Giants’ key players say recent losing hasn’t stopped them from thinking like winners – The Denver Post


The Giants had a 22-59 record as a franchise from the 2017 NFL season through 2021.

After drafting Daniel Jones, Dexter Lawrence, Julian Love and Darius Slayton in 2019, they went 14-35 the next three years.

Losing was a brutal part of daily life in East Rutherford, N.J.

So it would be understandable, after losing three of their last four games, for the Giants’ veterans to start thinking, “Here we go again,” approaching Sunday’s virtual playoff game against the divisional rival Washington Commanders at MetLife Stadium.

But that’s not where the Giants’ heads are at all. They are excited, not discouraged.

“I don’t think it’s a challenge to think positively for us primarily because, frankly, we haven’t been in this position,” Slayton said at his locker after Tuesday’s practice. “We have a chance to play meaningful football games and meaningful division games, which is something we have not done since I’ve been here.

“Losing is always going to be losing,” the wide receiver added. “But the overall mood is optimistic because of the opportunity we have. We know we have a chance to do everything we want to do. So it’s no time to be sad.”

The Giants nearly made the playoffs in Joe Judge’s first season at 6-10 in 2020, when the entire NFC East was historically bad and the Giants won their season finale over the Dallas Cowboys to give themselves a chance.

But Slayton said having a 7-4 record at the start of December naturally instills more optimism.

“Obviously at the time we were trying to get that win to get in,” he said, “but making the playoffs at 6-10 — you’d make it and you’d be happy to make it — but it’s just not the same feeling as right now.”

Around the locker room, it’s clear the Giants’ early season winning in Brian Daboll’s first season at the helm has emboldened the team that they can still make their first postseason appearance since 2016 despite their recent rut.

“I think we’re all just learning how to deal with this,” Lawrence said. “I don’t see any down heads because we know we have control. We control the narrative of things. We know we can do it. We know how we did it and how we’re supposed to do it. We just have to get back to it.”

Love also cited that the Giants have a specific blueprint of how to win games, and that certainty helps them stay up. He also acknowledged their recent injuries have been a huge blow, and getting back players like right tackle Evan Neal (knee) and edge Azeez Ojulari (calf) should be a boost.

“The energy has been great,” Love said. “We’re getting some guys back. That’ll help us out. Because it doesn’t help when you’re banged up, as well. We feel confident and we know, win or loss, what we need to do well to be successful in a game.”

Jones was respectfully dismissive of any suggestion that the Giants might be down due to their three recent losses to the Seahawks, Lions and Cowboys.

“We still have a lot of confidence,” Jones said. “I don’t think anyone sees reason to lose faith or lose confidence. We’re a good team. Certainly we need to do some things better over the last few games that we haven’t done that we were doing in the beginning of the year. But we’re confident and we’re a good football team.”

Jones also has plenty of reasons to be personally confident given his history against Washington. He has a 4-1 record in this rivalry with 1,150 passing yards, nine TD passes, 218 rushing yards, one rushing TD and three turnovers.

He has no more than five TD passes against any other opponent in his career. He couldn’t say why he has Washington’s number.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Just the way some of these games have set up. They’re all different. They all play out differently based on what the defense is doing. So we’ll have a plan, and we’ll be ready to adjust.”

Daboll said he’s seen his players be “consistent” with their approach, win or lose. And that pleases him, because that’s the example he tries to set.

“To me the biggest thing as a leader is to remain consistent with your approach, to not get too high or low, to not ride any waves,” Daboll said. “It’s human nature at times … [But] we’ve all been in this league a long time. The last time that you haven’t faced adversity would be the first time.”

His players seem to be treating their recent skid, therefore, as an anomaly, and not as defining of who they are. And that may be essential for the Giants to come out of these next three games against the Commanders (two) and Eagles with the wins they need to play deep into January.

“I think we’re just going through a little adversity,” Lawrence said. “That’s our mindset about it. All teams go through it. Ours is happening right now. And we just have to respond the right way.”


Daboll ran a fully padded practice Tuesday for the first time, he said, since before the Nov. 13 Houston game. “One of the reasons we’re going pads is let’s work a little bit on the running game and then let’s get some of these [injured] guys back and see how they operate,” he said. Daboll said he’s optimistic about getting a lot of injured players back. Neal said “oh yeah,” he’s ready to play. Ojulari said he’ll be back, too. Tight end Daniel Bellinger (eye) is hopeful … Free safety Xavier McKinney had the cast off his left hand in Tuesday’s locker room, but his hand was severely swollen with several pins in the back of his hand, beneath his knuckles and across. All he said about his timeline was “we’ll see.” He declined an interview … RB Gary Brightwell (unknown), CB Adoree Jackson (knee) LG Josh Ezeudu (neck) and LG Shane Lemieux (toe). Jackson remains out long-term. CB Cor’Dale Flott practiced and appeared to be out of the concussion protocol. The first official injury report comes out Wednesday … It’s possible Nick Gates could start at left guard Sunday with Jon Feliciano (neck) back at center. Asked if he was limited Tuesday, Feliciano shrugged and said: “I took a lot of snaps.” … Corner Nick McCloud got a nasty cut on the inside of his left ankle when someone accidentally cleated him on kick coverage Tuesday, but he bandaged it up and he’s fine … Corner Darnay Holmes’ girlfriend gave birth to a baby girl on Monday night.



Source link