The Giants are struggling mightily in all three phases of the game, suffering through key injuries and have their hated divisional rival, the Eagles, coming to town. But there’s no rest for the weary.
Not only are the Eagles (1-3) in a bad way right now, too, having just been blown out by the Broncos, but they’ve also come under fire from the local media and fanbase for their malaise – a three-game losing streak after looking so mighty in their season-opening win will do that.
The Eagles have allowed a whopping 37 points per game in their three losses, obviously skewed by the 52 points the Broncos hung on them last week.
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin knows better to think Philadelphia won’t come to MetLife Stadium any other way.
“We have a good group of people that stick together when times get rough. It’s easy when everything’s going well. But right now, things aren’t going well,” Coughlin said. “So, how do you react? How strong are you? How much do you believe? What is your character? That’s the bottom line. That’s what we’re seeing in terms of us sticking together. ... A win would help a lot. I do believe their focus is in the right spot and that’s what starts it. Success would help [morale] tremendously. We need to get a win. That’s what we said two weeks ago, and last week, and that hasn’t changed. We need to improve and work hard.”
Winning can cure a lot of ills, said safety Antrel Rolle. The loquacious team captain made headlines earlier in the week with his bold statement that he believes the Giants can go on a 12-0 run.
And while he was widely panned for that remark, the safety said he’s ready to move forward and focus on the task at hand – which is slowing down an Eagles’ attack that likes to speed up the tempo.
“I’m desperate. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I am,” said Rolle. “We can’t worry about making the playoffs, can’t worry about winning 12 straight. All we can worry about is the Eagles. We win, it’ll cure a lot ... when we win, it's fun. No fun in losing, so I’m looking forward to having fun again.”
Facing the Eagles’ uptempo spread attack is no fun, which is why the Giants may add more defenders to the active 46-man game-day roster. Coughlin indicated rookies Johnathan Hankins and Damontre Moore might get a chance to play Sunday. Hankins, the defensive tackle selected on the second round from Ohio State, was inactive for the first four games. Moore didn’t play in the opener in Dallas, but has impressed on special teams in the last three games.
“I liked Hankins’s work a week ago,” Coughlin said. “I thought he was a really difficult guy for us to block [in practice]. John is ready to contribute, so I’m looking forward to watching him play. Moore will get an opportunity to contribute as well. He’s done a nice job on special teams. He has good energy and hopefully we can build on that.”
That sort of depth may be the biggest key in keeping pace with Philadelphia. But when asked if such a deep rotation would benefit an aging defensive line, defensive end Justin Tuck went the surly route with his reply.
“Don’t ask me that question,” Tuck said. “I take offense to that.”
The Giants’ defense has been shredded all season so Tuck may want to rethink wanting to play every down.
“There’s certain parts of it [substitutions] that we’ve been working on all along. You just have to be prepared and wise in how you go about it. Obviously there will be times when there’s no substitutions and other times you can,” said Coughlin. “[Eagles running back LeSean] McCoy is at almost 500 yards [rushing] in four games. He’s done extremely well catching the ball. But if you notice their receivers are also outstanding at per-catch averages, which is interesting in itself. They have 24 plays with at least 20-plus yards in the air, so there’s a lot to defend. ... All phases need to work in harmony.”
Big Blue notes ...
Coughlin said that despite the release of Da’Rel Scott, the Giants only plan on carrying three running backs on the active roster. Coughlin said the running game will basically be David Wilson and Brandon Jacobs, adding that rookie Michael Cox still “needs lots to learn” and isn’t really in the equation yet. Andre Brown is still on temporary injured reserve until at least Week 8.
Coughlin hopes the fans stick together and give Big Blue an added boost.
“I’m hoping that our fans are as boisterous and supportive as they’ve ever been, and maybe even more,” said Coughlin. “I just hope everyone rallies around our team. The players need it. We all need it. We all need to feel that support. The 12th man, they know that playing within our division gives them every reason to be excited. I hope they help us win.”
Safety Will Hill made his return to the practice field after serving a four-game suspension for marijuana use. Hill said he’s already been angling the coaches to activate him for Sunday’s game.
“I’m very confident in myself and what I’ve been doing off the field and in the weight room,” said Hill. “I’m conditioned and everything, so there’s not a doubt in my mind [he’d be ready for Sunday if activated]. I haven’t missed a step. ... I know tackling is one of my specialties and I could’ve helped [when the Giants allowed two long punt return touchdowns]. And my speed, just being disruptive. I can help be disruptive, maybe be that spark that the special teams needs to get things back going.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.