Rookie safety Michael Johnson has found his niche in the Giants' nickel and dime packages, and his alert tackle created a fumble in the NFC title game victory over Green Bay.
Johnson, a former University of Arizona player taken in the seventh round of the 2007 draft, has found his inspiration in his older brother, Reggie Brown, who will attend the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Brown, a college star at Texas A&M, suffered a neck injury while making a tackle in his second season with Detroit in 1997 and had to give up football.
Brown suffered initial paralysis, although he is fully mobile now, and had several screws placed in his neck, Johnson said.
"The doctor said he could still have played, but you don't be stupid," Johnson said. "We talk every week. Before the game, after the game. He tells me what he saw."
Brown bought their mother a house after he signed with Detroit, Johnson said, and took care of both of them.
A role model?
"Big time. Automatic," Johnson said.
"If he can't play, I'll play for him. I've been thinking about that a lot. I should get a big '59' (Brown's number) tat on my chest."
Defensive end Osi Umenyiora wore a T-shirt that read "Talk is Cheap. Play the game" to the Giants' final media session Thursday.
He said all the Giants found that shirt in their lockers on Wednesday.
"I'm going to wear mine the rest of the week," he said. "It's a great motto. Maybe I've done a little too much talking, too. I'm through with all that. Let's play the game."
Umenyiora was critical of New England Pro Bowl tackle Matt Light's play in the Patriots' 38-35 victory in the final week of the regular season, indicating some of it bordered on dirty.
"Osi really didn't say anything," teammate Michael Strahan said. "I love it when I read 'Oh, he is a dirty player.' To be honest, we are all dirty. You have to be a little insane to do what we do. Everybody is dirty."
RUNNING THEM DOWN
Brandon Jacobs said he is not a "run-them-over" type, but some would disagree.
Jacobs plowed through linebacker Tedy Bruschi to score against New England in the final week of the regular season and pancaked Green Bay safety Charles Woodson on the Giants' first play from scrimmage in the NFC title game.
"It's just when I don't have any other avenues to go, that's the only option I have," said Jacobs, who rushed for 1,009 yards and four touchdowns in his first season as a starter replacing Tiki Barber.
"He runs like a locomotive. His physical attitude gets everybody going," Strahan said. "Imagine how hard that ground was. I didn't feel good for Charles."