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Giants’ Jerry Reese Has Long Conversation with Justin Tuck Regarding His Play in 2012

February 25th, 2013 at 4:00 PM
By Paul Tierney

New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck was part of the problem in 2012. As a team captain and leader of the defensive line, Tuck failed to produce up to expectations last season. His four sacks were his lowest total since only playing six games in 2006. Tuck was only 29 years old last season; however, he played as if he was getting ready to retire in the near future. With the impending departure of Osi Umenyiora, the Giants needs Tuck to rebound and have a productive 2013 campaign.

'Justin Tuck: Calm Before the Storm.' photo (c) 2009, Heath Brandon - license:

Although Tuck was a key aspect of Big Blue's Super Bowl run in 2011, he's been unproductive for the majority of the past two seasons. He turned a corner prior to the final six games of 2011, but he only had five sacks on the year and 37 tackles. He followed that up this season with more unimpressive numbers, which has raised concerns about his future with the team. Recently, Tuck had a "long conversation" with general manager Jerry Reese about how he can improve for the upcoming 2013 season.

"Obviously, Justin hasn’t played as well as we think he can play and what kind of player he has shown to be in the past," Reese said. "And he knows that. Justin and I recently had a really long conversation and talked about some of those things, and he really wants to get back to the old Justin Tuck and be the player that we know him to be."

Talking about how poorly Justin Tuck has played is not going to make him a better pass rusher. However, on multiple occasions, Tuck has talked about how he has mentally psyched himself out and tried to do too much during games. That may be true, but the harsh reality is that Tuck is aging and has lost a step. He's a 29 year old defensive end who is still employing the same methods and techniques as he did when he was 26. That's a recipe for disaster.

After watching Tuck this year, he lacks the explosiveness to get around linemen after initial contact. After making initial contact, he was unable to make plays and force quarterbacks out of the pocket. He played with poor leverage and his body language was questionable at times. Earlier this February, at the Super Bowl in New Orleans, Tuck admitted that he was ineffective in 2012.

"I pressed," Tuck said. "I could just tell I was not allowing the game to come to me, trying to make plays when really, there wasn’t plays to be made. I know that sounds funny, but sometimes in plays, in certain calls and certain plays, your job is to make sure that nothing bad happens. It isn’t for you to have a sack or cause a fumble, whatever it may be."

The Giants need Justin Tuck to be productive in 2012. As a player entering a contract year, Tuck will have every incentive to rebound next season. The first step to becoming a contributing member of Big Blue's defense is for him to realize he's no longer the player he once was. He's not going to overpower offensive linemen anymore, and he's not fast enough to blaze past them off the line of scrimmage. Tuck is still athletic enough to play in the NFL, he just needs to find alternative methods in which to produce. If he doesn't, he will likely be wearing another uniform in 2014.


Tags: Football, Jerry Reese, Justin Tuck, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Osi Umenyiora

74 Responses to “Giants’ Jerry Reese Has Long Conversation with Justin Tuck Regarding His Play in 2012”

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  1.  LAFgoesON says:

    Seeing improvement in Tuck’s play won’t really take much, but I’m optimistic he’ll have a pretty good “rebound” year. When Tuck has good energy, I repeat WHEN, he’s still one of the best in the NFL on the left side of the line in my opinion. If not for anything else, I think the new young pups Reese will be brining in will motivate Tuck even more. Let’s hope Coughlin doesn’t make it too comfortable for Tuck and protect his “feelings” by letting him play through weeks of lows.

  2.  wlubake says:


    Tom Brady signs a contract that should make him a Patriot for life. Will have full details to you very shortly.


    Brady, in essence, has signed for three more seasons at less than half the going rate for star QBs–so the Patriots can spend on others.

  3.  KingAndrewXXIII says:

    @SI_PeterKing report. Brady gets 3-year, $27M deal. Clears $15m in cap space. Pats now have well over $30m next 2

    So essentially, Brady is making 9M a year on the extension (which is highway robbery for an All-Pro player…let alone a future HOF QB.) He figures he has made plenty of money and wants the rings now…and is willing to sacrifice some of his salary to make it happen. Would LOVE to see Eli make a move like this!

    •  LUZZ says:

      Also, remember Brady is married to a model that brings in about 30M a year. Eli isn’t in that position.

      •  Krow says:

        Eli would have to find some way to scrape by on the $100,000,000+ he’s made playing football.

        •  LUZZ says:

          none of these guys are scraping by, but that has never had anything to do with it. When was the last time you ever heard an athlete say”i’ve made enough, I will now play for 50% lass than I am worth”?

  4.  Krow says:

    I’m thinking that Brady has a guarantee of something after he retires within the Patriot organization. Vice President of All Things Football … or some such bullsh1t title … that keeps him around the game … and pays him a few million for life. Nothing in writing … just a handshake and a nod. It’s dirty, but it’s smart too. And the Pats have never worried about the rules.

  5.  Krow says:

    As for Tuck … I think this is in all practical considerations a ‘show me’ year. It’s his last on his current contract. He’s not killing us cap-wise. And I think at the end everyone will sit down and make a decision. If he has another mediocre season then I think he retires. If he recaptures his form and his enthusiasm then they happily sign an extension.

