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NEWARK STAR LEDGER
GIANTS-PACKERS GAME PREVIEW: A LOOK AHEAD TO SUNDAY'S GUT CHECK FOR THE GIANTS
"A bit of a different format this week because I wrote a box for the paper in
which I broke down five big passes Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers had
against the Giants last year and what
could be done to fix them. It was supposed to run on Thursday along with a story
on the secondary.
But then, Michael
Strahan showed up. So we moved it to Friday.
And then, Perry
Fewell got "(angry)." So we bumped it to the weekend.
Now, I have something else I'm working on for Sunday's paper, so needless to
say I did the breakdown and can't find a spot for it. So I'm dumping it here.
It'll serve as my defensive matchups to watch.
In addition to the ones you should be watching up front, of course.
"Yeah, we’re going to get after (Rodgers)," end Jason Pierre-Paul said today,
joining Fewell in saying this defense is coming for Rodgers. "We’re tired of
losing. It’s frustrating so we have to go out and play as one."
So look to see if the pass rush can get home. And also watch the back end to
see if mistakes from last year (which are outlined below) can be cleaned up.
* * * *
SUNDAY'S GAME: vs. Packers, 4:15 p.m., Fox
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Offense: It sounds like the Giants might be planning some
double moves and other things to bait the Packers' DBs. All week long, I got the
impression they're seeing an opportunity to hit some big plays.
Read between the lines on this quote from QB Eli
"They’ll disguise a few things, but it’s more of their defensive backs and
safeties like to play aggressive. It’s a lot of man-technique where they’re just
playing the guys," Manning said. "They see something, they’re jumping. Their
outside guys will squat a little bit, trying to break up some of the routes.
"Charles Woodson is very aggressive. He’ll leave his zone
and go into another one when he sees something. And obviously if you can see
that and predict that, they’ll leave guys open. They leave areas open to hit
completions. It’s just a matter of having the time to see that and recognizing
Same question, WR Victor Cruz.
"You just have to stay kind of disciplined to your route," Cruz said. "and
understand we have certain things in place to take advantage of that and
understand they want to be ball hawks, be hungry and attack the ball."
Asked about Woodson being particularly aggressive and leaving zones, Cruz
said, "There are things on film where he would just leave a man by himself when
he sees another guy open the quarterback's going to potentially throw the ball
to. He'll just leave and attack that. Sometimes, he comes up with big plays,
interceptions and big hits. Other times, he gets beat. It's a gamble he likes to
take. Hopefully we can see that and react to it."
Defense: See above ... and below.
THE LINE: Packers by 7. Over-under 52. (You
know where I'm going on this one. Down with the ship, maybe? Hey, I'll stand
by that pick and actually have come to believe this team is confident and will
be ready to play. Will it be enough, though?
ONE MORE THING: I know a lot of people have been asking
about when Fewell rushes only three. He was asked about that on Thursday and
basically said you can't bring the house on every down.
"I change based on down and distance. I change based on some tendencies," he
said. "We try to give different looks. Basically, I think we didn’t play very
good technique on Monday and that lead to some of the problems that we had. But
we try to concentrate on all phases of that so that we’re not just vanilla in
certain areas and we’re not only pressuring certain areas. We try to give the
quarterback different looks as we prepare for different quarterbacks."
* * * *
And now those defensive plays I promised. Enjoy.
On Dec. 26 last year, the Giants were hammered by the Packers 45-17 in a game
they badly needed get into the postseason.
"We just executed really well," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who threw
for 404 yards and four touchdowns, said yesterday. "We had tight windows and we
came up with the catches and throws we needed to make."
Considering only a few things have changed on both sides of the ball, the
Giants must fix the issues that led to six passes of 20 or more yards that day,
especially since they gave up five against the Saints on Monday. Here’s a look
at what went wrong on five long completions in Lambeau last year and how it can
THE PLAY: An 80-yard touchdown from Rodgers to WR Jordy Nelson. A little over 7 minutes into the game, it was
WHY IT HAPPENED: For starters, Matt Dodge’s first punt since
DeSean Jackson’s game-winning return the week prior went off the side of his
foot for only 25 yards to the 20. Then, S Antrel Rolle tried showing blitz to
confuse Rodgers. "I’d like to think he kind of bit on the play-action a little
bit," Rodgers said Wednesday. The combination of the poorly-timed fake, the fake
handoff and S Deon Grant’s cheating to the right gave Nelson a free run from the
line of scrimmage to the end zone.
