SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Patriots

February 3, 2012

Former St. John's Prep star Lucier rooting for his ex-Giants teammates

(Continued)

A young Eli Manning took over at quarterback for the Giants in 2005 after head coach Tom Coughlin benched veteran Kurt Warner, and Lucier has been impressed with the way he has matured since then.

"Eli has always been a great in the fourth quarter, even back in his college days," said Lucier, who was a key member of the 1997 undefeated St. John's Prep Super Bowl champions. "He's having his best season ever this year and has been consistently good, cutting way down on turnovers.

"Three of the five starters on the Giants O-line were there when I was. Diel, Chris Snee and Kareem McKenzi played with me. McKenzie's first year was when I left, but I still see him quite a bit because he comes into one of my Dunkin's (Lucier owns four Dunkin' Donuts franchises in New Jersey). Whenever I see him we sit down and talk for 15-20 minutes. (Running back) Ahmad Bradshaw was just coming in when I was leaving, too. I crossed paths with a lot of their guys, and Coughlin was my coach the second and third years."

Lucier said Pat Flaherty was his offensive line coach and Kevin Gilbride was the quarterback coach at that time. Gilbride is now the Giants' offensive coordinator.

"Kevin had been a head coach and was from Connecticut, so we talked a lot," said Lucier. "Coughlin is a good offensive coach, and Gilbride is very smart too, so they'll figure out how to score points. Of course, the Patriots are the same way; they have great coaches.

"I think the Giants will be able to score on the Pats' defense. They are built to put up 21-28 points each game, and Manning's play action pass off the running game is effective. The Patriots will have to run the ball at bit to keep the Giants honest and off Brady. That's why I think it is going to come down to the Patriots offensive line; they have to hold up to give Brady time."

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