Edelman may have target on his back
INDIANAPOLIS - It seems that the Giants wide receivers are looking forward to seeing Julian Edelman line up opposite them. He is, after all, a converted wide receiver himself, someone forced into defensive duty by the Patriots injuries.
Mario Manningham, for one, wasn’t backing off his comments yesterday after saying earlier in the week he hoped to line up against Edelman.
“He plays wide receiver,’’ said Manningham. “He’s not a real defensive back. Did he get drafted as a defensive back?
“We have a little bond going on knowing that we can beat somebody. We’re confident. I hope he’s out there.’’
He wasn’t the only one. Victor Cruz made similar comments after being asked by Deion Sanders if he smiled when looking at the Patriots defensive backfield.
“You’re watching film and, just naturally, when you see one of their defensive backs is a wide receiver and he’s going to be potentially covering you, you automatically just get excited and just understand that that’s not his natural position and you want to do your best to exploit that,’’ Cruz said.
“Obviously as a receiver and as a competitor in general when you see a matchup you think you can exploit, you want to take advantage of it.’’
For his part, Edelman said he wasn’t concerned with Manningham’s comments.
Asked about opponents targeting him, he said, “You would think. But I don’t think I’ve had that many balls caught on me. Not to say that I’ve been doing such a great job, but the coaches have done a great job of helping me out with the scheme and preparing me each week on what I have to focus on.’’
Teammate Kyle Arrington backed him up, though he conceded that he was wary at the start of the experiment.
Asked what he thought at the time, Arrington said, “This should be interesting.’’
But the cornerback added, “But he’s done a great job. He’s out there throwing his body around and he’s a better tackler than I would have thought.
“A lot of credit has to go to him in order to take on all those roles. All that extra workload speaks a lot about a guy’s professionalism.’’
It was just one day earlier that Antrel Rolle had said he wasn’t going to guarantee victory. It had been suggested to the Giants safety that he was the most likely New York player to make such a statement.
“That’s not going to happen,’’ Rolle said.
So much for that.
Rolle told Newsday, “We’re going to win this thing . . . We’re going to take care of business, man,’’ but added that, again, he wasn’t guaranteeing victory.
Even his mother told Rolle that he might want to tone down his comments.
“Basically she just told me to be careful and that you don’t want to be labeled as the cancer or a guy who disrupts things around the locker room and things of that nature,’’ Rolle said. “She knows I’m not that kind of guy so, she’s just like, ‘Antrel, it’s not who you are, it’s who you’re portrayed out to be.’ ’’
Earlier in the week, Rolle had said, “We are expecting to win this game come Sunday.’’
Message to Matt
With Matt Light sick, Osi Umenyiora was asked if he had any well wishes for his rival, who missed yesterday’s Media Day. “Yeah,’’ Umenyiora said. “Matt Light, please get well soon. I hope to see you on Sunday. You are one of my greatest friends.’’ The two have fought twice on the field, so yes, there was a bit of sarcasm in those comments. “He just does all that extra pushing and tries to hit you over the pile and stuff like that,’’ Umenyiora said. “At the end of the day, I’m not paying any attention to that anymore. We’re just going to go out and play and that’s just going to be the end of it.’’ . . . Giants coach Tom Coughlin commented on the Hall of Fame candidacy of Bill Parcells, who is hoping to hear his name called this week. “Bill Parcells definitely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame,’’ said Coughlin. “You don’t need me to recite all his accomplishments.’’ . . . Cruz alternated between English and Spanish in his interview during Media Day. Cruz, who tweets photos from the locker room, said of social media, “It gives the fans a piece of you, you make yourself part of their lives. It plays a huge part in building your fan base.’’ Another way for Cruz to build his fan base? Like Rob Gronkowski’s “Gronked’’ T shirts, Cruz hinted that there might be some salsa dance shirts arriving soon. The wide receiver does a salsa step after scoring a touchdown.
Still a handful
Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck, who played in Super Bowl XLII against the Patriots, was more forthcoming than his Patriots counterparts when it came to Gronkowski’s ankle injury. “Hopefully that ankle hurts a little more than everyone expects it to and he is not as versatile as he has been,’’ Tuck said. “You talk about the talent that he is, he had probably the best year for a tight end ever.’’ Slowing down Gronkowski, even if he’s less than 100 percent, will be a tall task for the Giants. “It’s a team effort,’’ Tuck said. “We know how to play against him. Obviously, we got the opportunity to play against him to see what he is all about in Week 9 and he had a great game that game. If he plays - and regardless of what percentage he is - we will have some things in place to kind of have our best foot forward as far as stopping him.’’ Gronkowski had eight catches for 101 yards and a touchdown in the 24-20 loss to the Giants in Week 9.