HOW TO FIX IT: Stay disciplined. Rolle cheated forward.
Grant, who had the deep half, favored the outside receiver. Rodgers is good
enough; he doesn’t need help making it easy.
THE PLAY: A 26-yarder from Rodgers to WR Greg Jennings to
set up a touchdown run that made it 21-14 Packers after the Giants had fought
back from 14-0 down.
WHY IT HAPPENED: The Giants were in a Cover-3 defense, which
means both corners bailed at the snap. Grant had the short side of the field
underneath CB Corey Webster but was late getting into his drop. It seemed he was
waiting for the running back to emerge. After Jennings made the catch, he eluded
a slipping Webster to pick up the final 16 yards.
HOW TO FIX IT: Whether it was designed or worked out between
Grant and LB Michael Boley at the line, as they often do, covering the backs
shouldn’t be the main concern. The downfield threats are the ones that will kill
the Giants. And like on Saints
WR Marques Colston’s 50-yard catch-and-run on Monday, Webster has to tackle
or at least slow down the receiver after the catch.
THE PLAY: A 21-yard pass from Rodgers to TE Tom Crabtree to
put the Packers in field-goal range. Mason Crosby then hit a 31-yarder to make
it 24-14 Pack early in the third quarter.
WHY IT HAPPENED: The Giants appeared to be in a Cover-2 zone
and played good coverage here. But a possible mixup on the left side of the
D-line allowed Rodgers to escape to his right. Rolle had to choose whether to
cover Crabtree, come down on the running back or respect Rodgers’ ability to
run. While he was deciding, Rodgers hit Crabtree, who ran for an additional 15
HOW TO FIX IT: Don’t let Rodgers escape. Easier said than
done, we know. But when a guy who can throw like that also has a chance to
scramble and run, well, it’s just not fair to Rolle or anybody covering.
THE PLAY: A 33-yard completion from Rodgers to WR Donald
Driver on the first play after the Giants had trimmed the lead back to a
WHY IT HAPPENED: CB Terrell Thomas was to Driver’s outside
as he broke his pattern inside. Rodgers delivered inside and Driver made a
HOW TO FIX IT: This was good design and execution by the
Packers. Nelson ran a deep cross over the middle, drawing Grant forward. That
gave Driver and Rodgers the inside hole. Grant probably has to stay deep there,
but that’s easy to say while watching from afar. Like the Saints, the Packers
have multiple threats, so it’s often a matter of picking your poison.
THE PLAY: One play after Driver’s catch, Jennings got deep
for a 36-yarder to the 1-yard line. Two plays later, it was 31-17.
WHY IT HAPPENED: Jennings dipped his shoulder to get a clean
release outside of Webster. Still, it wasn’t bad coverage, Webster was even
(illegally) grabbing Jennings’ hand and the blitz almost got to Rodgers.
HOW TO FIX IT: Tip your cap to Rodgers for a fine, quick
throw and to Jennings for an outstanding grab. Then, line back up and try to
make a play the next time."GIANTS' MARIO MANNINGHAM LIKELY TO MISS GAME VS. PACKERS
Excerpt: "Wide receiver Mario Manningham will likely be out Sunday after missing
another practice today and is listed as doubtful on the Giants' injury report.
Manningham, who on Thursday said there are “things
floating” around in his knee but gave himself a 50-50 chance of playing,
tried to give it a go today, stretching with teammates and doing some light
jogging. But ultimately “it’s uncomfortable to run” for him, and he decided to
sit out the remainder of the session.
“I’m not at full speed, and that’s my strength,” he said.
Manningham said he isn’t nervous about the injury, and the best treatment for
the knee at this point is rest. He also acknowledged for the second time this
week that surgery is a possibility, though for after the season.
“We have to see after the season,” he said. “Whatever I need to do, that’s
what I need to do.”
Last week Manningham said he was going to play against the Saints, but after
a short warm-up routine a couple hours before the game, he was ruled out.
