NFC East: New York Jets

How Giants lured DRC away from Jets

March, 26, 2014
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Before visiting with the New York Giants, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie spent time at the New York Jets' facility, meeting with team officials. Giants coach Tom Coughlin wasn't worried about losing the free-agent cornerback to his local rival.

"It seemed as if he was going to continue to visit until he found what he wanted," Coughlin said Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings.

Rodgers-Cromartie found it with the Giants, who gave him a five-year, $35 million contract that includes $13.98 million guaranteed. Putting the money aside for a moment, the Giants believe they landed the talented corner by providing two important elements: A specific plan for him on defense and stablity.

This will be DRC's third team in three years, and he wants to settle down with one team, according to Coughlin. The Jets didn't provide that opportunity, reportedly offering what amounted to a one-year contract for about $6 million.

"To be honest with you, he was looking for a place to sink his roots and become a guy who represented a team and stayed there, and worked his way through some things," Coughlin said. "He wanted to be part of something instead of one year here, one year there. ...He jumped on that. He wanted to be a guy who’s associated with a team and be recognized."

Rodgers-Cromartie is a talented, but inconsistent player. He played well last season for the Denver Broncos, but he was a disappointment in the two previous seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. Coughlin said the Giants' coaches studied him closely, formulating a plan to maximize his strengths. He wouldn't divulge the plan.

"We have a young man that really wants to be coached," he said. "We studied and we saw some areas we can help him in, and we were very specific about how that would happen. He was very open and receptive to it. We did a good job of it. Our coaches worked their tails off. They spent a lot of time on it, a lot of time."

And the Jets still have a gaping hole at cornerback, with general manager John Idzik taking heat for failing to address a need.

Wake-up call: Combine, Day 4

February, 22, 2014
On the schedule for Saturday in Indianapolis:

Giants/Jets media availability: Giants general manager Jerry Reese will address the media at 10 a.m., one day after his coach -- Tom Coughlin -- announced his own one-year contract extension. No doubt, Reese will be asked about Coughlin, but most of the topics will be personnel-related. The Giants' talent base has decayed the last two years, and Reese needs a home-run draft to get them back in the playoffs. There will be no Jets media availability.

Combine schedule: This is the busiest day because there are four different player groups involved in various activities. The offensive linemen and tight ends finish up their week with on-field drills -- springs, agility stations and skill drills. ... The quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers move to their next phase -- psychological testing, bench press and team interviews. ... The defensive linemen and linebackers get into the action with measurements, medical exams, team interviews and media obligations. ... The defensive backs arrive in town, starting with a medical pre-exam and X-rays, orientation and team interviews.

Players of interest: The big story -- the big, big story -- will be Michael Sam. If you haven't heard of him, you're welcome to rejoin our society at any time now. The former Missouri defensive end, who came out recently as gay, is scheduled to meet the media. It probably will be the largest news conference in combine history, assuming it happens. The schedule got jammed up Friday because medical exams took longer than expected, causing some of the wide receivers (including the top prospects) to postpone their media sessions until Saturday. Hopefully, Sam stays on schedule because it should be fascinating.

Wake-up call: Combine, Day 2

February, 20, 2014
On the schedule for Thursday in Indianapolis:

Local media: New York Jets coach Rex Ryan (2:45 p.m.) and general manager John Idzik (3 p.m.) are scheduled for news conferences. The hot topics will be the futures of Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie; the draft and free agency; and the organization's first public comment on former Missouri DE Michael Sam. The New York Giants' media availability begins Friday.

Combine schedule: Placekickers, special teamers, offensive linemen and tight ends will undergo medical exams, measurements and team interviews. They also will be available to the media. ... Quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs arrive in town. They will have a medical pre-exam, X-rays, orientation and team interviews.

Players of interest: The Jets (18th overall pick) and Giants (12th) both have a need at tight end, so North Carolina's Eric Ebron -- the consensus top player at the position -- will be a focal point among the New York reporters. Ebron has the ability to light up the combine -- on and off the field. He's confident and entertaining, once bragging that his speed should be "illegal." He will be asked about his weight in light of a recent report that he put on extra pounds in an effort to become a better blocker. ... The Giants need help at offensive tackle, so Thursday's media session will offer a chance to meet first-round possibilities, namely Michigan's Taylor Lewan. We know how the Giants love those Big 10 linemen.

