Well, being Christmas Eve and all, there isn't a lot of new reading material just yet, but a few nuggets from Thursday's press conferences. But before we share some of that, I wanted to share with you all a bit of something that put a smile on my face. I was in the car listening to sports talk here in Wisconsin, and let me tell you, Packers' fans are terrified of the Giants, in particular they are terrified that our running game is far superior to theirs. And yeah, it is. They are especially terrified of our defensive line, and for good reason. Here is more from enemy territory on that and the respect they have here for the Giants' front four.
Q: How do you assess what you guys did on the ground last week?
A: You always wish you had more. They're a good team, they stunt and they blitz a lot, so they're always going to make it difficult and challenging. Again, as I mentioned earlier, you always wish you made a cut here or a better block here. There were some opportunities we didn't fully take advantage of, but for the most part it was better than the first one where we only had 61, so from that standpoint I think that we are improving.
One of the things Tom Coughlin has done is to simulate cold weather in practice. Well, sort of:
Q: You told us a few times that a crisp practice is more important than getting acclimated to the elements. You did have the doors open.
A: Your teeth were chattering. Does that mean that we didn't work in the cold? We had the doors open. We had it below 45 degrees in here today, which obviously is not game temperature. But the thing that occurs right now is, it is a frozen grass field and part of the turf field is frozen as well - the part that is closest to the building. So really there is no going outside. So we try to make it reasonable in here. It is better today - a little chillier today.
Q: Does it help them?
A: It gets their mind right. There are going to play in colder weather than this. It is not comfortable. Let's put it that way.
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell had some of the best quotes Thursday. You can read all of them here, but let's show you a few snippets:
Q: This one sounds like it has stuck with you a little bit more.
A: I've never had that happen, so obviously that's tough. George Allen said that every time you lose a little piece of you dies and so I think that's very true in that sense.
Q: How much of you died on Sunday?
A: A little piece, but I'm still breathing, I'm still here. We're ready to pump it up and go. We've got to go get a win.
Q: What about Rodgers' accuracy?
A: He is extremely accurate. That's the thing that makes you nervous. You need to have vision on the ball when you play against him because he hits those receivers in stride. They can get so many yards after the catch. They're very good and take a lot of pride in doing that. You can see it when he throws and he strikes and they catch the ball, you can see that they want to gobble up yards from there, but his accuracy is extremely key, probably one of the best in the league.
Here is my favorite part of Fewell's interview, because he's right -- if this team scores on defense like he wants them to, it puts less pressure on the offense, and the likelihood of winning the game goes up significantly. Hopefully they can make that happen on Sunday:
Q: You've had a lot of turnovers, but no points.
A: That's pissed me off. I'm a score on defense guy. We return the ball and score every time we get a turnover in practice. We emphasize scooping and scoring when the ball is on the turf and I want to score on defense. We're going to get that done in these last two ball games. We've been emphasizing it during the first 14, but we will get it done. We will score on defense.
Eli Manning helped turn the page for Giants - NFC East Blog - ESPN
I looked back at Manning's career numbers in December and they're not all that impressive. His best passer rating was a 107.4 that he posted last season. His best rating in December after that was a 79.1 in '06. We all remember what he did in January and February following the '07 season, but December has been an issue for Manning. He lost Plaxico Burress in late November of the '08 season, so that helps explain a 69.8 passer rating and only two touchdown passes to go along with two interceptions. For his career, Manning is 14-16 in December with an average passer rating of 75.1. He's 45-26 in all other games with an 82.6 passer rating. If Manning can win at Lambeau Field on Sunday, fans won't really care about those numbers. But they do provide an interesting backdrop to a career that remains difficult to define.
Not real encouraging, but let's try to focus on how excellent Manning played last Sunday and assume he can do the same this week in Green Bay.
Plenty of Giants left from ’08 tundra triumph - NYPOST.com
There are players at virtually every position who understand what it takes, know what it feels like to confront the Packers, the harsh conditions in Green Bay, the rabid fan base at historic Lambeau Field and come out unscathed. There are so many Giants remaining from the memorable NFC Championship game, so many who walked off the frozen grass on Jan. 20, 2008, relieved and thrilled that an overtime classic ended with a Lawrence Tynes field goal for the winning points in a 23-20 victory that sent the Giants to the Super Bowl and further glory. There are so many Giants — 19 of them, to be exact — still filling prominent roles that were part of the Super Bowl run three years ago and rank what they accomplished on that frigid day in Green Bay as high, or higher, than what went down two weeks later in Glendale, Ariz. Eli Manning has said that tundra victory is his most favorite game. The holdovers will walk into what awaits them all this Sunday afternoon and have no doubt what it takes to escape with the prize.
Besides Lawrence Tynes, I remember one guy from that team who had the play of his career - Corey Webster. \Let's hope he can make Fewell and all of us proud by stepping up and making a big play like that again. I also hope it prompts a reaction like this in my neighbors' houses like it did then.
New York Giants' Matt Dodge looks to bounce back vs. Green Bay Packers - ESPN New York
When Matt Dodge got to his locker Wednesday after practice, it didn't take long for a media scrum to form around the New York Giants punter. Even though he said his way of coping with the punt that lost the game to the Eagles was to forget about it, he answered every uncomfortable question politely
Another guy answering questions about Dodge was Jeff Feagles, who continues to bring up the fact that a shrink might help the young punter. That's nice. I have one question for Feagles though: "Dude, what are you doing on Sunday, and can you still fit into your uniform?"
Biggest NFL games of Week 16 by ESPN.com's John Clayton - ESPN
The NFC West, made up of pro football's bad seeds, may have done more damage this season than it can imagine. With odds favoring a 7-9 team winning the division, the NFC West gave more ammunition to those who want to re-seed the playoffs, taking a home playoff game away from a division winner and giving it to a wild-card team with a better record. Rich McKay, co-chairman of the Competition Committee, wants re-seeding, but he's been able to get only 18 votes. The NFL requires 24 to pass such a rule change.
You know, that's something I was talking to a buddy about the other day. I'm not opposed to Sunday's game being a big game for the Giants and Packers, but so annoyed that one of these two teams is likely to miss the playoffs while the Rams, Seahawks or even (gasp) Niners get in. But hey, do you want to get even angrier? Ed sent me this Thursday night, and it made me wonder ... what would you guys do if you saw someone walking down the street wearing this shirt? Ugh. I just threw up in my mouth a little again.
Well, hey, in case you forgot, we have a big game in Green Bay Sunday. Asked about what he will wear on his head and face, Coughlin had this to say about Sunday:
Q: Will you bring different gear for yourself?
A: No, every one of these players has gone down through the color of my face. Whatever they will pack I will wear.
Q: Even a ski mask?
A: I don't think so.
I told my dad this past week that the only gift I want for Christmas is for the Giants to win on Sunday, and he agreed that that was the only thing he wanted as well. So let's get this done on Sunday. Let's win a big game when we really, really have to. Go Giants, and Merry Christmas to you all!