praise, he does not expect Jacobs to come in and run
someone over, like he did
against Charles Woodson a few years back.
But he does expect Jacobs to be confident in doing so.
"It's a new team, I don't anticipate that happening," he said. "But, I'm sure
he's going to come out here very confident and being hopeful, but that's why we
play defense. It's our job to do our job."
Getting after Jacobs will be the key to slowing down that physicality,
Packers tackle Howard Green said." Read more...
GIANTS' D.J. WARE IS PRACTICING AFTER MISSING WEDNESDAY'S SESSION
Excerpt: "3:05 UPDATE -- S Deon Grant (quad), CB Corey Webster (hamstring), CB Aaron Ross
(concussion), and DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle/knee) were limited in practice today.
Tom Coughlin will address those injuries in his press conference shortly. Ware
was also limited.
The Giants are down to two non-participants at practice today.
RB D.J. Ware (concussion) evidently has been cleared to practice and was
participating in the portion of practice open to the media today. Ware sustained
a concussion against
the Falcons on Sunday when he tried to cut block defensive end John Abraham
and was kneed in the head. He was woozy for several seconds afterward and was
unable to keep his balance. He didn't return to the game.
Ware has been solid as the Giants' third-down back in recent weeks, picking
up blitzes and running the ball effectively when called on. If you remember, he
scored the Giants' two-point conversion on a draw play that tied the game at 35
against the Packers before Green Bay went on to win it with a field goal in 58
seconds." Read more...PACKERS TO PAY PEOPLE TO SHOVEL OUT LAMBEAU FIELD FRIDAY
Excerpt: "If you will be in the Green Bay area Friday morning, and have a winter hat,
gloves jacket and the masochistic desire to shovel out an NFL stadium, the
Packers are looking for your help.
The are looking for up to 450 people Friday to help them shovel out Lambeau
Field (which looked like this earlier
today) as snowfall is blanketing the eastern edges of Wisconsin.
Shovelers have been instructed, via
a post on the Packers website, to show up at 10 a.m. at the Mills Fleet Farm
Gate, located on the west side of Lambeau Field. Those interested must be at
least 15 years old, the invitation stipulates, and will be paid $10 per hour
once the job is completed.
The Packers will supply the shovels." Read more...http://www.nj.com/giants/
NY DAILY NEWS
GIANTS' HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN ATTEMPTS TO FILL SHOES OF MENTOR BILL PARCELLS BY WINNING A SECOND SUPER BOWL IN 8TH SEASON
"Tom Coughlin and Bill Parcells are not
best buddies, but there is no denying the Big Tuna’s influence when you examine
Coughlin’s long and winding run with the Giants.
Giants lost on a field goal on the final play, the game gave them confidence
going into the next week in Dallas, where they overcame a 12-point deficit in
the final minutes.