DeSean Jackson (10) of the Philadelphia Eagles runs in the game winning touchdown on a punt return against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on December 19 2010 in East Rutherford New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

New York Giants Vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Giants Will Stick With Dodge

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Matt Dodge: Giants' Punter Has New Friends, New Enemies, Same Job He Had Sunday

It’s like this for New York Giants rookie punter Matt Dodge today. He has lots of angry Giants fans who hate him, including some who have suggested he best find his way into witness protection. He has new friends among Eagles fans, who would like to buy him dinner.

Most of all, though, he still has a job with the Giants. At least for today.

“I came in and my locker was still here. So that was good,” Dodge told reporters on Monday. “Stuff happens sometimes. And as much as I wanted to hit that out of bounds and give us a chance in overtime, it just didn’t work out.”

Apparently, Dodge does not have to worry about his job security. Giants coach Tom Coughlin told reporters as much this morning.

“I told him to get his dauber up. We’ve got to move on,” the coach said. “That’s over, you can’t do anything about it. You’ve got to figure out how to do the things I ask you to do. He’s no more to blame than me or anybody else.”

Dodge, a seventh-round pick from East Carolina, has had a wildly inconsistent rookie season. He has dropped two snaps from center, had a punt blocked, hit lots of long, booming punts and probably an equal number of awful, short line drive ones. He also lost his job as the team’s holder for placekicks. For the season, Dodge averages 45.3 yards per punt (ninth in the league), but just 34.6 net yards (30th in the league).


DeSean Jackson's Punt Return Sinks Giants, Makes History

After the New York Giants stunning meltdown in a 38-31 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Giants coach Tom Coughlin said “I’ve never been around anything like this in my life. It’s about as empty as you get to feel in this business, right there.”

Fact is, no one has ever been around anything like what happened at the end of the game. That is because before DeSean Jackson returned a Matt Dodge punt 65 yards to win the game for Philadelphia (10-4) as time expired no one had ever returned a punt for a game-winning score on the final play of a game.

“It wasn’t rocket science not to kick it to him with 12 seconds left, but sometimes you don’t execute as well as you’d like,” Dodge said. “Sometimes you try so hard to do something – get it out of bounds – and you just lose your head. And that’s kind of what happened.”

Jackson was not expecting to be given an opportunity to return the ball.

“It’s a blessing, it’s a dream come true. Actually sitting back there looking at 12 seconds right before the referee came back and put the extra two seconds on, not that it mattered or whatever but I’m just sitting back there and thinking to myself like ‘they’re really not going to kick it to me,’ " Jackson said. “t got to me and I fumbled it so I guess that kind of bought me some time to kind of set it up and do what I had to do.”

Giants safety Deon Grant said the blame should fall on a defense that failed to hold a 31-10 lead with eight minutes to go, not on the rookie punter.

“It should have never come down to him kicking the ball. So he doesn’t have any reason to hang his head. Point no fingers at him. It’s on the defense,” Grant said. “The score was 31-10, eight minutes left, it isn’t his fault. I don’t even know why you all are interviewing (him). You all should be up there on the defense.”


Shaun O'Hara Expects To Play Sunday For Giants

Pro Bowl center Shaun O’Hara, out the last six games with a Lisfranc sprain in his foot, expects to play on Sunday when the New York Giants host the Philadelphia Eagles with first place on the line in the NFC East. The Giants are officially listing him as questionable.

“He’s had good work and we’ll see,” said Giants coach Tom Coughlin. “We’re always looking at the next day to see how the guys recover.”

Provided O’Hara suffers no setbacks between now and Sunday he appears likely to start at center with Rich Seubert moving back to guard. With David Diehl having returned to the lineup at left tackle last week this will be the first time since early in the season that the original Giants starting offensive line will be together.

“I feel good. I feel relevant again, which is nice. I’m looking forward to being with my teammates and contributing,” O’Hara said. “don’t think I’d say I’m healed. I think it’s to the point now where I don’t know how much better it’s going to get and it’s just where we just have to go. I don’t think I can wait much longer. The season will be over. It’s now or never and I’ve been managing pain all year so it’s nothing new.”

Coughlin also said that reserve lineman Shawn Andrews practiced Friday and will be listed as questionable, as will linebacker Michael Boley and wide receiver Devin Thomas. Wide receiver Mario Manningham (hip) also practiced and Coughlin said he was “a little bit better.” He is listed as probable With Steve Smith out for the season Manningham will start Sunday opposite Hakeem Nicks.


Giants' Steve Smith To Have Knee Surgery Next Week

Steve Smith of the New York Giants has been placed on IR with a season-ending knee injury and will have surgery next week, according to published reports.

This does not sound like your run of the mill ordinary torn ligament knee surgery, either. Here is the explanation from the Star-Ledger’s Mike Garafolo:

The injury is on the non-weight bearing area of Smith’s knee. The damaged area is the posterior lateral femoral condyle. According to the person, It’s a complex procedure to repair the injury that will require mosaicplasty as well as some microfracture.

That adds up to a whole lot of big medical words that can’t mean very many good things for Smith’s knee. It won’t mean much good for his wallet, either. This is Smith’s contract year, and suffering this type of knee injury will certainly not put him in any sort of great bargaining position. I would expect the Giants keep Smith, the only receiver in franchise history with more than 100 catches in a season, just not at the dollar amount Smith thought he might be able to attain.

With Domenik Hixon also having had knee surgery, and Ramses Barden having broken an ankle, Giants receivers can do a whole lot of comparing scars when mini-camps roll around next season.

The Giants added tight end Jake Ballard from their practice squad to fill Smith’s spot on the 53-man roster.

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