EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – In his seven seasons in the NFL, Adoree' Jackson has learned that players and coaches can't overreact to Week 1 – or any - results.
"Week 1, Week 5, Week 10, Week 16, we always talk about, it's a roller coaster, but you don't want to ride a roller coaster," Jackson said. "You don't take the highs, you don't take the lows, but you just stay there with it no matter how good you play, stay the same or whatever it may be. So, I think at the end of the day, being humble, giving the prayers to the Lord no matter what happens and just keep going, keep rocking, keep fighting, keep getting better, keep building. You understand this is, I don't want to say a week-to-week league, it is a day-by-day league. You gotta come in here and get it, earn it, get better and then you get to prove it each week."
The Giants have something to prove after their opening game performance, a forgettable 40-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in MetLife Stadium. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but almost all players and coaches have experienced a galling defeat.
"You teach it, you learn from it, and move on," coach Brian Daboll said. "Get ready for next week, or this week I should say."
The Giants get their first opportunity to prove that the lopsided loss was a one-game aberration when they face 0-1 Cardinals Sunday in Arizona.
Week 1 results are often inaccurate forecasters for what happens the remainder of the season. Forty-point margins of victory are rare in any NFL week, but according to the Elias Sports Bureau, two teams were shut out in their season openers by more than 40 points and went on to make the playoffs.
In 1989, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost at home in their first game to Cleveland, 51-0, but finished 9-7 and won an AFC Wild Card Game. Two years later, the Detroit Lions began their season with a 45-0 loss in Washington. The season ended in the NFC Championship Game, where the Lions lost… in Washington.
The postseason is months away and the Giants this week are focused only on the Cardinals. But the first task is to move past their poor performance vs. Dallas. How do they do that?
"I think just getting back to work, focusing on what's ahead of us and what we can control now, and that's the next opportunity," quarterback Daniel Jones said. "I felt the guys did a good job coming out ready to go today and attacking this week."
"You gotta have a short memory, you gotta be able to move on and correct the things that need to be corrected," said wide receiver Sterling Shepard, an eight-year veteran who is the longest-tenured Giants player. "Because the things that you saw last week and things that got us beat are the same things that another team is gonna try the next week. So, you got to encourage guys to get in the film room, be very critical in the film room of themselves and try to correct the things that we came up short on because we are gonna see the same thing again."
Daboll is going to stay in character as he prepares the team this week. He is sticking to what he calls the process.
"You try to be as consistent as you can," he said. "So, you're not going to ride a roller coaster. Results? Terrible. But you're not going to ride a roller coaster. Not how we do things. We're going to be consistent with how we teach, how we practice, how we prepare and try to do a better job.
"We believe in what we do and how we do it. You've got to go out there and prepare well and practice well and ultimately play well and coach well on Sunday."
The players appreciate that Daboll is not yelling more than usual or threatening wholesale lineup changes.
"At the end of the day, it's his team and we follow him in his direction," Jackson said. "So, if you see the morale of coach go down and may waver on some different players or whatever it may be, but I think we have a great leader and Dabs and the ones that he and the ones that our teams had promoted as captain, I think those are great leaders as well, and everybody that is a captain was a great leader. I think everybody has the same mindset, the same mentality that you don't change. You don't waver, you don't go against the grain, whatever you do, just keep pushing, keep working when things don't go the way that you want to go."
Jackson is one of the Giants' 10 elected captains. How can he help his teammates, particularly the younger players, get past the Dallas debacle?
"I think it's just by coming into work and having that mentality of putting your head down, taking it personal, which you should take after a loss," Jackson said. "Maybe they don't happen in the fashion that that did happen, but taking every loss personal as an embarrassing feeling is just trying to get better. So just coming in each day ready to work, showing those guys that you're learning from your mistakes and trying to improve."
Sounds like a plan for this and every week.