The New York Giants went from winning six games in a row on their road to a Super Bowl Championship, to opening the new season with a loss at home to the division rival Dallas Cowboys. Such a loss is certain to kill the high the players were feeling from last season and bring them to the reality of a new season. Head coach Tom Coughlin let his players hear it in the locker room after the game. His message? "Take a bite of humble pie, it brings you right back to Earth."
The Giants made a number of mistakes that were uncharacteristic of last year's team. David Wilson cost the team at least a field goal with a costly fumble. Victor Cruz had several drops and penalties that robbed the offense of multiple first downs. The timing between Manning and his receivers was off, as the receivers couldn't separate from the new additions to the Cowboy's backfield.
Linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka acknowledged the fact that there are no players replacing guys who played a key role in last year's run to the Super Bowl.
"No one on last year's team is going to come back. Dave Tollefson has moved on, Aaron Ross has moved on. There are a number of guys who are gone. And in their place, we have great players so this group has to get it done."
The biggest concern from last night's game was the inability of the secondary to cover the Cowboy's receivers. However it wasn't Dez Bryant or Miles Austin that did the most damage, it was the Cowboy's third receiver Kevin Ogeltree who put up over 100 yards and two touchdowns. The lack of corner back depth was obvious as the Giants made Ogeltree out to look like a Pro Bowler. The Giants' second corner Terrell Thomas is done for the year, and second year player Prince Amukamara was out with a high ankle sprain but is hoping to return for the next game. The Giants were forced to start Michael Coe who also left the game with a hamstring injury.
The Giants goal this week is to get healthy and to correct the many mistakes that were made in last night's debacle. Coach Coughlin's new motto is "build the bridge" which Justin Tuck said can take some time.
"The last time we won a Super Bowl, we started 0-1, and the time before that we started 0-2 [back in 2007]. So it is a long season. We will figure things out. We will be right where we need to be at the end of the year."
The Giants have certainly been in this position before and finished those years with a great deal of success. The Giants are fortunate that these mistakes happened in week one and not later in the season. With a long week ahead of them, Coughlin will keep pushing the "humble pie" reference and ensure that the players are focused on this season and not last season.
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