2014 DRAFT GUIDE
After missing playoffs, Giants look to bounce back

By TOM CANAVAN - AP Sports Writer
    2013-07-23 12:27

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - A year ago, the New York Giants failed miserably in their bid to get back to the Super Bowl and defend their title.

This year, the Giants just want to stay home - and become the first NFL team to play the Super Bowl in their backyard.

The first cold-weather Super Bowl is being held in New Jersey, and the Giants have the offense to get there.

Eli Manning is in his prime. The dynamic Victor Cruz is re-signed and there are enough pieces on the offense to make coach Tom Coughlin's team's a threat for a third title in seven years. The question mark is the running game in the post-Ahmad Bradshaw era.

The concern, however, is the defense, the unit that was the key to titles in the 2007 and `11 seasons. It was the NFL's second worst in 2012 and the new-look unit needs to be better.

``We missed the playoffs last year,'' Manning said. ``That's the goal. You can't win a championship if you don't make the playoffs. It is about doing whatever it takes and making sure we're putting ourselves in position to make the playoffs toward the end of the season and then excelling at the end of the season to finish that job.''

The Giants (9-7) didn't miss the playoffs by much. The difference was a 3-5 finish after a 6-2 start.

Five things to look for as the Giants opening training camp:

1. JPP READY OR NOT: Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, the catalyst of the defense with 27 1/2 sacks in 48 games, had surgery to repair a herniated disk in his lower back in June. The recovery time was expected to be 12 weeks which makes him a question mark for the start of the season. With the loss of Osi Umenyiora to free agency, Mathias Kiwanuka is back at DE. Third-round draft pick Damontre Moore has some of that freakish pass-rush talent that JPP has exhibited and he might be the surprise this season.

2. WHO'S IN THE RUNNING? Manning is going to have new faces in the backfield. David Wilson, the first-round pick in 2012, is the No. 1 back with the release of Bradshaw in a salary-cap move. Wilson is a breakaway threat but he has to prove he can pick up the blitz. Andre Brown is No. 2 despite coming off a broken leg. The other concern is at fullback. Henry Hynoski needed surgery on his left knee after being injured in the June minicamp.

3. NICKLE AND DIME DEES: With questions at linebacker and a plethora of seasoned defensive backs, expect the Giants to use a lot of nickel and dime defenses. The three-safety formation was a staple in the run to the Super Bowl in 2011, so coordinator Perry Fewell probably will roll out more gimmick defenses to match the more pass-orientated NFL. Look for veterans Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown, Ryan Mundy, Corey Webster, Prince Amukamara, Aaron Ross and Terrell Thomas - coming off two ACL surgeries - to lead the way.

4. HAKEEM NICKS MIGHT BE KEY: While Manning and Cruz are the offensive catalysts, New York needs a healthy Nicks at wide receiver to open things up. Nicks, entering the final year of his contract, refused to attend voluntary offseason workouts after struggling last season. He broke his right foot in minicamp and hurt his left knee in the second week of the season. A 1,000-yard receiver in 2010 and 2011, he had 53 catches for 692 yards and three touchdowns last season. He can be a second game-breaker if healthy. Second-year receiver Rueben Randle and free agent signee Louis Murphy, a speedster, might surprise.

5. NEW KIDS IN THE HUDDLE: Veteran Josh Brown replaces Lawrence Tynes as placekicker. Top draft pick Justin Pugh should push veteran David Diehl at right tackle. Second-round pick Johnathan Hankins should see time at defensive tackle, even though free-agent signee Cullen Jenkins and Linval Joseph probably will start. Brandon Myers, who had 79 catches for 806 yards with Oakland last season, gives Manning his first proven tight end entering a camp since the days of Jeremy Shockey and Kevin Boss.

---

Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Alameda Ta'amuDec 21 07:42p

The Arizona Cardinals have declared DL Alameda Ta'amu, OG Anthony Steen, WR Brittan Golden, SS Chris D. Clemons, QB Drew Stanton, OG Jonathan Cooper, DL Kareem Martin inactive for Week 16.

Chris MatthewsDec 21 07:32p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared WR Chris Matthews, DL Demarcus Dobbs, WR Kevin Norwood, C Max Unger, OT Russell Okung, TE Tony Moeaki, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 16.

Ahmad DixonDec 21 11:52a

The Minnesota Vikings have declared SS Ahmad Dixon, LB Anthony Barr, OT Carter Bykowski, OG Charlie Johnson, TE Kyle Rudolph, CB Shaun Prater, FB Zach Line inactive for Week 16.

Devier PoseyDec 21 11:52a

The Houston Texans have declared WR DeVier Posey, TE Garrett Graham, LB Jason Ankrah, S Josh Aubrey, LB Mike Mohamed, QB Tom Savage, OG Xavier Su'a-Filo inactive for Week 16.

