New York Giants: Tony Gonzalez

NFLN survey/Super Bowl player: Giants

January, 22, 2014
As you likely know by now, our team of NFL Nation reporters surveyed 10 players on each team, on the condition of anonymity, and asked a series of questions. In recent weeks, we've revealed the NFL's most respected player, the player most of his peers would pick to start a team and which player is the most feared. We have much more to come, and it's all very interesting, but the question whose answer we reveal today is:

Who’s the player (active, non-teammate) you’d most like to see in the Super Bowl?

The winner, with 59 of the 320 votes, is Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. He won by three votes over retiring Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was fourth with 15 votes, but you can scratch him off the list in 10 days, when he participates in Super Bowl XLVIII.

The only Giants player who got even a single vote was defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, with one.

Players were asked to vote for a player who hasn't played in the Super Bowl, and most of the players on the Giants have. Justin Tuck, Eli Manning and Victor Cruz would likely feel that their championship rings are more valuable than getting recognized on this particular question.
Your daily morning check-in on news and notes about to the New York Giants

The news of the day: Running back David Wilson won't require surgery for his neck injury at this time, but he's still out at least 3-4 more weeks, and with Brandon Jacobs and Da'Rel Scott dealing with hamstring injuries, the Giants will work out running backs today.

The one name I heard was Jeremy Wright, the former Louisville back the Giants signed as an undrafted free agent and cut after two days of minicamp. Jason LaCanfora of reported on Twitter on Monday night that Peyton Hillis was among the others scheduled to work out today. Usually, the Giants will bring in several guys for workouts at a position of need and pick one (if any) to sign. It's also possible that Jacobs could be ready for the next game, on Monday night against the Vikings, or that the Giants could offer rookie Michael Cox his first NFL carries. It's an increasingly desperate situation, as Kieran Darcy writes.

Behind enemy lines: The Vikings are hoping to decide on a starting quarterback for Monday's game by Wednesday of this week, though it's no guarantee that they can. The sense you get is that they'd love for newcomer Josh Freeman to be up to speed in time to play this game, but that they have to be realistic about the chances of that happening. Ben Goessling thinks Freeman is going to get the start in this game.

Around the division: Tough news for the Cowboys, who lose top pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware for a few weeks due to a pulled quad and likely won't have starting running back DeMarco Murray next week either. Obviously, the defense works best with Ware in there, but there's a lot of evidence over the past few years that the Cowboys' offense works best when Murray is playing, too. Could be a chance for the Eagles to catch the Cowboys at their weakest and take over first place in the NFC East.

Around the league: Jeff Chadiha thinks the 6-0 Chiefs could bolster their chances for the stretch run by bringing back former Chiefs great Tony Gonzalez to help the passing game at tight end. And he's right, of course. Gonzalez would help almost anyone. I just feel it's unlikely that Gonzalez would want a trade. He didn't come out of retirement because he was dying to play again. He came out to play for the Falcons, specifically, because of his relationships there and his belief in their chances to win the Super Bowl. Obviously, those chances are in big trouble now, but even so, I wouldn't assume Gonzalez would just jump at a chance to play for any contender.

Another elite tight end for Giants to face

January, 18, 2012

It's the gauntlet of tight ends.

The Giants have faced elite tight ends in both of their playoff wins, and that will continue Sunday when they take on San Francisco and Vernon Davis. Davis, a former first-round pick, was the hero of the 49ers' win over the Saints with 180 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning score.

"He's an NFL tight end and he is good at what he does," Giants safety Antrel Rolle said. "He is very explosive, a deep threat, he can get upfield, he can make defenders miss. That is what makes him pretty special."

Once perceived to be a problematic area for the Giants, Big Blue has excelled in shutting down elite tight ends in the playoffs. In the 24-2 win over Atlanta, the Giants held veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez to just four catches for 44 yards. Gonzalez finished fifth among tight ends in receiving yards this season.

Last week, the Giants put an emphasis on shutting down Jermichael Finley, who torched them for six catches and 87 yards as well as a touchdown in their meeting on Dec. 4. On Sunday, the Giants held Finley to just four catches for 37 yards despite being targeted nine times in the game. Finley was third among all tight ends in touchdowns this year.