  6.  Krow says:

    The contracts for ‘franchise level QBs’ are team killers. As pointed out several times Eli alone is over 17% of our cap. That $20,000,000+ number is basically Nicks, Bennett, and Beatty combined. Of course you can’t blame guys for getting what they can get. But it’s damn hard to stay competitive when teams like Seattle, Frisco, and even Washington are paying a fraction of that for their QBs.

  7.  kujo says:

    Doesn’t Eli restructure every season?


    Then why the f-ck are some of your d-ckheads talking about him as though he’s gobbling up all this cap space? He can’t be restructured until the 2nd week of March, and the same goes for Rolle.

    •  KingAndrewXXIII says:

      You are right…Eli is a great team leader and always does his part. I think people just saw Brady do this and are excited at the thought of Eli making a similar move to help save as much money as possible to retain guys and work towards more championships.

      •  Krow says:

        It’s not insulting to say that Eli takes up a lot of our cap space. It happens to be an obvious fact. Now if someone was saying he doesn’t deserve his contract … that’s a different discussion.

        •  kujo says:

          No, but you and others are insinuating that going cheap on your QB is the way to win going forward, and point to the Seahawks, the 49ers and the Redskins as recent examples of this. They excelled (to a certain degree) because of two reasons:

          1) They are fortunate enough to have rookie and second year QBs performing well,
          2) The new salary prescriptions on the CBA that cap the amount of money rookies get paid in their 1st contract.

          You can bet your Twilight loving **** that Wilson, Kaepernick and Griffen (along with Luck) will BANK when that rookie deal expires, provided they continue to excel. And if those teams don’t pay them, someone else will. Why? Because that’s what happens when you play like the best–you get PAID.

          •  Krow says:

            The key to success in the NFL is cap management. There are a variety of strategies. One is to cycle rookie contracts through high priced positions … QB, CB, LOT, WR. Minimize at least some of the huge cap hits those positions entail. Quite a few of the playoff teams this year did that at QB. We actually did it at WR last year. But it’s the same principle.

            I don’t have to insinuate. If I thought Eli was overpaid … which I don’t … then I’d come out and say it. The trick is really to underpay guys … like we did with Cruz and Nicks and Beatty in winning the Superbowl last year.

            And yes, all the QBs you mentioned will be pulling Flacco’s when the time comes. Then their teams will be faced with a hard choice.

            •  kujo says:

              By “pulling Flacco’s,” you mean expecting to be paid more than an untested 21 year old after achieving 3-4 years worth of success and righting the ships of several recently wayward franchises?

              •  Krow says:

                Not exactly … I mean pulling in a contract so large that the team has to dump players they need to win to pay you, and thereby plunging themselves into mediocrity. I could have said “pulling a Drew”. Or pulling a “Mario Williams”. Or … or ….

                It’s life in the salary cap era. There’s no easy solution.

      •  kujo says:

        Brady is 5 years older than Eli. Talk to me when Eli is a few years away from the end of his career.

        Oh, and before the Brady suckfest starts, let’s just dispense with the bullsh*t: his contract is not the reason they haven’t won a championship since 2004. The fact is that Belicheck hasn’t added a single wide receiver of note and has allowed their defense to atrophy beyond recognition. Brady has been a beast, and his supporting cast has been WOEFUL. That’s not because of “cap space” issues. That’s because of poor drafting, constantly “outthinking” yourselves by trading your picks for future picks that you inevitably trade away for more future picks.

        Oh, and then there’s the whole “not cheating” anymore thing…

        •  kujo says:

          Sorry, Brady is 3 years older than Eli.

          •  KingAndrewXXIII says:

            Either way – Eli has reached the point in his career, both stature-wise and compensation-wise where he could afford to make a move like this. And, as Kujo has pointed out, he HAS done time and time again when asked to do so. But yes, as Kujo also mentioned, right now guys like Kaepernick, Wilson, RG3 and Luck are all BALLING…and with their cap-friendly numbers thanks to the new CBA…teams are able to build around them…but these guys, and a guy like Cam are going to get PAID once their contract is up. Look at a guy like Flacco – he is about to get 20M+ per year. If you think Luck/RG3 won’t be in that range when their contracts are close to expiring or do expire…I have got some land to sell you.

            •  Krow says:

              Very true. It’s just the way of things. But it’s tough to have that much invested in one position. Watch the Ravens implode this year.

              •  kujo says:

                The need to pay Flacco is not the only reason they will implode. Their team is replete with old(er) players who get paid LOTS of money. They haven’t drafted very well, just like the Patriots, and haven’t got a lot of real young talent around. That’s the major cap buster–when you are forced to pay big money to free agents because you haven’t been able to locate, draft and get production out of younger, cheaper players.

            •  kujo says:

              It’s not just QBs. EVERY SINGLE PLAYER wants more money when their rookie deal is up. That’s capitalism for ya (sorry, liberal giant).

