Super Summary: Wednesday morning roundup of Patriots/Giants coverage on WEEI.com
|02.01.12 at 7:16 am ET|
YES, THERE WAS SOME NEWS ON MEDIA DAY
— Whereas Gronkowski’s status for the game remains to be determined, the Patriots will feature a significant presence back on their line. Offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia told WEEI.com’s Chris Price that Sebastian Vollmer will be available for the Super Bowl. Even if Vollmer is available for just a few snaps, Scarnecchia added, his impact will be significant.
— Meanwhile, running back Stevan Ridley told WEEI.com’s Kirk Minihane that he “definitely” will be active for the Super Bowl after being an inactive in the AFC championship game, presumably for letting loose a couple of fumbles.
— There has not been a suggestion that Matt Light‘s availability for the Super Bowl is in question. He was, however, a no-show on Media Day due to a descent into the Hades of intestinal turmoil, as Mike Petraglia chronicles.
— Amidst all of the comings and goings, Christopher Price says that the Super Bowl ultimately will come down to the performance of the Patriots offensive line against the Giants defensive front. He breaks down that task here.
HOW DO YOU COUNT TO OCHO?
— The absurdity of Media Day has come and gone. There is a very strong chance that, with it, so, too, has the relevance of Chad Ochocinco to this Super Bowl.
Despite the fact that he did not have a podium, the Patriots’ wide receiver was surrounded by a throng of reporters and captivated the crowd with all kinds of interesting and sometimes contradictory comments. He said that being in the Super Bowl was a dream come true and dismissed the notion that the experience was bittersweet. But he also claimed that even a Super Bowl victory would not remove the frustration of the season.
Unanswered? Whether he will be a contributor on Sunday. Minihane says that these are the last days of Ochocinco in a Patriots uniform, and that no group hugs appear to be forthcoming on his way out the door.
THE MOUTH(S) THAT ROARED: NEW YORK AND THE GIANTS GO THE INFLAMMATORY ROUTE IN DISCUSSING THE PATRIOTS
— The Giants were heralded for leaving inconspicuously for the Super Bowl, their estimated crowd of 125 having (as compared to the 25,000 who sent off the Patriots from Gillette Stadium) somehow representing a sign of moral fortitude. Indeed, the Giants struck a self-congratulatory tone on the matter, with defensive end Justin Tuck offering an unflattering assessment of the Patriots’ pep rally.
— Deion Sanders put it on a tee and Victor Cruz couldn’t help but blast it out of the park. Sanders asked if Cruz and the Giants receivers could suppress their smiles while watching film of what Sanders characterized early and often as a pitiful Patriots secondary. Cruz acknowledged, “When you see one of their defensive backs is a wide receiver and he’s going to be potentially covering you, you automatically get excited and just understand that it’s not his natural position and you want to exploit that.” More on his comments, and Osi Umenyiora‘s “Get Well Soon” card to Matt Light, here. More on the Giants’ sense that their receiving corps presents a potentially significant advantage here.
— Cruz’s comments, incidentally, came after a Dennis & Callahan appearance that featured nary a whiff of controversy, and in which the Giants receiver came off as thoughtful and reflective while discussing his path from the obscurity of the UMass football program to a starring role with the NFC’s Super Bowl representative.
YOU CAN’T BURY THE PAST: SUPER BOWL XLII, REVISITED (CONT.)
— NFL Network analyst and former Patriots running back Heath Evans joined the Dennis & Callahan show to break down Super Bowl XLVI, yet his analysis of the Patriots’ missteps in Super Bowl XLII might have been more striking. With the benefit of hindsight, which Evans admitted was an unfair vantage point, Evans questioned whether a fatigued 18-0 Patriots team was afforded the proper rest both in practice and in a Saturday night team hotel that the running back recalled was one that thoroughly freaked out and/or distressed the players. A transcript of the interview is here; to listen to the interview, click here.
CITY OF BROTHERLY (AND FAMILY) LOVE
— Eli Manning offered a heart-warming story about the first football lessons he was offered by older brother Peyton Manning — with virtually criminal corporal punishment as a consequence of unlearned lessons. The idea that Peyton Manning was promoting the tobacco industry as a 10-year-old may qualify as the most unexpected revelation of this year’s Super Bowl.
— Pressed on the point at Media Day on Tuesday, Eli went out on a limb to suggest that Peyton is good.
— Peyton talked and said that, with apologies to Rob Lowe, he’s not retiring.
PENN STATE CAN WAIT: BILL O’BRIEN’S DAY
— Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien spent the day discussing the Patriots and pushing aside questions about the impending start of his position as head coach at Penn State, as Mike Petraglia noted.
— O’Brien broke down the challenge of game-planning for the Giants.