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Tag:New York Giants
Posted on: February 1, 2012 6:11 pm
 

Wednesday's Giants, Patriots injury reports

By Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS -- With the Giants and Patriots returning to practice today, here is the first of three injury reports for Super Bowl XLVI. Obviously, it’s newsworthy that Rob Gronkowski didn’t practice at all today.

Giants

Limited:RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), WR Hakeem Nicks (shoulder), DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle, knee), CB Corey Webster (hamstring), LB Jacquian Williams (foot)

Patriots

Did not participate: TE Rob Gronkowski (ankle)

Limited: OL Marcus Cannon (ankle), S Patrick Chung (knee), LB Dane Fletcher (thumb), DT Kyle Love (ankle), G Logan Mankins (knee), LB Ron Ninkovich (hip), LB Brandon Spikes (knee), T Sebastian Vollmer (flu, back, foot), WR Wes Welker (knee), LB Tracy White (abdomen)

Full participation: WR Deion Branch (knee), C Dan Connolly (groin), S James Ihedigbo (shoulder), T Matt Light (flu), WR Matthew Slater (shoulder)

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:16 pm
 

Will NYG be NFL's most consistent team with win?

Follow all of CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin go back a long way. Both worked on Bill Parcells' staff with the Giants in the 1980s, and they remain two men who have great admiration for one another.

“I respect a lot of things about Tom – his evaluation of talent, the way he attacks teams, his consistency, his discipline, his team’s toughness, their resiliency," Belichick said.

Coughlin, several blocks away at the Giants' press conference, was just as complimentary. “He’s always been an exceptional defensive coach trained by the best, by Parcells," he said of Belichick. "He’s also become an outstanding offensive coach and Tom Brady has helped him to really diversify and get into areas offensively that only lead to the particular strengths of the individuals involved, and he’s done a very good job of that."

Now, two decades later, Belchick and Coughlin have four Super Bowl titles between them. Three of those Lombardi Trophies belong to New England but that happened during a four-year span from 2001-2004.

In the seven seasons since, the Patriots have made six playoff appearances, but returned to the Super Bowl just once, in 2007, where they lost to the Giants in one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. From 2001-2011, New England is 16-5 in the postseason, but since 2006, they're just 6-4. Relatively speaking, 6-4 is a fantastic accomplishment. It's just that we've gone from hailing the Patriots as the next great dynasty four years ago to now wondering if they're even the NFL's best team this century.

In fact, if the Giants win Super Bowl XLVI, you could make a case that they belong in that conversation.

New York hasn't had the Pats' sustained success since 2000, but they played in a Super Bowl following the '00 season (a loss to the Ravens), and since Coughlin was hired in 2004, they've been to the playoffs in five of eight seasons. They're 7-3 over that time with three of those wins coming last month.

Since '07, Coughlin's winning percentage with the Giants is impressive (49-31, 0.613), though less so when compared to Belichick (64-16, 0.800). But regular-season accomplishments mean little if they don't culminate in a championship. No one talks about New England's almost perfect 2007 season except to point out that the Giants beat a thought-to-be unstoppable offense and longer odds to earn the Lombardi Trophy.

Yet no one mentions the Giants in the same breath as the Patriots (and to lesser extents, the Steelers, Saints, Packers and before this season, the Colts) and that includes some Giants players.

"Honestly, for us, that ’07 (Super Bowl) was kind of like us coming together as a football team," defensive end Justin Tuck said this week. "We just said we wanted to kill a dynasty, and that’s what they were. But now, we’ve been here before and we felt as though all that is secondary. We just want to come in here and have our mind focused on playing a great football game, and not really getting caught up in all the hoopla around the game.”

That's exactly what Super Bowl week is -- hoopla around a game -- but the absurdities of Media Day shouldn't obscure what the Giants will have accomplished if they win. Coughlin remains unimpressed, at least for now.

"That’s the furthest thing from my mind is how this enhances my legacy," Coughlin said Tuesday. "That’s nowhere near anything that I am thinking about right now. What I’m concerned with is the concentration of our players, putting ourselves in the best frame of mind that we can possibly be, preparing our team to the best of our ability, and then playing exceptionally well, as best as we possibly can.”

