The Giants came to Wednesday’s practice fresh and ready to prepare for the Atlanta Falcons, with hopes that the ghosts of that horrible Cowboys loss are longingly in their rear-view mirror.
Head coach Tom Coughlin implored his team to get plenty of sleep this week and forget about the blown chance in Dallas, and then invoked his inner Bill Belichick any time he was asked about the defeat during his weekly press conference.
“I’m going forward to Atlanta, thank you very much. We’ve had the conversations and now we’re on to Atlanta. [The Dallas game] was two days ago or whatever,” Coughlin said, noting the mindset of the team is just fine. “We talked to our team in specific ways. Very encouraging. We just have to get back on the practice field and get going. The challenge is simply to recognize the encouraging things that happened in the [Dallas] game … and get our Xs and Os better.”
It’s in the Giants’ best interest to improve their Xs and Os, as they’re facing a Falcons (1-0) team that features a top-10 offense and a feisty defense, led by new head coach Dan Quinn – the same coach who the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks, last season.
Coughlin noted that Quinn’s principles remain the same with his new squad – a team that gave the high-powered Philadelphia Eagles fits on Monday night.
“The new coach is Dan Quinn, [who] was the defense coordinator in Seattle. They play an aggressive style of defense. They’re a pressure defense,” Coughlin acknowledged. “They rotate the defensive linemen in and out of the game, to keep them fresh, and they get after the quarterback and after the running game. They played very aggressively [Monday] night.”
Coughlin lamented that his own team wasn’t aggressive enough in the Dallas game, on both sides of the ball. He’ll get a good look at a really aggressive outfit in the Falcons, which might not bode well for Big Blue.
Defensively, New York owns the 30th-ranked unit, including 31st against the pass. That’s not a recipe for success going against an Atlanta squad that has quarterback Matt Ryan and wideout Julio Jones, who scorched the Eagles for nine catches, 142 yards, and two scores.
Coughlin noted the overall talent of the Falcons, but made a point to single out the excellence of the duo.
“They’re an outstanding team. Their offense was in the top ten last year in the National Football League. Kyle Shanahan is the [new offensive] coordinator. They’re up-tempo, [and] do some no-huddle, [but] it’s not always to create the fast circumstance. They will interject it when they want to. And they’re an outstanding play-action team,” Coughlin said. “Matt Ryan is the outstanding young quarterback. They have many skill players on their offensive side of the ball, they really do. Guys can help themselves out very well. And Julio is certainly an outstanding player.”
Big Blue actually acquitted themselves nicely against Dallas’ high-octane offense, save for that final drive. So, at the very least, they know that they have what it takes to slow down Atlanta’s offense. And, hopefully they can also assure Coughlin that they’re not doomed to repeat the same mistakes on Sunday.
Big Blue notes:
- The Giants’ initial Week 2 pre-practice injury report featured: linebackers Unai’ Unga (knee) and Jon Beason (knee); wideout Victor Cruz (calf); tight end Daniel Fells (foot); left tackle Ereck Flowers (ankle); and defensive tackle Markus Kuhn (knee).
- Coughlin noted that Flowers and Unga are limited, and that Beason and Cruz will not practice at all.
- Rookie defensive end Owa Odighizuwa (foot) wasn’t active last week against the Cowboys, but will likely be on the practice field this week, in hopes of having enough reps to be ready for the Falcons.
- Eli Manning on the “dunce cap” headline on a tabloid’s back page: “I missed it. I wasn’t looking for the papers,” he said with a smile. “I kind of knew they were gonna come after me.”
- Manning also absolved his teammate, running back Rashad Jennings, for publicly admitting that it was the quarterback who told him not to score on the final drive: “He didn’t do anything wrong.”