Thursday, September 30, 2004

Warner was once Favre's backup

By Michael Eisen,
Since becoming the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers in 1992, Brett Favre has had 11 backups who have gone on to start for other teams. Only one of those signal-callers has won a Super Bowl and the NFL Most Valuable Player Award.

That player is Kurt Warner, now the Giants’ starting quarterback. On Sunday, the two quarterbacks – who have played in four Super Bowls, won two Super Bowls and have five MVP awards between them – will share the spotlight when the Giants visit the Packers in Lambeau Field.

Warner’s first NFL experience was with the Packers in 1994. He signed with Green Bay as a free agent after being passed over in the draft following a career at Northern Iowa. After getting a look in training camp, Warner was released.

After leaving Green Bay, Warner did not resurface in the NFL again until St. Louis signed him after the 1997 season. The rest, as they say, is history. Warner became one of the greatest success stories in NFL history. In 1999, his first year as a starter, he was voted Most Valuable Player and led the Rams to a victory over Tennessee in Super Bowl XXXIV (Warner was also the game’s MVP). Two years later, he won the award again while leading St. Louis to another Super Bowl, which the Rams lost to New England.

The Giants signed Warner on June 2, a day after he was released by the Rams. With No. 1 draft choice Eli Manning waiting in the wings, Warner has led the Giants to a 2-1 start. Last week, he reached 15,000 passing yards in his 56th game, tying Dan Marino for the fewest games needed to reach that milestone.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Gaints Ready for Lound Mouth T.O.

"I just see myself as a guy that can come in and make some plays, and it’s not for me to say if I’m the missing link or not, but I definitely know my position on the team,” Owens said on a conference call. “I’m definitely here to try to win a Super Bowl, and that’s the stand that I’m taking right now. We’re going to take our first step toward that on Sunday.”

Not if the Giants can help it. They are not unfamiliar with Owens. In a Monday night game in 1998, Owens caught five passes for 140 yards, including a 79-yard touchdown in a 49ers victory over the Giants. Owens faced the Giants twice in 2002, catching four passes for 41 yards in a prime-time opener and nine for 177 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown on the Niners’ first play, in San Francisco’s comeback victory in an NFC Wild Card game.

When Tai Streets scored the winning touchdown with 1:05 left, Owens and Williams tangled and received offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. They went at it again after the 49ers’ unsuccessful two-point conversion attempt. Owens and Williams were flagged for unnecessary roughness, but the Giants’ safety was ejected from the game for throwing a punch.

Today, both players have matching recollections of that game.
“All I know is that we won. That’s it,” Owens said.

“I remember they won,” Williams said. “That’s the most frustrating part. We’re out here to win games. We’re not here to take out any personal grudges on anybody. We need to come away from this game with a win.”

To do that, they can’t let Owens dominate the game.

“I’m expecting him to be at the top of his game and to come out, especially in the opening game, and have a phenomenal game,” Williams said. “I know that’s his expectation and that’s what their fans want to see, that’s what their coaches want to see. It’s our job to prevent that from happening. It’s going to be a great challenge for us and we’re looking forward to it.”

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Jason Whittle returns to the Giants

The Giants sent an undisclosed draft choice to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to acquire guard Jason Whittle, who played for the Giants from 1998-2002. Whittle, 6-4, 305, played in 63 games with 19 starts for the Giants. He started all 14 games in which he played in 2002. On March 7, 2003, Whittle signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent. Last year, Whittle played in all 16 games for the Bucs and started the first five games at right guard.

In other roster moves, the Giants released kicker Bill Gramatica, offensive lineman Mike Saffer and defensive lineman Delbert Cowsette. Gramatica's departure leaves the kicking duties to Todd France, who has never kicked in an NFL regular season game.

With the moves, the Giants reached the NFL-mandated roster limit of 65 players. They also have six NFL Europe exemptions. Like all teams, they Giants must cut their active roster to 53 players by 4 p.m. Sunday, meaning they must release 18 players.