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New York Giants Notes: Hunter Smith Goes To Washington, Saving Matt Dodge ... For Now

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Here are a few New York Giants notes for you on a Thursday morning.

The Washington Redskins have signed veteran punter Hunter Smith, which should be a big deal to Giants punter Matt Dodge. Smith was in New Jersey this week working out for the Giants

John Clayton says Randy Moss' presence in Minnesota means the NFC East will only send one team to the playoffs.

"No wild card will come out of the NFC West because odds are against the winner of that division winning more than eight games," writes The Professor. "If the NFC East settles into an average division with a bunch of teams between eight and 10 wins, then the hopes for an NFC East wild card would be pinned on the failures in the NFC North, figuring that the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons have shown enough to indicate two playoff teams will come from that division."

Brian Cushing says he is 'back and ready to go' for Houston this weekend against the Giants.

"It [his suspension] was tough to watch, but I'm back and ready to go. I don't feel like there's any pressure on me. I think I bring attitude and speed and (playmaking) ability to our defense. I feel like I'm 99.5 percent ready to play as far as being sharp in all areas, and I'll be 100 percent on Sunday."

Tiki Barber says he knew he would get booed at the Giants Ring Of Honor ceremony.

"I never hesitated wanting to go back when John Mara called me and invited me," Barber says tonight on Showtime’s Inside the NFL. "Because I know what the environment’s like. I knew I was going to get booed, but it didn’t bother me. I know what I did as a player. I know that I left every bit of myself on that football field and I would challenge anybody who ever watched me play to say anything otherwise.

"If people don’t want to hear those answers don’t ask me the question, because I am just going to say it like it is.

"I think that one of the issues with Giants fans is that I don’t sugarcoat anything. I never wanted to come into broadcasting and be the guy who says a whole lot, but says nothing. I have always wanted to be succinct and to the point about what my opinion is, based on what my experiences are. If people hate me for that, they hate me. I have never been someone who said you have to love me in order to do my job. Or you have to hate me in order to do my job. I just want to tell the truth as I’ve experienced it."

The Giants are still not sure about the long-term status of Mathias Kiwanuka.

"We are going to wait," Coughlin said, "but there will be information forthcoming from the medical people that will tell us what the extent of it is, where the so-called waiting period would end and when the decision would have to be made."

Through four games it is looking like another disappointing season for wide receiver Ramses Barden.

"The best I can do is what I can control – give a hundred percent effort in practice in all phases. I’m confident the opportunities will come and I’ll take advantage of it," Barden said. "Like any competitive person, I want to play as much as possible. I can only control what’s in my hands. If it’s in my hands to play, that’s what it is."

Barden wants answers, but he probably already has them. After all, he didn’t dress for most of his rookie season because he didn’t contribute on special teams. Surely that’s still the case for a team that prefers to dress only backups who will play a role on kick returns and coverage.

"I’m sure it factors into it, but I haven’t sat down with anybody and said, ‘Here’s what’s going on. Here’s this and that,’" Barden said. "My approach has been if somebody tells me, ‘This is what your role is going to be today in practice,’ to master that and try to become an expert that day in that fashion."