POSTED: Wednesday September 16th 2009

Giants Notebook, September 16, 2009

By Michael Eisen

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants offensive line expects to perform better in its first game in Cowboys Stadium than it did in its final visit to Texas Stadium.


It was more than nine months ago, but the memory still stings. Last Dec. 8, the Cowboys sacked Eli Manning eight times in a 20-8 victory over the Giants. That was twice as many sacks as the Giants allowed in any other 2008 game and three more than they had surrendered in the previous five games combined – including none the week before against Philadelphia.


“They are a good football team,” Coach Tom Coughlin said. “And we didn’t protect as well as we were capable of. … They rose up and had a good game. They were very good, very physical, very focused and played well.”


Of course, not all of the sacks were the fault of the five linemen. But it’s a number none of them want to see repeated when the Giants face the Cowboys Sunday night in the first regular season game in Dallas’ new stadium.


“I think it was a rough game for all of us and we didn’t win,” center Shaun O’Hara said. “We learned from it, just like we learn from all the other times we have played against them.”


“You never want to see something like that happen,” guard Chris Snee said. “You don’t want to see one sack, let alone eight. But that was last year and this is this year. You can learn from every tape, whether you allow no sacks or eight sacks. We will all take a look at it first individually and then as a team. We will make notes and try not to let that happen again.”


The Giants started the new season well, giving up only one sack in last week’s 23-17 victory over Washington. But that was against a team that had just 24 sacks all of last season. The Cowboys figure to present a far greater challenge. Although they didn’t register a sack in their season-opening victory at Tampa Bay, they led the NFL last season with 59.


The Cowboy wreaking the most havoc – throughout last season and in that December game vs. the Giants - was outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who sacked Manning three times for 18 yards in losses. Of course, Ware did that to almost everyone last season, when he led the NFL and tied a club record with 20.0 sacks, tying the late Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas for the sixth-highest total in NFL history.


 “He is a very talented player and … we have to be able to run the ball to slow them down on the pass rush,” Manning said. “Get the ball out quickly and timely, guys have to get open. But we’ve got to know where he is.”


 Ware is the first Cowboys player to lead or tie for the team lead in sacks in each of his four seasons. His 53.5 sacks since the 2005 season are the most by any NFL linebacker.


“He is a remarkable player and we did lead the NFL in sacks,” Dallas Coach Wade Phillips said. “It wasn’t the only game that we had a good game or that DeMarcus had a good game. We feel like we can get pressure on most teams. But the Giants have one of the best offensive lines in the league.”


 The Cowboys like to move Ware to both sides of the field, so tackles David Diehl and Kareem McKenzie will share the primary responsibility for keeping him away from Manning.


“He is a guy you have to account for every time he is on the field,” Diehl said. “He is a guy that creates a lot of mismatches. You can’t have him on the tight end, you don’t want him one on one on the running back. So he directs a lot of attention obviously, he has the athleticism, the instincts and all that stuff. The thing you see about him is he is a tough player. He plays every down to the whistle, you see him running down field, running guys down from behind. You know that you have to finish your plays, stay on him, lock on him and make sure that you hustle and play each and every play to the whistle and stick with him.”


The Giants hope to neutralize Ware by using Football 101 – a strong rushing attack that will allow them to hold onto the ball, take time off the clock and force Ware and his mates to think run first and chasing Manning second.


“I think the key for us against them is to start fast, try to take the crowd out of it and make sure we don’t turn it into a one-dimensional team,” O’Hara said. “We have to make sure we can run the ball effectively early so that we can stay balanced.”


“That’s the way you get the crowd out of the game - making plays and giving them a reason to be quiet,” Diehl said.


The plan failed last year, primarily because the Giants rushed for a season-low 72 yards (Brandon Jacobs did not play because of a knee injury). When the Giants fell behind 14-3 early in the fourth quarter, they had to throw the ball in an effort to catch up. Manning was sacked three times, including consecutive plays, and threw an interception in the fourth quarter.


“We got down and once we got down on the road, once you get down a bunch of points you start going shotgun and have to do different things,” Diehl said. “Like I said, it was not a good game. The only thing you can do now is make sure that doesn’t happen again. You learn from it and we kept the offensive line group that we have and this is a whole new year. We are going in with a whole different outlook, whole different mentality and we are excited.”


This time, they hope to emerge with a whole different result.


*Six players, including both starting safeties, missed practice today: Free safety         Michael Johnson (shoulder), strong safety Kenny Phillips (knee), offensive lineman Adam Koets (ankle), wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (foot), cornerback Aaron Ross (hamstring) and running back Danny Ware (elbow).


