ESM EXCLUSIVE: Justin Tuck comments on the 2021 New York Giants

The Big Blue legend spoke to ESM about the modern New York Giants’ endeavors as a showdown looms in Arlington.

As he proved over 11 NFL seasons…all but the final couple spent with the New York Giants…Justin Tuck is a man of many talents. For his next trick, Tuck hinted that he’d like to prove he’s capable of a skill many Twitter users have bestowed upon him.

Similar surnames have led some football-minded users to believe that Tuck is not only still an active NFL participant but is also making gridiron history: some have credited Justin Tucker’s league-record 66-yard field goal earned during Week 3 action to Tuck, apparently missing the final two letters attached to the Baltimore kicker.

Tuck believes he’s capable of such a triple…but he’s going to need some help.

“60-mile an hour wind behind me? Absolutely, I’d kick it,” Tuck told ESM with a smile.

Tuck returned to New Jersey this week for a charity golf tournament hosted by former New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia’s PitCCh In Foundation. The two-time Super Bowl champion was one of many New York legends, including former blue teammate Victor Cruz, ready to take a few swings at Alpine Country Club in Demarest, but the happenings of the current bearers of blue weren’t far from Tuck’s mind.

By the time Tuck hit the links, the Giants (1-3) were hours removed from their first win of the season, a 27-21 overtime triumph over the New Orleans Saints. Though New York has struggled in the early stages of the season, a prime opportunity to reinsert themselves into the NFL playoff conversation awaits in the later portions of this Sunday afternoon’s action in the form of a divisional showdown with the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox).

New york Giants, Justin Tuck, Michael Strahan
 Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

While the idea of the Giants’ win in New Orleans launching a playoff push is far-fetched to some, Tuck knows how one game can change the course of an NFL season: the 2007-08 Giants began the year with losses in their first two contests before erasing a two-possession deficit en route to victory in Washington. The Giants would wind up with 10 wins before shocking the world with their magical run to Super Bowl XLII, which yielded the first of two Super Bowl rings for Tuck.

Tuck felt it was hard to compare the modern Giants’ endeavor in the Big Easy to that fateful afternoon in Landover 14 years prior. He did, however, notice the missing ingredient on display against the Saints that allowed a struggling franchise to finally take a step forward.

“There is some measure of change that happened this week that wasn’t necessarily (there in) what happened weeks before that,” Tuck said. “The coaches and the players know what that is: that might be how they practice, that might be how they watch film, that might be just the thought process that they were going into this game with or kept throughout the game. In other games, they might have been like oh, we’re down again.”

“That mental capacity just decreased throughout the game. When they kept a level head and just said, listen, let’s just finish this in the fourth quarter you typically play well right?” Tuck continued. “I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but you know that team knows it, that coaching staff knows it, and hopefully we can find a way to recreate that weekend (in New Orleans) week in and week out.”

To Tuck’s point, the Giants trailed by as much as 11 last weekend against the Saints before ending the game with 17 unanswered points. It was the Giants’ first win after trailing by multiple possessions since September 2019.

Though Tuck won’t claim to know or understand the current mindset of the Giants’ players and coaches, he appears to have faith in what head coach Joe Judge is building. Tuck revealed that he has been in contact with Judge, who has called upon Big Blue alumni to assist in the current build.

“He wants us in the building, he wants us to be involved. He wants us to kind of continue to showcase what we did and the things that our players did, to have a successful team,” Tuck said of his relationship with Judge. “I think that’s smart on his behalf because we have a lot of knowledge. You think about the guys who’ve come before this team and the success that we had and the failures that we learn from. I think it’s important for us to kind of showcase that.”

“What you need to know about Joe Judge is that he’s a worker…He’s not going to get too high on the highs or too low on the lows. He’s going to go do his job every day and just become like that blue-collar coach that has normally had success with the Giants.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants: Justin Tuck raves about upgraded pass rush

New York Giants, Leonard Williams

The New York Giants finished the 2020 season with 40 total sacks, ranking 12th in the NFL in the category. With Carter Coughlin, a seventh-round draft pick from last season, and Jabaal Sheard, a practice squad player from Jacksonville, playing significant snaps in the absence of Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter, it was a miracle the Giants were so productive.

