EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – An oft-repeated NFL idiom is teams frequently make their most significant improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 in any given season.
That is certainly the Giants' objective this week.
Although they had moments and plays to build on in a 26-16 season-opening loss to Pittsburgh, the players and coaches were generally dissatisfied with their performance, a perfectly reasonable assessment after a 10-point defeat.
Coach Joe Judge is looking for all three units to perform at a higher level when the Giants play their first road game of the season tomorrow in Chicago against the 1-0 Bears.
"There are a lot of levels of improvement we have to see," Judge said, "not only this week but throughout the year. We have to grow as a team. We're still working on really getting our identity and our base set as a program and as a culture. The things I want to see this week, on top of playing together as a team for 60 minutes, which I was pleased with how we did it last week, is I want to see the guys go out there and execute and not set ourselves back with mistakes."
Several members of the organization who spoke publicly this week vowed to correct mistakes and contribute to a better performance in Chicago. Indeed, that determination was expressed shortly after the game ended Monday night. Saquon Barkley rushed for only six yards on 15 carries and said that performance will not be repeated.
"I have to be better, I have to be better for the team," Barkley said. "We have to find a way to get the run game going. That's how I truly believe. I have to go back and watch film to give you an honest answer. I can't just talk off of emotions. One thing that just pops in my mind is find a way to get the run game going for this team. I know that's going to be a key part of our success. I truly believe and I still believe in it. Keep grinding at it, keep working at it and find a way."
That theme was echoed by Giants players since Wednesday.
Left guard Will Hernandez: "You're always motivated by a loss, nobody likes to lose. Not only that, but we're already motivated as it is. You get something like that that happens, of course, we're going to come out with even more of a chip on our shoulder. That's not us, that's not what we want to do, that's not what we want to put out there. Of course, it motivated us and we're more motivated than ever now."
Tight end Evan Engram: "We had a lot of urgency this week. Being a short week, the schedule was adjusted. I think we did a really good job this week of flying around with urgency and attention to detail, and getting all of our reps in and work in."
Barkley: "The only concern was that we lost as a team. In the running back room and my running back coach, we watched film, we see what we all can improve on and those are things that we watch. We try to learn from it and get better and come into practice this week and prepare for Chicago."
The coaches also joined the chorus.
"I have to do a better job, obviously," defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said. "I didn't do a good enough job of preparing for (pick plays in the middle of the field). We are going to get presented with the same problems and issues this week with Chicago. They have a bunch of good receivers. They do a great job down in the red area. They have so many targets down there. How they disguise their looks in terms of the proximity of receivers close to one another. We have to do a better job of coaching that."
They have all said the right things. But the talk needs to be supported by deeds. Why do the players believe this week will be different?
"Just the attitude in everybody's eyes, the look in everybody's eyes during practice every day," Hernandez said. "The past three practices that we've had since our last game, it differs in energy. Guys coming out there doing specifically what they need to do. Paying attention to the smallest details. Coming out with all this energy, coming out with all this purpose. All that's going to happen is you practice how you play and what we're going to do is we're going to carry it over to Sunday, that's it."
View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.
*These two teams first played each other in 1925, making this the Giants' oldest active series (the Giants' first-ever road victory was in Chicago on Dec. 13, 1925). Chicago leads the regular-season series, 29-21-2, and the postseason series, 5-3.
*The Giants and Bears will face each other for the third consecutive season and the second year in a row in Chicago. Last Nov. 24, the Giants led at halftime, 7-3, but allowed 16 unanswered points in the third quarter and lost, 19-14. On Dec. 2, 2018, the Giants earned a 30-27 overtime triumph in MetLife Stadium. The Bears scored 10 points in the final 1:13 of the fourth quarter to tie the game. Saquon Barkley's 29-yard run on the first play of overtime set up Aldrick Rosas' game-winning 44-yard field goal.
*The Giants radio pregame show will begin at 11:30 a.m. on WFAN 660 AM and will stream live on Giants.com, the Giants mobile app, and "Giants TV" streaming app.
*Giants Postgame Live presented by Mercedes-Benz can be heard immediately after the game - also on WFAN 660 AM and streaming on Giants.com, the Giants mobile app, and "Giants TV" streaming app.