*STATEMENT: Steve Weatherford will make the Pro Bowl in 2012.
*EISEN: Fiction - Nothing against Weatherford, who I think is a terrific punter, but it's very hard for a Giants player at that position to make the Pro Bowl. It's not easy to post big numbers in cold weather an high, swirling winds. The Giants this year have a late bye (Nov. 18). They return to action with a night game at home, a night game in Washington and a 4:15 home game. It's doubtful those games will be played n conditions conducive to big punting numbers. And those will be the games played immediately prior to the Pro Bowl voting.
SCHMEELK: Fiction - Unfortunately, when Pro Bowl votes occur people look at things like gross punt average and things like that. That isn't Steve Weatherford's strength. He's much better at directional punting and placing the ball where it needs to go. A lot of times those things aren't reflected in statistics and are often overlooked. So Steve might very well have a Pro Bowl worthy season, but I don't think the voters will be sophisticated enough to see it.
SALOMONE: Fiction - With the team's history, Giants fans know the importance of special teams and won't soon forget the role of Steve Weatherford in the Super Bowl run. However, his value – and the way he is now used – doesn't necessarily equate to flashy numbers. Last year (and seasons before), he finished in the middle of the pack in net and gross punting averages. Yes, in 2010 he tied an NFL record with punts inside the 20 and that's a tangible number that could someday earn him a Pro Bowl selection. But as All-Star teams go, if he hasn't cracked it in six seasons, it will be hard to do so now.
STATEMENT: Keith Rivers will start at least 12 games for the Giants in 2012.
EISEN: Fiction - Unless Rivers becomes the starting linebacker, I think that number is too high. Michael Boley and Mathias Kiwanuka have the outside spots locked up. The middle linebacker position is up for grabs, but I can't say with certainty that Rivers will even play there or he will play enough to start 75 percent of the games.
SCHMEELK: Fiction - The sad truth is that Keith Rivers has simply not been able to stay healthy since being a first round pick of the Bengals. He has the talent to be a starter in this league, but until he proves that he can get on the field, I have trouble predicting he will start 12 games. Put on top of that he is blocked at his natural position on the weakside by Michael Boley, and he will have to learn to play the middle and outplay Chase Blackburn top start there. I think 12 is a little high.
SALOMONE: Fact - Injuries are bad. Being tagged with an injury-prone label is even worse. But when Keith Rivers has been healthy, he's utilized on the field. It's probably a reach to say he'll start 12 games with the Giants this season as the outside spots are locked up, but if there's anything Perry Fewell does best, it's making sure talent – like Rivers' – finds the field.
STATEMENT: The Giants will look to add a veteran RB before training camp.
EISEN: Fiction - It's not impossible, , but to me the key word here is "look." With Ahmad Bradshaw and first-round draft choice David Wilson, the Giants seem to have a terrific 1-2 punch at the top of the running back depth chart. D.J. Ware and Da'Rel Scott are still young. I think that group will open the season. But – and there's always a but – if an intriguing veteran comes free and the Giants think might be able to help, they won't hesitate to sign him. But I don't think they're looking for anyone at this point.
SCHMEELK: Fiction - DJ Ware is their veteran backup at running back. He has been with the Giants since 2007 and the Giants know and like what they have in him. If David Wilson doesn't end up working out, DJ Ware will be who they turn to as the reliable veteran. He's 27 years old and has been around for a while, even though he might seem like a young back.
SALOMONE: Fiction - I think they're comfortable and confident in their current depth chart at running back. The veteran leadership is there with Ahmad Bradshaw and D.J. Ware while David Wilson and Da'Rel Scott work their way up as professionals.
STATEMENT: Shaun Rogers will play at least 30% of all defensive snaps in 2012.
EISEN: Fact - Let's say yes with an asterisk. If Marvin Austin comes back strong after missing two full seasons, he could well be the top sub defensive tackle. But we don't know that until camp opens, so right now I give the nod to Rogers, a veteran who clearly believes he is still capable of playing at a very high level.
SCHMEELK: Fiction - I'm mister contrarian today. Rogers has always been a big man, and his advanced age will continue to limit his playing time. He'll be most useful as a first and second down run stopper that will also get plenty of time in goal line situations. I think 20% of the snaps is more likely than 30%, but he could make a huge impact in those limited snaps.
SALOMONE: Fiction - I'd have to find out what percentage Rocky Bernard played last season to get a better idea on an exact percentage. But Shaun Rogers will play. It's up to Marvin Austin to knock off the rust and take compete with the veteran for that sub role. It'll keep coming more into focus as we progress through OTA's (which begin today) and into training camp.