|Giants CB Prince Amukara says he needs to be more physical in his game. (US Presswire)|
Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara drew a “hands to the face” penalty in Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Browns, and admitted on Monday that he should have been “more physical” and “a little quicker” with his reads.
But even if Amukamara was right, and he could have improved several things against the Browns, he and the rest of the Giants secondary played well enough to win.
However, that might not be the case in San Francisco this Sunday. 49ers quarterback Alex Smith was 18 of 24 for 303 yards in Sunday’s 45-3 win over the Buffalo Bills and he's been blessed with a bevy of targets, including Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, Kyle Williams and one of the heroes of Super Bowl XLVI, former Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham.
“He was a great player for us when he was here,” Amukamara said, adding that he’s heard that Manningham is “already talking.”
Amukamara immediately seemed to realize that he said too much.
When asked how he heard that Manningham was talking trash about playing the Giants, the second-year cornerback just smiled and said, “just from a friend.”
And when asked what Manningham had said, Amukamara tried to deadpan.
“Just that he’s excited to play us.”
It was the next question (“he didn’t say that, did he?”) that broke Amukamara.
“Did I have that written on my face?” he laughed.
So we don’t know what Manningham said, if anything, and we don’t know who reported the message to Amukamara.
We do know that these teams don’t like each other (the 49ers beat the Giants at Candlestick, 27-20 in Week 10 last year, but lost the NFC Title Game, 20-17 in overtime), so Sunday should be entertaining regardless of whether Manningham and Amukamara are jawing with each other.
Injury news trickles in: Giants wide receiver Ramses Barden (concussion) has been cleared to return to practice, coach Tom Coughlin told the media on Monday, but the news wasn’t as definite for running back Andre Brown.
Coughlin didn’t have any news about Brown, who suffered a concussion on a kick return in the Giants’ Week 5 win, other than to say “He’s not 100 percent, that’s obvious.”
TE Martellus Bennett went down with a hyper-extended knee on Sunday, but was able to return to the game. Coughlin said he hopes the injury isn’t an issue, adding that Bennett continues to be evaluated.
Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks had an MRI on his troublesome left knee, but again, Coughlin didn’t have any details on the results (he did confirm that Nicks has two knees, which wasn't helpful).
Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard sat out Sunday because of a quad issue, but he says there’s a chance he could return to practice this week. If nothing else, the veteran said the injury definitely feels better.
Defensive tackle Chris Canty (PUP) said his surgically repaired knee is better and he feels physically ready to return to the field now. He’s not eligible to return until Week 7, although the Giants could potentially wait a few weeks.
Buoying Canty’s confidence is the fact that he’s lost “10 to 15” pounds, which reduces the pressure on his knee.
Canty said he felt better in training camp than he did playing at the end of last season, and feels even better now. In other words, he’s ready to return. Now it’s up to the Giants.
“I don’t know what it was, but we need to build on that and we need to continue to do that,” center David Baas said.
Bradshaw ran the ball 30 times, which was largely a product of Brown’s concussion, but Coughlin said he has more confidence in Wilson going forward.
“He had two good runs,” Coughlin said of Wilson’s two-carry, 44-yard, one-touchdown performance. “One was a solid, physical run. The other one he burst through some arm tackles and ran into the end zone. The ability to bring him along has been first and foremost in our mind, as well as making sure Andre had a chance for a bigger contribution than he did the week before, but when pressed into this situation yesterday, Ahmad rose up and did an outstanding job.”
Coughlin said Bradshaw congratulated the offensive line as soon as they entered the locker room after Sunday’s game. Coughlin also credited the wide receivers, tight ends and fullback Henry Hynoski for a solid blocking performance as well.
Keep in mind, the 49ers rank seventh in run defense.
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