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New York Giants notes: Bill Sheridan, master motivator

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King Leonidas
via King Leonidas

You know all that stuff we have been saying about New York Giants defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan not knowing how to motivate his troops? Forget it. At least for one week, anyway.

Check this out.

The Giants' embattled defensive coordinator, Bill Sheridan, tore a page from a 1,500-year-old script to try to inspire his beleaguered unit on the eve of the most important game of the season.

"Coach Sheridan read us an excerpt from the speech that Leonidas delivered to the troops before they went out (to battle)," said Giants nose tackle Barry Cofield. "It was eerie how much it applied to our situation and it was very inspirational."

Giants-Cowboys isn't exactly the Battle of Thermopylae, and Tony Romo isn't quite Xerxes, but desperate times calls for inspiration from an ancient Greek source. And if reading excerpts of a speech that King Leonidas delivered to the 300 Spartans under his command before they faced a Persian force of 80,000 is what it takes, then so be it.

"It was inspirational, to say the least," Cofield said. "(Sheridan) always pulls little things out like that but this was the best one ever."

This news, of course, sent me scurrying around the Inter-Google for Leonidas quotes. I have no idea what exact passage Sheridan read, but these are some of my favorites.

  • "This is where we fight! This is where they die!"
  • "The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many, and before this battle was over, that even a god-king can bleed."
  • "We Spartans have descended from Hercules himself. Taught never to retreat, never to surrender. Taught that death in the battlefield is the greatest glory he could achieve in his life."

OK, now I'm all pumped up. How about you?

Here are a few other Giants notes making the rounds this morning.

Brandon Jacobs turns game into win for Giants, but calls his leadership 'terrible'

"I think my ability to lead this team has been absolutely terrible. I have to pick myself up as the leader of this football team and take more responsibility on myself," Jacobs said following Big Blue's 31-24 victory over the Cowboys. "Vocally I felt like I wasn't where I was supposed to be, and guys weren't responding to me because I wasn't really trying that hard.

"I came into today's game, into this week, being more of a vocal leader and getting guys up on the offense and the defense ... the first half I did my best to keep our defense and our offense in it even though we were down 10-0. And we all came back."

Osi Umenyiora: 'Extremely painful' to not start in game against Cowboys

"It hurt for a little while," Umenyiora said in his first comments since his benching was publicly announced on Friday. "It was extremely painful, to be honest with you, because I am a man with tremendous pride."

Umenyiora said he is fine with staying in his current role and will do whatever the Giants want him to do. He also credited (ex-Giant Lavar) Arrington, who retired after barely surviving a motorcycle accident in 2007, with lifting his spirits on the morning of the game. "I realized I'm alive, I'm making a great living and I get to still go out there and play football," Umenyiora said. "Whatever they want me to do, I am going to go out there and do. I have no quarrels with anybody. Something obviously needed to be done. They made the change and we won the game. If we keep making changes like that and winning games every week, I'm 100% for it."

Tiki Barber greeted with boos, cheers from crowd at Giants game

"Whatever it is, it's appropriate," Barber said before walking out onto the field. "It's how the fans feel. I have been booed mercilessly in this stadium before. But also cheered heroically. I have appreciated both, because the fans always expected good from me."

(E-mail Ed at