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New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz smiles (Credit: AP)

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz smiles from the bench during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against New York Jets. (Dec. 24, 2011)

Giants discoveries in 2011

Tom Rock breaks down 10 things he learned about the Giants during the 2011-12 regular season.

YOU CAN’T SPELL ELITE WITHOUT JPP Well, maybe
(Credit: AP)

YOU CAN’T SPELL ELITE WITHOUT JPP
Well, maybe you can. But Jason Pierre-Paul has become a monster of a defensive end with 16.5 sacks and the most important blocked field goal of the season.

OSI CAN STILL PLAY WHEN HE’S HEALTHY He’s
(Credit: Jim McIsaac)

OSI CAN STILL PLAY WHEN HE’S HEALTHY
He’s missed seven full games with ankle and knee injuries – eight counting the Saints game in which he was hurt early – but he’s second on the team with 9.0 sacks and has forced two fumbles.

IT’S OK TO LEAVE THE ROOM ON FOURTH
(Credit: Getty Images)

IT’S OK TO LEAVE THE ROOM ON FOURTH DOWN
Rookie Matt Dodge’s punts were always an adventure. With veteran Steve Weatherford, at least there’s a very high probability that the snap will be caught and kicked in a positive direction.

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MIDDLE MEN ARE INTERCHANGEABLE Since the start of
(Credit: Getty Images)

MIDDLE MEN ARE INTERCHANGEABLE
Since the start of training camp the Giants have had five players considered their starting middle linebacker – Jonathan Goff, Greg Jones, Michael Boley, Mark Herzlich and Chase Blackburn.

TOM COUGHLIN CAN TAKE A HIT He was
(Credit: AP)

TOM COUGHLIN CAN TAKE A HIT
He was drilled on the sideline by D.J. Ware two weeks ago but never even hit the turf and has been coaching through a painful hamstring injury ever since.

AND SO WAS STEVE SMITH Another free agent
(Credit: David Pokress)

AND SO WAS STEVE SMITH
Another free agent who seemed to leave the Giants in a lurch. What he did was leave them with Victor Cruz. Not a bad option. In fact, it probably makes them want to salsa.

HIGH DRAFT PICKS AREN’T IMPORTANT They’ve made the
(Credit: Jim McIsaac)

HIGH DRAFT PICKS AREN’T IMPORTANT
They’ve made the playoffs despite almost no production from their top four draft picks: Prince Amukamara, Marvin Austin, Jerrel Jernigan and James Brewer.

OVERCOMING INJURIES IS KEY They have 13 players
(Credit: AP)

OVERCOMING INJURIES IS KEY
They have 13 players on injured reserve this season, most of any team in the playoffs. Last year the Packers won the Super Bowl with 15 players on injured reserve.

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