Armed and dangerous
Giants say Barber's broken arm won't be a factor
Updated: Monday January 01, 2001 11:33 PM
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- New York Giants head coach Jim Fassel isn't worried about running back Tiki Barber's broken left arm nor struggling backup Ron Dayne heading into this weekend's NFC semifinal against the Philadelphia Eagles.
"We'll protect it," Fassel said of Barber's arm. "The most important thing is that Tiki feels confident about it. It will be well-protected."
Barber, who gained 1,006 yards rushing, broke his arm against Dallas on Dec. 17. He played in the season-finale against Jacksonville and sprained his right toe late in that game.
Barber isn't concerned about either injury although it remains to be seen whether he carries the ball in his left arm. He didn't against Jacksonville.
Running backs are taught to carry the ball in their left arm when they run left.
"I didn't fumble last week and I don't intend to fumble this week," Barber said. "It's going to hurt regardless if you get hit or not."
Getting Dayne back on track might be tougher. The Heisman Trophy winner has gained 42 yards on 25 carries in the last three games.
Fassel guaranteed Dayne will step up.
"As we move through these playoffs, Ron Dayne is going to become an integral force and you're going to see the type of player we all thought he was," Fassel said.
Eagles fullback Cecil Martin blocked for Dayne at Wisconsin.
"I'm going to call him after practice today and tell him good job yesterday," Dayne said of Martin.
No rematch with Rams
All the questions the Giants answered last week about the possibility of facing the Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams went for naught.
The New Orleans Saints beat the Rams 31-28, and that led to New York's game with Philadelphia.
"We weren't looking forward to any team," linebacker Jessie Armstead said. "When you look forward to one team you end up getting something you're not wishing for."
Old friends ready to meet again
The Giants hold a 72-58-2 edge against the Eagles since they started playing in 1933.
Ironically, the teams have met once in the playoffs with New York posting a 27-21 upset in 1981 behind a 161-yard rushing performance by Rob Carpenter.
Huge challenge blocking Hugh
Douglas made the big play in the Eagles' 21-3 win against Tampa Bay on Sunday, with a sack and forced fumble that led to Philadelphia's first touchdown.
"That's going to be tough," said Brown of Douglas. "That's another challenge I am going to have to deal with but that's what the playoffs are all about."
Brown, a 16-year veteran, has never played in the Super Bowl.
Turf won't be a problem after snowstorm
The head of stadium operations for Giants Stadium isn't worried about the grass field in the wake of a storm that dumped around 18 inches of snow on the field over the weekend.
"I'm more concerned about getting the snow out of the stands," said Bill Squires of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.
The last time there was a lot of snow in the stands was in 1995, for the Giants regular-season finale against San Diego. With the Giants finishing off a 5-11 season, fans started throwing snowballs in the stands and on the field. A Chargers equipment manager was hurt when hit by a snowball.
"That was the worst day of my life," Squires said.
Groh's resignation unexpected to Fassel
Al Groh's decision to resign as the Jets head coach so he could take the head coaching job at the University of Virginia caught Fassel off guard.
"I just picked it up that day in the paper," Fassel said Monday. "I didn't even know that he had talked to Virginia. I was just really shocked about it. I have not talked to Al. I'll probably give him a call. All the things he said about why he was taking that job made sense."
The move was also a surprise to Tiki Barber, a former Virginia player under George Welsh.
"They got a Jet in there," Barber quipped about whether he would make any donations to the school. "Are you serious? I'm not even going back any more."
Barber also didn't have plans to make this weekend's game with the Eagles a revenge match. Philadelphia prevented Barber from having a game against his twin brother, Ronde, by beating Tampa Bay. Ronde Barber is a cornerback for the Bucs.
"This is a battle for the Giants clan, and I'm looking forward to it," Tiki Barber said.