POSTED: Thursday November 19th 2009

Giants Notebook, November 18, 2009

By Michael Eisen

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Michael Boley has nothing against reunions, but he would look forward to his get-together with former colleagues this week if he was in a more favorable position.


The Giants will host the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in a battle of 5-4 NFC playoff contenders. Boley played his first four pro seasons in Atlanta before joining the Giants as a free agent on Feb. 28. After practice today, Boley was surrounded at his locker by reporters looking for a revenge/“are you excited to face your old teammates” angle for their stories. But the Giants’ four-game losing streak has given Boley another focus.


“I am looking forward to it because it’s the next game,” Boley said. “It would be easier to say, ‘Okay, I’m looking forward to playing Atlanta’ if we had not lost four in row. Right now it’s about winning this next game, period, regardless of who it is.”


It doesn’t help that Boley has to face his ex-teammates in the midst of a season that has not matched his expectations. Boley has played in only four of the Giants’ nine games. He missed all of training camp and the preseason after undergoing surgery in June to repair a torn labrum in his hip. Then he was suspended for the season opener by the NFL. Boley started at weakside linebacker for the Giants’ three-victory road trip in September and October and was just hitting his groove when a second surgery – for torn knee cartilage – knocked him out of four more games.


Boley returned for the 21-20 loss to San Diego two weeks ago and had seven solo tackles. But neither he nor Coach Tom Coughlin – who said Boley was “rusty” - thought he was at the top of his game.


“He is going to be better,” Coughlin said. “He has had that one game and he has practiced. And I expect that he will be very similar in the way that he advanced when he came back to us prior to this experience.”


Boley agreed with Coughlin’s sentiment that he can play much better.


“I felt like I wasn’t in tune with everybody else,” Boley said. “I think that they were clicking a little bit faster then I was. I’m back now. … Coming back from a knee injury is tough.”


Boley spent the bye week resting his knee and studying tape. The team reconvened on Monday and began focusing on the game today, which gave Boley a chance to contribute insights to the Falcons.


“I spoke to a couple coaches about some players,” he said. “The way they play the game, the way guys do certain things. Just like they do their scouting report on us. I am sure the coaches over there are saying things about me because they were able to see me every day last year.”


Boley doesn’t know what the Falcons are saying about him, nor is he particularly interested. A fifth-round draft choice in 2005, Boley played in all 64 regular season games with 53 starts in his four seasons in Atlanta. He totaled 363 tackles for the Falcons. But he fell out of favor with then first-year coach Mike Smith last season and was removed from the starting lineup (though he recaptured it for the Falcons’ postseason game).


“Michael Boley, I thought, played very well for us last year,” Smith said on a conference call today. “When you are building a roster, decisions have to be made, and they are made from both sides. He was a free agent and he chose to test the market. Michael, I think, is a very athletic linebacker that has been very productive in his time here in Atlanta. I don’t see any reason why he won’t be productive there in New York. When he has had an opportunity, when I have seen him on film, he looks like the athletic Michael Boley that we had here.”


When the Falcons’ 2008 season ended with a loss at Arizona in an NFC Wild Card Game, Boley was certain his tenure in Atlanta had come to an end.


“I knew I was gone,” he said. “A lot of things happened over the course of last year while I was there. It’s a business, we all know that as players. In tough times you can always see things that happen and the way they happen, I knew I wouldn’t be there.


“My first couple years there I thought I could be there for awhile. Things that happened last year I just knew that there was a chance I wouldn’t be there any longer.”


Given his history, will Boley bring more fire to the field on Sunday? Coughlin said playing the Falcons “will probably get (Boley’s) attention.” But Boley’s motivation comes from his desire to help the Giants get a victory and not to enjoy revenge against his former team.


“My philosophy is you can’t look at the game and say I am going to be more pumped up for this game than another game, because then you are going to try and do too much,” he said. “When you try to do too much you get way out of your element and things go wrong for you.”


*Cornerback Aaron Ross was limited in practice, but it seems more likely that he will make his season debut against Atlanta. Ross has not played all year because of a hamstring injury but has been on the field and passed every test thus far.


