In the hallway splitting the weight room and locker room at the Timex Performance Center, the Giants recently installed a new mural commemorating the Super Bowl XLVI championship. Plastered on the opposite wall of a similar montage from the 2007 run, it will remind and motivate players as they walk through the practice facility.
But the bye-week renovation was part of a larger theme, which a 15-year-old fan from Barre, Vt., drove home better than any picture could.
Adam Merchant, diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, attended Giants practice on Friday and Sunday night’s game against the Packers thanks to the Make-A-Wish-Foundation. With that wish, he also had a command. As the team wrapped up its final full practice before the Green Bay game, Adam huddled up the players and told them to “play like world champions.”
And they did.
In a primetime game between the past two Super Bowl champions, the Giants jumped out to an early lead on Green Bay and didn’t rest until the final whistle blew on a 38-10 victory.
“They freaked out,” Merchant recalled after the game, sitting in front a group of reporters at Justin Tuck’s locker. The defensive captain was seated on his left while his father was on his right. “It just came from the heart.”
“They get to do whatever they want to do with that wish and he chose to come to a New York Giant game,” said Tuck, whose team broke a two-game skid. “That’s kind of humbling, the fact that a kid’s only wish is that he wants to come see us play. When he stepped out and we gave him the floor, he just came up and said we need to go out there and play like champions, play like the champions that we are. It kind of hit home.
“You’ve got this kid that doesn’t know us but from watching us on TV every Sunday and it’s so profound because certain people can tell you that, but when you see a kid, an innocent kid, come up to you and say ‘you need to play like a champion’– I told him he needs to go into motivational speaking because he kind of woke us up a little bit.”
Tags: Adam Merchant, Justin Tuck, Tom Coughlin
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It’s a six-week season, and the Giants have a one-game head start. That’s how the Giants are looking at it. And with that final stretch set to begin this Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers, Tom Coughlin joined Mike Francesa yesterday on WFAN on the players’ day off and assessed the state of his team.
“I think what we’ve done is we’re trying now to get ourselves ready to go for this very important stretch right here, down the home stretch we go,” Coughlin said. “We’re 6-4, we lead the division by one game, we have very difficult games week in and week out, and we know that we’re going to have to be at our very, very best. We have not been for a couple ball games. We gave some huge plays with our coverage teams, kind of anemic on offense, didn’t stop the run. The following week we go into a game where we’re plus-14 and the opponent, the Bengals, are minus-5 and we come out of the game minus-3. So a lot of the principles we believe in, winning the physical battle, that type of thing, the turnover battle, we did not do most recently and we’ve got to get back on track with that.
“So that’s where we’re starting. We came back from the bye week and players were rested. We had a nice session [Monday] with talking about our self-scout, reviewing some of that information, some research information as well, and had a short but crisp practice to bring us back into the idea of getting started again. Now Wednesday we’ll have hopefully a very, very energetic start to our week.”
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Tags: Tom Coughlin
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Somewhere along the way in preparing for San Francisco, Adrian Tracy’s name came up among Tom Coughlin and his staff. So they wrote the defensive-end-turned-linebacker-turned-whatever-you-need into the script on Sunday.
The payoff was high as the Giants 2010 sixth round draft pick turned his dozen snaps into four tackles, including his first career sack. Hampered by injuries throughout his young career (which included spending all of 2010 on injured reserve), Tracy has played in every game this season and made the most of his opportunity against the 49ers.
“They asked Adrian to step up this week and play a different role than what he had over the last couple weeks,” Michael Boley said Monday on a conference call with Giants beat reporters. “And he stepped up and played pretty well. Hat off to him.”
Tracy saw the bulk of his action as an outside linebacker, and got his feet wet early with a tackle on running back Frank Gore for no gain. He finished the game as strong as he started and sacked backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick for a loss of six yards on the 49ers’ last offensive snap of the game. Eli Manning and company took over in the victory formation and preserved the win.
Tracy was one of a handful of players asked to do more than usual in San Francisco.
“Guys played hard,” Coughlin said on a conference call. “Lots of people got to contribute and play. Adrian Tracy made a contribution in there, did a very nice job. We got to play a bunch of guys on special teams and they rose up and did a nice job of that. Michael Coe came back and was healthy and made a couple tackles on special teams, and Justin Tryon had three tackles on special teams. Lots of people played and contributed and we tried to be able to do some things with their personnel combinations. And we used lots of people on the field and they played well. So I was pleased to see that happen.”
