Week 12: New York Giants Weekend Wrap-Up
After taking last week off due to the New York Giants’ Week 11 bye, the Weekend Wrap-Up returns with more of the latest events, quotes and anecdotes regarding your beloved G-Men.
The Giants are almost two whole weeks removed from the 31-13 shellacking they suffered at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10. New York has had plenty of time to lick its wounds; it’s time for the team to prove itself against one of the conference’s toughest opponents, the Green Bay Packers.
This edition of Weekend Wrap-Up will touch on some under-the-radar practice-squad transactions, defensive end Osi Umenyiora’s pessimistic outlook on future sack stats, safety Antrel Rolle’s emphasis on perfection and more.
Giants’ Practice Squad Reshuffled
After the Giants released guard Mitch Petrus (for the second time this season) to make room on the roster for tight end Travis Beckum on November 3, New York was left with only one backup interior lineman, Jim Cordle.
On November 12, another roster spot opened up, as the Giants announced that rookie defensive tackle Markus Kuhn would be lost for the season after sustaining a torn ACL against the Bengals. The Giants flirted with the idea of signing a veteran running back, but the team ultimately turned to its practice squad to fulfill the final spot on the 53-man roster.
Alex Raskin of CBSSports.com reported on November 21 that New York had promoted offensive lineman Selvish Capers, who played his college ball at West Virginia and was drafted by the Redskins in 2010 (seventh round, 231 overall).
According to Raskin, the Giants replaced Capers’ spot on the practice squad with another offensive lineman, Steven Goodin, who was with the team during training camp.
One day later, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed wide receiver David Douglas off the Giants’ practice squad, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York. Douglas, an undrafted free agent out of the University of Arizona, impressed the coaching staff during the preseason, but he ultimately landed on the practice squad due to a plethora of talent at the receiver position.
Phillips Able to See “Upside” of Injury
With the NFL growing more and more conscious of player safety, defensive backs have reduced big hits on defenseless receivers in order to avoid huge fines. Sometimes the collisions are unavoidable, though, and the players inflicting the contact are forced to cough up massive amounts of money.
According to Jorge Castillo of The Newark Star-Ledger, safety Kenny Phillips is able to see the bright side of the MCL injury that has kept him out of action since the Giants' Week 3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles: more cash in his pocket.
Phillips, who was fined three separate times a year ago and once this year for a hit on Tampa Bay’s Vincent Jackson in Week 2, claims that he will not pass up on an opportunity to make his presence felt.
"I definitely try to be physical as possible when I get the opportunity, because you don’t get that (many),” Phillips told Castillo. “I definitely try to take advantage of that.”
The Giants could use some physicality in their struggling defensive backfield, and Phillips’ return should provide just that. He was shut down through the bye week after contemplating a return against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9, but Phillips plans on playing against the Packers on Sunday night.
Umenyiora Does Not Expect Many Sacks
The Giants’ pass rush has severely dropped off since the team’s unbelievable Super Bowl campaign a season ago. In 2011, the Giants’ defensive front collected 48.0 sacks (third in NFL); so far through 2012, New York has only recorded 25.0 (13th in NFL).
Of those 25.0 sacks, less than half have come from the Giants’ top three defensive ends Justin Tuck (3.0), Osi Umenyiora (4.0) and Jason Pierre-Paul (6.5). Last season, those three accounted for 63.5 percent of the defense’s sacks (30.5).
Umenyiora, a 10-year veteran and strip-sack extraordinaire, does not anticipate that the sack stats will improve anytime soon. The one-time All-Pro believes that teams have figured out New York’s pass rush, as he explained to Tom Rock of Long Island Newsday:
“You know how teams play against us; it’s not going to be that type of party. For us, we just want to get pressure and see if we can get our hands up whenever they go to that three-step drop, because that’s what we’re expecting.”
This defeatist attitude is not what Giants fans want to hear. The pass-rushers have not been themselves since Week 1 of this season, and the New York faithful have been patiently waiting for Umenyiora, Tuck and Pierre-Paul to return to true form.
Hopefully, Umenyiora is wrong, and the Giants defensive front wreaks havoc on Aaron Rogers, who Tuck believes is highly “rattle-able.”
Cruz Featured in Plane-Catch Video
Victor Cruz is the early leader among NFC wide receivers in 2012 Pro Bowl voting. With 60 catches for 743 yards through 10 games, Cruz is on pace for his second straight 1,000-yard season. He only needs two touchdowns to match his 2011 total of nine.
As a promotional campaign, Time Warner Cable released a 20-second video on their YouTube account of Cruz catching a football dropped out of an airplane flying over MetLife Stadium. The video editors did an incredible job of making the plane-catch look super realistic.
If only he could have held on to Eli Manning’s rocket toward the end zone in the fourth quarter of the Bengals game.
Rolle Strives for 6-0 Finish
The Giants currently sit at 6-4 with six games left to play. After the Redskins’ Thanksgiving triumph over the Dallas Cowboys, both division rivals are close behind with identical 5-6 records.
The Giants got lucky and won the division with only nine wins a season ago, but safety Antrel Rolle does not want to rely on luck this time around. With only six games remaining, Rolle has his sights set on a flawless run toward the playoffs, as he explained to Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News:
“I want to win six out of six. That’s the way I look at it; that’s the way I play the game; that’s my attitude about it. Four out of six, it may get us in, it may not get us in, that all depends. I don’t want to bank ourselves on a 10-6 season, so (I’m) definitely going to go for a 12-4 season.”
A 12-win season would be quite an accomplishment for the Giants. It would tie the team’s record for wins in a season under head coach Tom Coughlin, which was set in 2008.
Rolle’s vision is unlikely, though. Since 2005, the winner of the NFC East has recorded 12 or more wins only twice (’07 Cowboys and ’08 Giants).