Wilkerson: It was a clean hit on Locker

September, 29, 2013
NASHVILLE -- Muhammad Wilkerson knocked Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker out of the game in the third quarter with a potentially serious hip injury, but the New York Jets' defensive end insisted it was a clean hit. He said one of the officials told him so.

"If it was late, they would've thrown a flag," Wilkerson said after the Jets' 38-13 loss at LP Field. "They didn't throw a flag. The ref told me it was a clean hit. I took my one step and that was that."

On the CBS telecast, analyst Dan Dierdorf said Wilkerson struck Locker in the chest with the crown of his helmet. If the league sees it that way, Wilkerson likely would be fined.

Locker absorbed the blow and fell awkwardly, immediately clutching his right hip. He was motionless on the ground, silent, on his back. Nearby, defensive end Sheldon Richardson dropped to one knee.

"I always say a prayer when guys go down like that," Richardson said.

The Titans didn't waste any time, immediately summoning for medical help. He was carted off the field, giving a thumb's up as he left. The Titans gave no immediate update, except to say X-rays were negative.

In two-plus quarters, Locker (18-for-24, 149 yards) torched the Jets, throwing three touchdown passes -- a career high.

Observation deck: Giants-Jets

August, 18, 2012

The good postgame news for the New York Giants following their 26-3 preseason victory over the Jets is that starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw's hand seems OK. The Giants took X-rays that came back negative, and Bradshaw told reporters after the game that he had a cyst on his hand that burst when he hit it on someone's helmet. I do not know why a cyst bursting would require an X-ray, but I am not a doctor. Upshot appears to be that Bradshaw will be fine, which is significant for a Giants team whose running game still needs work.

The Giants finished 32nd in the league in rush offense in the regular season last year, mainly because of a line that couldn't get any push forward in the run game. That was on display again Saturday night, as neither Bradshaw nor D.J. Ware nor Andre Brown nor David Wilson could find a hole all night. The Giants finished with 58 yards on 32 carries, which is dreadful. Now, rush defense appears to be one of the few things the Jets do well, so that might have had something to do with it. But the concern with the Giants when they struggle is that they get physically handled in the trenches. The offensive line struggled with that last year and has so far in this preseason.

Now, that intro breaks my general rule about trying to open with a positive in these preseason game reviews. But I thought Bradshaw was the biggest news of the night, and in fairness it is a positive that his hand is not broken. And there are a ton of Giants positives in the remainder of my review of what I saw Saturday night:

1. The defensive line looks as though it will be just fine. Even with Justin Tuck leaving early with a neck injury (he also said he was fine), the Giants' pass rush completely abused Wayne Hunter and an overmatched Jets offensive line. Jason Pierre-Paul and reserve defensive end Adewale Ojomo each had two sacks and the Giants had seven as a team to go with their nine quarterback hits and nine tackles for loss. But what I thought was most impressive while the first-team defense was in there was the performance of starting defensive tackles Linval Joseph and Rocky Bernard, who forced the issue in the middle of the line and limited the Jets on the ground as well. The Giants are banged up at defensive tackle with Chris Canty and Marvin Austin on the shelf, but Bernard and Joseph played as though they didn't want anyone to worry.

2. Eli Manning likes throwing to Victor Cruz. Manning didn't do a lot to help the Giants find their No. 3 wide receiver. Five of his seven completions were caught by Cruz, and while that was fun for Giants fans to watch, everybody already knew that hookup worked. Ramses Barden did drop one Manning pass early on, which didn't help his case. Overall, Manning had a poor night, completing 7 of 14 for 62 yards and an ugly overthrow interception. But he's obviously the least of their worries.

3. As for those No. 3 receiver candidates ... Rookie Rueben Randle made the best catch of the night, a leaping 49-yarder from David Carr. But it was his only catch of the game. Jerrel Jernigan caught two passes for 26 yards, Domenik Hixon one for four yards and Barden was shut out. The buzz during the week was about a Manning quote that said they could rotate guys into that role and into situations that maximize their different strengths, and that's a reasonable way to handle the situation. But I still think Barden's going to have to grab that role if he wants to make the team. The other guys help on special teams.

