NFL Nation: Will Hill

Will Hill's former New York Giants teammates aren't thrilled that the team waived Hill on Monday. While everyone no doubt understands why the organization finally decided to act after Hill's third drug suspension in as many years, Giants players will miss what the talented safety meant to their defense in 2013. Cornerback Prince Amukamara told Newsday's Tom Rock that he doesn't want the move to come back to haunt the Giants:
“I realized how many times he saved our butts and how many times he came up big,” Amukamara said of Hill, the former Giants safety who was waived on Monday after being handed a third drug-related suspension in three seasons by the NFL. “It’s going to be a tough loss. Hopefully if he goes to a team, it’s not someone in the NFC East. He’s a guy you don’t want to face.”

[+] EnlargeWill Hill
George Gojkovich/Getty ImagesThe Giants waived Will Hill after he got his third drug suspension in the past three years.
no certainty that another team gives Hill a chance. He wasn't drafted, and the Giants were the only team that made him an offer as an undrafted free agent. Anyone who signs him would do so knowing he can't play the first six games of this year and that his next suspension is likely to be for a year or longer. So Amukamara's fears about Hill coming back down the road to beat the Giants are far-fetched at this point.

However, the sentiment behind Amukamara's point is that Hill was a star-caliber player in the secondary for the Giants last season and that he will be difficult to replace. Stevie Brown is the obvious replacement, but he's coming off ACL surgery and will have to be monitored closely in camp. Quintin Demps started a few games at safety for the Chiefs last year and will get more looks there now, but he was signed mainly for his abilities in the return game. It's unlikely that Cooper Taylor or Nat Berhe would be ready for a major role, and no, since many of you have asked, I do not see them (or anyone else, for that matter) pursuing Ed Reed.

Hill's departure likely means that the big three-safety look defensive coordinator Perry Fewell used to like to use is not much of an option this year. That may not matter much, since they're deep enough at cornerback to leave Walter Thurmond in the slot and since they have a bona fide three-down linebacker in Jon Beason, but it does reduce their options. And if Brown has any setbacks or problems with his knee, they're suddenly quite thin at safety.

We talked Monday about the $5 million in new cap room the Giants picked up this week once the post-June 1 release of David Baas became official, and it's possible they could use some of that to bring in a safety for depth now. But there isn't much left on the market at this point. And the premise behind Amukamara's quote is that replacing Hill isn't as simple as throwing another body in there. He wasn't just a starting safety for the Giants in 2013. He was, quite often, the best and most important player on their defense. Cutting him could not have been easy, however obvious the decision may have been from the outside. Replacing him will be even tougher.
If you read my morning post, you know I didn't expect the New York Giants to decide on Will Hill this quickly. But they have done just that, waiving their talented-but-troubled safety three days after it was announced he would be suspended for the first six games of the season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

The Giants have been discussing for weeks what to do about Hill, after the news broke that he'd failed another drug test and was facing a third drug suspension in three years. Apparently, they decided another suspension would be too much for them to overlook and they would cut him if/when said suspension was announced. Initially, it appeared Hill was facing a suspension of a year or longer; the fact that it turned out to be only six games seemed to indicate there had been some extenuating circumstances the NFL found plausible. But whatever they might have been, they weren't enough to convince the Giants to keep him around.

It might be tempting to laud the Giants for taking a stand against drugs or bad behavior in general. And if you're a Giants fan and you want to feel that way about your team, go right ahead. But it's worth noting that this was Hill's third drug suspension in three years, so if the Giants really were that hard-line on this issue, it's unlikely he'd have made it this far.

I don't think the Giants were opposed to standing behind Hill and helping him work through whatever issues he might have. What I do think is this has reached a point beyond which the Giants feel they can trust Hill enough to make it worth keeping him on the roster. It's one thing to know a guy has a drug problem and you're working to help him deal with it (which is what the Giants have been doing since signing Hill in 2012). It's another thing, in the cold, business world of the NFL, to keep using a roster spot on a player you can't rely on to be available for a whole season. Whether it's a guy who gets hurt all the time or a guy who gets suspended all the time, it's difficult to invest resources in a player who can't be counted on to play a full season.

