Considering how things have unfolded for the New York Giants this season, the most amazing thing about Sunday's victory over the Buffalo Bills is that the Giants came out of it with no additional injuries. Coach Tom Coughlin said Monday that the team had "just the normal nicks."
Here are some other highlights of Coughlin's Monday meeting with the media.
On winning heading into the bye:
"It's obvious that it's great to go into a bye week with a win, especially against the quality football team that Buffalo is. There certainly is a sense of having had a goal, of working hard to get to it - It wasn't perfect, obviously - going on the field and finishing the game. We finished the ballgame again," Coughlin said. "What I'm really interested in is that the enthusiasm and the spirit and the idea of preparation and the hunger for bigger and better things would continue as a strong attitude and it would be contagious as we go forward."
My take: Perhaps it is that resilience and ability to keep playing even when things are not going well that will turn out to be the Giants' biggest strength in 2011. By now means is this a pretty -- or perfect -- team. It is one, though, that seems to have an ability to play through adversity.
Here is Coughlin the possibility availability of cornerback Prince Amukamara and wide receiver Ramses Barden after the bye:
"Those decisions are being made on a daily basis by all of us, but I'm not ready to tell you exactly where that stands. We'll just continue to monitor the progress here in the next week and see where it is," Coughlin said. "We are very much aware, as I said yesterday, and very optimistic that we are going to get some players back."
On what he hopes to accomplish during the bye week:
"We have a number of things, as we analyze ourselves, that we will put together in terms of cutups of our team, of our situation - offense, defense, special teams. There are areas in each that we'll try to focus and concentrate on. The third down stuff with the offensive team, obviously. Just the ability to recognize that we have more and more work to do with our defense in terms of stopping the run, stopping the big play. We'll continue to work on that. We're going to grind it out with our field goal protection and try to do a better job there as we go forward here. In each category - offense, defense, special teams - there's three or four things that kind of stand out, which have to be enhanced as we go forward. It's all about improvement. It's all about using your time properly and so we'll try to take a good hard look at ourselves and not only just the coaches, but the players as well," Coughlin said.
Mathias Kiwanuka played more defensive end Sunday than he has at any time this season. As we discussed Monday, Kiwanuka did an excellent job at both end and linebacker. He admitted, though, that he enjoyed the opportunity to rush the passer from his natural defensive end position.
"It is always going to be there because that is what I have been doing for the last 10 or 15 years going all the way back to grade school. Whatever circumstance that we are in team-wise and who we are playing against will dictate the different positions I will play," Kiwanuka said. "It is always comfortable and it is always good especially when you get a sack and can contribute to the game like that."
Offensive lineman David Diehl said Sunday's game was "a good start" toward getting the Giants' running game where it needs to be.
"We had that mindset and determination that we were going to go into this game and get the run game going because in order to win football games in this league, you have to take care of that. There is no question, especially when you start hitting the months of December and late in the season, that is going to be your strength, especially in the NFC. You have to be able to control the ground game and control the line of scrimmage and most importantly, the time of possession," Diehl said. "Do I think it is a finished product? No. I know that we have the attitude that we are going to continue to work and make sure that it becomes one of the strengths of our offense because it needs to be."