Giants wideout Victor Cruz has been steadfastly against calling his squad “spoilers,” noting the negative connotation it has.
But with the realization that the Giants (5-8) are officially eliminated from playoff contention, following last week’s loss in San Diego, and the next two weeks will feature teams prominently in the postseason race (the Seahawks and Lions), Cruz may have to rethink that label — begrudgingly.
“I still wouldn’t say spoilers. Nobody’s excited or happy to be in this position,” Cruz said. “[But] everybody’s gonna have a little edge about them, naturally.”
That edge could help add a little more juice to a Giants team that needs something to match the intensity of a Seahawks (11-2) team poised to pounce on a banged-up squad playing out the string.
“This would definitely be a signature win for the season, I think,” linebacker Jon Beason said. “You go up against a great team — the No. 1 seed if the playoffs were today — and because you don’t have those playoff hopes, hopefully you can go out and win the game. It would be a good end to the season.”
The Seahawks would indeed be the best conquest on Big Blue’s schedule, as Seattle is just a win away from wrapping up homefield advantage for the NFC playoffs.
“The last thing you want to be is embarrassed, and this is a team that, if you’re not ready to play, they will embarrass you and laugh about it,” said defensive end Justin Tuck. “But I’m not in the business of being embarrassed. I’m in the business of going out there and putting a great show on for our fans … and I think that’s what we’ll do.”
Running back Andre Brown agreed with Tuck, saying the coaching film is always running, so Big Blue might as well finish strong and try and gain momentum for next year.
“To go up against the best team in the NFC, to go out there and fight and give them a good hit, a good lick, and try to bring back the season and make a name for ourselves is important,” said Brown. “We’re playing for pride, and as a man, that’s just what you want to do and just go out there, make plays and have fun out there. Because what you put on tape is eventually what can set up your next job. … Just go out there and put your best foot forward and make plays and show that you belong here.”
Big Blue notes …
»Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who once coached at the University of Southern California, said he’s proud of another former Trojan, Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas. Carroll beamed when talking about Thomas and the way he’s battled back from three ACL injuries, saying Thomas’s recovery is “extraordinary.” Carroll added, “Man, that’s amazing he could pull that off. … It just represents the ‘Fight On’ spirit.”
»Giants head coach Tom Coughlin noted it may not be “evaluation time” but he wants to see his players continue to play hard.
“I’m confident that we’re gonna play the best we can and win with our roster, the roster that we have,” Coughlin said. “If the opportunity is there [to play more backups], then so be it. That’s not going to be the No. 1 thought on our minds … [but] we’ve already been playing a lot of people [due to injuries].”
»Running back Brandon Jacobs was officially placed on season-ending injured reserve (IR). Jacobs finished the season with 238 rushing yards on 58 carries, with four touchdowns in seven games.
The fact that the Giants are no longer in the playoff hunt had nothing to do with Jacobs going on IR, as Coughlin reasoned his running back was “incapacitated” and would have gone on IR regardless.
Jacobs is a free agent next season, but was clear when he said there’s only one team for him in 2014-15.
“There is no place in the National Football League that I’d rather be than right here at 1925 Giants drive. Nowhere,” Jacobs said. “We could’ve went 0-16 and I would be happy and smiling in this locker room because I’m a Giant at heart. I love this organization, I love the fans [and] I love that ‘NY’ [symbol on the helmet], so there’s not a better place for me. I’d rather be here than go somewhere and be undefeated. This is where I belong.”
»The infamous Super Bowl countdown clock was officially taken down off the wall inside the Giants’ locker room, and Tuck understands why:
“I don’t know if it’s a tangible reminder, but I know there’s no need for it to be up right now,” Tuck said. “We can’t reach that goal, so for us we move on to our next goal and that’s just trying to win some football games.”
»Practice squad linebacker Marcus Dowtin took Jacobs’s place on the active 53-man roster.
»The Giants released linebacker Darin Drakeford from the practice squad and signed defensive end Kendrick Adams and defensive back Chaz Powell to replace Drake and Dowtin.
»Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins (shin/quad), safety Cooper Taylor (hamstring) and Thomas (knee) did not practice. Cornerback Corey Webster (ankle) was limited, while cornerback Prince Amukamara (illness) gutted out practice despite being on the pre-practice injury report.
»Safety Antrel Rolle remains the only Giant in the Top 10 in Pro Bowl fan voting at any position. He’s currently third among strong safeties with 99,667 votes.
»Only seven teams have won a Super Bowl and missed the playoffs the next two seasons — and this will be the third time it’s happened to the Giants. Big Blue won it all in 1986 and sat out the postseason in 1987 and 1988. And after winning again in 1990, they were non-playoff teams in 1991 and 1992. Since their 2011 championship season, they have gone two years without making it. The only time they made the playoffs after a Super Bowl was in 2008, and they were eliminated in the divisional round.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.