Manningham said there isn’t “a lot” of pain in his knee, but he’s not at 100
In the aftermath of a dismal showing against the New Orleans
Saints on Monday night, there wasn’t much good to take from the
49-24 blowout loss. One good thing, however, was Jason Pierre-Paul’s play —
particularly his intensity and effort. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and
coach Tom Coughlin noticed and spoke highly of the second-year defensive end —
going as far as to show a clip of a Pierre-Paul hustle play to the entire
Pierre-Paul, who leads the Giants with 10½ sacks this season, was happy with
the praise and thinks he was deserving.
“Yeah, it’s nice to hear it,” he said. “He gave me props when props were due,
so that’s good to hear.”
Earlier in the week, safety Kenny Phillips said he expected
to see a fine from the NFL for his hit on Saints TE Jimmy Graham, but it appears
the league won’t punish him for the hit, which drew a 15-yard unnecessary
“Christmas is coming, so maybe they’re taking it easy on me,” Phillips
joked." Read more...
NY DAILY NEWS
GIANTS, ANTREL ROLLE LOOK TO TAKE OUT FRUSTRATIONS ON GREEN BAY PACKERS
Excerpt: "The Giants’ defense may not have liked Perry Fewell’s
heavy-handed criticisms of its lackluster performance against New Orleans. But
on Friday, players certainly weren’t arguing with their defensive
coordinator.BRADSHAW THINKS HE "SATISFIED" COUGHLIN'S PLAYING REQUIREMENTS
Excerpt: "Ahmad Bradshaw would do just about anything to play on Sunday against the Packers, even break his already broken right foot.
“Just cut it off,” he said on Friday.
Luckily, it doesn’t look like the Giants will have to take such
extreme measures, because Bradshaw is finally showing progress. He
practiced for the first time in a month on Friday, fulfilling one of
coach Tom Coughlin’s requirements for returning to action. Coughlin has
said multiple times over the last few weeks that Bradshaw would need to
practice before he played, and now the tailback has done that.
“I think I satisfied him, and I satisfied myself,” Bradshaw said.
Bradshaw did individual drills during the portion of practice
that was open to the media, and he said he felt little soreness. That
was good news, especially since he removed most of the extra padding
that had been protecting his foot in previous weeks just minutes before
He said that the multiple layers of tape, padding and special
sneakers were “just squeezing on the bone,” which protected the injury
but also hurt.
“I took all of it off,” he said, “and it felt perfect.”
Bradshaw is officially questionable on the Giants injury
report, so there remains a chance he may not play. Coughlin indicated
that the team would watch how Bradshaw recovered from his first practice
time in nearly a month before making a decision
“He did OK,” Coughlin said. “He went out and worked. He’s
telling me all the things I want to hear, but he did OK. He did all
right. We’ll see how he is in the morning
“I saw what I saw, and that’s what I’ll go on. And what the
trainers and doctors tell me in the morning. We’ll listen to that and
then we’ll make a decision.” Read more...NY POST
GIANTS' LINEBACKER MICHAEL BOLEY LIKELY TO PLAY VS. PACKERS
Excerpt: "Michael Boley might not be a household name, but the veteran middle
linebacker’s importance to the Giants can’t be overstated — especially this
Excerpt: "Ahmad Bradshaw sat on the practice field at the Giants headquarters and had a
trainer peel layers of protective padding off his right foot before getting up
and bouncing around on his feet.
Next came the shoes. Equipment manager Joe Skiba brought out three pairs for
the fifth-year running back to test, before he decided on the right one.
When the Giants (6-5) lined up to practice Friday for Sunday’s home game
against the Super Bowl champion
Packers (11-0), Bradshaw was in the backfield ready to work out for the first
time since breaking a bone in his right foot on Oct. 30 against the Miami
Bradshaw expects to be in the lineup when the Giants attempt to snap a
three-game losing streak and end the Packers’ run at perfection.SERBY AND HALE PREVIEW GIANTS VS. PACKERS GAME - VIDEO
“I feel good,” Bradshaw said after practice. “How are you feeling?”
