For the third year, current NFL players have voted to offer their ranking of the 100 best players in the league heading into 2013, and two Giants made the latest installment, which was unveiled on NFL Network this week. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul came in at No. 55, down from No. 24 in 2012, while wide receiver Victor Cruz was ranked No. 58 after previously being voted No. 39.
“I think of Jason, I think of freakish athletic ability,” former Cowboys guard Derrick Dockery said on NFL Network. “I think of explosiveness. If you don’t bring it every play, you will get embarrassed.”
Tampa Bay offensive tackle Donald Penn also lauded Pierre-Paul, who had eight tackles and a sack against his Buccaneers in their 2012 meeting.
“He’s a specimen,” Penn said. “He’s one of those beasts. His arms are so long I think if he stands straight up, he could scratch his knee without bending down, and that causes a lot of problems for a tackle. As a tackle, you’ve got to get your hands on him first, and Pierre-Paul is hard to get your hands on first because his arms are so long.”
Five members of the Giants earned a nod in 2012: WR Hakeem Nicks (90), DE Justin Tuck (62), Cruz (39), QB Eli Manning (31), and Pierre-Paul (24).
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Tags: Jason Pierre-Paul, Victor Cruz
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Believe it or not, we’re less than three months away from the Giants’ first preseason game. And with the new season sneaking up, CBS Sports this week took a look at where everyone stacks up across the NFL, ranking the top 100 players.
Senior columnist Pete Prisco, composer of the annual list, included three Giants in the NFL Top 100 – Jason Pierre-Paul, Eli Manning, and Victor Cruz. Unlike some outlets that base their rankings on production from the previous season, Prisco looked at where they rank heading into 2013, and here’s what he had to say:
21. Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, New York Giants: “He didn’t have the kind of year the Giants hoped he’d have. He looked heavy and wasn’t as explosive. But he remains as talented a pass rusher as there is in the game.”
28. Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants: “He didn’t have the season the Giants expected, but there were a lot of reasons why. He’s still one of the best.”
72. Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants: “He had 86 catches and 10 touchdowns, but he wasn’t as good as he was in 2011. He seemed to struggle with all the extra attention at times.”
Three quarterbacks made the top five, including Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, who came in at No. 1 for the second consecutive year. And while we’re on the subject of rankings, the crew at CBS Sports also counted down the best front offices in the NFL. The Giants came in fourth in that department behind the Ravens, Patriots, and Packers.
“I’m putting a premium on winning a Super Bowl recently, which this team has done twice,” Jason La Canfora wrote. “And they’ve done it despite a regime change with Jerry Reese expertly taking over for Ernie Accorsi, which I think gets overlooked and underappreciated. The strong hand of ownership, supporting coach Tom Coughlin through rough patches, has been vital as well.”
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Tags: Eli Manning, Jason Pierre-Paul, Victor Cruz
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Every year, the people over at Pro Football Focus get together to rank the top 101 players from the previous season. Their countdown is over, and three Giants have made the list: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (No. 46), LT Will Beatty (No. 85), and QB Eli Manning (No. 90).
Here is a look at what PFF had to say about the Top 101 of 2012, and keep in mind players were graded solely on 2012 with all positions weighted equally.
The danger was always there with how people viewed “JPP”. As good as his 2011 season was the emphasis placed on his sack numbers were always going to come back to bite him. And while it’s true he didn’t have quite the same impact as he did when the Giants won it all, it shouldn’t take away from a tremendously complete season he put forward. Excellent against the run, there’s no shame in the 55 QB disruptions he managed.
Best Performance: Week 14 versus New Orleans, +6.0 WATCH HIGHLIGHTS
Key Stat: His 30 defensive stops in the run game were the third-most of any 4-3 defensive end.
85. Will Beatty, LT, New York Giants (Last year: Unranked)
Injury meant Beatty didn’t start the season as the Giants’ left tackle. Whether injuries handed him his starting job back, or it was the Giants’ plan all along, the former second-round pick didn’t take much time showing everyone what he was capable of. A fine pass protector, Beatty is one of those left tackles who can actually generate some movement in the run game as well.
Best Performance: Week 3 at Carolina, +5.4 WATCH HGHLIGHTS
Key Stat: Allowed just three sacks and zero quarterback hits all season long.
90. Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants (Last year: 8th)
While Eli was unable to replicate his marvelous 2011, let’s not pretend he didn’t play extremely well for most of the season. While some performances disappointed (notably against Pittsburgh and Atlanta) Manning was able to almost carry his struggling Giants into the playoffs with his usual array of clutch throws.
Best Performance: Week 2 versus Tampa Bay, +6.3 WATCH HGHLIGHTS
Key Stat: Completion percentage under pressure dropped to 47.9% in 2012, after it was 55.6% a year earlier.
While the 49ers led all teams with 13 selections, the top player ranked was DE J.J. Watt (Texans), followed by RB Adrian Peterson (Vikings), DT Geno Atkins (Bengals), LB Von Miller (Broncos), and CB Richard Sherman (Seahawks).
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Tags: Eli Manning, Jason Pierre-Paul, Will Beatty
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The debate doesn’t stop at the NFL Draft. That’s where it begins.
Shortly after the 254th selection of the NFL Draft is announced Saturday night, NFL Network will debut its first installment of Top 100 Players of 2013. For the third straight year, current players have voted to determine the list, which will be unveiled in increments of 10 beginning Saturday, April 27 at 8:00 p.m. ET and ending with the top player crowned in late June.
Five members of the Giants earned a nod in 2012: WR Hakeem Nicks (90), DE Justin Tuck (62), WR Victor Cruz (39), QB Eli Manning (31), and DE Jason Pierre-Paul (24).
Here’s a complete look at 2012′s ranking:
100. RB Chris Johnson, Titans
99. C Ryan Kalil, Panthers
98. RB Willis McGahee, Broncos
97. OT Donald Penn, Buccaneers
96. LB D’Qwell Jackson, Browns
95. QB Tim Tebow, Jets
94. RB Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
93. CB Cortland Finnegan, Rams
92. FB John Kuhn, Packers
91. QB Tony Romo, Cowboys
90. WR Hakeem Nicks, Giants
89. DE Dwight Freeney, Colts
88. RB Michael Turner, Falcons
87. LB London Fletcher, Redskins
86. RB Darren Sproles, Saints
85. LB NaVorro Bowman, 49ers
84. DE Chris Long, Rams
83. RB Fred Jackson, Bills
82. OT Joe Thomas, Browns
81. DT Vince Wilfork, Patriots
80. WR Jordy Nelson, Packers
79. Nnamdi Asomugha, Eagles
78. LB Derrick Johnson, Chiefs
77. WR A.J. Green, Bengals
76. OL Carl Nicks, Buccaneers
75. TE Jason Witten, Cowboys
74. QB Joe Flacco, Ravens
73. CB Johnathan Joseph Texans
72. LB Lance Briggs, Bears
71. WR DeSean Jackson, Eagles
70. QB Michael Vick, Eagles
69. CB Carolos Rogers, 49ers
68. DE Elvis Dumervil, Broncos
67. OT Joe Staley, 49ers
66. S Earl Thomas, Seahawks
65. WR Roddy White, Falcons
64. G Logan Mankins, Patriots
63. LB LaMarr Woodley, Steelers
62. DE Justin Tuck, Giants
61. QB Philip Rivers, Chargers
60. RB Darren McFadden, Raiders
59. OT Jake Long, Dolphins
58. LB Jonathan Vilma, Saints
57. DE Trent Cole, Eagles
56. WR Greg Jennings, Packers
55. CB Patrick Peterson, Cardinals
54. LB Brian Cushing, Texans
53. TE Tony Gonzalez, Falcons
52. LB Von Miller, Broncos
51. LB Brian Urlacher, Bears
50. QB Peyton Manning, Broncos
49. C Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers
48. WR Devin Hester, Bears
47. WR Mike Wallace, Steelers
46. CB Champ Bailey, Broncos
45. FB Vonta Leach, Ravens
44. DE Jason Babin, Eagles
43. TE Vernon Davis, 49ers
42. OT Jason Peters, Eagles
41. QB Matthew Stafford, Lions
40. QB Cam Newton, Panthers
39. WR Victor Cruz, Giants
38. DT Ndamukong Suh, Lions
37. RB Steven Jackson, Rams
36. CB Charles Woodson, Packers
35. WR Steve Smith, Panthers
34. LB Tamba Hali, Chiefs
33. RB Matt Forte, Bears
32. G Jahri Evans, Saints
31. QB Eli Manning, Giants
30. QB Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
29. LB James Harrison, Steelers
28. RB Frank Gore, 49ers
27. LB Clay Matthews, Packers
26. DE Julius Peppers, Bears
25. RB Arian Foster, Texans
24. DE Jason Pierre-Paul, Giants
23. WR Wes Welker, Patriots
22. RB Ray Rice, Ravens
21. TE Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
20. LB Ray Lewis, Ravens
19. S Troy Polamalu, Steelers
18. RB LeSean McCoy, Eagles
17. DE Justin Smith, 49ers
16. S Ed Reed, Ravens
15. WR Andre Johnson, Texans
14. TE Jimmy Graham, Saints
13. DE Jared Allen, Vikings
12. RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
11. LB Terrell Suggs, Ravens
10. LB Patrick Willis, 49ers
9. DT Haloti Ngata, Ravens
8. RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings
7. WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
6. LB DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys
5. CB Darrelle Revis, Jets
4. QB Tom Brady, Patriots
3. WR Calvin Johnson, Lions
2. QB Drew Brees, Saints
1. QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers
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Tags: Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Victor Cruz
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In the season of improving one’s roster, decision-makers across the NFL are searching for the next impact player to build a team around for the years to come. But if you are fortunate enough, you have already found him.
The Giants, according to NFL analyst Elliot Harrison, are one of those teams.
Setting out to find the best 25 players under 25 years of age — 11 offense, 11 defense, a kicker, a punter and one extra defender accounting for 4-3 and 3-4 alignments — Harrison named Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to his “All-Under-25 Team.”
“Pro football is a young man’s game — no doubt about that,” Harrison wrote. “Nonetheless, it is generally understood that the prime of a player’s career is when he is still in his athletic peak, yet the game has slowed down enough for him, in a figurative sense, that he knows what he’s doing without thinking about it.”
Pierre-Paul, who turned 24 on Jan. 1, fit the bill, having recorded 27.5 sacks and 132 total tackles in his first three seasons.
“Yes, he had a dip in production in 2012, but that’s because teams simply would not let him match 2011,” Harrison continued. “Pierre-Paul still had 6.5 sacks and 21.5 knockdowns/hurries, and even had a pick-six.”
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Tags: Jason Pierre-Paul
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Just another day in Hawaii.
On the last offensive play for the AFC all-stars, Houston’s defensive end — who played some tight end in college — lined up outside, and naturally, the Giants’ own pass rusher was there to cover him. Pierre-Paul won the jump ball thrown by Colts quarterback Andrew Luck in the right side of the end zone and came down with the interception, capping off a 62-35 NFC victory.
“That interception by JPP in the end zone was pretty impressive,” Cruz told NBC after the game. “I know I’m biased, but that was pretty impressive. All these guys played great. It was great all week long hanging out with these guys, and it was an honor to play in this game.”
Along with Pierre-Paul, Cruz, Manning and Chris Snee represented the Giants in Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium this year.
After Pierre-Paul sacked Denver’s Peyton Manning to begin the second quarter, Eli Manning took over on the ensuing possession for New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and completed 16 of 23 passes for 191 yards, an interception and two touchdowns, including a nine-yard strike to Cruz to give their side a 17-14 lead. It was all NFC after that.
Cruz finished with 96 yards and a Pro-Bowl record 10 catches, but it was Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph who took home MVP honors after hauling in five receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown.
“The energy level was high,” Cruz said. “The effort level was there. Guys were really putting some hits on people, not to hurt them but just playing solid football. And I think it was indicative of us wanting to keep this game alive and keep this game in Hawaii for years to come and I think we really proved that out here today.”
Tags: Chris Snee, Eli Manning, Jason Pierre-Paul, Victor Cruz
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Next on the college football showcase circuit is the Senior Bowl, which will be held this Saturday at 4 p.m. ET in Mobile, Ala., and televised on NFL Network. Like the East-West Shrine Game that wrapped up this past weekend, scouts and coaches from across the NFL will tune into the all-star game to evaluate the talent and find any hidden gems.
The early talk around the NFL hopefuls has included BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, who is drawing comparisons to Giants Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
“The former walk-on track star has been the buzz of the NFL scouting community with his exceptional athleticism, movement skills and motor,” NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks wrote about Ansah.