Tags: Adrian Tracy, Justin Tryon, Michael Coe, Tom Coughlin
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Coming off a blocked field goal before halftime in a defensive grudge match, the Giants offense needed a spark coming out of the locker room in San Francisco. David Wilson, who already had kick returns of 44 and 53 in previous weeks, stepped up to the plate.
The 49ers won the coin toss and elected to receive to begin the game, which gave the ball to the Giants to start the second half with a 10-3 lead. That’s when Wilson ripped off a 66-yard return and gift-wrapped the ball on the San Francisco 32-yard line for the offense to take over. Seven plays later, Ahmad Bradshaw scored on a one-yard leap into the end zone and gave the Giants a 14-point lead.
Wilson had two returns for 93 yards on the day, upping his season average to 28.4.
“The kickoff return after the half was huge,” Tom Coughlin said of Wilson, who also had a 46-yard return called back due to a holding penalty in the first quarter. “That was a momentum-changing play in that we came out, we knew what we had to do offensively. And they kicked the ball off and we had a super return. David again looked like he might go all the way, but [he] put us in excellent, excellent field position.”
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Tags: David Wilson, Tom Coughlin
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With Tom Coughlin one victory away from tying Bill Parcells at No. 2 on the Giants’ all-time regular season wins list as a head coach, Giants.com takes look at the top 10 winningest coaches in franchise history.
1) Steve Owen (1930-53) 153-100-17 .598
2) Bill Parcells (1983-90) 77-49-1 .610
3) Tom Coughlin (2004-Present) 76-55-0 .580
4) Jim Fassel (1997-03) 58-53-1 .522
5) Allie Sherman (1961-68) 57-51-4 .527
6) Jim Lee Howell (1954-60) 53-27-4 .655
7) Dan Reeves (1993-96) 31-33-0 .484
8) Alex Webster (1969-73) 29-40-1 .421
9) LeRoy Andrews* (1929-30) 24-5-1 .817
10) Ray Perkins (1979-82) 23-34-0 .404
*Andrews was replaced by Benny Friedman and Owen after 15 games in 1930.
Tags: Bill Parcells, Tom Coughlin
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While much has been made about the Giants’ early schedule, it may not be as bad as it seems.
But don’t tell the coaches that.
The defending champs began with the first Wednesday game in 64 years (of the 93-year-old NFL), followed by an 11-day layoff for a Sunday afternoon game in Week 2. Then it was a quick turnaround and road trip to Carolina this past Thursday night. Now they pack up again and play in Philadelphia on Sunday night.
Rough for coaches. But there’s an upside for players.
“It’s actually been pretty nice, to say the least,” Cruz said. “We had a couple of weekends off to get our legs back and we’ve been playing well. That’s always a good sign. In the irony of it, it’s been pretty nice.”
That’s a testament to Tom Coughlin and his staff, which is driven by routine. Coughlin went as far to thank his coaches in his locker room speech following the 36-7 victory over the Panthers.
To their credit, both coaches and players have been thrown out of whack in the first quarter of the season but adjusted accordingly. The Giants currently sit at 2-1 and return to nothing but Sunday games, except for Monday Night Football against Washington in early December.
“It’s a little different,” Manning said. “Two of the first three weekends, we’ve had off. That’s a little different. I think everybody’s glad that we’re finally back to our normal routine for the next few weeks. We have a normal schedule. I’ve enjoyed the time off, we’ve had good work, and I’m excited to be back at practice, and getting ready to play Philadelphia.”
Tags: Eli Manning, Tom Coughlin, Victor Cruz
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It’s Tuesday and that means it’s time to vote for the NFL’s weekly awards. Once again, a Giants player is nominated after Eli Manning was named the “FedEx Air Player of the Week” and recognized for the “Never Say Never Moment of the Week” following his 510 yards in a comeback victory against Tampa Bay.
But Week 3 was all about running back Andre Brown, who rushed 20 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns as the Giants defeated the Panthers 36-7 on the road. Making his first career start, Brown’s primetime performance on Thursday night has him nominated for the “Ground Player of the Week.”
Other nominees: Jamaal Charles (Chiefs) and Maurice Jones-Drew (Jaguars).
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» NY Giants WR Ramses Barden maintains level head following nine-catch,138-yard performance [Sean Brennan, New York Daily News]
» Go behind-the-scenes with NFL Films to see the cinematographic philosophy of “Tom Coughlin: A Football Life,” which premieres Wednesday, September 26 at 8 PM ET on NFL Network.