Had the Giants decided to keep Hill, who was a good player for them and well liked in the locker room, they'd have done so knowing that future discipline against him was only going to get harsher and more extensive. They already knew he was more likely than not to keep getting in trouble. What happened Monday was they reached the point at which they could no longer tolerate the risk that he might disappear from their plans for a long time. For his first two years with the team, Hill's talent made him worth that risk. As of Monday, in their eyes, it no longer did.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Offensive lineman John Jerry, who was implicated in the Miami Dolphins' bullying scandal last season and signed with the New York Giants this offseason to provide insurance at guard, recently had arthroscopic knee surgery and will miss OTAs and minicamp. Giants coach Tom Coughlin revealed this information following the Giants' practice Thursday.

It doesn't sound as though the injury should keep Jerry out of training camp, which starts in mid-July. But all of the Giants' offensive players are learning a new system under new coordinator Ben McAdoo, and the lack of practice time could hurt Jerry's ability to pick up what he needs to pick up.

There also remains a possibility that Jerry could face a league-imposed suspension for part of the 2014 season as a result of his involvement in the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin bullying fiasco, though the Giants do not seem to believe he will. They signed him in case veteran offensive lineman Chris Snee couldn't make it back from his second hip surgery and because they felt they needed more experience in the backup offensive line positions than they had last year.

Some other news and observations from Thursday's OTA workout:
  • Snee was out there practicing in full at right guard with the first-team offensive line. He said a few weeks ago that he feels great and hasn't been limited in any way.
  • Left tackle Will Beatty, who broke his leg in Week 17 of the 2013 season, and wide receiver Mario Manningham, who's had all kinds of knee problems, were working off to the side during practice. Coughlin said they were both on track to be ready by fall, which I took to mean training camp but I guess could technically mean the regular season. Charles Brown took Beatty's place at left tackle with the first-team line Thursday. J.D. Walton worked as the first-team center, with Geoff Schwartz at left guard and Justin Pugh at right tackle.
  • A variety of backup wide receivers got first-team reps with Manningham out and first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. missing the day to attend the NFLPA Rookie Premiere event. Fourth-round pick Andre Williams also attended that event and was therefore absent Thursday.
  • Safeties Will Hill and Stevie Brown both practiced in full, Brown with the first-team defense and Hill with the second. Brown is recovering from ACL surgery that cost him the entire 2013 season, while Hill is appealing what would be his third drug suspension in as many years. Coughlin said that waiting for a resolution on Hill's status is difficult and would continue to be, but that the team has no idea when they can expect one.
  • Running back David Wilson was held out of any drills that may have resulted in contact, as he has yet to be cleared for contact following last season's neck surgery. Wilson said his next doctor's appointment is Wednesday. He says he feels no pain (and never did) and hopes to be cleared soon to practice with his team.
  • Oh, and quarterback Eli Manning, seven weeks removed from ankle surgery, practiced in full for the second day in a row.
You ask the questions (and use the #nygmail hashtag) on Twitter, I answer them here. And we all have a lovely weekend.
The New York Giants made 18 of their players available for media interviews on Tuesday afternoon. Some faces were familiar, others were new. Here are four quick things I took away from the day:

1. Eli Manning's ankle injury may not turn out to be a huge deal, but it's not a small one either. Manning is getting around on crutches right now, though he ditched them before he came out to stand in a walking boot in front of cameras and answer questions Tuesday. (I don't blame him for that, by the way. I'd probably do the same.) Asked directly whether he would be ready for the start of training camp, Manning said, "I think I'm safe to say I'll be 100 percent by the start of training camp." Then he paused and made that face he makes when he's not all the way comfortable with something and said, "I would hope so."

Now, it's important to note that the Giants start training camp a week earlier than usual this year due to their participation in the Hall of Fame game. So it's possible that Manning would be ready by the usual start of training camp but not by July 22, when the Giants are likely to start this year. But regardless of those semantics, it definitely appears that Manning and the Giants are prepared for the likelihood that Manning will miss the on-field portions of OTAs and probably the June minicamp. Manning is a stickler for practice and never misses a chance to discuss the importance of everyone being on the field practicing together. So if his arrival on the practice field is delayed by a month or more, that has to have an impact on his mindset, if nothing else.

2. Chris Snee is a big wild card. We've been treating the Giants' veteran offensive lineman as a question mark, and until we see him back on the field and playing the way he used to play, we'll continue to do so. But Snee said his offseason program has been completely different from what it was last year -- that he's been able to do much more in terms of strength and conditioning work and that he's basically going through a normal offseason of preparation, ready for full practice when the time comes. The potential benefits of a fully healthy Snee to the Giants' offensive line simply cannot be overstated.