Coach Tom Coughlin was a little
more cautious discussing whether Bradshaw will be ready Sunday. While saying his
starter looked good and said all the right things, Coughlin said the deciding
factors on whether Bradshaw plays will be how his foot feels on Saturday and
whether doctors will clear him to play.
“I’m happy to be out there, man,” Bradshaw said, who was listed as
questionable for the game. “I felt great. I plan on doing whatever I have been
doing, like the last weeks I did play. Hopefully, I can handle everything.”
The Giants have struggled rushing this season even with Bradshaw. He had a
team-high 440 yards rushing before his injury and the only 100-yard rushing game
the Giants have posted this season, a 104-yard game against Buffalo, the week
before he was hurt.
The Giants have 195 yards rushing in the three games Bradshaw missed, with Brandon Jacobs carrying much of
Bradshaw believes he showed Coughlin enough to get him into the game on
“I am ready to go, man,” he said." Read more...
THE BERGEN RECORD
GIANTS' AHMAD BRADSHAW SAYS HE'S READY TO PLAY ON SUNDAY
Excerpt: "Ahmad Bradshaw tried on the first pair of cleats.
Then the second. Then the third, removing tape and extra padding along the
Finally, the Giants’ running back found the right fit for his broken right
foot. And finally – it appears – he will rejoin the team after missing the past
four games with a stress fracture.
He expects to play Sunday, when the Giants (6-5) host the Packers (11-0) in a
game that could define their season.
“I’m ready to go, man,” said Bradshaw, who played the second half of the 2009
season with stress fractures in both feet.
He practiced Friday for the first time since suffering the injury in an Oct.
30 victory over the Dolphins.
“If I’m out there, you’re going to see everything. Put it all on the field,”
he said. “If I have to break this foot, I will and cut it off.”
However, coach Tom Coughlin was reserving judgment on the back, who is listed
“He’s telling me all of the things that I want to hear, but he did OK,” he
said. “We’ll see how he is in the morning.”
The Giants also expect to have linebacker Michael Boley back from a hamstring
injury that sidelined him the past two weeks." Read more...
GIANTS' TOUGH SCHEDULE A PASS FOR COUGHLIN?
Excerpt: "Six points from around the Web, with an extra point from the Fifth
Matuszewski of Bloomberg News has the numbers, and they’re not pretty for
the Giants: “The New York Giants have the most difficult path to the National
Football League playoffs of the 18 teams within two games of a postseason
If they fail to make the playoffs, should Giants ownership take that into
account when deciding if Tom Coughlin should remain as coach?
Aditi Kinkhabwala of The Wall Street Journal took a closer look at recent
seasons when the Giants were
said to have “collapsed” and determined that the label fit only for 2010 and
2006. Challenging second-half schedules have been the norm." Read more...
GIANTS' DEFENSE: PERRY FEWELL VS. INJURIES
"We’ve all seen, if not heard, the Perry
Fewell “rant” this week. Was it done out of true passion or
embarrassment? I still believe the former…
Undoubtedly, this is not the New York Giants defensive football we all live for. So what’s the problem?
Most fans tend to lean towards one quick answer, blaming one person:
Defensive Coordinator Perry
Fewell and his infamous zone-based schemes. The arguments supporting this
flood in daily (sometimes hourly), some valid…but how about a different
Since the NFL Lockout
ended, the New York Football
Giants have lost (via Injured Reserve) a total of nine defensive players. This
doesn’t include ten other players that are still playing with injuries or are
currently side-lined with one. For those keeping count, that leaves ten without
a disclosed injury plus six others signed off the street/waivers/off the
I won’t digress just yet as many will mention 2010 injuries (although not as
ridiculous in number) and depth. Last year, Fewell’s same zone defense-based
schemes ranked his D top ten in just about every category. They were the “QB
Killas”, remember? 2011, so far, has them ranked a dismal and extremely
disappointing mid to late 20’s in almost every category—except sacks.
Same D-Coordinator; same base defense. Difference? Players. CB, Terrell
Thomas (last year’s top tackler and backfield play-caller, as nickel) and
run-stopping MLB, Jonathan
Goff -two huge losses- were gone early and almost every experienced player
left is injured. Of the ten “non-injured”, four have less than one-year
No excuses are being made for Fewell here (I grew up on heavy doses of the
Big Blue Wrecking Crew—I hope for them reincarnated every year), but much like
the injury debacle on the offensive side of the ball in 2010, some risks are
being taken to “force” plays.