Thanks to a stout interior defense led by Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, and Dalvin Tomlinson, the Giants’ defense managed to hold themselves above water until this off-season, where management felt it was necessary to add several pass rush pieces.

They let Kyler Fackrell walk in free agency, electing to bring in Ifeadi Odenigbo, Ryan Anderson, Danny Shelton, and drafted Azeez Ojulari and Elerson Smith.

The Giants have historically built their defense through the trenches, and they seem to be returning to their roots, according to one former great, Justin Tuck.

“Over time, the Giants have always been known for their front seven. Now, that seems to be that calling card again. You have a lot of pieces of the puzzle that I would like to see go out this year and really make a name for themselves on that defensive line,” Tuck told Big Blue Kickoff Live this week.

The New York Giants are primed to take a step forward:

With several players entering their second year in Patrick Graham’s scheme, they should take a step forward and have more success in 2021. Aside from the experience in his system, they will have a full training camp and preseason to operate with, which should provide tremendous benefits.

“They should be even more comfortable in that scheme this year, play faster, play more confident,” Tuck said. “And that allows him to do more of those things to kind of free up some people or get some other people who might not necessarily be the pass rusher that Leonard is or that me, Osi [Umenyiora] and [Michael] Strahan were. But giving them some favorable matchups that they could win some opportunities there, that’s what I think will happen this year, especially when you think about the additions that we made in the secondary. All of this stuff goes hand in hand.

Graham loves to get creative with his scheme, playing cover-1 50% of the time in 2019 with the Miami Dolphins. The addition of Adoree Jackson and solidification of the secondary will only contribute toward the pass rush’s success.

“That’s one thing with Patrick Graham, it seems like he was really good at dialing up things where guys were put in one-on-one situations. At that point, you have to win. If you don’t win, then we need to do something else.”

Graham did a phenomenal job opening up opportunities for the Giants’ better players last season, considering Leonard Williams finished with 11.5 sacks and 62 total pressures. The acquisition of Ojulari should have an immediate impact, and if the Giants can piece together a solid outside linebacker core, they could increase their sack numbers to the 50 range next season.

New York Giants: Justin Tuck shows love to Tom Brady ahead of Super Bowl

New york Giants, Justin Tuck, Michael Strahan

The New York Giants aren’t playing in the Super Bowl, but there’s several names there that fans will recognize. Jason Pierre-Paul is back in the game with the Bucs, and his team’s quarterback is former Giants foe Tom Brady. For many, it might seem strange rooting for Tom Brady because JPP is on his team.

The rivalry between New York and Boston goes deep and Brady was the quarterback in the latter city for an entire era. The Giants went up against Brady in not one but two Super Bowls, only strengthening the rivalry between Patriots and Giants fans. However, there’s one former Giant that has come out and given high praise to Brady despite that rivalry.

Justin Tuck doesn’t praise quarterbacks often. He played defensive end and chased after them on the field, after all. He says that at times, it was even hard for him to like his own quarterback Eli Manning. But he told the New York Post that Brady is approaching greatest of all time status.

“So for me to say this is phenomenal in it’s own right. He’s the greatest football – he’s definitely the greatest quarterback of all time, and he’s approaching the greatest football player of all time. And he might already be there, considering how we judge our stars,” Tuck said.

He pointed out that Super Bowls and longevity are what we judge players on, and Brady is dominating in both categories.

Still, the Giants can say they’ve never been beaten by Brady in the Super Bowl and they defeated him not once but two times. And even as both teams move on from their previous quarterbacks, the Giants having Daniel Jones and the Patriots figuring out their next starter, those bragging rights still aren’t going away.

Khalil Mack References Justin Tuck as Mentor and Hall of Famer

New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Khalil Mack

Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack, who is preparing to face the New York Giants this Sunday, is one of the top players in the NFL at his position. In 2016, as a member of the Oakland Raiders he was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.

He is 29 now and he has shifted his focus to winning, rather than individual accolades.

“I want to do a lot individually,” said Mack, “but ultimately, when you think about the individual effort, that comes with winning. That’s the only thing I really care about, man, is winning, at this stage in my career, and getting to the ultimate goal at the end of the season. So I can’t really place too much focus on myself. ”

Mack has begun to mentor the younger players on the Bears’ defense.