3. The new offense will be very new. Lots of talk about new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and what he's installing. Everybody thinks it's going to look a lot like what they run in Green Bay, which is where McAdoo came from. Victor Cruz talked about the simplification of the passing game routes under McAdoo versus the option routes on which Kevin Gilbride's offense relied. There's a lot of learning to be done, and especially with Manning on the shelf you wonder how quickly they can become proficient with it. But the Giants are going to look a lot different this year when they have the ball.

4. They were on message on Will Hill. The Giants have a good media relations staff, and with the news breaking in the morning that safety Will Hill had failed another drug test and was in the process of appealing a potentially lengthy suspension, the players were prepared to answer questions about Hill. Everyone who was asked used the word "support" and talked about Hill as a good guy and teammate who needs help dealing with his issues. I question the characterization of a player who keeps getting suspended as a good teammate, since a good teammate is generally an available one. And I have my doubts about how far the Giants organization's "support" will extend if Hill loses his appeal. I have to think he's probably done here. But Stevie Brown is a question mark as an ACL recovery case, and Quintin Demps was signed more for his kick-return abilities than for his safety abilities. So it's possible they let this play out and see just how mad they want to get about Hill's latest headache.
So New York Giants safety Will Hill could be suspended for the season as a result of his latest failed drug test. Or not. He could win his appeal and not be suspended at all. There's no way to know what's going to happen with Hill. That is his defining characteristic. It's why his very promising NFL career is unlikely to ever really happen.

The Giants love Hill's talent. He was the best player in their secondary for much of the 2013 season, and they were looking ahead to this fall with him penciled in as one of their starting safeties. But they also signed Stevie Brown and Quintin Demps, both of whom have starting experience, because the one thing they know for sure about Hill is that they can't count on him.

Four-game drug suspensions in 2012 and 2013 leave Hill teetering on the edge of the league's drug program, with the NFL likely to suspend him a full year for his next violation. That's a tough line for a team to walk with a player it likes but can't trust. Ideally, you'd like to make your plans around him, but you have to operate with the knowledge that you can't. Ideally, you want to support him as he deals with the difficult parts of his off-field life, but you can't follow him around every day of the year.

So Hill has failed another test, and even if his best-case scenario were to come true and he were to be exonerated and win his appeal, you have to think the Giants aren't going to put up with him much longer. Having to wonder every day whether you're going to get the call that tells you one of your starting safeties is suspended is a tough way to operate, especially when you're doing as much roster reassembly as the Giants are doing this offseason. If Brown is fully recovered from ACL surgery, they can go forward with him as the starter opposite Antrel Rolle, and address the position in the draft or next offseason for depth and for years beyond this one.

Hill is a very nice player, but there are good reasons he didn't get drafted. The Giants have always known he was a volatile commodity -- that they'd benefit greatly if he could stay out of trouble but that odds were he wouldn't. At this point, it's hard to say whether this latest bit of news is the one that pushes them to cut ties with Hill, but even if it's not, it's hard to shake the sense that the day is coming. And if it is, it would be tough to blame them.
So many things went wrong for the New York Giants in 2013 that some are easy to ignore. The offense bore the brunt of the blame for the 0-6 start and 7-9 season, and justifiably so. But the 2013 Giants were bad at many things, and the returning of kicks and punts was a significant problem that had to be addressed.

Enter Quintin Demps, who spent a good chunk of his early Sunday morning informing his Twitter followers that he'd agreed on a new contract with the Giants. Demps was a reserve safety and kickoff return man for the Chiefs in 2013. His kick-return average of 30.1 yards was third in the NFL behind Minnesota's Cordarrelle Patterson and Dallas' Dwayne Harris, and he did run one back for a touchdown -- the second of his career.

As a team, the 2013 Giants ranked 27th in the NFL with a kick-return average of 21.2. Obviously, more goes into it than the skills of the return man himself -- i.e., they need to block better in the return game. But Demps has blazing speed on returns and should definitely provide a boost to a unit that was a significant problem last year.

He's never returned a punt at the NFL level, so the identity of the punt returner remains in question. Cornerback Walter Thurmond, who also agreed to a Giants contract Sunday morning, was a punt returner in college but has only one punt-return attempt as a pro (and fumbled it). So that's to be sorted out yet. But they'd been looking for a high-octane return man, and after losing out on Jacoby Jones and Ted Ginn Jr. last week, they have locked up Demps for that role.

2012 first-round pick David Wilson was a tremendous kick returner for the Giants as a rookie. But Wilson is coming off of neck surgery, which means the Giants don't know whether they can count on him to play at all and likely will want to limit his exposure to danger if he does.

