Last Sunday, Giants DE Osi Umenyiora questioned his future with the Giants before quickly clamping up and leaving the locker room without elaborating. On Wednesday, he took the time to clarify his statements, but didn't back down from his original sentiments that his limited role as a third-down player cannot continue.
"I think given the fact that it was the last game at Giants Stadium, all the things our predecessors have done there and all the things we've done there as a team and that I've done there as a player, to see us play like that and not being able to go out there and help them play as much as I'd like definitely made me angry," he said.
This season Umenyiora has 40 tackles and seven sacks, but more importantly, he has struggled against the run so much so that he was removed from the starting lineup after Denver had its way against the Giants on Thanksgiving night.
"I think I had a bad game against Denver — a bad quarter against Denver — aand things kind of snowballed from there," he said. "In reality who on this team has played excellent every single game? People are saying I can't play the run — that's absolute ‘BS' because I can, and the film is there to prove it."
There have also been signs of discord between Umenyiora and defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan. Earlier in the season, the two had a brief falling out which resulted in Umenyiora storming out of the Giants' facility after he took exception to criticism by Sheridan.
"I can't take shots at Bill; it's his first year as defensive coordinator and he's done an admirable job in my book," Umenyiora said, adding, "I hope he doesn't get fired."
However, Umenyiora insists that his situation needs to change. "I feel like making the amount of money I am, and then just coming in on third down and being chip-blocked 90 percent of the time, I just don't think that they can continue to pay me just to do that," he said.
"I love this place and I love this organization. I'm all in, but I think I'm too good of a player for this situation."
With DE Justin Tuck questionable with a knee injury, it will be interesting to see Umenyiora's role against the Vikings.
PRO BOWL GIANTS
Despite their disappointing season, the Giants will be represented in this year's Pro Bowl.
C Shaun O'Hara was voted to the team as a backup, the only member of the Giants to make the NFC squad on the first pass. This is O'Hara's second Pro Bowl appearance; he was voted as a backup on last year's squad.
O'Hara becomes the first Giants player to be voted to back-to-back Pro Bowls since Tiki Barber and Jeremy Shockey in 2005-06. He is the first Giants offensive lineman to go in consecutive seasons since guard Ron Stone in 2000 and 2001 and the team's first center since Bart Oates in 1990 and 1991.
"I couldn't have done it without the guys next to me — Rich (Seubert), and Chris (Snee) and Dave (Diehl) and Kareem (McKenzie) — and without my whole unit," O'Hara said. "In addition to them, (offensive line coach) Pat Flaherty has been instrumental in my development as a player."
LT Diehl, WR Steve Smith, and RG Snee were voted as first alternates. Smith has posted his best year as a pro, ranking at or near the top of the league in several receiving categories, including third-down receptions (first with 37 catches for 450 yards); total receptions (third in the NFL and first in the NFC with 97); and receiving yards (ninth in the NFL with 1,163).
However, with guys like Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald, Dallas' Miles Austin, and Minnesota's Sidney Rice not only ahead of him in receiving yards but also part of playoff-bound teams, Smith was lost in the shuffle as the Giants' streak of not having a receiver voted to the Pro Bowl since 1968 (Homer Jones) continues.
Snee's failure to make this year's Pro Bowl squad comes as a bit of a surprise given his consistency this season. Snee was a starter in last year's Pro Bowl, one of seven Giants who participated in the game.
WR Domenik Hixon as a return specialist, and DE Justin Tuck were voted in as third alternates. Finally, QB Eli Manning, who is having his best season as a pro, was voted in as a fourth alternate.
Because of the game's timing — it will be played the week before the Super Bowl, which means the two Super bowl participants will not be able to send their players to the Pro Bowl — alternates are expected to play a bigger role in filling out the final rosters.
Giants dealing with defensive discord
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