EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Tom Coughlin delivered a spirited and upbeat address to the Giants players today following the team's first post-bye practice. The point went beyond simply continuing to play hard over the season's final nine games.
"I think the message also was that you look around the league and you see teams that are playing superbly that maybe hadn't been playing superbly," Coughlin said. "So to me, we've got to play above the X's and O's. We've got nine games to play as well as we can possibly play. I think anybody in that locker room can do that. They just have to realize the amount of the season and the schedule that's gone by and yet we have nine opportunities. Let's go. One at a time."
The Giants lost to Philadelphia and Dallas prior to the bye to fall to 3-4. They will next play a week from tonight at home against the Indianapolis Colts. That continues a difficult stretch in which the Giants will travel to Seattle and host San Francisco and the Cowboys.
"This is exciting," quarterback Eli Manning said. "We have a good opportunity ahead of us. The way we have played to start the year, we have made it tough on ourselves, but we have to get hot. All we can do is worry about this next game. We have to handle our business and start playing at a higher level."
"There's parity in the league," defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said. "The fact remains that we have a lot of games left on the schedule, we've got championship caliber talent in here. I still believe that 100 percent, so we go out, we work, we put wins together and all of a sudden the perception changes."
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Running back Rashad Jennings (knee) did not practice. "He's not ready to go," Coughlin said. "He's day-to-day."
Jennings missed the two games prior to the bye. He is working on his own, but won't publicly give a target date for his return.
"Before the bye, I was targeting Dallas," Jennings said. "That's me. I want to play. We'll see. I'm doing everything I can. I don't want to promise that I'm going to be out when I'm not out there yet, but when I'm out there I'll be ready to go and I'll be flying around."
- Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who was limited to part-time duty against the Cowboys with back and hamstring issues, practiced today.
"Last week we were encouraged because of the number of treatments that he got," Coughlin said. "We'll have to see.
"I thought there was (improvement). He did some plays and took some plays where he didn't work. I think it's a little better than it was, but whether or not it's ready to be where we would want it to be, I don't know."
- Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins suffered a calf injury in Dallas. He has shed his crutches and walking boot, and Coughlin also described him as "day-to-day."
Asked when he might practice, Jenkins said, "It's hard to say. I haven't really tested it too much yet. You're going through the steps with it, getting back to walking, starting to walk normal now. We'll start progressing and see how it handles it."
Jenkins previously thought he might miss a few games. Now he's more optimistic.
"We definitely had some encouraging signs of how it's been coming along so far," he said. "You just have to see. Once you get to testing it a little more, you see how it responds, see how it is the next day, the day after that. You get a better idea."
19 of the best photos from Monday's practice
Guard Geoff Schwartz practiced for the first time since suffering a dislocated toe on Aug. 22. Schwartz participated in individual drills. He was wearing a protective covering on his shoe. Schwartz is on injured reserve/designated for return and is eligible to play against the Colts. But that doesn't mean he'll be ready.
"He started," Coughlin said. "It looks like the Queen Mary or something was wrapped around his toe when you look at that shoe."
"It's good to be back out there," Schwartz said. "It's been a while, so it's going to take a little bit of time. But I was pretty pleased with how it went."
Schwartz will be able to better gauge his progress after working in pads on Thursday.
"For an offensive lineman," Schwartz said, "there's not much you can do rehab-wise that simulates a game, because you have to get used to the anchoring and the pushing and stuff. I could do the movement and footwork just fine on my own and we did, but nothing mimics actually doing it. It's not like I'm a wide receiver that could just run a route and stuff like that. I have to actually go and be able to hit somebody and anchor on bull rushes and stuff like that."
- Running back Peyton Hillis and linebacker Spencer Paysinger were "sick," according to Coughlin.
"I'm telling you, these vacations are no good," Coughlin said. "They come back, they're throwing up. They probably caught it from the kids or something. We've got two or three of them."