It's also worth noting Demps' potential value to the Giants at safety. He started six games there for the Chiefs last year, and with Stevie Brown returning from ACL surgery and Will Hill always a wild-card due to his off-field issues, depth at safety is something the Giants could use.
In his radio interview of WFAN in New York on Thursday, New York Giants owner John Mara referenced this annual study by Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, which shows that the Giants led the league in games lost by starters due to injury in 2013 with 91, including 26 on the offensive line. Mara was quick to offer the usual "that's not an excuse" disclaimer, and he's right. The teams that rank second and third on this list -- the Colts and the Patriots -- are playing in a second-round playoff game Saturday night. But the figure raises the question of whether the injuries stand as a legitimate reason for what went wrong with the 2013 Giants.

[+] EnlargeChris Snee
AP Photo/Bill KostrounLosing guard Chris Snee, 76, and center David Baas, 64, to injuries early in the season exposed the Giants' lack of offensive line depth.
First off, Gosselin's figures assign 16 lost games to Stevie Brown, who was projected as a starting safety before tearing his ACL in preseason and missing the entire season. The Giants ended up fine at safety with Antrel Rolle, Will Hill and Ryan Mundy, but Hill did miss the first four games because of a drug suspension, and it's reasonable to think Brown might have helped during that time, as the Giants lost all four of those games as well as the next two.

But the Giants' biggest problem all year was that offensive line, and the losses of David Baas and Chris Snee early in the season were damaging. The line wasn't a strength to begin with, and once the starters began to go down, it exposed the lack of depth behind them. That is why I continue to insist that the line needs to be a major priority in the draft this year, even if they have already addressed it in free agency by then. This team absolutely has to develop capable replacements for the long-term at these positions, because its inability to provide them in 2013 absolutely crippled the offense. If the Giants have a center or a guard or even a tackle they like in March, by all means, they should sign him and make the 2014 line better. But they can't assume that whoever it is will stay healthy or play effectively for years to come. They need to deepen their stable of capable linemen so that injuries along the line don't destroy everything they're trying to do in future years.

The Giants were spoiled in this regard for a long time. Everybody knows about that starting offensive line that held together for years without anyone missing a game. But Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert and Kareem McKenzie aren't walking through that door. The days when this wasn't a worry for the Giants are long gone, and now they're dealing with the same reality with which other teams deal. They need depth on the offensive line to combat inevitable injuries, or else nothing they do is going to work.

All-NFC East: New York Giants

January, 2, 2014
Jan 2
NFC Teams: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

There are four New York Giants on this year's All-NFC East team, and it's no surprise that all four of them play defense. The Giants finished the year ranked eighth in the league in total defense and 28th in total offense. There was no offensive player on their team worthy of any consideration other than wide receiver Victor Cruz, and there's no way to argue that he should have cracked the division's top three ahead of DeSean Jackson, Dez Bryant or Pierre Garcon.

So the defensive players who made it were defensive end Justin Tuck, defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins and safeties Will Hill and Antrel Rolle. Unlike past years, when I ran the NFC East blog and picked the team myself, this year's team was voted on by the four team reporters who cover the NFC East's teams -- myself, Todd Archer in Dallas, Phil Sheridan in Philadelphia and John Keim in Washington.

I approve of the choice of Tuck, who had a fine year and finished with 11 sacks thanks to the six he got in December against the Redskins. And I voted for Hill and Rolle as the division's starting safeties. Rolle gets (and attracts) the attention and played well, but I think Hill was the better player this year once he was back from his season-opening four-game suspension. The two of them function very well together in the Giants' system at safety, and that was a concern after they let go of Kenny Phillips -- finding a partner who could switch off with Rolle during the games and depending on the situations. Hill has done it and done it well.

The Giants were very strong at defensive tackle this year, and Jenkins is a worthy pick. I think Linval Joseph is the better and more impactful all-around player at the position, but Jenkins played well all year against the run and helped with the pass rush. He should be back next year, and you can't say the same with certainty for Joseph as he hits the free-agent market. I can't make a case for anyone else on the Giants to have made this team except maybe Joseph.

Rapid Reaction: New York Giants

December, 22, 2013
DETROIT -- A few thoughts on the New York Giants' 23-20 overtime victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Ford Field:

What it means: Anyone wondering whether the Giants have given up on their season or on their coaches has the answer. The Giants are outmanned and overmatched pretty much every week, and Sunday was no exception. But in spite of having their offense choked off after halftime, they pushed the game into overtime, where Josh Brown won it with a 45-yard field goal.

