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New York Giants Notes: Giants 'A Lot More Confident' Than A Year Ago

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It is a rainy Friday with no New York Giants football to look forward to this weekend. Do you guys hate bye weeks as much as I do?

Anyway, here are some Giants-related stories floating around the Inter-Google for your enjoyment today.

New York Giants look to avoid late-season collapses of years past - ESPN New York
"Everything was going in the wrong direction," [Barry] Cofield said of how he felt after the Giants' 5-0 start last season. "Last year we peaked early. We were first in defense early in the season, but you could just tell it wasn't the same defense that we are playing right now."

This season, the Giants enter their bye week on a four-game winning streak and atop the NFC standings at 5-2. And the Giants know what some are thinking: Here comes the second-half stumble.

During the Tom Coughlin era, the Giants have started 5-2 or better in each of his seven seasons. But the Giants don't always finish so well. Since Coughlin took over as coach in 2004, the Giants are a combined 24-30 in the last nine games of a season during the past six years.

"We are a much better football team this year," defensive end Osi Umenyiora said. "We are a lot more confident. We have played better teams so far and beaten them. We like each other, and we are having fun and enjoying ourselves.

"I am not saying we are going to win the rest of our games, but I don't see a situation where we just collapse like the last couple of times."

Best Defense In NFL? 2010 Defensive Hog Index Says The Giants Are
New York's 2010 Defensive Hogs, meanwhile, are also in championship form and once again avenging the spirit of Tittle: they've knocked out five opposing quarterbacks in just seven games this season. The most recent victim? Cowboys' pretty boy passer Tony Romo, who had his collar bone snapped like a Buffalo wing bone in New York's 41-35 win at Dallas on Monday Night Football (an "upset" road win we accurately predicted).

The Giants gave up a lot of points, but largely due to five turnovers by the offense. However, New York's Defensive Hogs cemented their hold on the No. 1 spot on our all-important Defensive Hog Index.
Last week, the Giants were still No. 1 overall on the indicator: they were No. 3 in rushing YPA (3.48); No. 2 in forcing Negative Pass Plays (13.53%) and No. 6 in third-down defense (34.12%).
This week, after the win over Dallas, the Giants look even better. New York is still No. 3 in rushing YPA (3.46) and No. 2 in Negative Pass Plays (12.4%), but jumped from No. 6 to No. 2 in third-down defense (30.53%).
The most encouraging part for Giants fans is that the 2010 Defensive Hogs are even better right now than the 2007 Super Bowl-winning Defensive Hogs.

Deon Grant: Giants ‘D’ on the Verge of Greatness - Train-a Thought
"We’re still putting it together," Grant said. "We haven’t tied that knot yet. When we do, it’s going to get ugly (for opponents)."

Mike Sando's MVP Watch - Hakeem Nicks Gets Support - ESPN
The Giants have multiple candidates. Ahmad Bradshaw? No doubt about it. He leads the NFL in rushing and ranks fourth in rushing yards per game. Eli Manning? He's tied for the league lead in TD passes. Osi Umenyiora? Eight sacks and seven forced fumbles speak loudly. Hakeem Nicks prevails this week. He ranks tied for the league lead in TD receptions and tied for second in receptions covering at least 20 yards. He's also ascending. Nicks has topped 100 yards receiving three times in his past four games after a modest start to the season.

Giants' Antrel Rolle praises team's coaching staff for not 'panicking' early against Cowboys | NJ.com
"It works hand-in-hand – players, coaches, everyone," the Giants’ safety said . "We were down by a large margin in the early part of the game. Things weren’t going the way, obviously, we wanted to go. No one panicked, the coaches didn’t panic, there wasn’t any screaming or shouting on the sideline. It was kind of, ‘Okay, we’re in a hole, we know how to dig ourselves out. Let’s go play ball.’

"When you see that as a player, it gives you a boost of confidence to understand these guys have trust in us to go out there and do what we need to do, so lets go out there and show them we’re going to get it done."

Webster Compares Fewell, Spags | Yahoo! Sports
"(Spagnuolo) kind of put people at their spots and we just went from there. (Perry) is using guys in roles that are new, but which fit their skill set, so he’s getting a lot more out of guys than I think Spags did." -- CB Corey Webster, on the difference in how former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and current defensive coordinator Perry Fewell use their personnel.