Yet, Tuck is not satisfied with having just two Super Bowls in his career, and still has the hunger each and every year to win more. At practice this week, Tuck told George Willis of the New York Post how he looks at eight empty fingers and wonders what could have been in previous seasons for the Giants.
“I get upset saying we have two rings,” Tuck told The Post. “I like to say, ‘We only have two rings,’ knowing what we could have done in 2008, knowing the quality of football teams we had that didn’t make the playoffs and knowing what we normally do when we make the playoffs and the runs we can get on. I’m disappointed with just having two. I want more. I’ve got 10 fingers. There’s no reason why only two of them should have rings on them.”
The 2008 season that Tuck is referring to is when the Giants started out the year after winning Super Bowl XLII going 11-1, but stumbled at the end to finish 12-4 following Plaxico Burress' nightclub shooting incident and then lost in the Divisional Round to the Philadelphia Eagles 23-11. When the Giants were 11-1, they were regarded as the best team in the league and looked like they could repeat as Super Bowl Champions, but the 1-4 finish was a result and the "what if" game is always played about 2008.
Part of the Giants issues late in the season has been the second-half struggles like they experienced last season when they started out 6-2 and finished 3-5 to go 9-7 and out of the playoffs the year after they won Super Bowl XLVI. One reason why that happened was the pass rush didn't generate enough pressure and getting to the quarterback became an issue. Over the last two years, Tuck has struggled to get sacks, as he had just four last season and the defensive captain of the team knows he needs to play better.
“We have to get ourselves in pass-rush situations,” Tuck said. “That means stopping the run on first down and getting into second-and-long and third-and-long situations where we can dictate what the offense has to do. Last year, we didn’t get in enough of those situations. There were a lot of second-and-short situations. That puts you on your heels a little more than being able to attack, and I think our pass rush hurt from that.”
During the summer, Tuck has had to deal with a nagging back injury; as he experienced tightness in the back just before the team's first preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and dealt with a hamstring issue this past week, but was out practicing with the team and preparing for the New York Jets this coming Saturday. Tuck has said he has had his moments where he feels like a teenager and then those where he feels like he's ready for the recliner and slippers.
“Some days I feel 18; some days I feel 40,” he was saying yesterday. "Unfortunately, I had the back issues that kept me out the first week. But I had the opportunity to be out there last week and get some of the rust off and I was rusty. I could look at the film and see it.”
One thing that could help Tuck feel like he's 18 again is switching up his position and where he lines up in 2013, as the Giants are experimenting with Tuck as an pass-rushing outside linebacker, a move that could see his sack totals go up.
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