4. Chase Blackburn's probably safe for a while. Blackburn and Kenny Phillips combined to fill a gap and make a nice stop on Shonn Greene on a second-down run. Later in the game, Mark Herzlich suffered a hip pointer. Blackburn's the starting middle linebacker for now, and Herzlich's going to have to come and take the job from him. Blackburn hasn't done anything to lose it, and now Herzlich's hurt. Keith Rivers, by the way, looked active on the outside, starting in place of an injured Michael Boley.

5. Got to like Jayron Hosley. The rookie cornerback was a star of the game on defense and on special teams, where he returned an interception 77 yards for a touchdown. Reports from the postgame locker room say Hosley had his foot in a walking boot, so it seems as though he got injured, too. Would be a shame if he had to miss time. It looks as though the Giants want to use him a lot, and other than last week's muffed punt, everything he's done on the field has made him look like a very useful guy.

6. Wilson does show something. The rookie running back out of Virginia Tech was a first-round pick for a reason. You can see, when he gets room to run, what he brings in terms of explosiveness. I believe he'll be a good player for the Giants. He even looked good in blitz pickup once he got into the game. But this national perception that he's the sure-thing backup or some sort of threat to take carries away from Bradshaw has gotten out of hand. He's clearly fourth on the running-back depth chart right now, and Ware has earned that No. 2 spot. Wilson will develop, maybe quickly, and likely be an asset for the Giants down the road. But he has developing to do, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's kind of how the Giants roll.

7. Will Hill. He's getting to be a fun story, playing well at safety and coming up with a sack of Tim Tebow. Could be a nice latent-talent find by the Giants' front office, a la Herzlich and of course Cruz.

Our last LaRon Landry post

March, 19, 2012
Somebody asked me on Twitter what the Washington Redskins offered safety LaRon Landry to try and keep him. I was a little bit surprised by the question, because there's no reason to believe the Redskins offered Landry anything. When I visited the Redskins in December, it was clear the team had grown tired of wondering from week to week whether Landry was going to play and that they didn't plan to offer him any real guaranteed money. Once it became clear there was a market for his services, it also became clear that the Redskins were fine with letting him leave.

Leave he did, agreeing to terms with the Jets on a one-year, $4 million deal, which doesn't sound like very much, especially if not all of that money is guaranteed. So the Redskins surely could have brought him back if they'd wanted to. But the key thing for Redskins fans to understand is that they didn't. Landry is an injured player. He's not "a player with a history of injuries." He's not "a player who comes with injury concerns." He is a player that his currently injured.

The same Achilles tendon injury has, for the past two years, been restricting not just his playing time but also his effectiveness in the rare games in which he does play. For the second straight offseason, in spite of it not working last year, Landry has refused to get the doctor-recommended surgery to fix the injury. Everybody remembers how great Landry was as a fearsome hitter early in his career. This is a guy who was the sixth pick in the draft just five years ago, for goodness' sake. His talent is not in question. What is in question is his ability to actually suit up and play every week, and the Redskins were tired of having to keep asking the question.'s Rich Cimini, in the above link, puts it very well, calling Landry "a once-feared defensive player trying to revitalize his career on a once-feared defense." Jets coach Rex Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum have a track record of falling in love with big names, so it's no surprise that that's where Landry ended up. And for the Jets, the chance that Landry magically gets healthy and plays at something close to his early-career level is probably worth the risk. The Redskins had decided that it wasn't anymore. And they decided it long before today.

The Manning brothers in New York?

March, 7, 2012
Since Peyton Manning's departure from the Colts is the news of the day in the NFL, it's worth looking back to mid-January, and an interview that New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning gave with ESPN 1050 radio in New York. Toward the end of the interview, host Michael Kay asked Eli what he'd think about the New York Jets signing Peyton -- an arrangement that would result in the Manning brothers playing pro football in the same city. The audio is here, but Eli's first reaction is a laugh and some jokes:
"It would be fun. We could probably commute to work, maybe, come home, eat dinner together, have the kids be playing with each other. Have twin beds, we could share notes on opponents and watch some film together. I don't know what's going to happen with that situation. Would it be fun? Yeah. I think it'd be interesting to have your brother in the same city playing football together. I don't think we would see each other that often just because of our schedules being a whole lot different, probably just talk on the phone a whole lot more than see each other during the season. But it would be interesting. I'm not saying it's going to happen or I want it to happen, but to have your brother that close to you and playing in New York would be very unique."