Side note: Ha. Someone will try to blame Easy E for this!
Anyway, everyone seems to also have the answer too…
[*]Blitz More! (Best risk option, in this fan’s opinion)[*]Play More Man-Coverage (is failing)[*]All-Out Blitz/Send The House Theory (Self-explanatory as to why =
fail)[*]“Just Bring Spags Back” (Realistic much?)[/list]
It still comes down to players: Err in communication and assignments is a
self discipline and an execution issue. My gut also tells me that besides many
of the veterans dealing with being hurt (and playing that way), there’s even
more frustration in having to over-compensate on-field for the lack of
experience…who calls which “Cover” in the back 7?…Once it’s called is it the
right one for the personnel on field?…Who’s communicating the “Cover” from the
sidelines?…Is it a far out idea to get someone up in the booth?
There’s many variables to factor in for a perfect answer to “why?”, but the
fact remains: injuries have and are affecting this D.
No wonder Fewell exploded. It took long enough."GIANTS' HAKEEM NICKS TO SIGN AUTOGRAPHS AT POUGHKEEPSIE GALLERIA ON DECEMBER 19TH
Excerpt: "For the first time in his young career, New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem
Nicks will be making an appearance in upstate New York on December 19th at the Poughkeepsie Galleria
(2001 South Road).
Nicks will be meeting with fans and signing
autographs from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM EST, but tickets are limited. With only
400 available to start, they are running out quickly.
Tickets can be purchased on the DreamTeam
Promotions website and fans can choose from a number of items they'd like to
have autographed, including a Giants football, a mini-helmet or a Nicks home jersey." Read more...
JASON PIERRE-PAUL KNOWS WHAT THE DEFENSIVE LINE HAS TO DO
"Over the course of the last three weeks (all losses) the New York
Giants have racked up just three sacks, and their ranking dropped from tops in
the NFL in sacks to
On Sunday, the Giants will face the Green Bay Packers and prototype
quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who employ all different types of protection schemes
and Rodgers has one of the quickest releases in the NFL.
Strahan dropped by the New York Giants facility and decided to give the
defensive line a good talking to. While he insists that the speech was not a big
deal, it was for a number of the New York Giants' younger players.
“Can’t be falling apart. Even if the defensive backfield, or whatever, is
falling apart, we have to stay strong. It’s on us,” said JPP.
Pierre-Paul, who leads the team with 9 1/2 sacks, agreed the linemen need to
bail out this team and this defense right now. So did Kiwanuka, who noted
Rodgers, or any quarterback, “can’t throw the ball if you’re on your back.”
“You can put it on our backs,” Pierre-Paul said. “The D-line is the front,
the strong part of the defense, so we just have to get it
The line will be without the services of OsiUmenyiora, who is sidelined with
an ankle injury. Justin
Tuck has been a walking zombie on the field the past several weeks and he
will need to get past his fear of re-injuring himself and leave it all on the
field this Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
Tuck and Pierre Paul will have to shine Sunday if the defensive line is to
have a strong game and pressure Rodgers.
Whether or not Michael Boleyplays will make a big difference in terms of how
the back 7 handles their coverage responsibilities, but there is no secondary in
the NFL who can
cover the Packers receivers when the quarterback has time.
This week, and perhaps the season rests on whether or not the Giants can get
back to their ways of pressuring the quarterback."GIANTS' AHMAD BRADSHAW, MICHAEL BOLEY INCHING CLOSER TO RETURNING
"Believe it or not, there is some good news on the injury front for the New York
Giants today. Numerous beat writers are reporting running back, Ahmad
Bradshaw, returned to practice today for the first time since he
sustained an injury on October 30.
Since Bradshaw's injury, the Giants running game, and offense overall, has
been quite limited. This has also put nearly all of the burden on quarterback,
Manning, to get the ball down the field and in the end zone.
Additionally, alternate running back, Brandon
Jacobs, has been less than stellar in Bradshaw's absence, averaging
as low as 1.8 yards per carry and with only two touchdowns since Bradshaw was
The hope is that Bradshaw can live up to his comments yesterday about being
ready to play.
