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Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Giants hope regular referees return Sunday

By Ohm Youngmisuk and Kieran Darcy

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –- As there appears to be progress made on lockout officials potentially returning as early as this weekend, the Giants know the spotlight may be more on the referees than their pivotal NFC East rivalry game against the Eagles this Sunday night.

"You know, Sunday night game, the world's watching and all eyes are going to be on them, which is unfortunate," defensive end Justin Tuck said of the replacement-referee controversy that won't go away. "Normally, in a game like this, eyes are going to be on Eli (Manning) or (Michael) Vick or (Victor) Cruz or JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) or whoever. Those are the people that normally the fans are going to watch.

"Not Sunday night," Tuck continued. "They're going to be paying attention to the calls. They're going to be paying attention to how we react to the calls and things like that."

On Tuesday, Tuck said he did not fault the replacement officials for being placed in a tough situation. However, he did liken the NFL games being officiated by replacements refs to "just being tossed up like as if you were throwing dice on a craps table."

After Monday night's debacle between the Seahawks and Packers, Tuck knows the officials will be in a "lose-lose" situation with all eyes on them.

Mathias Kiwanuka -- who said last week, before the Monday night fiasco, that the integrity of the game had been compromised with replacement officials on the field -- hopes the locked out refs return this weekend.

Kiwanuka says having the regular refs will help in a game that involves a mobile quarterback like Vick.

"When you have a guy who's a running quarterback like that, it creates problems," Kiwanuka said. "'Cause you don't know, is he running the ball, is he looking to throw the ball, is he a defenseless player, is he a runner? Those kind of calls are difficult for anybody to interpret in real time."

Martellus Bennett said he has seen players lack respect for the replacement officials.

"Nobody really respects the replacement (officials), so guys are getting in their face," Bennett said. "Things that they would not do to the regular refs, they'll do to these guys. Tell them, 'Hey, you need to call that.'"

"At the end of the day, you gotta go out there and play football, no matter who's calling it," Bennett added. "We've been doing it three weeks, going to Week 4. It is what it is with me."