People like to speculate about what's in the minds and the hearts of these players they don't know personally. People say things like, "Peyton would never go to Washington and play against his brother twice a year," or "Peyton would never go to New York for fear of outshining Eli." Blah, blah, blah. First of all, we don't know what these guys really think and feel about each other. They appear to have a very close and loving relationship. And second of all, any worries big brother Peyton may have had seven or eight years ago about casting a shadow over his brother would have to be gone by now, wouldn't you think? I mean, now that Eli has more Super Bowl rings?

Like Eli, I have no idea if Peyton Manning will end up with the Jets or the Redskins or in any other situation that might put the two brothers in more direct competition with each other. But I feel pretty confident saying that, if it did happen, it wouldn't bother Eli one bit. After all, nothing else seems to.

Brandon Jacobs is not one to talk

December, 24, 2011
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know what I think about New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs. This is a guy who likes to yap and yap and yap when things are going well and hides when things aren't. A classic bully who compensates for his own shortcomings by attacking others only when he's 100 percent sure he has nothing to lose by doing so.

That Brandon Jacobs showed up again Saturday.

Jacobs got into a confrontation with Jets coach Rex Ryan as the Giants completed their victory over the Jets. Jacobs described the confrontation as he'd seen it, saying "the coach approached him, used an expletive and said, 'Wait till we win the Super Bowl.'
Added Jacobs: "And I told him I'll punch him in the face. I told him out of all these Giants players on this team you're talking to the wrong one. And that was that."

Ryan acknowledged that he and Jacobs "had a private conversation. He doesn't like me; I respect him."

I'll give Jacobs this: He's the wrong Giants player for an opposing coach to get into a shouting match with. Because it's just not worth it. Jacobs is the worst kind of modern athlete -- one who can't shut up when things are going well and is nowhere to be found when they're not. He and the rest of the Giants were doing plenty of well-deserved crowing when Saturday's game ended. The Jets came after them with the trash talk and the Giants won the game. But Jacobs has been in the middle of too many off-field controversies and too few big plays over the past couple of years for him to be worth the time of someone like Ryan.

Don't get me wrong here: An opposing coach has no business confronting an opposing player on the field. Ryan should have played the part of the grown-up instead of getting down in the mud and messing with a player who is clearly not. But for Jacobs, coming into the press conference and acting the tough guy was classic bully behavior. I've been around the Giants when they've lost and Jacobs has been a big part of the reason why. And on those days, he has almost nothing to say for himself -- or to anyone affiliated with the other team.

Giants safety Antrel Rolle -- never one to shy away from the microphones -- was told after the game that Ryan had admitted he was wrong when he'd said earlier in the week that the Jets were the better team.

"The thing about Rex is, he's a man," Rolle said.

He's a man who shouldn't have bothered with Brandon Jacobs, who's only a man when he's looked both ways and made sure it's safe to cross the big-mouth street.
Chris Canty, Mark SanchezAP Photo/Bill KostrounChris Canty's sack of Mark Sanchez for a safety sealed the game for the Giants.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- With his team reeling, his defense getting pummeled week in and week out and a storm of negativity swirling around his team in the final two weeks of the season, New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin gathered his charges this past Tuesday and woke them up. This isn't so bad, he told his players. Sure, we've lost five of our past six games and our defense is giving up third-down conversions as if they were candy canes. But we have two games left, and if we win them both, we're division champs.

"I don't know if it was anything we said; I think they realized the circumstances we're in," a giddy Coughlin said after the Giants' 29-14 victory over the Jets on Saturday. "These are young men. They're talented. They've got the world by the tail. It's a great time of year. There's a lot to feel good about. If you'd said before the season that, with two games to go we could still determine our fate, we'd have signed up for that."

And now, the same is true with one game to go. The Giants' victory over the Jets sets up a one-game showdown, right back here, next Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. If the Giants win, they're NFC East champs. If they don't, the Cowboys win the division and the Giants' season is over. In spite of all of the injuries, all of the losses and all of the blown coverages along the way, the Giants have pushed their season to the final week and they still have a chance.

"What better time to be playing your best football?" asked Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty, whose sack of Mark Sanchez in the end zone with 2:24 left in the game produced the safety that put the game on ice. "December in the NFL, that's what it's all about. We still have the opportunity to accomplish everything we set out to accomplish, and that's a good feeling."

