Osi Umenyiora’s relationship with the Giants has been a roller-coaster ride over the past few years.
At times, he’s been the defensive MVP. At others, he’s demanded to be traded, risked holdouts and ended up playing and lifting New York to two Lombardi Trophies.
A free agent, Umenyiora concedes he likely won’t be with the organization in 2013. Nonetheless, his attention is focused squarely on the team’s final game vs. Philadelphia.
“I’m preparing myself this week to go out there and play as hard as I can. I’m going to expect the same thing from my teammates and we’re going to go out there and win the game. We have a lot of pride and we’re going to come out there and play like it and I’m going to especially do that myself,” Umenyiora said.
“I definitely thought about it, but that’s pretty much out of my control at this point. The only thing I can control is the effort I give and I’ll continue to do that, to give great effort.”
Umenyiora’s six sacks on the season is his lowest total since 2006, when he missed five games. He has had double-digit totals three times in his career, and in 2011 finished with nine despite starting just seven games.
Though the game against Philly may be his final as a New York Giant, a chance to end 2012 on a high note, Umenyiora is not viewing it as an audition for his next team.
“There are games this year where if the ball would have bounced differently, we would have a little bit more coverage in certain situations. I would have ended up with 12 or 14 sacks, but it didn’t happen like that,” he said.
“We have to concern ourselves more with getting better as a football team for this final game, which is the most important thing. After that, whatever happens happens.”
It’s not only been a down season for Umenyiora in terms of rushing the passer, but for the entire Giants defense.
New York has registered 32 sacks this season, ranked 20th in the league and below the NFL average.
In the last four games, three of which were losses, the Giants have sacked opposing quarterbacks twice. As a defense, confidence is a lacking element largely contributing to its recent failures.
“The pedigree of this group is very, very good and for us to be getting beat the way we’ve been getting beat these last two weeks, obviously there’s something lacking,” Umenyiora said.
“You can’t say it’s physical talent because we have the ability, but obviously it has to be something and so the only thing I think you can point to is confidence. It just doesn’t seem like we’re playing with a lot of confidence and it’s showing out there on the football field.”
Follow Sam on Twitter @SamSpiegs