Justin Tuck: Giants have the talent to be No. 1 defense in the NFL

Giants defensive end Justin Tuck stretches during a

Giants defensive end Justin Tuck stretches during a brief team practice at Timex Performance Center that served as the start of training camp. (July 26, 2013) (Credit: James Escher)

The Giants' defense was ranked 31st in the NFL last season, but Justin Tuck believes they can do better. About 30 spots better.

“The ceiling is the No.1 defense,” Tuck said Thursday. “That has to be the ceiling. That has to be your thought process. I don’t think anybody in that defensive meeting room can allow themselves to think that we can’t do that.”

That’s a pretty high bar to set, although Tuck himself, in the same breath, didn’t talk about topping the rankings as a goal so much as something to strive toward.

“Will we do it? I don’t know. Probably not,” he said. “But it’s a possibility. We have the talent to do it. I feel very confident in our coaching staff and our scheme. Those defenses that get in the top five are defenses that play together, 11 guys as one, and they don’t really care who makes the play or who gets the sack or who gets the interception. It’s all about the team effort. And that’s where we have to get to.”

Of course the key to that will be getting, and then staying, healthy. Jason Pierre-Paul has missed all of training camp. Antrel Rolle is coming off a sprained ankle. Corey Webster has not practiced in two weeks. Rookie Damontre Moore has missed two weeks as well.

“I just know that we need these guys back and we need to stay healthy and that starts with myself because I’ve had little nicks and things of that nature,” Tuck said, noting his back and hamstring issues, the latter of which has not stopped him from practicing this week. “If we’re able to do that then I’m very happy with what we could be as a football team. I’m looking to some of the guys that we picked up, some of the new faces that we got in the draft and free agency, we have a chance to do something special this year. I’m excited about it.”

Tags: Justin Tuck , Giants , training camp

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