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Giants still have lofty goals despite 0-3 start


Despite an 0-3 start, the Giants remain confident they can turn things around in a hurry:

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Eli Manning and Brandon Marshall have been in this hole separately, and they believe the Giants can work their way out of it by sticking together.

The Giants dipped to 0-3 with their last-second, 27-24 loss Sunday in Philadelphia. As unpleasant as it is, this is not a new experience for Manning or Marshall, who have a combined 26 years of NFL experience. In 2013, the Giants lost their first six games. They went 7-3 the rest of the way to finish 7-9. Marshall was with the Miami Dolphins in 2011, when they started 0-7 on their way to a 6-10 finish.

Despite the rough start, the Giants still have lofty goals. The first one is enjoying their initial victory, which they hope to get Sunday against the Buccaneers in Tampa.

"We're sitting at 0-3, so that's a little bit rough, but we'll be fine," said Marshall, a 12-year pro who is still waiting to play in his first postseason game.

Why does Marshall believe the Giants can at least contend to join that select group?

"The men in this room. Simple as that," he said.

Since the 1970 merger, only five teams have started 0-3 and made the playoffs. The most recent among them was the Buffalo Bills – 19 years ago. No team has accomplished the feat since the NFL realigned into its current divisions in 2002.

The Giants are not prepared to discuss, or even think about, the playoffs.

"One day at a time," defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said. "It starts by coming in and we know we lost the game, but we got to move on from it and it starts in practice. I feel like we are going to come out and do great in practice this week. Coach (Ben) McAdoo said some words to us and he really don't have to say no words to us. You can just feel the energy, the vibe around us. Everybody is just really soaking it in and getting ready for the next game."

"Our mindset is we have to get this win right here," Manning said. "Get our first win and go from there. So we have a long football season left, and anything is possible, but still the focus is on the next game no matter if we're 3-0 or 1-2 or whatever. Next game is the most important one. That's where we are right now."

Manning said the Giants are a tight-knit team, which should be better than one that is splintered.

"I think it's a strong team," Manning said. "I think guys have a lot of respect for each other. They work hard, they get along with each other, great communication starting from the coaches going all the way down to the players, and be able to handle things and whatever is thrown at us.

"We've had talks and we've had some opportunities to make sure everybody is on the same page. I think the team is still strong and dedicated to going out there and doing what's right, and fixing the problems."

The Giants had many positive takeaways from the game against the Eagles. The offense, which struggled to score in the season's first 11 quarters, put 24 points on the board in the fourth quarter. Manning threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns. The Giants' plan to have him release the ball quickly worked, as he was not sacked.

"Obviously, there's no moral victories," Marshall said. "But we were able to do some things that we weren't able to do in the first two weeks, so that's promising. If we build off of that, I think we'll be fine."

The defense also has room for improvement, particularly against the run. Philadelphia ran for 193 yards against a unit that finished tied for third in the NFL last season, allowing only 88.6 yards a game.

"We definitely know that (the run defense hasn't performed as well as expected)," Pierre-Paul said. "We gave up almost 200 yards in rushing. That's something that we are not proud of. I am definitely not proud of. We are going to fix it. We are going to get it better."

JPP and his fellow players are just as confident regarding the future performance of the entire team.

"It ain't no panic, we are not panicking," Pierre-Paul said. "The fans can't play for us, the media can't play for us, the only person that can play for us is us. So, we are not panicking. At the end of the day, it's all about the team. "

"I've been in this position before," Marshall said. "It's a long season. All kinds of things happen."

The Giants need to start making them good things.

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