“That’s another part that I’m learning, as I get old, to bring guys along,” said Mack. “That’s the biggest thing for me this year: Just leading by example and bringing guys along and winning. That’s pretty much it.”

Mack learned that skill from playing on a Raiders defense with Charles Woodson and former Giants captain Justin Tuck, two players who were named two of 14 first-year nominees for the 2021 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Thursday.

“Those guys, they let me know early on that time goes by, man,” said Mack, “and you can’t waste any time. It goes by fast. It goes by quicker than you think, and yeah, just knowing that you can’t waste any time You can’t waste any snaps. Every snap counts, and ultimately, winning is everything in this league. That’s the main focus.”

Woodson is a lock to get into Canton. If not on the first ballot, he’ll get in shortly thereafter. Tuck, on the other hand, may not get the call, but Mack believes both players are worthy in his eyes.

New York Giants Super Bowl Flashback: Justin Tuck’s Top Plays

There are some NFL players who save their best performances for the biggest games and moments. Former New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck is one of those players. Justin Tuck totaled 4 career Super Bowl sacks (2nd-most all-time), 2 from each game he played in (the only player with two multi-sack games in Super Bowl history). The Notre Dame alum was constantly in the face of Tom Brady during those two championship victories and is a major reason the Giants are four-time Super Bowl champions.

In honor of tonight’s big game, let’s take a look back at the Giants’ last two Super Bowl Victories. More specifically, let’s look at Justin Tuck’s top plays from Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI and celebrate his incredible performances that helped our team win two championships in the past twelve years.

Justin Tuck’s Top Super Bowl Plays and Moments:

I got a ring!

Justin Tuck’s iconic pregame speech ahead of Super Bowl XLVI was an inspiring challenge for the rest of the team to get themselves a ring, just like Tuck had done four years prior. Tuck, the captain of the defense, inspired his group to find out what it feels like to have a ring:

Justin’s legendary pregame speech also inspired this memorable postgame celebration song where the whole team sang out “I got a ring!”:

First-quarter safety:

The Giants were the first team to score in Super Bowl XLVI. But they did not score on offense. Instead, Justin Tuck hit Tom Brady in the end zone and forced him to throw to no one in particular. This was an intentional grounding penalty that awarded the Giants with a safety and 2 points since Tom threw the ball away while he was in the end zone.

Key third-down sack and signature bow:

All Giants fans should remember Justin Tuck’s signature sack celebration: the bow. The Tuck bow I remember most definitively is this one from Super Bowl XLVI:

Justin Tuck’s two sacks in Super Bowl XLII:

Super Bowl XLII will forever be one of the greatest defensive performances in Super Bowl history. The New York Giants shut down the Patriots’ historic 18-0 offense to pull off the ultimate upset and win the Giants’ third Super Bowl in franchise history.

From Giants fans everywhere, thank you, Justin Tuck, for being an ultimate New York Giant. We will never forget your historic Super Bowl performances and your legendary career. Go, Giants! Enjoy the game tonight, everyone!

Former New York Giants defender Justin Tuck Shows Appreciation for Navy Veteran

New york Giants, Justin Tuck, Michael Strahan

Ask any New York Giants player who one of the greatest men to wear blue was, and many of them will say, Justin Tuck, not just for his plays, but for the generosity and kindness he exudes off of the field.

Just recently, former Giant Justin Tuck sent a letter to United States Navy veteran Michael Cathcart, 34.  Cathcart was an avionics technician for the Navy, whose job was to ensure that pilots can perform their tasks and duties with their aircraft correctly by assisting from the ground.

Cathcart met his wife, a marine, who was also in the military while stationed in Miramar as part of Operation Freedom.  Just three months after his first child was born, Cathcart was deployed.  He felt devastated, leaving his bundle of joy, but thought that this made them have an unbreakable bond.  Cathcart also has a younger daughter and a son and loves spending time with them, dedicated to being a loving and supportive father.

