Scarlet Fever…Catch it – Rutgers has finally built a nice team. Like many, we always wondered what…
"We've started to get our legs and we've worked things out when we had problems with our scheme," Barber said. "We've always found a way to find the open lanes, and that's a testament to the coaching staff, to the offensive line and to me having the patience to wait for it. It's been fun."
Heading into the Texans tilt, Barber was the NFL's leading rusher with 715 yards. He was third in the league in yards from scrimmage with 957 and tied for first in first downs, with 50.
"I think we're in a groove," Barber said. "We're lucky, because we have a continuity from previous years. It's just a matter of getting used to the physical nature of the game again. Once we do that, the groove kind of falls into place. It just feels natural."
"Tiki is one of the top players in the league," QB Eli Manning said. "He's proven that, his ability to run the ball and make big plays and to step up when we need (him) to is unbelievable. He's a guy we have to get involved in the game. He's part of our game plan – get him the ball, get him his carries, because when he's at his best and running the ball and getting the ball in his hands a lot, that's when we're at our best as an offense."
This is Barber's third Player of the Month award. He was also honored in November 2002 and December 2005. It is the sixth time a Giant has received the award. Phil Simms won in December 1986, David Meggett in September 1994 and Kerry Collins in December 2002.
Veteran LB added
The Giants signed linebacker Chris Claiborne, an eight-year veteran who has previously played for Detroit, Minnesota and St. Louis. He has played in 108 games with 89 starts and has totaled 399 tackles, 13 sacks and eight interceptions.
He started seven of 14 games with the Rams last season and had 49 tackles and a half-sack before going on injured reserve.
"I have to learn the defense first," Claiborne said. "They've already established themselves this year. I just want to help, get in there and make plays."
Claiborne, 6-3, 259, was a first-round draft choice (ninth overall selection) by the Detroit Lions in 1999. Claiborne played four seasons in Detroit, appearing in 63 games with 58 starts. He signed with the Minnesota Vikings as an unrestricted free agent on March 24, 2003 and started all 24 games in which he played in two seasons.
A unanimous All-America at the University of Southern California, Claiborne became the first player in school history to win the Butkus Award, given to the nation's best linebacker.
Goddard a goner
To make room on the roster for Claiborne, New York waived offensive tackle Na'shan Goddard, who was inactive for all seven games this season. The 6-5, 315-pounder made the roster as a rookie free agent from South Carolina, where he played center, guard and tackle for the Gamecocks.
The Giants also made a move on their practice squad, waiving cornerback Dennis Davis and signing offensive lineman Todd Londot.
Davis, a product of Georgia Tech, was signed to the practice squad last week, when LaVar Arrington was placed on injured reserve and Adrian Awasom was signed off the practice squad.
The Giants originally signed the 6-5, 301-pound Londot on May 13. He was with the team in training camp and was waived on Sept. 2. Londot started 46 games at Miami of Ohio.
Long road back
Linebacker LaVar Arrington had surgery Oct. 27 to repair the left Achilles' tendon he tore in Dallas.
"He did very well," Coughlin said. "I talked with him on a couple of occasions. He's very interested in what's going on with the team. He wanted to come to the (Bucs) game and they decided that wasn't such a good idea, but they feel good about the surgery."
Coughlin said he was unsure exactly the timetable for Arrington's return.
"That would be something that I'd have to ask specifically how long the recuperation process and rehabilitation process is," he said. "I can't quote you that."
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the six combined points New York allowed in back-to-back home victories over Washington and Tampa Bay is the fewest allowed in consecutive home games since Nov. 1 and 8, 1959, when the Giants defeated Green Bay (20-3) and the Chicago Cardinals (9-3). This is the first time Big Blue did not surrender a touchdown in each of two consecutive home games since Nov. 11 and 25, 1979, when they defeated Atlanta (24-3) and Washington (14-6).
Eli takes the prize
The Tampa Bay game was Eli Manning's 30th NFL start. Here are the 30-game records of the NFL's three Mannings:
Heisman back in town
The visit by the Houston Texans brought with it a return to Giants Stadium by former first-round pick Ron Dayne, whose career never unfolded as planned with the Giants – or the Broncos or Texans, for that matter. However, Texans coach Gary Kubiak had nothing but positive things to say about Dayne.
"He played quite a bit for us early in the season," Kubiak said. "We picked him up late, right before the season started. He knew what we were doing offensively, because he had been with me before. He did play quite a bit."
Kubiak added that Dayne's injured foot has slowed him down some.
"Right now with us, he's kind of just coming out of training camp," he said. "In Denver, he missed the majority of training camp with a turf toe. When we did pick him up, I don't think he was 100 percent. We've battled that still for a few weeks, but I think he's starting to be 100 percent. Ronnie is a fine football player. He's a big load to tackle."
Will P sighting
Former Giants cornerback Will Peterson has changed his name to William James and signed a one-year contract with the Eagles.
"For a long time, I would say about two years, I've been thinking about the name change, William James," he told the team's official website. "A lot of times you grow up with the values and the traditions and the cultures of your parents and the people we're surrounded by in our community and you gain a certain mind state. William James represents a change in that mind state. It represents a personal switch that reflects me and reflects my values."
Twice during last week's game coverage, yours truly dropped the ball by stating that both Tiki Barber and Eli Manning and the passing offense couldn't get untracked. Many thanks to close buddy Chris McWilliams of Westford, Mass. who pointed out the error of my ways. Of course, the word untracked means "off the rails," while on track, the correct usage, means "on course" or "as planned."
Here's hoping that not only the Giants offense but your trusty TGI editor as well continue along "on track."
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