Coughlin's message really hit home with the defense, which turned in perhaps its finest all-around effort of the season. It was another down game for quarterback Eli Manning and the passing offense (save for Victor Cruz's electrifying, game-turning 99-yard touchdown catch a couple of minutes before halftime). But unlike last week, when they lost to the Redskins, the defense bailed them out this time. After allowing opponents to convert 54 percent of their third downs over the previous five weeks, the Giants held Sanchez and the Jets to 4-for-21 on third downs.

"I think our defense played lights-out football for four quarters," Giants running back Brandon Jacobs said. "And I think we had more fans in the stands than they did, here at Giants Stadium -- a.k.a. MetLife Stadium."

It was a chippy week between these two rivals. The Jets, as is their wont, did a lot of talking and boasting. The Giants fired back a few times, but generally the Jets' chatter bothers them more than they care to admit. There's little doubt they drew extra motivation from what was going on in the week leading up to the game, and after the game the big boss admitted as much.

"Given all of the talk that was coming from Florham Park [where the Jets practice], this means a little bit more," Giants owner John Mara said in the locker room.

But while the Giants definitely play better when they can get themselves motivated, the key to this game was the toughening up of a defense that had been the league's plaything for the better part of two months. The Jets decided to attack a Giants secondary that had been giving up tons of yardage, and while Sanchez threw 59 passes, he completed only 30 for 258 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

"When he throws the ball 60 times and he doesn't get 300 yards, that's definitely a win in our book," Giants safety Antrel Rolle said. "They made a couple of comments in the paper about our secondary, so we knew that was probably how they were going to attack us."

Cornerbacks Corey Webster and Aaron Ross did a great job of keeping the Jets' receivers in check. Webster and safety Kenny Phillips had the interceptions. The Giants' secondary was almost unrecognizable for the tight, effective, smothering way it played. And up front, on the defensive line, there was Justin Tuck, playing like his old, All-Pro self for the first time this season.

"He changed his outlook and his demeanor this week," Coughlin said of Tuck. "He got very positive. He decided not to be concerned about the little nicks he had that have been bothering him, and instead to just ignore them and play through them."

Tuck said Coughlin approached him early in the week and challenged him to be a leader at this crucial time. He also said that Rolle's postgame comments last week about guys not practicing because of nagging injuries, but showing up on Sunday to play, caught his attention. Whatever it was, Tuck looked like a new man, helping the Giants' pass rush look like its old scary self as he and Jason Pierre-Paul hunted Sanchez from opposite sides.

"We came out and played relentless against the pass and against the run," Rolle said. "We had a game plan, and our defensive coordinator stuck with it 120 percent."

This is a newly fired-up bunch of Giants, and there can be little doubt they'll come out fired up again next Sunday against the Cowboys. The Giants are scary when motivated. And with a division title on the line, what more motivation could they possibly need?

Rapid Reaction: Giants 29, Jets 14

December, 24, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the New York Giants' potentially season-saving 29-14 victory over the New York Jets on Saturday afternoon at MetLife Stadium.

What it means: A couple of things. First, it means next Sunday's game between the Giants and the Dallas Cowboys here at MetLife will decide the NFC East. The winner advances to the playoffs as division champ. The Cowboys could theoretically still make it as a wild card if they beat the Eagles this afternoon, but the Giants' only way in is to win the game and the division. This Giants win also means that the Philadelphia Eagles are, at long last, eliminated from contention for this year's postseason.

Toughening up: In their previous five games, the Giants had allowed opponents to convert 54 percent of their third downs. But in this game, the Jets were a miserable 4-for-21 on third down. The Giants' coverage in the secondary was drastically improved in this game, and they were able to generate enough pressure to rattle Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and disrupt a surprisingly pass-heavy Jets offensive game plan. The offense played its second straight shaky game, but this time the defense was able to bail it out by making a few big stops.

The big play: The Jets were manhandling the Giants on defense in the first half, but with a little more than two minutes left before halftime, Eli Manning completed a 99-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz that put the Giants on top 10-7. It was the play of the game and possibly, as it turns out, the Giants' season, as it sent the Jets into the halftime locker room demoralized and apparently determined to throw the ball to make up for it.

Touchy at the end: The Giants appeared to have the game locked up when they recovered a fumble in the end zone at the end of a long Jets drive. But even though they were up 20-7, they came out throwing, and Manning threw an interception on the first play that the Jets would later convert into a touchdown. The Jets got the ball back at their own eight-yard line with 2:24 left, but the Chris Canty sacked Sanchez in the end zone for the safety that sealed the Giants' win.