“I feel really good today, happy to be out there, so I’m excited,” Ross said. “If I am healthy all the way up until Sunday, I will be out there.” Ross added that he felt good because “I have about three months saved up in me.”


Coughlin remained cautious in assessing Ross.


“We are just trying to bring him along and give him more opportunities and trying to take off the straps of any kind of limitations that are there,” the head coach said. “It is his job to prove to us that there are no limitations. So right now he is still limited. And we go from there.”


Ross said he is trying to prove to the coaches he is ready to play.


“I am out there begging coach to let me get more snaps,” Ross said. “They are doing a great job of holding me back so I won’t hurt myself again.


“Last Wednesday I felt really rusty. Monday I felt good and today I felt really good.”


So what role will he play on Sunday?


“I really have no idea,” Ross said. “Right now they are working me in and trying to see how my leg holds up. So I don’t know if I am going to be a nickel, dime. I am just waiting for them to call number 31 out there.”


*Ahmad Bradshaw (ankle/foot) was the only Giant not to practice today. Aside from Bradshaw and Ross, the only other player on the injury report was Eli Manning, who practiced fully and who said Monday that his foot is “not an issue.”


Five Falcons did not practice, including three starters: running back Michael Turner (ankle) and wide receiver Roddy White (knee) and safety Erik Coleman (knee). Also sidelined were running back Jeroius Norwood (hip) and receiver Brian Finneran (knee).


Left tackle Sam Baker (ankle) was limited.


*The Giants’ series with the Falcons is unusual, because the visiting team has won the last 12 games, the longest such streak in NFL history. The last victory by a home team in the series was 30 years ago, on Nov. 11, 1979, a 24-3 Giants triumph in Giants Stadium. Since then, the Giants have lost five successive home games to the Falcons, including defeats in 2002, 2003 and 2004. The last of those defeats was a 14-10 decision on Nov. 21, 2004, when Eli Manning made his first NFL start in a 14-10 Falcons victory. The Giants are 1-5 overall against the Falcons in Giants Stadium. They won the two most recent meetings in Atlanta, 27-14 on Oct. 15, 2006 and 31-10 exactly a year later. Atlanta leads the series, 10-9.


*The Giants will host their 13th annual food drive when they host the Falcons on Sunday. Fans are encouraged to bring canned or non-perishable food to Community FoodBank of New Jersey trucks parked at each entrance to the stadium. All collected food will be donated to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, a division of America’s Second Harvest, who will then distribute it to local food banks in the area.






            Wednesday (11/18)


Pos.     Player                          Injury



Did Not Participate in Practice

Pos.     Player                          Injury

RB       Ahmad Bradshaw       Ankle/Foot


Limited Participation in Practice

Pos.     Player                          Injury

CB       Aaron Ross                 Hamstring


Full Participation in Practice

Pos.     Player                          Injury

QB      Eli Manning                Foot





Wednesday (11/18)


Pos.     Player                          Injury



Did Not Participate in Practice

Pos.     Player                          Injury

S          Erik Coleman              Knee

WR      Brian Finneran            Knee

RB       Jerious Norwood         Hip

RB       Michael Turner            Ankle

WR      Roddy White              Knee


Limited Participation in Practice

Pos.     Player                          Injury

T          Sam Baker                   Ankle


Full Participation in Practice

Pos.     Player                          Injury




Limited Participation (LP) = less than 100% of a player’s normal repetitions


Full Participation (FP) = 100% of a player’s normal repetitions


Did Not Participate in Practice (DNP)


Out = definitely will not play


Doubtful = at least 75% chance will not play


Questionable = 50-50 chance will not play


Probable = virtual certainty will be available for normal duty



Giants Media Schedule


Thursday, Nov. 19

11:35 a.m.-1:25 p.m. – Practice

After Practice—Tom Coughlin available in TPC Field House

After Practice—Coordinators available

1:40-2:25 p.m.—Players available


Friday, Nov. 20

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


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Keywords · New York Giants · Atlanta Falcons · NFL · football

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