As the New York Giants begin the 2013 NFL season the memory of finishing poorly and missing the playoffs last season is still fresh in their minds.
"Last year's experience at the end of the year was not a very pretty one. We finished our season ... our 16th game went well, but we played against two very outstanding teams, one of which won the World Championship, but we didn't play as well as we're capable of playing," head coach Tom Coughlin said. "So I think that's on everybody's mind. We're better than that."
Quarterback Eli Manning called the finish to 2012 "tough."
"I think at the end of last year was tough. We had, obviously, some games where we played very poorly and lost. We still had a couple of games that we played close that we could have beat some teams and it would have been the difference of making the playoffs and not making it," Manning said. "We've just got to ensure that we get out to a fast start like we've been able to do these past years, but we've got to finish strong and we've got to find ways to win those games in November and December because that's usually what's going to make the difference... kind of where you know where you stand in that playoff race. You have to win those key games to ensure that you're making it into the playoffs."
Antrel Rolle said the team is hungry to erase the memory of the way it played last season, especially defensively.
"I think hungry is an understatement for what we have in mind, what we're trying to pursue as far as the defense," Rolle said. "We're just trying to be more consistent, trying definitely to develop that intimidating factor, but like you said it's better done than said and it's something you have to go out there and prove on the field. No one's gonna give us anything, believe me."
So, encouraging words as training camp opens. Can the Giants follow through on them? We will begin finding out Saturday afternoon.