What's next: The Giants host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday here at MetLife Stadium in the game that will decide the division title.

Halftime thoughts: One big play

December, 24, 2011
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Well, I'd be lying to you if I said the New York Giants have looked good. In most significant ways, they have been dominated by the Jets in the first half of their crucial Week 16 game here at MetLife Stadium. But no matter what happens, the Giants can always count on their passing game to save them. And so, with 2:27 left in the first half, facing a third-and-10 from his own 1-yard line, Eli Manning found Victor Cruz just past the first-down marker. Cruz juked two Jets defenders and was gone, 99 yards for what may turn out to be the most significant Giants touchdown of the year.

Of the 182 yards the Giants gained on offense in the first half, 99 came on one play. Other than that play, they have struggled to do anything against the Jets' defense. They have six rushing yards, and their efforts to pick on Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis with Hakeem Nicks have resulted in frustration. Revis broke up a would-be touchdown pass on third down earlier in the game and the Giants had to settle for a field goal.

But when Cruz caught that ball at the 12-yard line, he found himself between Kyle Wilson and Antonio Cromartie, and neither could bring him down. So the Giants took a 10-7 lead shortly before halftime.

They were able to hold it because their defense has been getting stops today, and got a big one toward the end of the half. Each of the Giants' past five opponents has converted at least 50 percent of its third downs. But the Jets are just 2-for-8 on third down Saturday, and Jason Pierre-Paul's 7-yard sack of Mark Sanchez just before halftime may have pushed Nick Folk out of field-goal range. Folk missed the kick that would have tied the game with time ticking off the clock.

All in all, the Giants have to be ecstatic with the way things have gone. They haven't been able to do anything on offense other than one play. They have allowed the Jets 185 yards but only seven points. And they are leading at halftime. If they can continue to play this bend-but-don't-break defense and get one or two more big plays on offense, then a couple of hours from now they may well leave here knowing for sure that they'll still have a chance to win the division next week.

Manningham, Ballard inactive for Giants

December, 24, 2011
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham, who has been struggling throughout the second half of this season with a knee injury, is not healthy enough to play Saturday against the Jets and is listed among the inactive players for the game. Also inactive is tight end Jake Ballard, who was announced as out earlier in the week due to his own knee injury. The injuries deprive Giants quarterback Eli Manning of two important receiving options for the game, and you can probably look for Ramses Barden and Travis Beckum to pick up the slack if anyone does.

Defensive end Osi Umenyiora will miss his fourth straight game with an ankle injury, but center David Baas returns to the starting lineup after missing three straight games with head and neck injuries. Baas will start at center while Kevin Boothe, who had been replacing him, moves back over to left guard and Mitch Petrus, who started the last three games at left guard, moves back to the bench.

I'm here at MetLife Stadium and will have updates for you throughout the game here and on Twitter.

The complete list of inactives:


WR Mario Manningham
TE Jake Ballard
DE Osi Umenyiora
LB Mark Herzlich
OL Jim Cordle
DT Jimmy Kennedy
OL James Brewer


QB Kevin O'Connell
WR Eron Riley
CB Marquice Cole
S Gerald Alexander
T Austin Howard
DE Ropati Pitoitua
DT Kenrick Ellis

How you feeling? Giants-Jets

December, 24, 2011

As you get ready for this afternoon's "road" game against the Jets, here's one reason for New York Giants fans to feel good and one reason for concern.

Feeling good: The Giants are at their best when they can draw some sort of external motivation. They're a big "Nobody believed in us" bunch. And they're not great fans of the way the Jets have carried themselves since Rex Ryan took over as Jets head coach three years ago. The Giants believe their more conservative, buttoned-up, just-play-the-game style is a better way to approach their business than the Jets' boisterous swagger. The Giants have taken joy in beating the Jets in preseason games during the Ryan era. So there's little doubt that, coming off of last week's flop against the Redskins, the Giants will be fired up to beat the Jets in the stadium the two teams share. There should be little doubt about the Giants' ability to get "up" for this game.