Fair enough, but by Sunday night we could be talking about Coughlin -- who annually (and inexplicably) finds himself on the hot seat -- as the man responsible for bringing the Giants two Super Bowls in five years. Just like Parcells.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:15 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 3:02 pm
 

NFL fines Umenyiora for missing media session

Umenyiora was at Tuesday's Media Day (above) but missed Wednesday's session. (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

By Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS – During Wednesday morning’s required media session, Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora failed to show, and the league has fined him $20,000 as a result.

While most of the Giants had assigned tables in the downtown Marriott’s ballroom adjacent to where coach Tom Coughlin held his Wednesday news conference, a few like Victor Cruz, Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw and Umenyiora had podiums in rooms across the hall for the media availability start time of 10:30 a.m. ET.

[Follow all of CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage]

All podiums and tables were filled by the players except for Umenyiora.

According to a team spokesman, via the Newark Star-Ledger, Umenyiora attended a 12:15 p.m. team meeting.

According to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, all other Giants and Patriots players and coaches were available during media sessions today.

UPDATE 3:02 p.m. ET: Here's the statement Umenyiora has released: “I misunderstood the schedule. It won’t happen again, and I will be at tomorrow’s media session and available after the game. I apologize for any inconvenience my absence this morning may have caused.”

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 10:21 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 4:06 pm
 

Giants defensive mindset comes from the top down

Pierre-Paul points the way for the New York defense. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Everyone wants you to believe that Super Bowl XVLI is similar to the Giants-Patriots matchup from 2007. It makes sense -- the ferocious pass rush Tom Coughlin's squad brings to the table is so similar to the dominant 2007 defense. That's not some hapless circumstance though: it's a result of a carefully-crafted personnel plan that starts from the top up and permeates the entire organization.

Ask anyone on the Giants roster or coaching staff about what kind of attitude defines that defense, a unit that hasn't given up more than 20 points since Week 15, and you can tell there's a universal feeling within that group about the way they play. Right now that feeling could be described as "confidence." Or something ... else.

“Right now we have a badass mentality," safety Antrel Rolle said Tuesday. "That’s the way we like to look at it, that’s the way we want to keep it, and we’re very confident in our approach. But most of all, I think we’re very smart in our approach, meaning that everyone is on the same page at the same time and we have a clear understanding of what every guy is doing, not only yourself. So, you know, we’re a very intellectual team, and we take pride in that.

"But, at the same time, when the bell goes off on Sunday, we’re in attack mode. That’s the way we look at it."

The Giants struggled badly throughout much of the year on the defensive side of the ball (the Seahawks hung 36 on them in New York and they lost to the Redskins twice; that's all you need to know). Rolle acknowledged as much. But they shut out the Falcons offense in the divisional round and put the brakes on the previously white-hot Packers before handling the 49ers, reminding everyone of the 2007 unit that generated so much pressure from their front four.

But since 2007, the organization's seen a few important changes Perry Fewell replaced Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator. Jerry Reese moved into Ernie Accorsi's spot as general manager. The organization's managed to not change though, primarily in the way they seek out and identify defensive players with a similar mindset.

"I think Jerry Reese and Mark Ross in our scouting department do a great job of identifying Giant defensive-minded football players," Fewell said. "And that came long before I came here. They've always had a good talent for doing that. The one thing that I can really talk about is pride, and 'Giant Pride.' When you step into the Giant defensive meeting room -- they make you write an essay about what it's like to be a New York Giant. And why do you want to be a New York Giant defensive football player."

Really?

"Yeah, that was not something I was accustomed to doing," Fewell said. "When I heard that they make the rookies do that, I thought it was really unique and different. So there's a lot of pride that goes along with being a New York Giant and being a defensive football player and I think that's permeated throughout the years with the Strahans and the Lawrence Taylors. It goes back more years than I've been there."

Think about that: you get your first job as a professional in your chosen vocation and when you get to work, you have to write an essay about why you want the job you've been chosen to do. It's insanity. But it's also a testament to the way the Giants build their defense.

So is the work the Giants do in the later rounds. There's no Victor Cruz (a shocking breakout as an undrafted free agent) on the defense. But there are a slew of slam dunks from the last 10 years of Giants drafts, whose talent allows the Giants to get hot at the right time.

"Our scouts are really the unsung heroes of this whole process. They are the lifeline," Reese said. "They go out for 185-200 days a year on the road, scouting. They unearth these players and bring them to our attention. We have a chance to look at these guys too. It’s all about us. The winning is about us as an organization. Our scouts and our players do a tremendous job. Our coaches do a tremendous job. I’m just happy for the organization as a whole."

