EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** It's safe to say the Giants' offensive players hope their captains win the coin toss and Tom Coughlin elects to receive when they meet the Atlanta Falcons Sunday in the team's home opener.
Last week in Dallas, the Cowboys won the toss, took the ball, and held it for 10:27. Dallas scored just three points on the long possession, but the Giants' offense didn't take its first snap until 4:33 remained in the quarter. That made it difficult to establish consistency early.
"On that first drive, they did chew up a lot of clock, and I kind of noticed that," wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said. "You're just sitting there, like, 'When can we finally get in?' It's just hard to establish a rhythm when a team does a good job at controlling the ball so well. Dallas did a tremendous job at controlling the ball. They did a tremendous job at driving down the field when they needed to, scoring, and even on the last drive. As much as it sucks to lose, you have to give them some credit. We didn't do what we needed to do, and they did what they needed to do to get the win."
"I felt like it was 30 minutes since I warmed up," guard Geoff Schwartz said. "You just have to stay loose on the sidelines. It's up to you to keep yourself loose. And obviously, the defense did a great job of holding them to a field goal. When they have 11-minute drives like they did, that's obviously a positive. When we get the ball, we, at that point, have to have a long drive, too. You've got to give the defense some rest. We got a couple first downs and we've got to score. You just have to stay ready, that's our job, to be ready."
The Cowboys ran 17 plays on their long opening drive, so coach Tom Coughlin was pleased they didn't score a touchdown.
"They won the toss and took the ball, and they put on a long drive," Coughlin said. "I think, certainly, you want to get in the game much faster than that, but you deal with what you deal with. I think we were all glad to see there was only three points. So out goes the offensive team knowing what their job is. It was a long, sustained drive, and there's reasons why you take the ball and why you don't take the ball and that type of thing. They obviously were correct in what they decided to do the other day."
- The Giants ran several plays the other night with six offensive linemen. In that alignment, Schwartz shifted from right guard out to a tight end position.
"We scored a touchdown on one of them," Schwartz said. "I don't mind doing it. They asked me to do it. It's something I've done a lot of in my career. I did it in Kansas City, I did it in Minnesota, I did it in Carolina. So it's not a big deal for me to go out there.
"It's just an added blocker. We want to be a team that runs the ball, runs the ball physically, runs the ball well. And that's just another option we have to get that job done."
Schwartz has never caught a pass lining up as an extra tight end.
"I went out for a pass once," he said. "It was a really awkward route. … It was on the road, too. So it was in Seattle, you can't hear anything at tight end. So I got off the ball late, I got jammed at the line of scrimmage, and it was just a disaster."
How, exactly, does a 340-pound lineman get jammed at the line of scrimmage?
"Well, when you don't hear the snap count, it's very easy to get jammed," he said. * Five Giants players did not practice today: wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf), linebacker Jon Beason (knee), tight end Daniel Fells (foot), defensive tackle Markus Kuhn (knee) and defensive end Owa Odighizuwa (foot).
Tackle Ereck Flowers (ankle) and linebacker Uani 'Unga (knee) were limited.
"Just like any other injury," Flowers said. "Got to play through it, get through."
Asked if he had any doubts about playing against the Falcons, Flowers said, "I guess we're going to see. In my head, I'm looking to play."
- The Falcons also had five players miss practice: wide receivers Julio Jones (hamstring) and Devin Hester (toe), defensive end Malliciah Goodman (elbow), and linebackers O'Brien Schofield (hip) and Brooks Reed (groin).
Playmakers on Falcons first-team offense, defense, and special teams, presented by Nike