Stoch watch: Will Hill, up. After reportedly being arrested Friday night on charges related to child support, the Giants safety played in and changed Sunday's game. With five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Hill intercepted Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and ran in from 38 yards for a touchdown. The ensuing extra point tied the game. The Giants were doing absolutely nothing on offense in the second half behind a shredded offensive line, and scoring on defense turned out to be their best option.

Tough Tuck: Defensive end Justin Tuck appeared to injure his neck in the third quarter but remained in the game in spite of being in clear discomfort. It's worth pointing out that Tuck, who is free-agent-eligible at the end of the season, wanted to tough it out in a game like this with the Giants already eliminated from postseason contention. It backs up his team-first talk. Tuck's big second half of the season has helped his chances of returning next year.

What's next: The Giants mercifully close out their season with a 1 p.m. ET home game Sunday against Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium. They beat the Redskins 24-17 in Washington in Week 13.
DETROIT -- New York Giants safety Will Hill is active and will play in today's game against the Lions. Hill was reportedly arrested Friday night on a warrant related to child support, but the Giants consider it a personal matter and not a behavioral misstep worthy of discipline. So Hill will start at safety as usual.

Headlining the inactives list, however, is veteran guard David Diehl, who will miss the game with a knee injury. That leaves the woefully inexperienced James Brewer and Brandon Mosley as the Giants' starting guards against a Lions defensive line whose interior pass-rushers are among the most fearsome in the league. It will take a supreme effort to keep Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley off of Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who has already absorbed a career-high 36 sacks this season.

Other inactives include wide receiver Victor Cruz (knee), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), safety Cooper Taylor (hamstring) and running back Peyton Hillis (concussion), all of whom were ruled out Friday. Linebacker Allen Bradford and third quarterback Ryan Nassib are the other inactives.

The Giants announced Rueben Randle as the starter at wide receiver in place of Cruz, and you should look for Randle and Hakeem Nicks when they're in two-receiver sets. But Jerrel Jernigan is the man who'll replace Cruz as the slot receiver when they use one.

Active for the first time this season is tight end Adrien Robinson, who if he gets on the field could be auditioning for a spot on next year's team. The Giants have had high hopes for Robinson since drafting him in the fourth round of the 2012 draft.

Superstar Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who has been dealing with a knee injury, is active for the game. There had been some question about that following an Adam Schefter report Sunday morning that Johnson would be a game-time decision.

I believe that, if the officials in Sunday night's game had stopped play to figure out and correct the down-marker error in the final two minutes, New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin would have been the one going ballistic on his sideline. The Washington Redskins had no timeouts, and after the game the officials explained that this was the reason they didn't stop the action. Doing so would have effectively given Washington a free timeout and created, as the officials said, an unfair advantage.

In the end, the Giants didn't care, because (a) they won the game, (b) they didn't think the Redskins had a first down anyway, so they believed the correct call was ultimately made and (c) play was not stopped and no unfair advantage created. But the NFL said Monday that play should have been stopped due to "obvious confusion," and I think I have to agree. Obvious confusion is always a good reason to stop, take a moment and look things over. This applies in our daily lives as well as in football, especially during this hectic holiday season. The NFL could call this the "Wait, wait, wait" rule and hail it as a rare bend toward common sense.

Anyway, the Redskins were probably right to be upset, since it's likely they'd have called their plays differently if they'd thought it was third and then fourth down as opposed to first and second. But it's all moot, since they converted the fourth down anyway only to see Giants safety Will Hill strip the ball from Pierre Garcon's arms and seal a Giants victory. "Obvious confusion" or no, bad things happen to you when you don't hold onto the ball.

Upon Further Review: Giants Week 13

December, 2, 2013
LANDOVER, Md. -- An examination of four hot issues from the New York Giants' 24-17 victory over the Washington Redskins:

[+] EnlargeWill Hill
Harry E. Walker/MCTWill Hill ripped the ball from Pierre Garcon to seal New York's win.
The play that sealed it: Safety Will Hill said that cornerback Terrell Thomas was hollering all game, "We need a turnover! Who's going to get a turnover?" So when Hill saw Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon holding the ball out away from his body on his fourth-down catch with a minute and a half left in the game, Hill figured it might as well be him. He ripped the ball out of Garcon's hands and stumbled forward eight yards knowing he'd locked down the game. "All I could think was about getting that ball to Eli so he could take a knee and we could get out of here with that W," an elated Hill said. Quarterback Eli Manning did indeed take two knees, and the Giants had beaten the Redskins.

