A Key Matchup


Daryn Colledge versus Justin Tuck. Bob McGinn explores it here. Brett Favre has said (and most every quarterback agrees) that the pressure that really gets to him is pressure that comes up the middle.

Tuck, who on Thursday agreed to a five-year contract extension which reportedly includes $16 million in bonuses, is fast enough to rush from end, and does spell Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan. But unlike most ends, he has just enough size (6 feet 5 inches, 274 pounds) to rush from tackle in nickel situations.

Other than a snap or two against San Diego’s Shawne Merriman in Week 3, the 305-pound Colledge said he hadn’t been matched up against anyone as athletic or as small as Tuck.

“I’ve just got to be wary of his reach and his ability to go outside and inside,” Colledge said. “He’s got long arms, so he gets leverage very quickly. You can’t take what he gives you. You’ve got to make him come to you.

“You’re not going to stop him. Obviously, he’s had success against everybody. But you hope to slow him down a little bit. Do a lot of three-step (drop). Get rid of the ball quick. I think if you can be technically sound, you’ve got a chance.”

A third-round draft choice in 2005 from Notre Dame, Tuck had a break-out third season this year with 10 sacks. In 18 games, Tuck had 48 quarterback hurries and hits, behind Strahan (62) and Umenyiora (48) and just ahead of nose tackle Fred Robbins (40).

Last week, Seattle’s pre-eminent threat, end Patrick Kerney, drew double teams when McCarthy put Favre deep in the pocket. This week, McCarthy will probably allow Chad Clifton to block Umenyiora one-on-one, make sure center Scott Wells helps Colledge with Tuck and sometimes have a running back or a tight end help Mark Tauscher against Strahan.

“Umenyiora is by far their best rusher, but Tuck has Umenyiora-like moments,” an offensive line coach for a recent Giants’ opponent said.

“Strahan is No. 3, but that’s a hard No. 3. There really isn’t a distinct difference. Umenyiora and Tuck are in a different class altogether, relative to their athleticism.”

One scout said Umenyiora and Strahan both were better rushers than Kerney on the basis of athletic ability. As for Robbins, the scout said he was making more plays “on his own” than Green Bay’s Corey Williams.

On Sunday, a Dallas offensive line featuring three Pro Bowl players was overrun by New York. The week before, the Giants had just one sack, but 10 knockdowns of Tampa Bay’s Jeff Garcia.

Tuck is also one of Ryan Grant’s best friends, from both Notre Dame and the Giants. Maybe Grant can mess with him before the game.


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