Justin Tuck motivated by 'ignorant' critics

July, 27, 2013
7/27/13
5:26
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants captain Justin Tuck heard the same narrative all offseason.

He can't play at a high level anymore. His days of being productive are in the past. His career might be coming to an end soon.

[+] EnlargeJustin Tuck
AP Photo/Julio CortezJustin Tuck (91) aims to stomp out all criticism.
While Tuck understands why there's such a negative perception of him after back-to-back substandard seasons, the scathing words have left a chip on his shoulder.

"The one thing I don't need is motivation, but I've found a lot of that this offseason," said Tuck, a two-time Pro Bowl defensive end. "For all you ignorant writers out there, thank you."

Entering the final year of his contract, Tuck heads is looking to prove the doubters wrong and once again play at a high level.

Tuck, 30, recorded 11.5 sacks in 2010, the third time in a four-year span that he had reached double digits. But he has double-digit sacks in just one of his past four seasons, and a total of nine the past two years.

"I'm my biggest critic. There's nothing you guys can write or say that I probably haven't thought or found ways to try to already correct," Tuck said. "I know where I am personally and I know what I'm still capable of doing. The process is to come out here and work and make sure, come Sundays, I can go out there and do that."

Tuck, who has battled injuries throughout his career, said he's healthy entering training camp, and that's a big boost. He's penciled in as one of the team's starting defensive ends and played alongside Mathias Kiwanuka with the first unit during Saturday's practice.

The Giants need a strong showing from Tuck to help their defense bounce back. Tuck said last year's failures weighed on him this offseason. He acknowledged the Giants didn't rush the passer as well as they normally do last season, fixating too much on sacks.

"I think where we have made our mark is the time we don't get sacks, the time the quarterback does run the ball fast and we're still competing. We kind of got away from that and caught so caught up in sacks," Tuck said. "There's a process for that, too. I think quarterbacks feel that pressure throughout the game and that's where you start seeing them be rattled in the pocket.

"It's not about sack numbers. It's about the pressures. So we have to get back to doing that."

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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