Here is some Friday afternoon reading material for you, New York Giants fans.
Aaron Rouse, acquired to take Kenny Phillips' roster spot after being let go by Green Bay earlier this season, has played exceptionally well the past couple of weeks. He even earned a game ball last week, with 12 tackles (10 solo) and his first career sack.
"He has been a big time pleasant guy for us in the last couple of weeks," defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan said. "He got a game ball the other day … and it was well-deserved. He is playing with a lot of confidence now that he is playing for a couple weeks. He is much more comfortable with the defensive calls and he plays super aggressive. He has a steady confidence about him, he tries to play physical. He made about a dozen tackles the other day and it looks like it, when you are on the sidelines watching it, he looks like he is in on a bunch of tackles. He has done an excellent job."
Rouse admits he endured an adjustment period, because changing teams and homes on the fly is difficult.
"As a young player, it is," Rouse said. "I had never experienced it; my first time was going from Green Bay to the Giants in the middle of the season. That was hard, but at the same time I have a great support system - my mom and my godfather were there. Basically, I know that being the good player that I am that I was optimistic about everything and never got down and was just waiting for the opportunity to play for another team. Mr. Reese (Jerry, the general manager) brought me in here and I am thankful for that and am just trying to make the best of this opportunity.
"This is my third year in the league, so anytime you go from a different team you try to think about things that have happened. But my main focus was to be optimistic. I know I am a good player, I know I am going to be a great player one day and when things happen you keep your head up and go forward."
My take: A couple of good games does not make a career. Rouse is just 25, though, and if he keeps playing as well as he has the past few weeks New York might just become a long-term home.
You would think Tom Coughlin has been reading Big Blue View when you look at his assessment of the key to beating Philadelphia Sunday.
"We have to try to keep them from making the big plays. It starts with us stopping the run. They ran the ball on us over there. They have made big plays. So we have to stop the run and try to prevent the big plays."
We agree, Tom. We agree.
Sheridan also knows stopping the big play is priority one Sunday.
"They have had their most success on big plays so that will be a huge emphasis for us. If we can just hang in there and keep the ball in front of us, we will have a chance to be competitive in the game. They get big plays, especially if they get them early, it is a big momentum swing for them."
We have talked a ton about the Giants seeming lack of use of tight end Kevin Boss. A few weeks ago, you might recall, I even penned an open letter to the Giants on Boss' behalf. Turns out offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride DOES know who Boss is. He even seems to like the guy.
Check out this exchange Thursday with reporters.
Q: Do you think as the weather changes that Kevin Boss – this time of year – needs to be more of a target?
A: I laugh sometimes when I hear that stuff. All it is is whoever gets open based on his scheme and what have you. What a lot of guys don’t realize is that the one that we threw deep down the field – that really was the primary guy was Boss on the ….route. He felt that he had a touchdown to Steve so he threw it there. The touchdown to Brandon Jacobs – that was designed to go to Kevin Boss. But they were so committed to knocking him, riding him in – that is what opened up, Brandon. So all I care is that when he has a chance to get open, that he does and he catches the ball. You know he is going to catch the ball. He has terrific hands. He has a great radius. His big thing is getting off the jams and stuff like that. And they made a commitment to bang on him a little bit. So we were able to capitalize on it on that one play for a big play, but a couple of other plays that were designed to go him – he has to do a better job of getting off being banged around. Because they know he is a big target; he is a good player. So they commit --- that is the way to slow him down and so that is the area that he knows that if he can get done. It is hard to run with him. He is a big, long-legged guy once he gets going.
Who knew? Gilbride does understand that the tight end is an eligible receiver.
On the injury front, Chris Snee's status remains uncertain.
Finally, a few nuggets about last week's victory over Dallas from Pro Football Focus.
- Your eyes told you Kevin Boothe played pretty well after Snee went out with a knee injury. They did not deceive. Boothe was +1.2 in PFF's rating system. That, by the way, was the best overall rating of any offensive player.
- Among the defenders, Rouse had a team-best +2.3 rating.
- Mathias Kiwanuka played 80 of 82 snaps while starting in place of Osi Umenyiora. Kiwi lined up at defensive end, defensive tackle, outside linebacker and even middle linebacker. The Giants used an 'Amoeba' defense with a lot of guys standing up and moving around pre-snap. I loved it, and I want to see more of it.
- Speaking of Osi, it appears he is now a pass-rush specialist. Thirty-three of the 38 snaps he played were passes.
- Justin Tuck lined up at defensive tackle 30 times against the Cowboys. To protect his injured shoulder that is something Tuck has done little of this season.
(E-mail Ed at email@example.com)