Tags: Andre Brown, Martellus Bennett, Ramses Barden, Tom Coughlin
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If you’ve ever seen or heard a Tom Coughlin press conference, you know he doesn’t reveal much. That’s why A Football Life is must-see TV this week as the Emmy-nominated series profiles the Giants’ two-time Super Bowl champion head coach. The Coughlin episode premiers on Wednesday, September 26 at 8 PM ET on NFL Network.
While the one-hour show does chronicle Coughlin’s football career, it also captures a rare glimpse of his off-field life, highlighting his wife, Judy, and his devotion to his charity, The Jay Fund.
Aside from Coughlin’s, here is a list of some of the voices included in the episode:
Kate Snee – Tom’s daughter
Bill Parcells – Former New York Giants head coach
Michael Strahan – Former New York Giants defensive end
Jim Boeheim – Syracuse University men’s basketball coach
Larry Csonka – Hall of Fame running back
Fred Taylor – Former Jacksonville Jaguars running back
Ernie Accorsi – Former New York Giants general manager
Doug Flutie – Played for Tom Coughlin at Boston College, 1981-83
Following are select quotes from Tom Coughlin: A Football Life:
- “When people are sick or in need, that’s when his emotions, his faith, his strength shows the most.” – Judy Coughlin
- “I’ve gone from a guy who wouldn’t play for him for one year, to a guy who wouldn’t play for anybody else if I had to go back and play football. He wants to win. That’s his bottom line, and he’s had to change his methods to get there. I’m glad he changed it, that we were able to get to the mountaintop with him.” – Michael Strahan
- “When you win in New York, it’s something special and the people never forget you.” – Bill Parcells
- “At Syracuse, he kept notes on everything. [He is the] first person I ever saw in athletics that kept notes on everything. A few years later after I left Tommy’s presence, I met a guy that was just like that. His name was [Don] Shula.” – Larry Csonka
- “I could be rude [with the media]. I could pull some of the [Bill] Parcells stuff, but I couldn’t get away with it. I wasn’t Parcells. They make light of it, but they’re not making light of it with me.” – Tom Coughlin on his relationship with the New York media early in his Giants head coaching tenure
- “When John Madden calls you, it brings it right to mind again that that’s really what football is: it’s sport. What is sport all about? We’re trying to win. That’s what this league is about, is competitive greatness and always putting your best foot forward.” – Coughlin
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» Buy ‘A Hero Remembered‘
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Tags: Bill Parcells, Marvin Austin, Michael Strahan, Tom Coughlin
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From week to week, opponent to opponent, players are given a scouting report in a white binder. You can imagine the heftiness as it has to be thick enough to fit each detail Tom Coughlin and his coaching staff have combed over in studying the upcoming team.
The aggregation of intel, however, is somewhat limited when it comes to new regimes.
That’s the case in Tampa Bay, where Greg Schiano is in his first year as an NFL head coach along with a new staff. For that, Coughlin went back to college.
“We watched all the Rutgers film,” Coughlin said about facing Schiano, who coached the Scarlet Knights from 2001-11. “In all three phases. Of course, we watched all the preseason games. They continue to have a good scheme.”
However, the NFL is a whole different ballgame, and an eight-year vet like linebacker Michael Boley has seen the curve balls when playing against a new coach.
“Facing a new head coach kind of keeps you on your toes as far as what you’re going to get,” said Boley, who played for two first-year head coaches himself with the Atlanta Falcons between 2005 and 2008. “Most coaches, from year to year, they kind of have staples as far as things they’re used to – what’s their identity, so to speak. So facing a new coach, early on it’s kind of throwing everybody off because you don’t really know what to expect.”
Meanwhile, the Giants have studied the Bucs’ 2012 preseason (Tampa went 2-2) and their Week 1 victory. So what have the Giants seen so far?
“We saw a very tough, physical team,” Boley said. “They set the tone early, saying, ‘You know what, we’re a new team and we’re going to hit you in your mouth.’ They did a good job of that.”
Tags: Michael Boley, Tom Coughlin
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Miss the NFL Network premiere of “America’s Game” last week? Or just want to re-watch it? Giants.com has you covered.
Here are five segments from the hour-long documentary of the Giants’ fourth Super Bowl run as told by Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning, Justin Tuck, and Victor Cruz:
Tags: Eli Manning, Justin Tuck, Super Bowl, Tom Coughlin, Victor Cruz
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