Packers-Giants: Player notes

Injury updates; news on individuals from both teams

GREEN BAY PACKERS
-- RB Ryan Grant, preparing to face his former team in the NFC Championship against the New York Giants on Sunday, had the seventh-best rushing total in a playoff game with 201 yards in the 42-20 win over Seattle in the divisional round Saturday. Grant was only 5 yards behind third-place Keith Lincoln of San Diego against Boston in the 1963 AFC Championship game.

-- QB Brett Favre, who had three scoring passes Saturday, extended his league playoff record to 17 straight games with a touchdown throw. Favre has 5,075 passing yards in the postseason, joining Joe Montana (5,772) as the only players in league history to achieve the 5,000-yard plateau.

-- WR Greg Jennings, making his postseason debut, was on the receiving end of two touchdown passes from Favre, tying Jennings for second place in team annals for a playoff game.

-- CB Will Blackmon is expected to start practicing again this week and has a good chance to be up for Sunday's game. Blackmon aggravated a right foot injury in the regular-season finale Dec. 30. He was held out of contact drills in practice last week and was deactivated Saturday for the divisional-round win over Seattle.

-- CB Tramon Williams filled in for Blackmon as the nickel back on defense and the punt returner Saturday. Williams graded out well for his play on defense, so he'll probably remain in the nickel role even if Blackmon can play Sunday.

NEW YORK GIANTS
-- QB Eli Manning, in a real and valid sense, is the "Last Man-ning Standing" now that older brother Peyton and the defending Super Bowl champion Colts have been eliminated. He smiled but had no comment. "I haven't talked to Peyton in a few days," he said. "I am really sorry that his team lost."

-- RB Brandon Jacobs allowed his running feud with Dallas WR Patrick Crayton to spill over after the emotional victory. "Maybe if he had caught those two easy passes that he dropped his team would have had a chance to win," said the 6-foot-4, 265-pounder.

-- TE Kevin Boss, a fifth-round draft pick this year, became the starter after Jeremy Shockey sustained a fractured fibula in December. Boss caught a crucial 19-yarder vs. Dallas, has blocked more than just acceptably well.

-- WR Steve Smith, the team's second-round draft pick this year, is becoming more and more of a factor in the passing offense as the season continues, making it more likely that last year's second-round wideout Sinorice Moss, might be somewhere else next season. Smith caught four for 48 yards, including a pair worth 33 yards in the Giants' dramatic TD drive late in the first half; Moss was, once again, on the game inactive list.

-- Veteran WR Amani Toomer finished off the Giants' first possession of the game with a 52-yard touchdown catch in which he broke a tackle attempt by RCB Anthony Henry; he later caught a 4-yarder for his second touchdown.

"I can't begin to describe the excitement I am feeling right now," Toomer said. "I have played for a long time (12 years with the Giants) and this is absolutely the best."

-- DE Michael Strahan, who just completed his 15th regular season, describes his holdout for the duration of summer camp in a novel manner.

"I was on assignment in California," he said.

The truth is that Strahan is playing better than at any time in the past three or four years. "I'm healthy and that's why," he said.

-- CB Corey Webster, who has experienced a rejuvenation of sorts in the playoffs, dropped a sure interception in the second quarter vs. Dallas.

"All I could see in front of me was an empty field and a touchdown," he said. "I think I started running for it before I caught the ball." It would have snuffed what turned out to be a 20-play, 90-yard, 10:28 Cowboys' drive that resulted in a touchdown and a 14-7 lead.

-- DE/DT Justin Tuck: "When we played the Packers in Week Two (a 35-13 Green Bay victory) we were two totally different teams than what we are now," he said. "We're both different. The Giants are much better and I think the Packers are, too. I'm excited about this game."

-- Several of the Giants applied needles to the "get your popcorn ready, this is going to be great entertainment" barb tossed at them by Dallas WR Terrell Owens."

Strahan, in fact, suggested that T.O. and the other talkative Cowboys, WR Patrick Crayton, "watch the game together in T.O.'s entertainment room. They can watch us play the Packers. Tell him we'll send over lots of popcorn."


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