Friday, November 27, 2009

Ten Days

Look at this as a mini-bye, since the Giants won't play again until next Sunday, at home, against Dallas.

So what will they be thinking about over the weekend? Probably this final five-game stretch where their entire season will be determined. With home games against division opponents Dallas and Philadelphia, and an away game in Washington, two or three wins would put them right back in the thick of the NFC East race. Sweeping the season series against Dallas would give them a tiebreaker to go along with the conference tiebreaker they already hold over Atlanta.

Now, once they get back on Monday, they'll have their focus fully on the Cowboys. But until then, a bunch of them will be contemplating these three games as an entity. And they should.

"It's good to know you have control over what happens," defensive tackle Barry Cofield said. "We win these next three games, we'll be in a great spot in the division. We have an opportunity. We have the schedule set up the way we want it. You get to control what happens. You get that challenge. It's obviously a stretch of games that can make or break you.

"We have to look at it as a plus. If we take advantage of it, we'll be in a good spot in spite of all the ups and downs of our year. That's the mindset we have to have."

Center Shaun O'Hara talked about mindset immediately after the game. Only he accused some of his teammates about not taking their situation seriously enough. That had Cofield irked. But O'Hara didn't back off.

"I think guys need to find a way to step it up a notch," O'Hara said. "When you make a blanket statement like that, it's probably going to pertain to three to five guys. There's guys out there fighting their tails off and doing everything they can to win a game.

"But in a team sport like this, a game can be lost by one player not doing his job on offense. Everyone's counting on each other. So at this point of the season, everyone needs to dial it up a little bit. Do a little bit more. Be a pro about everything. You have to be much more aware mentally of what's going on."

The Giants have had a minimum of finger-pointing during the tougher times of the Tom Coughlin era, particularly beginning in 2007 when Coughlin's transformation to more of a player's coach included the formation of the leadership council, of which O'Hara is a member. So it was a bit odd to hear him call out any teammate, be he named or unnamed.

Defensive end Osi Umenyiora didn't even wait for the end of the game to have his say. He was caught on camera blasting middle linebacker Chase Blackburn.

But O'Hara said the locker room remained solid following the loss.

"I'm sorry to disappoint you guys, but we're not worried about any fracture or any divide in the locker room," O'Hara said. "This is a tough team, physically and mentally. In the NFL, you don't always get what you want, or even what you deserve. We're 6-5 right now, and we're not looking for any sympathy.

"This is our season. Everybody on this team is gonna fight. There are no losers on this team, and there's nobody on this team who's going to hang his head and say 'Woe is me.' We have a lot of guys who put a lot of stock into what we do every week, and I don't expect any change from that standpoint. You have to deal with the results of that game, win or lose, before we start studying for Dallas Monday. Until then, we just have to eat that bullet."

O'Hara undoubtedly will be thinking about the upcoming stretch over the weekend.

"That's why you can't get down on yourself. When you look at what we have in front of us, we have Dallas coming into our house. They're in first place in our division. You can't ask for any other opportunity than that. We play all three of our divisional opponents down the stretch.

"We have opportunities. It's up to us, as men, to make the most of those."



  1. Ernie,

    So, the fans are on fire after the T'giving Turkey. Management has to be, too.

    As bad as it looks, I'm going to continue to believe this club can a 9-7/ 10-6 ish... somewhere between the group that retired after the Oakland game (think Pierce wants to retract the "scrimmage" comment?) and last night's no-show (a performance worthy of the 2005 playoff no-show or the 2007 Minnesota laydown.)

    As I suggested in an earlier post, with second-tier guys like McKenzie, Cofield and Clark playing like scrubs, is there any wiggle room in the lineup for Beatty, Canty and Sintim, respectively? Also, Hakeem Nicks is going to be the best of a very good group of receivers, so why not start him now and send Smith back to the slot, where he dominates?

    I'd hate to see them come back in 10 days with the same lineup and the same gameplan ("The Full Hufnagel").

  2. "There are guys out there fighting their tails off and doing everything they can to win a game"

    Clearly, Shaun hasn't seen the game tapes. Once he has watched the game, please ask him if he would like to issue a retraction, Ernie.