NFL

Canty out to stuff Saints offense

Alex Marvez previews the Saints-Giants matchup
Alex Marvez previews the Saints-Giants matchup
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Alex Marvez

Alex Marvez is a Senior NFL Writer for FOXSports.com. He has covered the NFL for the past 18 seasons as a beat writer and is the former president of the Pro Football Writers of America. He also is a frequent host on Sirius XM NFL Radio.

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.

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The big guy from The Bronx deserves a cheer.

New York Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty doesn’t take playing for his hometown team for granted, especially around the holidays. Through the charity organization he formed (chriscantyfoundation.org), Canty has taken a hands-on approach while trying to help those less fortunate. That includes sponsoring toy giveaways this month for kids in both the New York area and Charlotte, N.C., which is where he moved at age 15.

“I’m from here, so I try to use this platform that I’ve been blessed with,” Canty told FOXSports.com after Thursday’s practice. “It’s cool to be able to make a difference.”

Canty has proved to be a difference-maker on the field for eight NFL seasons that he describes with a laugh as being a “good ride so far.” After four years with the Cowboys as a 2005 fourth-round draft choice, Canty cashed in with a six-year, $42 million contract from the Giants in free agency.

At 6-foot-7 and 317 pounds, Canty’s forte is run-stuffing — something the Giants admittedly haven’t done as well as he would like in 2012. New York enters the FOX America’s Game of the Week against visiting New Orleans (4:25 p.m. ET Sunday) surrendering an average of 121.8 yards a game, which ranks 21st in the NFL. Washington’s dual rookie rushing threat of quarterback Robert Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris gouged the Giants for 207 yards in last Monday night’s 17-16 win over New York.

“If you can’t stop the run, it makes it tough to rush the passer,” said Canty, who spent the first six games on the Physically Unable to Play list because of offseason knee surgery. “It’s hard to get to the quarterback on second-and-4 and third-and-2. We’ve got to put teams in a down-and-distance [situation] that allows our front to get to their passer.”

That is an especially big challenge against a New Orleans offense led by quarterback Drew Brees.

“They do a great job of balancing the run and the play-action pass along with the straight drop-back,” Canty said. “They mix it in so well. You just never know what’s coming next. They’re very similar to the Redskins. They do it in a different way, but the philosophy is the same. They want to keep the defense off-balance.”

Playing on a defensive line that includes pass-rushers like Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, a grunt like Canty doesn’t usually command the spotlight. Canty, though, did recently generate headlines when he and Umenyiora took a stance against cut-blocking by opposing offensive lines.

Canty said the Saints don’t deploy that tactic “from what I’ve seen on tape recently. But the potential is always there.”

“I’m optimistic something will get done,” said Canty, echoing an NBC report that the NFL’s competition committee will consider during the offseason banning all blocks below the knees. “Obviously, when you start talking about what’s in the interest of player safety, that’s something that has to be addressed.

“Will that be in the next couple of years? Is it two years? Five years? Nobody knows. But I hope it’s something that gets done sooner than later.”

Canty already is known for utilizing one safety measure — a heavily grilled face mask. Canty wears it as extra protection for his left eye, which was damaged during an off-field incident in 2005.

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Canty doesn’t mind the extra attention it brings, especially when he meets with groups of children at various off-field events.

“They always say it’s a cool face mask,” Canty said with a smile. “They never get scared. When I go into schools or the community and I’m around kids, they’re like, ‘You’re the guy with the face mask!’ That’s really cool.”

Tagged: Giants, Redskins, Osi Umenyiora, Chris Canty

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