Giants look to play with pride vs. Eagles

Posted Dec 26, 2012

In their final regular season game of the year, the Giants are looking to play with pride at home

The Giants have played poorly in their last two games, but Tom Coughlin did not focus on execution and strategy when he began the work week with his traditional 8 a.m. Wednesday team meeting.

“What I talked to our team about this morning was pride, honor, dignity,” Coughlin said. “Play the game the way we’re capable of playing the game. Finish this season with a game we can all be proud of.

“I think they’re a group of outstanding character people who listen to what is said and I think that it does strike them. No one wants to finish the season like we have the last couple of games. I’m sure that will resonate a little on their part.”

The 8-7 Giants are in the unenviable position of needing help from three other teams to make the playoffs and looking to lift themselves up after back-to-back losses to Atlanta and Baltimore by a combined 67-14. But their first order of business is to defeat the 4-11 Philadelphia Eagles Sunday in MetLife Stadium. And they can’t do that if they’re sulking about the two previous games.

“That’s all you can do; you put it behind you,” quarterback Eli Manning said. “That’s all you can do each week. You just go from one week to another. Whether you’ve played your best game or a game that you know you could’ve played better, you put it behind us and you try to figure out how you can play at a higher level where we have some opportunities and just make a game of it. Get the game into the fourth quarter and try to win it then.”

“Every Wednesday you come in and put the last game behind you and it can’t be any different,” guard Chris Snee said. “As frustrating as this has been, beating the teams that we did and losing to the teams that we have, it’s been frustrating. We haven’t played well. It’s hard to explain. It’s hard to understand, but that’s what’s happened and you have to put it behind you.”

The Giants have been in this situation in the recent past, with mixed results.

In 2009, they were shocked and disappointed after losing the Giants Stadium finale to Carolina, 41-9. That defeat dropped them to 8-7. The next week, Coughlin talked about how much better a 9-7 record would be than an 8-8 mark. Then the Giants went to Minnesota and were crushed by the Vikings, 44-7.

Two years ago, the Giants lost back-to-back games to Philadelphia and Green Bay to fall to 9-6. They went to Washington needing a victory and assistance to make the playoffs. They got the win – 17-14 over the Redskins – but not the help and did not qualify for the postseason despite a 10-6 record.

Now here we are again.

“We're going to find out a lot about a lot of guys in this locker room based off this game - their approach, how you go out there and play the game,” safety Antrel Rolle said. “I think we're going to speak a lot of volume for the kind of caliber guys we have in this locker room. … You go out there and you play for pride because that's all we have. At the end of the day, that's all we have. We go out there and play for pride and we go out there and try to be the best football player you can be.”

“The last couple of weeks we really have played like crap and I don’t think there’s anything for us… I saw some stuff about people saying we quit and things like that,” defensive end and captain Justin Tuck said. “I don’t think that’s it. As a matter of fact, I know that’s not it. When you watch the film you see guys hustling, but something is off and we have to try our best to find what it is. And I think it starts with everybody just worrying about their individual techniques. We had a guy say in one of our meetings out of the 53 guys on this football team if all of us can go to sleep with ourselves tonight knowing that we put forth the greatest effort with preparing and on the football field, we’re going to be fine and that’s all we’re asking from our guys. Make sure that you do your job and in turn if you get 11 guys doing their job, then that’s when you play well as a football team.”

That’s a given. The questions, can the Giants rise above their disappointment? Two weeks ago, they went to Atlanta knowing they could capture the NFC East title by winning out. Instead, they got shut out. They traveled to Baltimore knowing two season-ending victories would put them in the playoffs and they again played poorly. Now their destiny lies in the hands of others, even if they win.

That has to be hard to swallow for any professional athlete.

“The last two weeks have been pretty embarrassing,” kicker Lawrence Tynes said. “There’s no other word to say. When you go out and play like we have for the last two weeks it’s not a reflection of our head coach or this organization and what they’ve done in the past, but it puts a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths. So we have to play better. You have to dig down deep and figure something out between now and Sunday to at least go out if we’re not in the playoffs thinking I played well in the last game of the year, something to build on. But it’s certainly something we’re thinking about this week.”

“This isn’t where we saw ourselves a couple of weeks ago,” wide receiver Victor Cruz said. “Obviously, we’re not satisfied. But we have to come out and play some good football, win this ballgame, and kind of sit back and see what happens.”

*The Giants today placed tight end Travis Beckum on injured reserve. The fourth-year pro injured his left knee in practice last Friday. In the second quarter of Super Bowl XLVI, Beckum tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Beckum spent the first half of the season on the reserve/physically unable to perform list. He played in only four games and did not catch a pass this season.

Beckum’s spot on the roster was filled by defensive back Terrence Frederick, who was signed off the practice squad. Frederick played in one game this year, making his NFL debut on special teams at Atlanta. Frederick was replaced on the practice squad by cornerback Brandon Bing, who spent much of the 2011 season on the squad.

*Six Giants did not practice today: cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring), center David Baas (hip/shoulder), running back Ahmad Bradshaw (knee/foot), defensive tackle Chris Canty (knee), wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (knee) and guard Chris Snee (hip).
*Safety Kenny Phillips (knee) and Tuck (shoulder) were limited. Safety Tyler Sash (hamstring) practiced fully.
Tuck, who was inactive in Baltimore, said he intends to play against the Eagles.

*To make the playoffs, the Giants must beat Philadelphia and Chicago, Minnesota and Dallas must all lose. Coughlin had no interest in discussing those scenarios today.

“My concern is that our team plays well in the 16th game of the year for us,” Coughlin said. “That’s my concern. I would like to see our team play an outstanding football game, a game in which the execution of our team is significantly better than what we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks. The answers to all of the speculative questions you want to ask, maybe they’ll come at some point, but they’re not going to be answered now. What I’m looking for is improvement in our football team and how we execute offensively and defensively.”

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