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

Zach MettenbergerOct 21 04:18p

Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker (thumb) will start at quarterback when he's healthy, according to head coach Ken Whisenhunt. QB Charlie Whitehurst has filled in for Locker twice this [ More ]

Bene BenwikereOct 21 04:13p

Carolina Panthers CB Bene Benwikere (ankle) will return as the starting nickel cornerback when he's back from his injury, according to head coach Ron Rivera. If Benwikere can't play [ More ]

Martavis BryantOct 21 04:06p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant cut into WR Markus Wheaton's workload in Week 7 against the Houston Texans, and QB Ben Roethlisberger took three 'shot' plays down the field [ More ]

Andre EllingtonOct 21 04:03p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington had 88 yards rushing and 72 yards receiving in Week 7, and only four players in franchise history since 1960 to have more yards [ More ]

Ryan MathewsOct 21 03:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) did not practice Tuesday, Oct. 21, and is not expected to play Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos.

Donald BrownOct 21 03:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) did not practice Tuesday, Oct. 21, and is not expected to play Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos.

Michael SamOct 21 03:33p

The Dallas Cowboys cut DE Michael Sam from the team's practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Charles GodfreyOct 21 03:13p

The Carolina Panthers released CB Charles Godfrey Tuesday, Oct 21.

LaRon ByrdOct 21 02:33p

The Miami Dolphins signed free-agent WR LaRon Byrd (Cowboys) and re-signed DT Deandre Coleman Tuesday, Oct. 21.

R. Griffin IIIOct 21 02:13p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) will not be ruled out for Week 8 against the Dallas Cowboys, but he has a long way to go in order [ More ]

Brian HoyerOct 21 02:13p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel could see some action in Week 8 against the Oakland Raiders, according to head coach Mike Pettine. However, Pettine said Monday, Oct. 20, that [ More ]

C.J. SpillerOct 21 02:13p

The Buffalo Bills placed RB C.J. Spiller (collarbone) on short-term Reserve/Injured Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Ray RiceOct 21 01:33p

Free-agent RB Ray Rice (Ravens) will have the appeal of his indefinite suspension from the NFL heard Nov. 5-6, according to media reports. A decision on whether commissioner Roger [ More ]

Jason KelceOct 21 01:23p

Philadelphia Eagles C David Molk will remain the center for now, with C Jason Kelce (hernia) nearing a return from his injury.

Shamarko ThomasOct 21 01:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers LB Ryan Shazier (knee) and SS Shamarko Thomas (hamstring) 'have a pretty good chance' of returning in Week 8 against the Indianapolis Colts, according to head coach Mike Tomlin.

Darren SprolesOct 21 01:23p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Darren Sproles (knee) returned to practice Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Phillip TannerOct 21 01:13p

The Buffalo Bills are signing free-agent RB Phillip Tanner (Cowboys) Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Calvin JohnsonOct 21 01:13p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) said he is back to running Tuesday, Oct. 21. Johnson sat out in Week 7 against the New Orleans Saints and appears to [ More ]

Terrelle PryorOct 21 01:13p

Free-agent QB Terrelle Pryor (Seahawks) is working out for the New York Giants Tuesday, Oct. 21, according to a person familiar with the workouts. It appears as though Pryor [ More ]

Reggie WayneOct 21 12:53p

Updating previous reports, Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne's (elbow) injury isn't believed to be serious, but it could cause him to miss a game or two, according to a [ More ]

Phil TaylorOct 21 12:23p

Cleveland Browns DE Phil Taylor (knee) is expected to miss his third straight game in Week 8 after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery Oct. 8.

A.J. GreenOct 21 12:12p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) said his return from a toe injury is 'still up in the air' heading into Week 8 against the Baltimore Ravens. However, Green [ More ]

Le'Veon BellOct 21 12:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell became the first running back in team history to start the year with seven straight games of 100 yards of total offense. Bell ran [ More ]

Antonio AndrewsOct 21 11:03a

Tennessee Titans RB Antonio Andrews was promoted to the 53-man roster Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Dwayne AllenOct 21 10:33a

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (hip) said he is still working his way back to pre-injury form, but he looks a lot better than he did in training camp, [ More ]

Reggie WayneOct 21 10:33a

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) could miss time with his elbow injury. Beat writer Stephen Holder tweeted that he isn't receiving good vibes from the situation, but it [ More ]

Terrance WestOct 21 09:43a

Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West was benched Sunday, Oct. 19, after failing to pick up a first down in two short-yardage situations. He had room to run on both [ More ]

Ben TateOct 21 09:43a

Cleveland Browns RBs Ben Tate, Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West were held to 69 yards on 33 carries in Week 7, and head coach Mike Pettine suggested a change [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 21 08:53a

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (shoulder) is expected to miss two to three weeks due to a shoulder injury, according to sources.

Trindon HollidayOct 21 08:23a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed free-agent WR Trindon Holliday (Giants) to an undisclosed deal Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Tharold SimonOct 20 11:04p

Seattle Seahawks CB Tharold Simon (ankle) and CB Byron Maxwell (calf) may be able to play in Week 7, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

A.J. GreenOct 20 10:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) said he will play Sunday, Oct. 26, against the Baltimore Ravens, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group