Reese should be. Since 2003, the Giants have used their first pick in the NFL Draft on defense every single year, save twice: in 2004 when they took Philip Rivers (and swapped him for Eli Manning) and 2008, when they took Hakeem Nicks. Both those moves worked out OK, but it's the defensive selections that really stand out.

Mathias Kiwanuka, Aaron Ross, Jason Pierre-Paul and Prince Amukamara are all first-rounders taken by the Giants who either start or see tons of playing time. Corey Webster, a second-round pick, was the Giants first selection in 2005. Osi Umenyiora was a second-round pick in 2003, and Justin Tuck was a third-round pick in 2005.

What is it, exactly, though that the Giants look for when pursuing these guys?

"Ability," Tom Coughlin said. "The way in which we define the positions and evaluate the players according to the positions that they play. I'm not going to go into detail on how they're evaluated, but we stick strictly to our philosophy, our grading system and being as objective as we possibly can."

Coughlin's answer might sound like coachspeak. (Technically, it is.) But his point about "ability" actually points more to the Giants heavy desire to draft pass-rushers on a frequent basis. Accorsi did it when he ran the team, and Reese does it as well. Having four guys on the line who can generate pressure and turn up the heat on opposiing quarterbacks without having to send additional blitzers is precisely what makes the Giants defense so terrifying.

And Coughlin, like everyone else with the Giants, had a look of pride on his face when asked what differentiates the Giants defense and its specific players from other teams.

Don't expect him to call the the unit "badass." But he clearly feels the same way as Rolle. And it's a sentiment that's shared from top to bottom in an organization, and the reason why this unit's capable of looking like an elite defense.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 10:07 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 5:54 pm
 

Gronkowski misses Patriots practice Wednesday

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By Ryan Wilson

Update (5:50 p.m. ET): On Wednesday morning Belichick talked about what Gronkowski might be able to do in practice later in the day. We now know that answer: nothing. The Patriots sent out a practice report around 5:45 on Wednesday afternoon and Gronkowski was listed as did not participate.

Gronkowski now has two more chances to get on the field and see how his ankle responds in practice. If he can't even do that, it's going to make for a tough decision as to whether or not he can even contribute on Sunday during the Super Bowl.
-----

INDIANAPOLIS -- It's hump day at Super Bowl week and head coach Bill Belichick continues to be in a good mood. In fact, his demeanor has been a storyline since the Patriots arrived. During Tuesday's Media Day session, wide receiver Wes Welker attributed it to the "lady in [Belichick's] life."

Whatever the reason, New England's head coach seems at ease four days out from the final game of the 2011 season.

During his Wednesday morning press conference, Belichick spoke on tight Rob Gronkowski, who continues to recover from a high-ankle sprain he suffered during the AFC Championship game. ("Rob's getting better … we're taking it day to day. … We'll see what he can do today [at practice] and go from there.") 

Belichick was also asked about the Giants' front four, a group that terrorized Brady earlier this year and did the same when New York upset New England in Super Bowl XLII.

"Those inside guys can really knock the line of scrimmage back," he said. "Their ends are a good combo of size and speed (and) I don't know if anybody can play like the Giants play -- they're so good."

Brady knows this too. Some Giants players have said that Brady can be rattled, and he might be more cognizant of pressure -- and it could affect the way he plays -- after having reconstructive knee surgery early in the 2008 season.

"It wouldn't be the Super Bowl if they (the Giants defense) weren't trying to knock me down or knock me out … but our offensive line gets paid too," Brady said. "We're going to try to eliminate (bad throws) … we had too many of those last time (against the Ravens). We're not going to be able to win the game playing like that."

****

Other notes from Wednesday's press conference…

-- Brady was asked about Chad Ochocinco, who was acquired just before training camp to give the Patriots a deep threat. Instead, he had just 15 catches and one touchdown in the regular season. He played a single snap against the Broncos in the Divisional playoff game and was inactive a week later against the Ravens in the conference championship. (Ochocinco missed practice time leading up to that game to attend his father's funeral.)

"Chad has worked hard everyday … and I've really loved having Chad on this team," Brady said. "He still has that childlike quality in terms of his enthusiasm for the game." And while Ochocinco's season hasn't gone well, Brady said that the former Pro Bowl wideout is still "willing to do whatever it takes to win."