Cathcart, a native of Bayonne, New Jersey, is a hometown hero and an avid New York Giants fan.  He says he was born into a family of Giants fans.  To honor Cathcart this upcoming Veteran’s Day, Tuck penned a letter thanking him for his service.  The letter reads”

“I wanted to send you a note personally thanking you for the years of service to our country as a member of the U.S. Navy.  The freedom our country enjoys is only possible because of the bravery, sacrifice, and selflessness shown by you and your fellow servicemen and women.  What I experienced on the field will never equate to what you experienced in combat.  I am thrilled to hear that your Sundays were filled with Giants football while you were deployed.  Without your service, there would be no football, no NFL, no game days-for that and a million other reasons, I say thank you!  I salute you and Happy Veteran’s Day!”

Sincerely, Justin Tuck

Go Giants, God Bless

Cathcart says Tuck is his all-time favorite player because he complimented the defensive line well and admires the work he does off of the field.  When they presented him with the letter, Cathcart was overwhelmed with Tuck’s kind words and appreciated Tuck’s support for the country and the military.

It truly does not get any classier than Tuck.  The simplest gesture made Cathcart’s day and brought a smile to everyone involved!

They say America is the “home of the free, because of the brave” and that is so true.  We thank Cathcart and all of the other men and women for their service this Veteran’s Day and every day!

Former New York Giant Tuck Will Always be a Great

Former defensive end for the New York Giants Justin Tuck was a robust player whose might and doughty plays made him a powerhouse for the team!  Tuck was not only an indomitable force on the field, but also made waves off the field!

When you think of a great leader, the first thing that should come to your mind is Tuck!  Whenever players may have been losing morale, Tuck was there to boost it!  Win, lose or tie, Tuck never let his valiance wane!

Tuck was truly a forced to be reckoned with when it came to the game of football, but off the field he was a gentle GIANT!  When the New York Giants announced he would no longer be with the team, in a classy move, Tuck took out a full page ad in the local New York newspaper thanking the New York Giants team, the organization and the fans!

Tuck never forgets his teammates and supports them through and through!  For instance, each year former New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin holds a gala honoring cancer patients and Tuck is there each and every single year!

Through his organization, Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for literacy, Tuck and his wonderful wife Lauran, have helped bring awareness to the reading by stressing the importance of literacy for all!

Tuck and Lauran have created a beautiful family!  They are amazing role models and inspiration to their sons Jayce and Jonah!  They show them what it is like to be classy, kind, giving people.  When it comes to being amazing parents, they give it their all!

Tuck gave the New York Giants two Super Bowls and countless plays, but in essence he gave us so much more than that!  Tuck is the epitome of grace and an embodiment of what it means to be a hero!  Tuck gave New York Giants fans nothing but class, which is why we will always have the utmost love and respect for him!

New York Giants: Justin Tuck raves about Dexter Lawrence in exclusive interview

New York Giants defensive lineman, Dexter Lawrence.

Former New York Giants head coach and current Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Tom Coughlin, held an exclusive event to promote his foundation. The Jay Foundation helps families battle childhood cancer and the struggles that accompany the terrible illness.

Coughlin has done fantastic work in the community as a leader and sponsor for families and individuals alike. Empire Sports Media had the privilege of attending the event and speaking with some of the attendees — including Pat Shurmur, Kevin Boothe, Nate Solder, and Justin Tuck.

The former Giants defensive end was excited about the Jay Fund and the people honored for their contributions, stating:

“If coach wants them to be honored here tonight than that speaks volumes on what they’ve been able to accomplish and what they’ve done as far as giving back and being there for cancer [patients],” Tuck gushed.

The nine-year NFL veteran was asked about the New York Giants defense, specifically about rookie interior defender Dexter Lawrence:

Q: “What do you see in Dexter Lawrence? How do you like the way he has played so far?”

A: “Listen, as a rookie playing interior d-line, especially in the 3-4, you’re gonna have some bumps and bruises,” Tuck said. “But I definitely see growth in him every game, I like him in there and I like his ability to be more than just a run-stuffer. He’s a huge kid to move, and he’s only going to get better,” Tuck chuckled. “I love his hands, I love his feet. We gotta talk, I’ve seen him, you know, be a little slow off the ball, but that comes with confidence, and the more he gets reps, the more he plays in this league, the more he will understand that he has all the time to be one of the best to do it at his position.”

So far this season, Lawrence has managed seven combined tackles, two QB hits, and one sack. His influence is gaining in every passing game, but there’s still a ton of potential to unlock, and like Tuck stated, experience is the catalyst behind his progression.

