The Giants began their season-opening preparation in earnest on Wednesday, as they get ready for their primetime matchup in Dallas.
And with all due respect to the Jason Pierre-Paul situation, that is not the biggest concern for Tom Coughlin right now, as the head coach noted the Giants need to prepare for a “very good Dallas team that won the division last year.”
It was good to know that Pierre-Paul was at the facilities, determined Coughlin, but the real hot-button issue isn’t the availability of their star defensive end – whenever that may be – but the opening game against a team that’s had their number lately.
“Well, we’re going to start the season, so we better be ready. There are certainly many areas where we need to improve, and I think we will improve,” Coughlin said. “I think we have to zoom in on this particular Cowboys team and see if we can’t clean up our issues in terms of execution, and finishing the play, and doing the things necessary to be successful … There are definite areas everywhere in our game that can be improved upon, but make no doubt about it, the season is underway and we’re going to have to get there in a hurry.”
The Giants have lost four straight openers, with the last opening weekend victory coming against the Carolina Panthers in 2010. Coughlin noted that nothing in the past matters – not even the Cowboys’ current four-game winning streak in this series, with the last Big Blue win coming on Oct. 28, 2012.
All he is concerned with is prepping for this game, noting a meeting in Dallas against the NFC East’s defending champion is enough to worry about.
“I don’t keep track [of season-opening difficulties],” Coughlin groused. “I’m anxious to get started. They’re an outstanding football team. We have our work cut out for us. I’m excited to see how they respond to going to Dallas and play in that atmosphere … There are some guys we expect to play well and make a name for themselves.”
Pierre-Paul is one guy who won’t be available, but Coughlin noted the team hasn’t been distracted by all the talk. He thinks his team is focused and in the right frame of mind.
“Regarding JPP, he’s not ready to play. He went back to Florida,” Coughlin said regarding the defensive end’s Monday meeting with the team and physical. “We just have to keep it going for us. Nothing’s changed. Hopefully at some point in time, Jason will be ready … [but] I wouldn’t put any timeframe on it. That’s for the medical people to determine.”
Big Blue is determined to start the season on the right foot, but it’ll be a huge task for them. Linebacker Jon Beason was allowed to practice on Wednesday and test his balky knee. Same for linebacker Jonathan Casillas and his neck. As insurance, however, the Giants signed linebacker Jasper Brinkley on Wednesday. The veteran was released by the Cowboys on Monday, so there could be some gamesmanship there. Coughlin noted it wasn’t, reasoning that signing Brinkley “was a necessity.”
They’ll need a fully capable defense to deal with that Cowboys offensive line. Considered by most as the best offensive line in the league, Dallas’ front five represent a formidable force.
“The strength of their team is the offensive line [and that] is where you start,” said Coughlin, adding the team doesn’t have to adjust to life without Pierre-Paul because they’ve been doing so all summer. “There’s always a plan. Everything is planned. Everything is in great detail. Sometimes you adjust, but everything is planned.”
Judging by their preseason performances, plan on a long evening for Big Blue’s defense – whether it’s fully staffed or not.
Big Blue notes:
- Coughlin addressed the death of former Giants safety Tyler Sash, 27, at the top of his press conference: “The death of Tyler Sash. Very sad. It’s difficult to understand. My condolences. He was an outstanding teammate when he was here.”
- Coughlin on wideout Victor Cruz, who is a longshot to suit up on Sunday: “This is one thing that could be very hard to get over. We’ve had experiences with that before with other players. It’s been the calf holding him back, not the other thing [knee].”
- Coughlin didn’t sound as worried about the prospect of having two safeties with zero combined starts (rookie Landon Collins and young veteran Cooper Taylor) on the field together: “Communication is the key [regarding the expectations of getting the young safeties ready].”