Strahan Frustrated With Defense; Tuck Answers Back

(ESPN) EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck is “upset” over former teammate Michael Strahan’s critique of the Giants in the wake of their 38-31 meltdown last Sunday against Philadelphia. Strahan, a Fox studio analyst, skewered the Giants after their collapse against the Eagles, calling his former team “soft and relaxed” during an interview on the Dan Patrick Show on Fox Sports Radio. Strahan added that the Giants “should be ashamed of themselves” after allowing Philadelphia to rebound from a 31-10 deficit with a little more than 8 minutes to go in the fourth. “I’m not ashamed and I don’t think anybody in this locker room should be ashamed,” Tuck said. “We played a great 52 minutes and it just wasn’t for us. Sometimes things happen and you have no explanation about it. And I don’t have any explanation. “I’m not making any excuses. We played like crap those last eight minutes, but I would never start saying things like that ain’t never happened to anybody else. I’m sure we lost a lot of games when Strahan was here too.” One reporter joked that the Giants were undefeated when Strahan was on the team. “You’re right. We didn’t lose not one,” Tuck replied facetiously. “He always sacked the quarterback every pass play, too.” “I’m not apologizing for that, they should be ashamed of themselves,” the Fox football analyst said. “You look at that game and wonder how it got out of hand for the Giants. They got soft and relaxed. They thought ‘We got it.’ With 8 minutes to go, they’re up by 21 and give up an easy touchdown to Brent Celek and all of a sudden the blitz’s looked like ‘whoever gets there gets there’ [lackadaisical] instead of ‘I’m going to make that play and not wait for someone to make that play.'”

Now I’m not going to take sides on this argument. Strahan is a Giants legend and has a right to express his frustration. He was embarrassed about how his former team performed, and as we all know, Strahan loves to speak his mind. But I also completely agree with Tuck on standing up for the defense. As much I love Strahan, this isn’t his defense anymore. Tuck controls the d-line and I have full trust in him that the defense will bounce back on Sunday. I also can recall countless games when Strahan was captain and the defense fell apart. In 2002, Giants fans will never forget the “game that shall not be named.” Or how about in 1997 when the Giants were up 19-2 in the fourth quarter against the Vikings on Wild Card Weekend…and blew it. This stuff happens. I always preach about the importance of momentum in the NFL. Strahan and Tuck both understand that importance.

Strahan’s comments aren’t even close to the unnecessary daggers Tiki Barber said back in the beginning of the 2007 season about Eli Manning. Those comments were personally directed toward Eli, which is one of the many reasons I have no more respect for Tiki. It seemed like Tiki was rooting for the Giants to fail after he retired. Strahan, on the other hand, didn’t stab anyone in the back. Expressing his anger about the game last Sunday is perfectly understandable. He is a true Giant who takes pride in the team’s success.

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