Asked for his thoughts on the upcoming season, New York Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty turned toward a source Giants fans are intensely familiar with for his answer. Canty referenced something he learned from legendary Giants coach Bill Parcells, who coached Canty for two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.
"This team has the talent to do everything that we want to do. It's just a matter of coming together as a team. We can't do it as individuals. That's not how we do this around here. It has to be as a team; we all have to come together as a team. Where you might have lost a guy in the off-season, there's somebody there that can contribute and pick up the slack, or there's somebody there that's bringing something to the table that can maybe compensate for the losses of that individual's ability," Canty said. "We can't just look at it as a collection of individuals. Bill Parcells used to say all the time "The best players don't always make the best team, but the best team always wins." At the end of the day, we've got to come together as a football team in order to be successful."
After the shopping spree the Philadelphia Eagles have been on, the Giants are pretty much living by the Parcells mantra this season and trying to prove it correct. On paper, they probably don't have as much talent as the Eagles. They have plenty of talent, however, if they all do their jobs and stick together.
Unfortunately for the Giants, the last couple of playoff-less seasons have seen too many mental mistakes -- players running wrong pass routes on offense, unforced turnovers, guys missing assignments on defense, or -- in 2009 -- freelancing and doing whatever they wanted.
Antrel Rolle, in his second year with the Giants, said he thinks the secondary -- burned for too many big plays a year ago despite enormous talent -- will be better with a year together and a year in Perry Fewell's system.
"Last year there was a lot of mental gymnastics going on out there. I consider myself a smart guy when it comes to football. Obviously, it wasn't easy for me," Rolle said. "There was a lot of communication. It took a lot of study time, a lot of shifts and motions and adjustments. You always had to think on the go and you had to do a lot of thinking. It wasn't just a one-assignment technique. I think it's definitely going to be a better unit."
The Giants also need their revamped offensive line -- a talented group but one that is still learning to work together -- to iron out its communication issues as quickly as possible.
Offensive line coach Pat Flaherty understands the challenge.
"That is a challenge you have and that is a challenge you take on as a group. We know what has to get done, we know what it is going to take to be successful; there's no excuses," Flaherty said. "There is a reason for everything, but there are no excuses for anything. That is the motto we have. We are not going to make an excuse. We're expected to protect Eli Manning and open holes for Ahmad and that is what we're going to do."
The challenge is there for the Giants. Now we just have to see if they can meet it.