"Keep giving them different looks," linebacker Michael Boley said of how the Giants have slowed down two top tight ends in the last two weeks. "Don't give them something to key on. Keep giving them different looks. Keep them off their game. Keep them off balance."

Now the Giants turn their attention to Davis, who has come on strong in his last two games. After posting just one 100-yard outing in the first 15 games, Davis has rebounded to top 100 yards in each of his last two games.

In Sunday's win, he had a huge catch that helped give the 49ers prime field position on their game-winning drive and later collected the decisive score. His 180-yard day was his season-high showing.

"Vernon Davis is a very good football player," defensive tackle Chris Canty said. "He presents a lot of challenges for each level of the defense, from defensive line from a blocking standpoint to the linebackers and secondary and coverage. So he's a tremendous weapon for them, he's a team leader for them. We have to be prepared for that."

When the Giants faced Davis in the teams' first meeting on Nov. 13, he had three catches for 40 yards and registered a 31-yard touchdown on a play in which the Giants' had a busted coverage. A few Giants mentioned how Davis' speed is what makes him so tough to defend.

"I think he is a lot faster than pretty much every tight end you are going to face in this league," Rolle said. "I think he is definitely among the fastest, if not the fastest. That is what puts him over the edge."

Falcons TE Gonzalez wanted to be a Giant

January, 5, 2012
Tony Gonzalez, the future Hall of Famer, has only played for two teams in his 15-year NFL career, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Atlanta Falcons.

But it turns out he wanted to play for a third team -- the New York Giants.

“I think about it all the time,” Gonzalez said Wednesday, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. “I was pushing for that, too. But it didn’t happen; I think they thought I was too old back then.”

Gonzalez was referring to the time following the 2008 season, when his 12-year run with the Chiefs came to an end. Instead of the Giants, Gonzalez wound up with the Falcons, with whom he has had a very productive three seasons. This year, Gonzalez finished with 80 catches for 875 yards and seven touchdowns.

One thing Gonzalez has never been part of? A postseason victory. His teams have gone 0-4 in the playoffs during his storied career.

He hopes to get his first taste of postseason success on Sunday, against the team he once wanted to be a part of.

Giants have high praise for Tony Gonzalez

January, 4, 2012
The Atlanta Falcons have lots of weapons on offense: running back Michael Turner, who was third in the NFL with 1,340 rushing yards; wide receiver Roddy White, who had 100 receptions for 1,296 yards; and fellow wideout Julio Jones, who had 54 catches for 959 yards.

But the Giants were particularly complimentary of tight end Tony Gonzalez on Wednesday.

"Everything," said linebacker Michael Boley, when asked what Gonzalez does well. "He’s only gotten better with age, obviously. He’s still doin' it."

Gonzalez, who will turn 36 next month, is finishing his 15th season in the NFL, playing in 238 of a possible 240 regular season games during that span. And he is showing little evidence of slowing down. Gonzalez finished this season with 80 catches for 875 yards and seven touchdowns -- numbers that stack up with the rest of his career.

In fact, Gonzalez has played so well that he was just given a one-year contract extension for just under $7 million to remain with the Falcons next season.

Atlanta coach Mike Smith gushed about Gonzalez as well on Wednesday, in a conference call with Giants reporters. In particular, Smith lauded Gonzalez's influence on his teammates. "Without a doubt, one of the greatest tight ends that’s ever played the game," said Smith. "Tony’s work ethic is just unbelievable. It rubs off on everybody. … He’s had a big influence without having to say a whole lot."

As for why Gonzalez continues to be effective year after year, some Giants shared their perspective.

"You can tell he’s a smart player," said safety Kenny Phillips. "Just the way he runs his routes. He knows who’s covering him and how to beat him."

"He has little tricks of the trade," said Boley. "He just knows how to get open -- he knows how to use an opponent’s leverage against him."

Boley will be one of the players charged with keeping an eye on Gonzalez on Sunday. Shutting down the future Hall of Famer could be one of the keys to this game.