Nicks and Ware are sidelined for at least two weeks. Regarding Ross, who has not played for more than a month, Coughlin said, “There is some strength gained there, which is a positive thing.”


*Four players were limited in practice, including two who missed the opener – cornerback Kevin Dockery (hamstring) and linebacker Clint Sintim (groin). Defensive lineman Chris Canty, the former Cowboy, left practice early with calf strain. Linebacker Michael Boley, reinstated after his one-game suspension, also worked. But he hasn’t practiced fully since his June hip surgery, so Coughlin wasn’t ready to declare how much Boley will play.


“He has to practice well,” Coughlin said. “We have to know that he can transfer from the classroom. That is basically all he has had, is the classroom. We will make that decision going forward based on how he works, how he practices, what we feel. We would all like to see him ready to go but he does have some things that he is going to have to prove. He hasn’t had any contact. He will have multiple roles, not just defense.”


Boley is eager to finally play a game with the rest of the Giants defense.


“To see what they have done these past couple of years and what they have done thus far, I am real excited to be a part of it,” he said. “I think I feel pretty good. It’s a different feeling once you get on the field. But I feel pretty good about it. I got a lot of work done (today), getting in some physical reps with the ones and when I wasn’t in there, getting some good mental reps.”


*Coughlin hinted that Gartrell Johnson, the running back acquired yesterday off waivers from San Diego, could contribute on Sunday.


“He will have roles,” Coughlin said. “He will have to learn. We will segment some things and make a little package that he will have to know what to do. But he will have to be ready to go.”


Johnson demonstrated his eagerness to get started by arriving for work at 5:30 this morning.


“I am very interested in putting on the Giant helmet and contributing,” he said. “I am excited. The Giants are a downhill running team and that’s my style. They have been rotating three backs for years now. So it’s good all the way around.”


*The Giants today filled the final opening on their practice squad by signing Jacob Bender, a 6-6, 316-pound offensive lineman.


Bender was most recently with the San   Francisco 49ers, who signed him on Nov. 18, 2008 off the New England Patriots’ practice squad. He was inactive for four games and was active but did not play in San   Francisco’s season finale.


Bender, who can play both guard and tackle, was a sixth-round draft choice by the Jets in 2007, the 177th overall selection. He participated in six special teams plays in two games that season. Bender was waived on Aug. 31, 2008 and signed to the Patriots’ practice squad the following day.


Bender played in 43 games with 31 starts at Nicholls State in Louisiana.


*The Giants-Redskins game was the most-watched Week 1 Sunday game on record with 25.1 million viewers (Nielsen average viewer records date back to 1987). It was also the most-watched sporting event since Super Bowl XLIII, attracting four million more viewers than Sunday night’s Green Bay-Chicago game, which was No. 2. Last Thursday’s season-opening game between Pittsburgh and Tennessee is third with 20.9 million viewers.


*George Martin will be honored with the Joe Morrison Giants Good Guy Award on Sunday, Oct. 18, during the annual Tim Mara Memorial Celebrity golf tournament at PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Martin played 14 seasons for the Giants as a starting defensive end and team captain. He was a key member of the Giants team that own Super Bowl XXI. Martin recorded 96 quarterback sacks and set an NFL record for most touchdowns by a defensive lineman with seven.

Martin made national headlines in 2007 and 2008 when he walked from the George Washington Bridge to San Diego to raise public awareness and more than $2 million for the first responders to the 9/11 attacks.

He is the fifth ex-Giant to be honored, joining Tucker Frederickson, Leonard Marshall, Ottis Anderson and Bill Parcells, who will present this year’s award to Martin. 

The Mara Memorial Golf and Celebrity auction party benefits The Cancer Alliance of Help and Hope of Palm Beach County.

For information on how to participate, contact Executive Director Joe Healy at



Normal In-Season Weekly Media Schedule



2:15-3:00 p.m. – Player Interviews

3:05 p.m. – Tom Coughlin, TPC Auditorium



No scheduled availability



11:00 a.m. – Tom Coughlin available, TPC Auditorium

11:35 a.m.-1:25 p.m. – Practice

1:40-2:25 p.m. – Player Interviews; Eli Manning Available

T.B.D. – Conference calls with opposing team



11:35 a.m.-1:25 p.m. – Practice

After Practice – Tom Coughlin available in TPC Field House

After Practice – Coordinator availability

1:40-2:25 p.m. – Player Interviews



11:15 a.m.-12:55 p.m. – Practice

After Practice – Tom Coughlin available in TPC Field House

1:15-2 p.m. – Player Interviews



No scheduled availability



Game Day



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