A.J. KleinDec 21 11:52a

The Carolina Panthers have declared LB A.J. Klein, OG Amini Silatolu, CB Carrington Byndom, OT David Foucault, RB DeAngelo Williams, DL Kyle Love, SS Robert Lester inactive for Week 16.

Charles GodfreyDec 21 11:52a

The Atlanta Falcons have declared CB Charles Godfrey, LB James Anderson, OG Jon Asamoah, CB Ricardo Allen, QB Sean Renfree, DL Stansly Maponga, LB Tyler Starr inactive for Week 16.

Jamarca SanfordDec 21 11:52a

The New Orleans Saints have declared SS Jamarca Sanford, DL Lawrence Virgil, LB Moise Fokou, WR Seantavius Jones, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, OT Terron Armstead, RB Travaris Cadet inactive for Week 16.

Justin BrownDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

Clifton GeathersDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

Carl BradfordDec 21 11:42a

The Green Bay Packers have declared DL Bruce Gaston, LB Carl Bradford, CB Davon House, C Garth Gerhart, WR Jeff Janis, TE Justin Perillo, QB Scott Tolzien inactive for Week 16.

Chris McCainDec 21 11:42a

The Miami Dolphins have declared LB Chris McCain, OT Dallas Thomas, RB Daniel Thomas, CB Don Jones, WR Matt Hazel, OG Nate Garner, WR Rishard Matthews inactive for Week 16.

Arthur BrownDec 21 11:42a

The Baltimore Ravens have declared LB Arthur Brown, DL Casey Walker, CB Chris Greenwood, C Gino Gradkowski, WR Michael Campanaro, OG Ryan Jensen, DL Terrence Cody inactive for Week 16.

Aaron MurrayDec 21 11:42a

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared QB Aaron Murray, RB Charcandrick West, WR Donnie Avery, C Eric Kush, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, CB Marcus Cooper, DL Nick X. Williams inactive for Week 16.

Gary BarnidgeDec 21 11:42a

The Cleveland Browns have declared OT Andrew McDonald, TE Gary Barnidge, RB Glenn Winston, CB Joe Haden, DB K'Waun Williams, WR Rodney Smith, OT Vinston Painter inactive for Week 16.

Chris ConteDec 21 11:42a

The Chicago Bears have declared FS Chris Conte, QB David Fales, OG Kyle Long, PK Robbie Gould, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott, DL Will Sutton inactive for Week 16.

Dakota DozierDec 21 11:33a

The New York Jets have declared OL Dakota Dozier, SS Jaiquawn Jarrett, QB Matt Simms, FS Rontez Miles, DL T.J. Barnes, WR Walter Powell, OG Wesley Johnson inactive for Week 16.

Alfonzo DennardDec 21 11:33a

The New England Patriots have declared CB Alfonzo Dennard, OG Dan Connolly, RB James White, OT Jordan Devey, WR Julian Edelman, CB Kyle Arrington, RB LeGarrette Blount inactive for Week 16.

Anthony CollinsDec 21 11:32a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared OT Anthony Collins, FB Evan Rodriguez, CB Isaiah Frey, DL Lawrence Sidbury, RB Mike James, WR Robert Herron, WR Solomon Patton inactive for Week 16.

Kelvin BenjaminDec 21 11:22a

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin won't face Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden (shoulder) Sunday, Dec. 21, who is out with a shoulder injury.

Joe HadenDec 21 11:22a

Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden (shoulder) is out Sunday, Dec. 21.

Julio JonesDec 21 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is active Sunday, Dec. 21.

Jay CutlerDec 21 10:22a

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler is receiving trade interest from the Tennessee Titans. If the Titans landed him, it would alter the 2015 NFL Draft board dramatically.

T Y HiltonDec 21 10:22a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is a long shot to play Sunday, Dec. 21. However, he's going to try to suit up.

DeMarco MurrayDec 21 10:12a

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) will play Sunday, Dec. 21, but the team is nervous how well he'll hold up in pass protection. If the team qualifies for [ More ]

Zach ErtzDec 20 07:42p

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz had 15 catches for 115 yards Saturday, Dec. 20. Both of which are career highs.

Philip RiversDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is active Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:12p

The San Diego Chargers have declared LB Cordarro Law, DL Damion Square, CB Greg Ducre, WR Keenan Allen, P Mike Scifres, DL Ryan Carrethers, RB Ryan Mathews inactive for Week 16.

Carlos HydeDec 20 07:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20.

Ahmad BrooksDec 20 07:02p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared LB Ahmad Brooks, OG Andrew Tiller, RB Carlos Hyde, OG Joe Looney, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Stevie Johnson, CB Tramaine Brock inactive for Week 16.

DeAndre HopkinsDec 20 06:42p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) will be a game-time decision Sunday, Dec. 21, after not practicing all week.

Julian EdelmanDec 20 06:02p

New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman (concussion) has been ruled out for Week 16. Edelman didn't receive final clearance from the concussion protocol to play Sunday, Dec. 21.

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