Giants coach Tom Coughlin might be more approachable than he used to be, but he can still deliver a straightforward message when he wants to.
That's what he did Wednesday when his team gathered for its first day of mini-camp. His message? Quit the whining, quit the finger-pointing, stop feeding the New York City media monster. Shut up, and just play football.
The most interesting thing, for me, isn't that Coughlin would address that issue with his team. It's that the key leaders in the locker room support the plea for unity.
"Complaining doesn't do anything. When you lose and complain, it does nothing. When you brag, it does nothing. All that matters is how you play next week, and I like that. Shut up and play. You should be known more about how you play than how you talk."
"If it's not about football or this week's performance or this week's opponent, we don't need to talk about it. That's what my approach will be this year. I want to go back to having fun playing football.
"I don't want to be hearing: 'Why is this teammate fighting? Why is he saying that?' This ain't high school. It's professional football. We don't need to do that."
"It's harder here than most places, probably, but it's a matter of us being smart about what we are doing and what we are saying. You are going to be put in hard situations and asked hard questions, and you just have to stick to your roots and be careful about what you are saying."
The Giants may never completely stifle the outspoken Jeremy Shockey or the sometimes immature Plaxico Burress, but keeping the peace should be much easier with Tiki Barber gone.
For all his tremendous talents and on-field contributions, Barber's constant criticisms of Coughlin and his assistant coaches became a distraction last year.
The Giants seem like they want to forget about Tiki.
To earn a third straight playoff appearance, these Giants will need to be on the same page. As far as I'm concerned, this was a good start.