Finishing games, and finishing the season strong, has been an emphasis for coach Tom Coughlin since the beginning of training camp. From the results of the past three games, all strong finishes in winning efforts, it appears the players are getting the message.
"I think it is a matter of him instilling it in our heads and us putting it together as a team and wanting to get the job done," said wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. "Each game is going to go down to the wire and each game is going to be competitive."
Linebacker Michael Boley echoed the emphasis on finishing games.
"We didn't do a good job of that last year so that was a big emphasis for us going into this year," Boley said. "I think we have a different mentality to finishing games now. I think at times last year, we got kind of lackadaisical at times. We got away from the things we did earlier in the game as far as keeping the pressure on. This year it is a different mentality as a team. Our whole mentality is to keep the pressure on and don't let up even during the times late in the game when we are behind like yesterday. It was kind of like don't lose hope because there is always time."
For his part, Coughlin says he hopes the "finish" message is one that sticks with the players.
"I'm not going to go into all of the different ways in which we've done it, but it's been a matter of our players being interested in various ways that we've sold that message," Coughlin said. "We've done it with the use of video. We've done it with the verbal lectures. We've done it any way you can think of doing it and hopefully it will stick with us."
Coughlin did not want to be baited into a discussion of the Victor Cruz.
"I'm standing by the way the rule was interpreted by the officials and if you look at the way that play took place, there's no question he was giving himself up," Coughlin said. "He was headed back for the huddle. I don't know how you call it anything else."
More Giants' news and notes after the jump.
Giants center David Baas, forced out in the second half Sunday because of a burner, on Monday went for a series of tests on his neck.
Antrel Rolle joined PFT Live with Mike Florio to discuss being 3-1, the Victor Cruz fumble, what he’s been taught to do in that situation as a defender, how the Giants shut the Cardinals down late, motivating factors for the Giants, the fact they get to spend a month at home now and why this week’s game against Seattle won’t be a trap game.
My take: Rolle actually managed to get through his PFT segment without saying much of anything memorable. The transcript is worth reading just for that fact alone.
During his weekly, paid appearance on WFAN today – one day after he sat out the Giants’ 31-27 win in Arizona with neck and groin injuries -- Tuck said "we’re going to try to be smart" about his lingering injuries "to try not to have any setbacks." He made it clear that for the long-term interest of both him and the Giants, they’ll be taking a cautious approach.
"You want to try your best to kind of let this thing cool down," Tuck said during an interview with WFAN’s Mike Francesa. "That’s tough because you want to be out there playing, but you try to be smart about it. Your pride and your ego sometimes get in the way and you do some things that maybe you shouldn’t have done.
Eli’s beliefs likely arose from his own experiences. On an NBC Sunday night last year at Philadelphia, Eli ran for a key first down late in the game. Instead of sliding, he clumsily fell forward, losing the ball when he landed on the ground, and ultimately losing the game.
But here’s the difference. Manning promptly lost the ball when he hit the ground. Thus, Eli didn’t "declare himself down by falling to the ground, or kneeling, and making no effort to advance," as required by the rule. Instead, he hit the ground without being contacted by a defensive player and lost the ball when he landed, the only situation in which the ground actually can cause a fumble.
Cruz fell to the ground and made no effort to advance.
Go to the 38 second mark on the film. What do we see? Peterson looking back in at Manning. I talk about this often, but you cannot do that at this level. It causes immediate separation and you will lose the WR down the field. Instead, keep your eyes focused on the up field shoulder of the WR and allow him to take you to the ball.
No question this is a big play for the rookie to give up when we talk about a crucial situation in a game: protecting a lead, 4th quarter, playing man coverage. Back at LSU, Peterson could get away with this because he was an elite player. Even with poor technique, he could recover and go get the ball. Not in the NFL where technique means everything vs. pro wide receivers.