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Justin Tuck believes Giants D is Super Bowl caliber

Posted Aug 5, 2016

Justin Tuck chats with Giants.com about the state of the current Giants defense: 

Justin Tuck was part of two Super Bowl championship defenses that got after the quarterback.

After seeing the 2016 team up close for the first time this week at training camp, the former defensive end, who will be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor this season, doesn’t see a reason why the Giants can’t get back to that level.

“I think that talent-wise … is just on par,” said Tuck, who finished his career sixth in franchise history in sacks and played alongside the No. 1 (Michael Strahan) and No. 4 (Osi Umenyiora) Giants on that list. “I think what we had in those years is just that veteran leadership, whether that be myself, Strahan and Osi and so forth. That was able to tie that all together.

“They’re still young, but if they’re able to get on the same page, there’s no reason why not. Everything is pretty much the same.  You’ve got [defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo] leading the troops. You’ve got two bookends. You’ve got run stuffers in themiddle. You’ve got good corners on the edges that can buy time and make plays out there as well.”

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The bookends he referred to are his old teammate Jason Pierre-Paul and newcomer Olivier Vernon, who was part of the Giants’ infusion of talent this offseason. Pierre-Paul is eighth in franchise history with 43 sacks -- 17.5 fewer than Tuck -- and already has a ring. Vernon is starting a new chapter in his career after playing high school, college, and professional football in Miami, where he recorded 29 sacks in four seasons with the Dolphins.

“Well, the talent speaks for itself,” Tuck said. “When you talk about the names they brought in, not only on D-line but just the defense in general, now these guys got to jell together. They’ve got to figure out what page they’re going to be on and just making sure that that page is the same page. And that’s when you see the genius that Coach Spags is and the things he can put in place and the things he can open up for that defense. So I’m excited about it. Training camp is the time for these guys to get on the same page and be the defense that I think they can be going forward.”

Having Eli Manning back for a 13th year doesn’t hurt the defense either. 

“Plus, you’ve got an offense that can put up points,” Tuck continued. “So they’re going to be in position to get after the quarterback. They’re going to be in the position to be in front and be the chasers as far as teams having to throw the ball to come back on you. So everything on paper is in line. Hopefully it all comes together.”

That’s priority No. 1 for first-year head coach Ben McAdoo, who took over for Tom Coughlin, Tuck’s old coach, in January.

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“I think he’s running a great ship,” Tuck said after watching practice from the sidelines. “I love how everything just seems to be organized. Everybody seems like they knew exactly what was expected, and I think that bodes well for him going forward.”