-- Belichick was also asked about Julian Edelman, the college quarterback and former seventh-round pick who now plays just about every position but quarterback in New England.

"We saw Edelman as a good athlete at Kent State," Belichick said … "We didn't really think he was a quarterback but tough, quick, good with the ball in his hands with a desire to improve. … It's been a big transition for him (as both a returner and a slot receiver) … and we got in some injury situations and his skills as a slot receiver transferred into what we ask of our slot corners."

Belichick called Edelman "a smart guy" who's taken "a lot of plays in practice on both sides of the ball."

-- Brady may have said he "sucked" following the Ravens game but Belichick sounded unconcerned Wednesday. "I think Tom does a good job in his preparation every week. … He's one of our hardest workers. I meet with Tom at the beginning of the week and he's always seen as much (game film) or more than i have."

-- Belichick saved his best for last. He was asked about comments by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who said he was embarrassed by the NFC's effort in last weekend's Pro Bowl (the AFC won, 59-41).

"What I'm going to say probably shouldn't be what I should say to that question so I'm going to let it go," Belichick said as he fought back a smile. "What it was and what it is now … it's a lot different," he added before leaving the podium.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 10:00 am
 

Jacobs: Burress wanted to play for Giants

BurressBy Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS – It’s no secret the Jets team ended its 2011 season in turmoil with Santonio Holmes playing the role of anti-captain, linebacker Bart Scott flipping off reporters and seemingly everybody criticizing Mark Sanchez. And while coach Rex Ryan is intent on fixing his team’s problems, the Jets couldn’t escape the bright lights of Tuesday’s Super Bowl Media Day proceedings.

Though Plaxico Burress, surprisingly, was one of the least-controversial members of the Jets squad this season, Giants running back Brandon Jacobs said Tuesday that Burress didn’t even want to play for the Jets in 2011. In fact, Jacobs said, Burress wanted to return to his old team, the Giants.

"Oh, no question, I know he did,” Jacobs said in quotes recorded by ESPN New York. “I know he wanted to come to the Giants. We just didn't think it was going to be able to be done financially. But he may be (back) next year, who knows?"

After Burress was released from prison, he signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Jets, and he actually performed better than expected, catching 45 passes for 612 yards and eight touchdowns in his first action since 2008.

Burress actually visited with the Giants before he signed with the Jets, but they only offered him a guaranteed $1 million. The Jets’ $3 million was fully guaranteed.

But Jacobs also said Burress didn’t want to return to Ryan’s squad next year, because of all the well-documented turmoil that occurred there this season.

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"I don't see him back with the Jets next year at all," said Jacobs, who spoke with Burress on the phone recently. "I don't know what he's thinking, but I don't see that. They've got a lot of things going on over there, and I don't know if he wants to be part of that."

Jacobs also added this:

"How many receiving yards did he have last year? How many catches did he have? He's a starting wide receiver -- (45) catches. We got three guys, four guys on our team that have that. He's a much better wide receiver than (45) catches, I tell you that."

But before we start celebrating Burress’ eventual return to the Giants, let’s not forget what he told Men’s Journal before the season began about coach Tom Coughlin.

"After my situation happened, I turned on the TV, and the first words out his mouth was 'sad and disappointing,'" Burress said. "I'm like, forget support -- how about some concern? I did just have a bullet in my leg. And then I sat in his office, and he pushed back his chair and goes, 'I'm glad you didn’t kill anybody!' Man, we're paid too much to be treated like kids. He doesn't realize that we’re grown men and actually have kids of our own."

So, a reunion with Coughlin might be somewhat awkward, eh?

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Posted on: January 31, 2012 9:00 pm
 

EoF on the scene: Super Bowl XLVI, Media Day

Follow all of CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Tuesday was Media Day. And while it was more subdued than in previous years, there was still plenty to see. (Click photos to enlarge.)