              Krow is right–the trick is to pay the least you can for the best you can receive. It’s a tight-rope walk. But you, and others, hemming and hawing about Eli’s cap number are doing so in spite of the facts: he has restructured in the past, and will very likely to so in the near and distant future.

              So we can move on…

        •  Krow says:

          You’re getting into some sort of weird emotional spiral about Eli. I’m not bashing him. Just talking cap … and strategies to manage it. Control yourself.

          •  kujo says:

            Not talking about Eli. Just have a thing with how you know this story is going to be spun. “Tom Brady, Hero and Supermodel, Saves Team…So Selfless.”

            •  Krow says:

              Honestly, I’m not even thinking about Brady in this. I assume they’ve told him he’ll get an executive-for-life position after football. The Pats are dirtbags, and I could care less about them … except I hope they lose. It’s just that everything in the NFL now revolves around that effing cap.

              •  TroyThorne says:

                Who cares if they did? What’s “dirtbag” about taking care of the guy who turned your franchise into a dominant force anyway?

                •  kujo says:

                  Doubt very much Brady will do anything with the NFL once he’s done. Doesn’t strike me as the type. He’ll retire to a beach somewhere, or be a professional celebrity. Just watch.

                •  Krow says:

                  I’m speculating that there’s a deal to employ Tom after football. In a capacity that pays well … has little in the way of responsibility … and zero cap implication.

                  •  Krow says:

                    … and that this is part of his below market contract. In other words, the Patriots are cheating the cap.

                    Like if we agreed to make Victor Cruz a cheerleader after he retired … and would pay him $50,000,000 to cheer … off course right now he’d have to play for a very cap friendly dollar.

  8.  shmitty013 says:

    Did anyone see this BS about the Redskins threatening to go to court and issue an injunction on the league to delay Free Agency? It stems from that $36 million charge that they accrued from screwing around with the uncapped year. Here’s the article:

  9.  Dirt says:

    I’m waiting for the first NFL Ilya Kovalchuk deal (17 years, $102M). For all we know Brady may have already signed it, off the books.

    Or not. As much as I’ve always hated the Pats, I’ve always respected the hell out of Brady trying to win. This isn’t new, this below-the-market deal. He’s always played with below-the-market deals.

    On an unrelated note, Eli’s not going to do this, ever, so forget it.

    •  Dirt says:

      And let’s be very clear: Eli has never signed below-the-market deals or restructured to get less money – he’s simply restructured to convert salary to signing bonus. His current deal made him (at the time) the richest player in the league, and he still makes bank.

      Brady does OK, but not like Eli.

  10.  shmitty013 says:

    Bottom line, Eli makes what he deserves to make as an elite level QB in the NFL. Would I like to see him do what Tom Brady just did? You bet because it would seriously help us out cap wise and our whole debate of Nicks vs Cruz would become a moot point because we’d have no problem keeping both along with Beatty and Bennett. But am I gonna crucify Eli if he doesn’t do it? No, I’m happy as hell that he’s our QB because as long as we have him, we have a shot to win it all every year.

    •  kujo says:


      • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

        Eli will restructure again in mid-March. He can’t at the moment because the team has to wait one calendar year.

        •  kujo says:


          On a related note, Eli is not the reason we couldn’t resign Boss, Smith, Cofield, Manningham, Osi or anyone else that has exited the team since Eli signed his new contract.

      •  shmitty013 says:

        Dude you are getting way too bent outta shape about this. Did I say he’s the reason we can’t? No, I said if he did was Brady did, then whatever the reason is wouldn’t matter. Also, stop pretending like restructuring is some fabulously generous and thoughtful move. The players often like to do it because their salary gets converted to a signing bonus so they get the money upfront.

        •  kujo says:

          I never said it’s generous or thoughtful. I’m saying that Eli accepts a re-configuring of his annual salary in order to free up cap space so that the Giants can sign who they need to sign. In other words, he does exactly what you want him to do, only it won’t have the effect you think it will–we ain’t gonna be able to afford both Nicks and Cruz unless one or both are willing to forgo the Crazy Owner $$$ someone would throw at them.

          •  shmitty013 says:

            You’re right, restructuring probably wouldn’t allow it because while it helps now, it creates a larger cap number in the ensuing years. That’s why I said if he did was Brady did which is flatly take less money, it would make a difference. I didn’t say Eli is the reason we can’t sign both. And I’m not saying Eli should do what Brady did either. Also, we’ll see if someone really throws huge money at them. We all thought that would happen with Manningham, but it didn’t. And yeah yeah Cruz and Nicks are 10x the receiver that Manningham is. Ok fine, but it doesn’t mean both will have huge money thrown their way. If we can tell that Nicks is injury prone and Cruz is just a phenomenal slot receiver, but nowhere near as talented on the outside, other GMs will be able to do the same. They get paid to do that for a reason. We tend to overrate our own players, but we’ll see.

    •  Krow says:

      If Brady’s deal ends up being some backroom wink-and-a-nod agreement that kicks in after he retires then there’s no way Eli and the Giants could do it. Neither party would stoop to that level.

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