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Team staying focused on own opponents


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** The Giants fell further behind in the NFC East race while standing still Sunday, a development that concerns them not at all.

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While they rested on their bye weekend, the Giants watched as their three division rivals – Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington – all won. As they prepare to resume action Sunday at home against the Oakland Raiders, the Giants are 2.5 games behind the NFC East-leading Cowboys, 1.5 games behind the Eagles and a game behind the Redskins.

But the Giants have eight games remaining, which, they said, gives them more than enough opportunity to be a factor in the division race without worrying about what anyone else is doing.

"It's all about us," quarterback Eli Manning said. "We can only control what we can do. Some weeks a team might lose for us. Sometimes they all might win, they all might lose, all we can worry about is, hey, if we're winning, then we'll keep in contention and give ourselves a shot. 

"We knew we were going to have a bye week and everybody else is playing. All we can worry about is getting back to play well and for us to get on a hot streak and start winning games and continue this run and see if we can get back in the mix."

"Every team is accountable for their own actions," safety Antrel Rolle said. "Whatever Dallas does or Washington does or Philly does shouldn't have any effect on us, although we know it does. We have to go out there and take care of our own business. We can't rely on anyone else."

Someone said to Rolle the Giants will eventually need help if they are to win the division.

"Create your own help," he said. "That's how I look at it. Create your own help. If you can't do it by yourself, then just don't do it. That's how I feel about the game."

Just prior to the bye, the Giants earned their first two victories of the season, defeating Minnesota and Philadelphia. But at 2-6, they face a steep uphill climb and can ill afford any missteps.

Coach Tom Coughlin will discuss with his players anything he considers even remotely relevant to the team's fortunes, but said he didn't review their division rivals' success when the team reconvened today.

"We've got to take care of our business," Coughlin said.

Asked if the Giants need any dramatic changes after a bye week of self-evaluation, Coughlin said, "We need to play better. We need to play better and we need to win more. That's the dramatics."

The players believe they can retain the momentum they established before their week off.

"We have to, we don't have a choice," guard Kevin Boothe said. "We have to take it day-by-day and game-by-game. It's not tough for this group to tune everything else out and focus on one game and that's against a Raider team that's done a lot of good things this year. We have to get into studying them here in the next day or two before we meet up again on Wednesday."

"This team's best work has been when its … backs are against the wall, when it had to win one game at a time, or win out in some cases," cornerback Terrell Thomas said. "We're excited to get back to work. We have a tough challenge going against the Raiders this week. We need a win.  We're going to play our butts off and prepare for it.

"We can't control what (the other division teams) do. All we control is us. Hopefully, we get some help down the road, but right now, we're focused on the Raiders."


  • Running back David Wilson, who has been sidelined with a herniated disc in his neck since October 6, underwent an MRI today at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Wilson was also re-evaluated by team physicians Dr. Russell Warren and Dr. Frank Cammisa. 

The determination was made that while there has been significant improvement with the herniation, Wilson is still not clear to resume football activities. Wilson will undergo another evaluation in several weeks.

  • The Giants on Sunday will face an Oakland defense that yesterday surrendered seven touchdown passes by Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles. But Manning cautioned he can't be expected to match that total this week.

"You can't just say what happened to a team the week prior, and automatically assume it's going to happen again," Manning said. "Usually it doesn't. They come with something to prove and come out with a better performance. We're looking at all of their past games and (the previous week) they played Pittsburgh very well and those are the only two games I've seen so far. They have a talented defense and make plays, so we have to be ready and expect their best effort."

Coughlin is eager to have running back Andre Brown back in uniform. Brown is eligible to be activated off injured reserve for the Oakland game.

"We're looking forward to that, yes, and getting him back," Coughlin said. "It's been a long time."

Brown last played in a regular-season game on Nov. 12, 2012, when he suffered a fractured fibula vs. Green Bay. He re-injured the leg in a preseason game at New England on Aug. 29 and was placed on the injured reserve/designated for return list.

"Coach came up to me and (said), 'Are you ready?'" Brown said. "I was like, 'Hell yes…I mean yes.' That was it. I guess we'll find out later in the week what they're going to do.

"My legs are feeling great. What I did during the bye week really helped as far as I worked and rested and worked it again and then ran a couple position drills. I came back in here today and it's pretty solid right now. I don't feel any little aches or anything like that anymore. During warm-ups a couple weeks ago, it would still ache a little bit and now it's not even happening. I feel great."

  • The Giants must decide this week whether to activate or place on I.R. defensive tackle Markus Kuhn, who is on the physically unable to perform list. Coughlin didn't commit to a plan for Kuhn, who tore his ACL last Nov. 11 in Cincinnati.

"He's been coming along well, too," Coughlin said. "He's very anxious to get out on the field."

  • Denver coach John Fox underwent heart surgery today and Houston coach Gary Kubiak was taken by ambulance to the hospital after collapsing at the end of the first half of the Texans' game last night vs. Indianapolis. Coughlin was asked if "most people" don't understand the stresses of being an NFL head coach.

"My thoughts go right to two personal friends that I have that are obviously in need of our prayers and best wishes," Coughlin said. "I don't know much about Gary's situation. I did text John back and forth a little bit. I told him we would pray for him and I think he'll come back stronger than ever.

"I worry about it (the stress), but when you sign up for it, it kind of goes along with it unless somehow the competitive aspect of the game changes. It's just as much that as it is anything else. It's all about the grinding away inside, the competitive part of this thing. It's all part of it. It's what the individuals are made of that are at this level."

  • The Giants today signed cornerback Brandon Jones to their practice squad. Jones, 6-0 and 191 pounds, was signed as a rookie free agent by the New England Patriots on May 31 and was waived on Aug. 26. He played in two preseason games and had one tackle. Jones played in 49 games at Rutgers and had 89 tackles and eight interceptions, including five in 2012.  He played at Winslow Township High School in South Jersey.

The Giants had a vacancy on their practice squad after terminating the contract of running back Jeremy Wright last week. **Click Here to view photos from Giants practice >>**

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