“Scouts rave about his raw talent and rush skills despite a limited football background. In fact, the comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul have been flying off the tongues of evaluators since Ansah started wreaking havoc on opponents in the fall. If he seizes this opportunity to showcase his talents against elite competition, Ansah can transition from urban legend to certain first-round pick.” Read more »
Tags: Jason Pierre-Paul
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QB Eli Manning: 260 yards shy of 4,000 passing yards in the 2012 regular season.
WR Victor Cruz: Two touchdown receptions away from 20 career receiving touchdowns.
WR Hakeem Nicks: 274 yards shy of 4,000 career receiving yards; three touchdown receptions away from 30 career receiving touchdowns.
TE Martellus Bennett: 11 receptions shy of 150 career receptions; 43 receiving yards shy of 1,500 career receiving yards.
RB Ahmad Bradshaw: Three rushing touchdowns away from surpassing Ron Johnson (33) on the Giants all-time rushing touchdowns list and tying Frank Gifford for seventh on the Giants’ all-time list.
DE Osi Umenyiora: 5.0 sacks away from 80.0 career sacks.
DE Justin Tuck: 1.5 sacks away from 50.0 career sacks; Two forced fumbles away from 20 career forced fumbles.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul: 2.5 sacks away from 30.0 career sacks.
DT Rocky Bernard: Two tackles away from 400 career tackles.
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Tags: Ahmad Bradshaw, Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Martellus Bennett, Osi Umenyiora, Rocky Bernard, Victor Cruz
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2013 NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE ALL-STARS
AFC-NFC PRO BOWL, SUNDAY, JANUARY 27, 2013, ALOHA STADIUM, HONOLULU, HAWAII
Quarterback: *Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay), Matt Ryan (Atlanta), Robert Griffin III (Washington)
Running back: *Adrian Peterson (Minnesota), Marshawn Lynch (Seattle), Frank Gore (San Francisco)
Fullback: *Jerome Felton (Minnesota)
Wide receiver: *Calvin Johnson (Detroit), *Brandon Marshall (Chicago), Julio Jones (Atlanta), Victor Cruz (N.Y. Giants)
Tight end: *Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta), Jason Witten (Dallas)
Tackle: *Joe Staley (San Francisco), *Russell Okung (Seattle), Trent Williams (Washington)
Guard: *Mike Iupati (San Francisco), *Jahri Evans (New Orleans), Chris Snee (N.Y. Giants)
Center: *Max Unger (Seattle), Jeff Saturday (Green Bay)
Defensive end:*Jason Pierre-Paul (N.Y. Giants), *Julius Peppers (Chicago), Jared Allen (Minnesota)
Interior linemen: *Justin Smith (San Francisco), *Henry Melton (Chicago), Gerald McCoy (Tampa Bay)
Outside linebacker: *Aldon Smith (San Francisco), *DeMarcus Ware (Dallas), Clay Matthews (Green Bay)
Inside/Middle linebacker: *Patrick Willis (San Francisco), NaVorro Bowman (San Francisco)
Cornerback: *Charles Tillman (Chicago), *Tim Jennings (Chicago), Patrick Peterson (Arizona)
Free safety: *Dashon Goldson (San Francisco), Earl Thomas (Seattle)
Strong safety: *Donte Whitner (San Francisco)
Punter: Thomas Morstead (New Orleans)
Placekicker: Blair Walsh (Minnesota)
Kick returner: Leon Washington (Seattle)
Special-teamer: Lorenzo Alexander (Washington)
Long snapper: TBA
For the 2013 AFC Pro Bowl roster, CLICK HERE.
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Tags: Chris Snee, Jason Pierre-Paul, Victor Cruz
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On comparing this team to last year’s…
“I think you have to prepare for this year and understand what our circumstances are and who are players are, we have different teammates and different guys and it’s a new season and we just got our confidence will come from the players that we have in this locker room. Our character, our inspiration, our coaches getting us a great game plan and the fact that we can go out there and play at a high level.”
On finishing the season strong…
“This is a playoff game for us, we have to win or otherwise we out. The guys know it, I know it, and I’m going to give it my best shot.”
Tags: Eli Manning, Jason Pierre-Paul
Posted in Inside the Locker Room | 1 Comment »