Stopping the run: Giants linebacker Jon Beason called running back Alfred Morris the "cowbell" of the Redskins offense. And while Beason meant "bell cow," he can be forgiven for misspeaking after his 17-tackle performance helped limit Morris to 26 yards on 11 carries. Beason said the Giants believed the Redskins could win if quarterback Robert Griffin III had a poor game while Morris had a good one, but not if it was vice versa. So the Giants committed to stopping the running back who came into the week third in the league in rushing. As they have against so many of the league's other top rushers this year, they succeeded.

Efficiency in the passing game: Manning was under pressure all night, and pressure led to his one interception. But for the most part he did a good job managing a low-key passing game. He completed 22 of 28 passes for 235 yards and one touchdown. Tight end Brandon Myers, who caught the touchdown, was the Giants' second-leading receiver behind Victor Cruz with five catches and 61 yards. The ability to find Myers and running back Andre Brown in short range in the middle of the field helped Manning keep the pressure off enough to move the ball.

Tuck's huge night: Justin Tuck had four sacks, total, in the 2012 season. He had 2.5 sacks, total, in the first 11 games of this season. He had four sacks Sunday night. Tuck is a free agent at the end of this season, which means he may have just begun his final month as a Giant. But he says he hasn't been thinking about his contract situation all year, and it's easy to believe him. Tuck has been playing well this year, but it hadn't shown up in the sack totals. As he worked his way through the list of the other Giants (Lawrence Taylor, Pepper Johnson, Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora) who'd had four sacks in a game, he seemed to be relishing his place on the list. It was a satisfying night for a decorated Giants veteran.
IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant isn't biting on all the barking from the New York Giants' secondary.

Bryant heard about the Giants' vow to get physical with him Sunday. The competitor in Bryant might have wanted to fire back, but he plans to let his actions speak for themselves Sunday at MetLife Stadium instead of getting sucked into a trash-talk exchange.

“They can say whatever they want to say,” said Bryant, who added that he's never had a problem defeating press coverage. “That's what they believe, we'll let them believe that. We're going to go out and we're going to play our game.”

The Giants held Bryant to four catches for 22 yards in the Cowboys' season-opening win, often double-teaming him with a cornerback playing press coverage and a safety over the top. The New York defensive backs apparently think they've got the formula for stopping Bryant figured out.

"Get your hands on him," Giants safety Will Hill told reporters, comments that were seconded in a little less inflammatory manner by cornerback Prince Amukamara. "He doesn't like to be touched, like most receivers in this league. But really him. He doesn't like to be touched."

Kind of sounds like Hill is calling the 6-foot-2, 222-pound Bryant soft, huh?

“Call it whatever you want to call it,” Bryant said, refusing to take the bait and playfully bantering with the Valley Ranch media. “Like I said, we're just going out and playing our game on Sunday. I have no comment to really none of that. I'm not getting into no trash talk. Not going to let [the media] bait me.

“I'm just going out there and just playing, you know. Play Cowboy football.”

Ware: Giants always have something to say

November, 21, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul started off the week by saying his team is getting ready to “put it on,” the Dallas Cowboys.

On Wednesday, several Giants talked about the do-or-die nature of Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium for their chances. Pierre-Paul said, “it’s like a Super Bowl.” Safety Antrel Rolle said this game “is going to determine the outcome of the season.”

Safety Will Hill said the defense will get physical with Dez Bryant because the Cowboys receiver “doesn’t like to be touched, like most receivers in this league. But really him. He doesn’t like to be touched.”

The noise from New York always seems loud when they play against the Cowboys.

“You know they have something to say every time we play them,” DeMarcus Ware said. “They try to put the gas on the fire every time. It’s an NFC East game, that’s what we do.”

The Cowboys mostly do not return fire, especially since Patrick Crayton departed. It’s part of Jason Garrett’s message to the team. He does not want bulletin-board material. He wants the focus to be on the preparation.

But that should not belie the sense of urgency the Cowboys feel going into this game. In a way this is every bit a must-win game for the Cowboys.

“I don’t know there’s a correlation between what you say during the week and you’re intensity during the game,” Garrett said. “We’re getting ourselves ready to play this game. They’re a good football team. We have a great respect for their players, their coaches, their organization, and we’re going to prepare our best this week to play our best on Sunday.”