Cause for concern: Well, the Giants' own defense remains their biggest cause for concern. Unless it's going to look completely different than it has at any point over the past six weeks, the Giants are going to continue to struggle on third downs and continue to give up points. Mark Sanchez's offense isn't nearly as explosive as some of the offenses that have taken apart the Giants during their current 1-5 stretch, but neither was the Redskins offense that did whatever it wanted to do against them last week. The Giants' best hope is to win a shootout, and the problem there is the trouble their receivers could have with very good Jets cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. If Eli Manning can hit some big plays down the field early against those guys, it could set an encouraging tone for the Giants. If not, it could portend a long day.

The day in Giants-Jets trash talk

December, 21, 2011
For the past three years, as boisterous Rex Ryan has repeatedly let the world know how good he believes his New York Jets to be, the New York Giants have adopted a team policy of rolling their eyes. They may share a stadium with the Jets, but the Giants tend to take pride in having nothing else in common with their green-and-white rivals. While the Jets have established a loud, loose reputation, the Giants have taken some pride in remaining buttoned-up, even looking down on the braggadocious way the Jets have decided to do business in the Ryan era.

So when Ryan started boasting in advance of Saturday's Jets-Giants game about how he thought his team was better and how he didn't come to town to be anyone's little brother, you kind of figured all the noise would come from Florham Park this week and that the gang in East Rutherford would just offer the usual, boring, "We'll let them talk" types of responses.

Not so, per Ralph Vacchiano:
But as far as the Giants are concerned, this one game won’t determine who owns the town.

"They're going to need a hell of a lot more than this game to make that happen," Jacobs said.

Jacobs, not surprisingly, fired first, taking aim at the chirpy Jets and their blustery head coach. Asked why they talk so much, Jacobs said "I think they're trying to put something in people that may not be there. Sometimes I say things like 'Man, maybe this won't happen, but I'm going to make myself believe it.' He's trying to put something in people's minds that might not really be there."

It's one thing for Jacobs to talk. But it seemed a lot stranger when wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz started talking about Darrell Revis, the Jets' star cornerback:
When Hakeem Nicks was asked if he thought Revis was the best cornerback in football, he had a long, dramatic pause, looked away, and then said "He's decent."

He did later call him "great," but insisted their battle would be "even". And it will be a battle, because the Giants have no intention of avoiding Revis just because of his talent and reputation.

"Teams aren’t really scared (of him) anymore," Cruz said. "He’s got to earn his money this year. Teams aren’t really backing down. I feel like we’re going to do the same thing. We’re going to go out. Until he physically stops us we’re going to throw the ball on him."

I don't know. I guess I can give these guys the benefit of the doubt and say this is kind of mild for "trash talk." I wouldn't expect Nicks to say Revis is going to get the better of him, and Cruz's point may well just be that teams are throwing in Revis' direction more this year than they have in the past, which is true. It just feels so un-Giant-like for these guys to be saying anything at all. Usually, they leave it to the Jets, who are doing plenty of the trash talking on their own. Check out this from Jets receiver Santonio Holmes, one of the goats of the Jets' Sunday loss to the Eagles, on the Giants' beleaguered secondary. From Jenny Vrentas:
They’ve given up big plays," he said. "They are poor tackling guys. We know plays can be made over their head, we’ve just got to be willing to take advantage of them and make them count."

Again, it all may be true. But why does everybody insist on making all of this advance noise? Does it really do any good? And just because this is the way the Jets operate, is it wise for the Giants to engage them? I guess we'll find out come Saturday.

How you feeling? Eagles-Jets

December, 18, 2011
As you get ready for this afternoon's home game against the New York Jets, here's one reason for Philadelphia Eagles fans to feel good and one reason for concern:

Feeling good: The Jets' offensive line is not their strength, and Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is not at his best when under pressure. The Eagles are second in the league in sacks. They should be able to get to Sanchez and rattle him, and if they do that they will have a chance to take advantage of some Jets mistakes. As long as the Eagles limit their own turnovers, they have shown the ability to be in any game they play. Forcing the Jets into a few of their own would give them the opportunity to pull the upset.

Cause for concern: The Jets love this time of year, and they're playing well coming in. They ran the ball for 149 yards last week against the Chiefs, and if they can continue to run the ball effectively and make their offense multi-dimensional, they'll cause problems for an Eagles defense that does live off its ability to pressure the quarterback. The Jets are very good at limiting big plays on defense, so the Eagles will have to make sure and limit them as well. It's not likely to be a shootout, so the Eagles will have to make sure and account for Shonn Greene and the Jets ground game enough to limit the scoring.