Although the New York Giants' 2011 season cumulated with an improbable run to a Super Bowl victory, for defensive end Justin Tuck the ride was anything but smooth.Tuck battled neck, groin and shoulder injuries, and was seemingly banged up the entire season, which many believe was the major contributing factor to him only producing five sacks in twelve games.
However, the two-time Pro Bowler told Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger he wants to once again become a model of consistency on the Giants defensive line in 2012.
Tuck seemed to disappear last season for long periods of time. In games against the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, Tuck had zero tackles and zero sacks at the end of both contests. Although he was physically on the field, everybody knew they were not seeing the Justin Tuck of years past. Tuck acknowledged this himself while speaking before the Giants Christmas Eve matchup against the New York Jets.
"I've been to a few Pro Bowls. I've had 10-plus-sack seasons,'' Tuck said. "You get caught up in all of that. At the end of the day, it's win. That's all I'm focused on … My numbers aren't going to be what they've been in past years, but we have two more games here and my focus is making the best out of these two games, forgetting the last 14."
In the final six games of the Giants 2011 campaign, Tuck had 18 tackles and 5.5 sacks. Coincidentally, the team won every single one of those games and went on to win the Super Bowl. In 2012, Justin Tuck is looking to carry over his inspiring performance from the end of last season.
"I’ve been ranked a No. 1 defensive end twice in my career (as an All-Pro by the Pro Football Writers of America). I want to get back to that standard. You look at those things and those are the individual goals. But at this point in my career, that’s not on the top of my list. It’s mostly the team goals first," he added.
For the Giants to have a formidable pass rush in 2012, a healthy Justin Tuck is essential. When he started to get healthy towards the end of last season, the Giants defensive line play improved as an entire unit. Tuck truly does make the players around him better. At age 29, a healthy Tuck should be able to once again become a consistent, dominant force on the Giants defensive line.
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