New York Giants Notes: Hester A Headache For Not So Special Giants

This is a site the Giants o not want to see Sunday -- Devin Hester running free on a punt return. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

A few New York Giants notes for a Thursday morning.

When it comes to Chicago punt returner extraordinaire Devin Hester, Tom Coughlin was probably right Wednesday when he said the best strategy was "Kick it out of bounds. Don’t let him have the ball."

Problem is, the Giants have rookie punter Matt Dodge. We all know that his perfectly acceptable looking 44.9-yard average per punt masks the fact that no one has any idea where the ball is going every time Dodge takes it in his hands and steps forward.

Not surprisingly, Dodge said he spent much of practice today working on kicking directly towards the sideline - - the first time, he said, that he "really" focused on that during a practice since joining the team. Given his early season struggles, and the fact that he’s no Jeff Feagles when it comes to directional punting, it’s a good bet that even if he aims for the stands there’ll be at least a punt or two that ends up in the field of play.

That means Hester - - who had a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Packers on Monday night - - will get a chance to embarrass the Giants the way he did in 2006 when he returned a missed field goal 108 yards for a touchdown. And that will be quite a challenge for the Giants’ beleaguered special teams.

"He’s one of those guys, man, he’s like water," said linebacker Clint Sintim, who is part of the punt coverage team. "He’ll find the crease. You’ve just got to do your best to try to hold him back a little bit. You’ve got to be extra aware of where he’s at.

"He can’t harm you if he don’t have the ball. God forbid that he gets it, we’ve got to make some tackles. We’ve got to do our best to contain him and minimize his impact."

At least special teams captain Chase Blackburn expects to be back Sunday, offering some help to the Giants beleaguered special teams.

Speaking of special teams, you can't blame the struggles of that group on No. 1 pick Jason Pierre-Paul, who is a monster on special teams.

Brandon Jacobs knows exactly why the Giants lost last week to Tennessee.

"Not to take anything away from Tennessee, but we absolutely took the game, put it on a plate, walked it across the field, and gave it to them," the Giants' running back said.

Speaking of the Titans, two of their players have been fined for their actions Sunday against the Giants. They are hardly remorseful.

From Ralph Vacchiano:

Don’t expect the deductions to be a deterrent for either CB Cortland Finnegan or defensive end Justin Babin - - at least not based on what they told The Tennessean today.

"Nobody cares about fines," said Finnegan, who was fined for tossing Giants WR Steve Smith to the ground by his helmet. "I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. I am going to keep playing the way I play and if we keep getting a FedEx every week and win football games, I could care less about getting a FedEx."

The Giants will be without center Shaun O'Hara again this week. His injured ankle and achilles are simply not responding to treatment.

"I was hoping initially it was a two-week period," coach Tom Coughlin said Wednesday. "But I’m not sure now what it is."

Tiki Barber, whose differences with Coughlin are well documente and may have contributed to his early retirement from the NFL, says his grasp is 'slipping away.'

The former running back, and a long-time nemesis of the Giants coach, made that assessment in an appearance on Yahoo! Sports’ NFL This Week that was posted online on Monday. Barber, who now works for Yahoo! after a post-retirement stint at NBC, said Coughlin is “at a crisis” and if he can’t find a way out, he’ll end paying with his job.

“I don’t know if he’s completely lost control of the team, but it’s definitely slipping away,” Barber said. “You saw it last week with some of the comments Antrel Rolle talked about , with leadership, and over-control that the coaching staff and the organization had over the players. Sometimes that affects you and carries over into the game.

“And right now Tom Coughlin is at a crisis. His job is certainly in jeopardy, particularly because of how they played last year to close out that stadium. We all know how embarrassing that was.”

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