Lawrence’s ability to draw double-teams and move the line of scrimmage is his biggest asset, and undoubtedly something the Giants will look to utilize moving forward.

 

 

New York Giants Legend Justin Tuck Likes What He Sees In Rookie Dexter Lawrence

Former New York Giants head coaching legend Tom Coughlin held his annual Champions for Children Gala event in New York City on Friday night. The event honors cancer patients, philanthropists, and celebrities committed to tackling childhood cancer. Plenty of current and former New York Giants players and personnel were in attendance.

I was able to attend the event as a member of the press with Empire Sports Media and talk to former Giants defensive end  Justin Tuck. Tuck was inducted as a member of the Champions for Children Hall of Fame in 2018, so I asked him what he thought of this year’s group of inductees:

What Justin Had To Say About This Year’s Inductees:

“I think Coach Coughlin is a no-nonsense guy, so the people that you see on this dock here tonight obviously have done huge things in the community. Whether that be through cancer or whatever their causes are, if coach wants them to be honored here tonight, that speaks volumes to what they’ve been able to accomplish and what they’ve done as far as giving back and being there for cancer or whatever their causes are. I’m excited tonight, I know that we are honoring people who have made a difference for people who are less fortunate or having rough times, you know, they’ve made a difference in their lives so it’s good to honor those people and recognize their accomplishments in this space.”

Justin Tuck is as excellent off the field as he was on the field. Justin prioritizes giving back and making a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.

I was also able to talk a little bit about football with Justin Tuck last night. Knowing Tuck was a staple on the Giants’ defensive line for years, I was curious to know what he thinks of the Giants’ newest addition to the defensive line, rookie Dexter Lawrence II.

Justin Tuck Likes What He Sees In Dexter Lawrence:

“Listen, as a rookie playing interior d-line, you’re gonna have some bumps and bruises. But I definitely see growth in him every game. I like him in there and I like his ability to be more than just a run-stuffer. He’s a huge kid to move! And he’s only going to get better! I love his hands, I love his feet… We gotta talk because I’ve seen him, you know, be a little slow off the ball and some things like that but that comes with confidence. And the more he gets reps and the more he plays in this league and the more he understands and, you know, he has all the talent to be one of the best to do it at his position.”

Extremely high praise there from Justin Tuck regarding Big Dex! Justin and I are in agreement, Dexter has all the talent to be one of the best to do it at his position. It will be exciting to watch Dexter Lawrence progress throughout the rest of his rookie season.

Justin Tuck Offers Leadership Advice To Giants’ Landon Collins

New York Giants, Landon Collins

Immature and juvenile would be two descriptive words to break down the New York Giants in 2017. The organization fell apart at the seams and begun a whirlwind of degradation and humiliation. Since cornerback Eli Apple anonymously ripped the coaching staff and several players on the team, star safety Landon Collins has publicly addressed the situation, not always in a good light.

Collins is arguably the Giants’ best defensive player, making him the de-facto leader. His voice stands taller than the rest and echos through the locker room and media. After calling Apple a cancer in 2017, the media took hold of his words and begun to question his ability to lead in a positive light.

Giants legend offers advice to Collins:

Former defensive end for the Giants, Justin Tuck, offered support to the star safety, stating:

Being a leader is tough: You have to make fast decisions and be an outspoken person and you have to gain the respect of others so they will listen to you,” Collins told Ryan Dunleavy of nj.com. “It’s hard, but it’s a role I’ll always take heavy on my heart.”

 

Collins and Tuck have formed a great relationship over the years, which attests to the offering of advice as to how to be a successful leader. Tuck left the Giants in 2014, heading to the Oakland Raiders after enjoying two Super Bowls with Big Blue.

He’s one of the guys you want to groom to be that guy because he is one of the best players. As time has evolved, he did it kind of how I did it: Slowly putting himself in those situations. I’ve told him he needs to be that guy.”

Collins will look to change the course of the Giants in 2018, as they finished last season with the 26th ranked run-stop defense. After breaking his arm, Collins has returned to full activity- a second required surgery set him back several weeks in his physical therapy.

Look for Collins to play a major role on a James Bettcher defense that heavily relies on blitzing and shooting the gap. As a strong safety, he will play closer to the line of scrimmage and be a primary factor in stopping the run.