*Getting started early is an important piece of what goes into a win at MetLife Stadium on Sunday: *
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -Mike Sullivan believes the Giants need to start better in their games if they are to enjoy a successful finish.
The 0-4 Giants are one of just two NFL teams that has yet to score a first-quarter point this season (Buffalo is the other). Sullivan, the team's offensive coordinator, raised the subject without prompting today at his weekly news conference.
"We've struggled, as I'm sure you all know," Sullivan said. "And that's probably the next question: 'Why have we not scored any points in the first quarter?' Or, 'Did I know we haven't scored any points in the first quarter of a game?' Yeah, I'm well aware of it, and I think there's no doubt we can't wait until the second quarter, or the third quarter, or the fourth quarter to get things going. There's got to be a concerted effort. It certainly has been an area of emphasis for this week."
The Giants host the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. Sullivan said the Giants can make schematic changes to get more offensive production early in the game.
"You do want to have some ideas of early on, how they have played and how we can put our best foot forward, how we can feature playmakers, attack their defensive players where we have an advantage," Sullivan said. "But I think a big part of it is the communication with the players and just shooting straight and just taking a look at ourselves and saying, 'You know what? There's been some difficult and challenging things we've been able to do later in games. Yet, early in the games, there's some simple and routine things. Whether it's catching the ball, throwing the ball, making a block, etc. that we haven't done.' And making it that point of emphasis and really just discussing it and bringing it to light and just say, 'Wow, if we can take what we do in the second half and get better at doing the easier things, that's going to help us not have to be playing from behind.'
"It'd be awful nice to sit there and be in the first quarter and have a nice lead, or in the second quarter have two-touchdown lead. So it is a communication, it's a point of emphasis and just pointing out letting the guys understand, 'Hey look, we're doing some things well that are difficult. Let's get better at doing the easier things, instead of shooting ourselves in the foot.'"
*Sound defensive football begins with good tackling. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said the Giants must improve in that area.
"I was very, very disappointed in our tackling this past game, and it's been like that the last three," Spagnuolo said. "The guys know that I'm not a believer in block tackling, when you try to get a guy on the ground by just blocking him. We believe in wrap tackling. You see us every day. It's called the tackle ring and it makes you wrap, and that's the reason for it. When you don't go out there and do that, that's disappointing to me. The guys know I feel that way and they have responded greatly out here on the field. Now, we can't do that here because we don't tackle people. That's kind of a lost art in this game right now, but we have to find a way to make sure that we tackle better, or the defense won't change.
"There were a number of guys (missing tackles) There were a number of guys that did it, and they would tell you. They know. And I have all the faith in the world they'll get it ironed out, squared away."
*Head coach Ben McAdoo and Sullivan were each asked to respond to comments made yesterday by Odell Beckham, Jr., who said Tampa Bay cornerback Vernon Hargreaves told him after the game last week that the Buccaneers sometimes knew what routes the receivers would run.
"Your interpretation of what Odell said and mine are entirely different," McAdoo said in response to a question. "Teams do a good job scouting the opponent. That's a part of gamesmanship. We have things to counteract it, and it paid off for us in the game. Every defensive back thinks they know what you're running until they don't. Unfortunately, we didn't win the game.
"There is no defense for the perfect throw and the good route. I think if we do what we're supposed to do from an execution standpoint, and the throw is on time and where it's supposed to be, we should be able to complete the ball. And we are one broken tackle away from taking one to the house, especially when Odell is the receiver."
Sullivan cited some of the Giants' offensive numbers in disputing how much the Bucs night have known.
"I don't know how it was said between those guys (Beckham and Hargreaves)," Sullivan said. "I know that we were able to get almost 400 yards of offense in the game, and no turnovers and a couple touchdown passes, one that put us ahead near the end of the game. And also, the player that (Beckham) was talking to was actually the same player that Odell beat on a 42-yard double move. So I don't know how much stock I would take in those type of accusations, if you will, as far as what opponents would say."
*The musical soundtrack, which has been a constant presence at practice in McAdoo's two seasons as head coach, was not as evident today.
"We structured practice a little bit differently with when we do and when we don't play music," he said. "During periods where there are fundamental emphasis and team emphasis as far as the scheme and getting the details right, we cut the music so our focus and concentration can go up. We will re-introduce it later in the week."
*Running back Paul Perkins replaced cornerback Janoris Jenkins on the list of Giants players who did not practice. Perkins has an injury to his ribs. Center Weston Richburg (concussion) and defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder/knee) and Olivier Vernon (ankle) were also sidelined.
Beckham (finger/ankle) was limited. "It looked like he was cramping," McAdoo said.
Jenkins (ankle) practice fully, as running back Orleans Darkwa (back) and wide receiver Brandon Marshall (toe).