|Giants scatter for break, promise no second-half letdown|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 30 October 2007 13:02|
``I'm not talking once I get outside the door,'' defensive end Michael Strahan said as he walked quickly out of the locker room at Giants Stadium.
Two strides later, he was out the door with a final: ``We're done.'' There was never time for a question.
With a 6-2 record and riding a six-game winning streak after their victory over Miami in London, the Giants are heading into their bye week looking to relax.
Linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka was planning to head to Beantown to see No. 2 Boston College, his alma mater, play Florida State.
Cornerback Sam Madison was heading home to Florida for some sun after enduring a wet and damp trip overseas.
``I think you have to take your mind off football for a little while,'' center Shaun O'Hara said. ``We have been going at this since July 27 pretty much, full-tilt, nonstop action. You have to take a little bit of time.''
While the Giants are looking to relax, they also know what lies ahead.
They will come back next week and have to get ready for an NFC East showdown at Giants Stadium against the Dallas Cowboys, who beat them 45-35 in the opening game of the season.
The Giants also will come back knowing they have a lot of questions to answer. This is the third straight year they are at the halfway point with a 6-2 record, and fourth in a row under coach Tom Coughlin they are over .500. They were 5-3 in 2004.
New York finished strong once, going 5-3 in 2005 to win the NFC East. The other two seasons were disastrous, including a 2-6 finish last year that barely qualified for the postseason.
``I think we are more realistic,'' receiver Amani Toomer said. ``Six and two is a great start, but we're not totally enamored with it like before. One time, we went 11-5 and had a good season, but still didn't do as well as we wanted to in the playoffs. I think everybody knows it is not good enough.''
On the positive side, this is the healthiest team the Giants have had in years. Since the season began, halfback Brandon Jacobs and safety James Butler are the only starters who have missed games.
Derrick Ward did a great of filling in at halfback for three games and Jacobs has come back and rushed for career-high in the last two games.
Rookie Michael Johnson started at safety in the London game, but Butler should be back in the lineup for Dallas (6-1).
``Injuries! Why would you even say that?'' tackle Kareem McKenzie said when asked about the lack of them this season. ``Man, don't say injury. It's our bye week now. Let's be uplifted.''
If there was a common theme among the few players who stayed to talk Tuesday, it was the need to improve.
The offense struggled against the winless Dolphins on Sunday. Kicker Lawrence Tynes missed a 29-yard field goal attempt, his third miss of the season, and the defense gave up a late touchdown that allowed Miami to get back in the game.
``It's a great start, but I don't believe anyone on the team is really giddy being 6-2,'' O'Hara said. ``It's a great start, but we haven't accomplished anything yet.''
Toomer said the memory of last season's finish is a painful reminder of what can happen. He also said this year's team can play a lot better.
``I can't say hungrier, but we are more focused,'' he said. ``We stacked up the wins, but it hasn't changed our approach. I don't think we are getting big-headed.''
Dallas will be playing three consecutive division games. The Cowboys are at Philadelphia this weekend and at Giants Stadium the following week before facing the Washington Redskins at home.
The Giants plan to sit back on Sunday and watch the Cowboys.
``It's good to have a little down time now instead of being tense and getting ready for a football game,'' Madison said before packing and leaving like everyone else.