The Giants don’t care who starts under center for the Eagles in their pivotal divisional matchup because, to a man, they’re confident they have a solution to whatever problem comes their way.
Whether it’s Mike Vick, Vince Young or Mike Kafka, Big Blue says it’s ready regardless of who gets the nod.
They clearly have a preference though.
Vick, who’s listed as questionable due to a concussion, will likely get the start and Giants head coach Tom Coughlin fully expects to see the dynamic passer.
“I want to see Vick. I think he’s the best player at that position [for the Eagles]. He’s the best player to give them an opportunity to play their best ball,” safety Antrel Rolle said. “I’m the type of guy, I like going against the best. If I don’t go against the best, a win’s a win, we’ll always take a win, but it’s always win when they have their better guys on the field.”
Rolle added that should they beat a Vick-led team, perhaps it would exorcise the demons of their current six-game losing streak to the Eagles — most notably the DeSean Jackson-led meltdown last December — Rolle acknowledged it’s indeed in the back of his mind.
“It is what it is,” Rolle said. “It took place last year. It’s not something that we might ever forget, but at the same time, it’s a new year.”
Coughlin has tried his best to brainwash his squad into thinking of Sunday’s contest as any other game. It’s a task easier said than done.
“What I’m trying to do, okay, [is tell them] that was last year, this is this year. That’s the position I’m trying to take. We’re certainly aware of the fact what has taken place in the past. But we’re trying not to let that affect us right now as we prepare for this one,” Coughlin said, noting that the game is important solely because they’re division rivals. “Every game is equally important. It has added importance [because] these teams have been playing each other for a long, long time and there is passion and all kind of things involved.”
Emotion will certainly play a huge role in the game. Both teams are close in proximity, not only geographically, but in the standings. The loser of this game falls to 1-2. The Giants, who have been battling injury problems since training camp, will need an offense that can find a way to keep the potent Eagles attack on the sidelines.
And for that to happen, the running game – largely ignored in the first two games – will need to be the backbone. Neither Ahmad Bradshaw nor Brandon Jacobs have found their strides yet, but they’ll need to at least match Philadelphia’s franchise back, LeSean McCoy, in production to give their team a chance.
Quarterback Eli Manning said that running the ball is of the utmost importance.
“We have to stick to our game plan. I think we always try to establish the run and be able to hit play action and get into third and manageable situations, so I don’t think anything’s going to change,” said Manning. “If you can establish the run game, slow down their rush, that would be important.”
The utmost importance, according to Coughlin, is just getting the win any way they can.
“Being in a divisional game is important, but every game is critical,” Coughlin said. “A win is a win and that is what we are doing this for.”
Big Blue notes
» Count defensive end Justin Tuck as someone who also wants Vick: “Yeah, why not? I mean, that guy is a tremendous athlete. Obviously as he goes and that offense goes you always want to beat teams at their best. Me, personally, I would love for him to play. I think he brings out the best in us too. Maybe we go down there and he’s not in there and we think we got this thing won. If he’s playing, we know we have to be on our toes.”
Linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka agrees: “Our coaches will do a good job getting us prepared for both scenarios [but] Vick is a one-of-a kind quarterback.”
» Now that Domenik Hixon is lost for the season, Victor Cruz figures to see more action in the slot. And although he’s sad to see his friend and teammate lost, he embraces this as a big opportunity: “When someone in your room goes down you always have to be ready and be prepared to step up and make plays and show the coaching staff that you’re ready to play and that they can trust you … obviously, to have an opportunity to get some real playing time this week is great. But the other part of me feels really awful for Domenik.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8 for breaking news from Big Blue.