“Have I changed? Probably, but I think it’s important as the process of learning. You learn, develop, and change every year." - Tom Coughlin (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com) "I’m not in to making predictions. It’s not my job to list quarterbacks. [Brady's] obviously a future Hall of Famer. He’s had a tremendous career. It’s his fifth Super Bowl, so that’s amazing. This is a team game. Win or lose, based on how the team plays. Hopefully the Giants can be the better team on Sunday.” - Eli Manning (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
Patriots wide receiver Tiquan Underwood is obviously a huge Kid 'n Play fan. HUGE.  (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com) Ross Ventrone interviews Peter King. (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
“Yeah, there is a lot of [talking] going back and forth (between the two teams), but that’s just football. We are all competitive guys that just want to win. We all think we are better than one another. That’s just what it leads to.” - Brandon Jacobs (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com) “[Media Day] is just a lot of hoopla. We are just ready to play football and go out there and have fun. Just staying focused this week is the main key.” - Ahmad Bradshaw (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
“We practice as if Gronkowski is going to play. If he doesn’t play, then you just go to a different gameplan, but It’s all on Coach Perry (Fewell), how Coach Perry wants to play it out. He will put us in the best position to win the football game.” - Jason Pierre-Paul (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com) “Playing football again was that goal, and that really pushed me. After six hours of chemotherapy, you’re sitting there and your body just feels drained. You don’t want to move, but I said, ‘I am going to be playing football again in eight months, so I need to go and workout." - Mark Herzlich (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
"I think [Belichick's] enjoying himself.  I think he’s got a lady in his life, so that could definitely be the case; I don’t know.  We’re just coming here to try and win a ballgame.  However we do that or whatever demeanor we have to take, that’s what it’s going to be.” - Wes Welker (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com) “Draft day was definitely frustrating. At first, I wasn’t buying into the mock draft boards. But I’m glad I came to this team and I love the New York Giants organization and what they stand for. It’s been working out well so far.” - Prince Amukamara (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
CBS golf analyst David Feherty made an appearance at Media Day. (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com) This is Artie Lange, comedian and formerly of the Howard Stern Show.  (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

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Posted on: January 31, 2012 5:11 pm
 

Rolle speaks his mind, whether you like it or not

Rolle

By Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS – A month ago, Giants safety Antrel Rolle ripped some of his teammates for not playing through injuries. Two weeks ago, Rolle declared that his team “couldn’t be beat” before New York faced San Francisco. Somewhere in between, his mother gave him some advice.

Now, just to be clear, Rolle and his mom, Armelia Rolle, talk multiple times a day. Sometimes, as much as three or four times in a 24-hour span, and nobody -- not his coaches, his teammates or his conscience -- is going to be as truthful with him as she. They talk about life, about religion and about football.

So, when she gave him the advice to tone down his rhetoric and think about what he was going to say before the words left his mouth, he listened carefully.

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“As a mother, your first concern is what you read,” Rolle said. “She reads a lot, and she’s all about football. It definitely concerned her when she read things like, ‘Antrel needs to shut up’ or ‘He’s a distraction to the team.’ She knows I’m not that kind of guy, so for her to hear that as a mother, naturally it’s going to draw some concerns. It did for me as well. But I can’t pay attention to that.”

But then, like a preacher reading the summit of his sermon, Rolle’s voice began to rise during his time at Tuesday’s Media Day.

“I can hear it and I can feel it and it does bother me. But my only concern is for the betterment of this team. You ask guys in our locker room, and they say, ‘Antrel doesn’t say much.’ Nothing I ever say is premeditated, but what I say is what I feel deep. Whether it should be displayed to the media or not, I can’t say that. But I don’t take any of it back. I don’t have any regrets.”

Nor should he. The Giants have won five of their last six, and their defense has improved throughout the season. Toward the end of the year, when the Giants fell to 7-7 after yet another loss to the Redskins, Rolle said the injured players needed to stop babying themselves and get back into the game. Considering he'd also questioned Justin Tuck last season, Rolle's mouth was setting a disturbing trend.

But Rolle also isn’t seen by his teammates as a loudmouth locker room force. He isn’t known as a cancer. He’s just a guy who’s ultra-confident. He’s a guy who, in his mind, speaks the truth when it needs to be spoken.

“That’s the sad part people don’t know,” safety Deon Grant said. “They judge that book by that cover. He’s the total opposite. He’s not the kind of guy off the field who’s a loudmouth and getting in trouble. He’s a very respectable guy, a very kind-hearted guy. He makes all the people  who come into contact with, he takes care of them in his presence.”

And for better or for worse, Rolle isn’t going to change.

“I don’t think I can change,” he said. “I don’t know if I even want to change. I can only be smarter about how I may come off. But never, ever I have spoken out of anger. I just say what I feel.”

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com