Justin Tuck is not a fan of Justin Tuck's.
"I [stink]," the Giants defensive end and captain said Thursday. "I'm not me. I'm not. I'm not a very good player right now . . . I look at myself on film and I don't like what I see."
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Tuck is coming off the first start in his seven-season career in which he did not make a tackle. It's been two months since he's had a game in which he had at least a full sack, and he has only two in five games this season. Since coming back from groin and neck injuries after the bye, he has four tackles in three games, according to team stats.
He is 15th on the team with 10 tackles. Yes, 15th.
"I'm not enjoying this season," he muttered at his locker.
Tuck clearly is still limited by his ailments, but it's unclear how much of that is mental. He no longer is listed on the injury report and said there is no danger of missing games. But he quickly added he is hesitant to do certain things for fear of winding up on the sideline again.
"I can't put myself in positions where I normally could because that potentially could lead to something different," he said. "Honestly, I don't know. I try not to play cautious, I think I'm not playing cautious. It's not that I'm afraid to do things; there are some things I can't do."
Tuck was a Pro Bowl player last season with 111/2 sacks. He had a very strong preseason before injuring his neck in the finale against the Jets. Then he hurt his groin in Week 3. Since then, he hasn't been himself.
"He's been a guy when we needed to have a play made, he has been there to make those plays for us," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "When you don't see him make a play, you wonder why. And he wonders why."
Oh, Tom Coughlin wonders why, too. "We certainly see that he is not to where he wants to be," Coughlin said. "Hopefully, that is coming."
Tuck all but said he's overplaying the critiques of himself for dramatic effect.
"I sit here and mope around and talk about how I [stink], but at the end of the day, I know I'm still out there helping the football team winning," he said.
He also said winning is what is most important. "I'll be hurt the rest of my career if we can make the playoffs and go have a chance to win a Super Bowl," he added. "Sign me up."
Still, he freely admits a selfish part of him wants better stats and to be a more significant contributor. And he said he feels as if there still is time to salvage this season from a personal standpoint.
"I wouldn't come in here and work every day if I didn't," Tuck said. "It's getting better. It's just not getting better as fast as I want it to be."
"He was playing at a high level in the preseason before his injury," Fewell said. "Has he been able to jump back on the bicycle and ride as fast as we want him to ride? No. But I think it's coming."
Vick sits.Michael Vick (broken ribs) missed a second straight practice. Although the Eagles are "optimistic" he'll play Sunday and the Giants are preparing to face him, it appears unlikely that he'll take the field. According to reports, Vince Young took all of the first-team reps Thursday. Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin (shoulder/hamstring) and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (ankle) also did not practice.