The other encouraging news is that linebacker, Michael
Boley, practiced for the second straight day. Having Boley back
against a pass-heavy offense like the Green
Bay Packers showcase will be a big help for the Giants.
The big test will come tomorrow, and barring any setbacks, both players
should see action this Sunday."BIG BLUE VIEW
GIANTS VS. PACKERS: FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
"The New York Giants
meet the Green Bay Packers
Sunday. It is a game that isn't make or break for the Giants in terms of whether
or not they can make the playoffs. A victory would, obviously, be a huge help.
If the Giants are going to have any chance to steal the NFC East from the Dallas Cowboys,
though, they absolutely need to come out of this game feeling good about the way
they played.INSIDE FOOTBALL
Here are my 'Five Things To Watch' this week as we wait to see if what will
1. The Defensive Effort: After seeing defensive coordinator Perry
Fewell say things like he was "pissed" and "baffled" by the team's lack of will and emotion Monday, and then having
Inside Football's Pat Traina tell us that at least one player privately questioned how well prepared the Giants
were for the Saints ypu have
to wonder. Is there a disconnect between the players and the coordinator? Will
we see Giants flying to the football, running hard and chasing down every play?
Or, will we see what we saw Monday -- too many players not hustling, and a
church-like quiet on a defeated sideline? For me, the answer to this question
might be more interesting than the outcome of the game itself.
2. Can The Giants Pressure Aaron
Rodgers? They could not pressure Drew Brees. In
fact, they haven't pressured anyone in about a month. Fewell says "We're going
to get to the quarterback. Period." Giants fans would like to believe that. I'm
guessing, though, that you guys will reserve judgment on that.
3. Can The Giants Be Turnover-Free? The Packers have a league-best 22
interceptions and a gaudy +15 turnover ratio. If the Giants are going to have a
chance to win this game they need to be nearly flawless on offense.
4. Can The Giants Get A Big Special Teams Play? We have focused
forever on the Giants ability to cover punts and kickoffs, and Green Bay's Randall Cobb
is a dangerous returner. Really, though, what the Giants need desperately is big
return or two that gets them easy points, or at least sets them up already in
scoring territory. They haven't had that all year, and this would be a good time
for that to happen.
5. Can The Giants Cover Anybody? Let's forget the pass rush for a
second. Between the young linebackers and the too-slow safeties the Giants have
had issues in pass coverage. They aren't going to get to Rodgers every time no
matter what they do, so they had better be flawless in terms of coverage
JERNIGAN THINKS OPPORTUNITIES
Excerpt: "Through 11 weeks of the season, rookie receiver Jerrel
Jernigan's lone contribution to the Giants has been one kickoff return
for 19 yards. The wide receiver and return specialist admits that he thought he
would have had more of an effect with the team by now.
"I expected it
and now we are deep into the season and I should have learned the majority of
the playbook if not all the playbook," Jernigan said. "I expect to be in there."
Jernigan, a third-round draft pick, said he thinks his opportunities
will increase over the final five weeks of the season. The receiver has been
getting more reps at practice with injuries at the wide receiver position.
"I prepare every week like I'm going to be involved," Jernigan said.
"Right now, we have (Mario) Manningham with an injury problem
and we're kind of thin at receiver spot. I've been learning the whole year and I
feel more comfortable with the offense."
He added about the team being
down some receivers: "It's time for me to step up and make some plays."
Known as an excellent return man, Jernigan had some fumbling problems
during the preseason. The Giants instead chose to go with other players on their
roster to field returns and the receiver didn't play in the team's first four
He finally played on Oct. 9 against Seattle on special teams and
played as a receiver on Oct. 16 against Buffalo. His first kickoff return came
on Nov. 16 against New England and he has not played since.
coordinator Kevin Gilbride said Jernigan not being used in the
offense is a result of a numbers game, with talented receivers like
Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Manningham all ahead of him on
the depth chart. That limited the amount of reps he would get with the starting
"Not being in there, new player," Gilbride said. "He's fallen
behind again but he's trying to get caught up as best as he can." Read more...
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