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Tuck has his own take on no-name defense

Earlier in the week Justin Tuck said the

Earlier in the week Justin Tuck said the Falcons' offensive line had a reputation for being "dirtbags." (undated file photo) Credit: David Pokress

Every group needs a nickname, right? From the Steel Curtain to the Sack Exchange, right up to the Giants' Earth, Wind and Fire running attack a few years ago. So how should we tag the Giants' defensive front line? Justin Tuck has an idea.

"Just call us 'The Four Nobodies,' " he said.

A far better defensive end than marketer, Tuck is simply trying to humble himself and his group. He knows that on paper they seem to have the ability to dominate the line of scrimmage. But he also knows that last year it looked that way, too. And it never happened.

"We have to do our job just like we were four guys who nobody knows and we have to prove a point," Tuck said. "We do have to prove a point and hopefully, we can take care of the little things that made us Super Bowl champions and made us lead the league in sacks and things like that.

"The names are great. You have two Pro Bowlers, you have a four-year starter, you have a guy who came from Dallas and is making a lot of money, and the potential is high on this team. That just puts a lot more pressure on you to perform. We have to go out there and perform. We have to get the job done."

They started looking as if they could Saturday against the Steelers. That's when Tuck broke up an end-around, Osi Umenyiora had two tackles for losses, and Chris Canty and Barry Cofield showed athleticism and strength that was missing in 2009.

"I feel good about it," Tuck said of the performance. "But I also know we have a long way to go . . . We have to be four guys out there playing as one. As soon as we can do that, I'll feel a lot more comfortable."

Tuck said he felt a lot more comfortable with his own game Saturday. He said his legs felt "heavy" when the Giants played the Jets in the preseason opener, so he spent time working on conditioning in the short week between games. It paid off.

Tuck might also have had some extra juice facing nemesis Flozell Adams, the former Cowboy now starting at right tackle for the Steelers. It was Adams who tripped Tuck in Week 2 last year and injured his shoulder, paving the way for the disappointing season.

If the defensive line can correct the few missed calls and checks that it didn't hit Saturday, Tuck said he thinks they can once again be a force. But he has also learned that the opposite can happen.

"I think we have a great shot of making a lot of noise," he said. "If we don't [communicate], we have a great shot of getting embarrassed."

Either way, the Four Nobodies name will fit.

New York Sports