Okay, okay – I’m getting excited! Sort of. But I can’t. But I want to. But I can’t. You see, I need a few lessons from Eli. Easy E. Mr. Even Keel. It’s a great trait to have, and I’ve never seen anyone quite like him. He’s the champion of staying cool under pressure.
You see, after 4 wins in a row, and with all this talk about the Giants on their way up, and with the way the Defense is playing, and the fact that we have cobbled together a running game that, despite so many doubters, seems to be working… how can I NOT get excited???? But I can’t. Here’s why.
What’s also happened after these 4 games is my superstitions – those things I am religious about, but that had been eluding me for 6 games no matter how many adjustments I made – seem finally to be back in gear. They are working again! And I won’t take them lightly! And the thing is, while I can tell you about some of these new superstitions of 2013 (like the fact that I will definitely be wearing #26 away jersey on my back for the rest of the games, and I have finally figured out the magic pre-game Facebook comments that must be made), I can’t tell you about all of them. Why? Because I am too superstitious! And it’s a superstition that if I get too boisterous about my team, a player or even a superstition, I could mess up the whole darn thing! So, I need to keep my cool. Like Eli.
But I will comment on a few things I’m excited to see:
From the start of camp, I have to be honest (well, I wrote about this a lot so it may not be a big surprise), I was never thrilled with what we were bringing into the season for a running game. While Andre Brown had a really good season last year before getting injured, and David Wilson is a 1st round pick (yet unproven to date in the running game), I just always felt we needed veteran leadership out there with them in order to provide guidance, and to assume security in the running game. To me, Dre was our best bet going into the season, but then he broke his leg before we even began. Again. And I won’t rehash the whole running back carousel again, or the fact that Wilson is now on IR and questionable about his playing future, but, I am thrilled for what’s become of the running game in the second half.
I think it was sometime in early September that I called into Moving the Chains on SiriusXM NFL Radio, and I chatted with Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan about the suggestion of bringing BJ back. I think my comments on air were about his burning desire to play again with the Giants, bringing out his passion and his Veteran leadership, and that alone could deliver that extra PUSH to help him power that ball through. Yep. Ali was onto something. So far in 2013, not only has Brandon Jacobs delivered 49 rushes for 163 yards rushing, and 4 touchdowns, but, he has absolutely delivered his unique style of passion and energy, as well as veteran leadership to the team. And after watching him miserable here in San Francisco last year, I am thrilled for him. I think I’m gonna call those guys today.
Meanwhile, props and then some to Andre Brown for coming back so strong and determined, and bringing every little ounce of power to his first 2 games back. Props to the leadership for bringing in Peyton Hillisand FB John Connor, who have both become great contributions to creating holes and helping balance out the game on the Offense. I knew there was something about John in that last episode of Hard Knocks. I knew he’d be back.
Of course, I’m excited to see what has happened with this Defense over the last 5 weeks. And of course I’m thrilled that we took a risk and finally seem to have found that Antonio Pierce-style of leadership at Middle Linebacker in Jon Beason. How refreshing the energy and confidence this guy has delivered in such a short period of time. And clearly he has helped transform the team. I read an article this morning that indicated that all of the players on Defense have completely fallen ALL IN for Jon Beason. And how obvious. Between Antrel Rolle’s ongoing commitment to making the team successful, and the entry of Beason, this Defense is on fire. Every player has gotten better because they are so cohesive as a unit now. They are clearly holding each other up to their highest potential, never losing faith in one another and what each man can bring to the whole. And as I said before, there are some things I am just too superstitious to get TOO fired up about. One game at a time guys. If this Defense can continue to keep this level of focus, of confidence, of belief in one another, yes – the Giants WILL beat the Cowboys. And then they can focus on the next game (but I am definitely NOT going to talk about that next game right now).
And really, I hate to admit it out loud, but there is one thing I am not so excited about. And I really hope to see it change for the better. We need it to change in order to keep this success going. As a fan, I notice we get so connected to our favorite players. One of mine is clearly frustrated – and I just hate to see it. And that’s #88, Hakeem Nicks. In a contract season, I hated to see the frustration on his face last weekend, and taking himself out of the game only for that to backfire with a missed route by his sub Louis Murphy (who is an absolutely amazing person by the way), resulting in an interception by the Packers. Obviously, Hakeem can do this. But he’s human, and he’s clearly in a funk.
But here’s where we get excited again…
If there is ONE coach, and ONE team that can help 88 shake off the funk and frustration, and perhaps slipping of confidence in himself this season, it’s Coach Coughlin and the NY Football Giants organization. As in a family, if a child is having a hard time with something, the most positive first step is for a parent is to sit down, listen, and then coach the child in a way that is empowering to that child. On a sales team in the business world, when a star sales person has a bad quarter or 2, confidence often falters (that’s the personality of a sales person). But the second that one big sale comes in, the confidence magically comes back! Coach Coughlin understands human nature, and makes every effort to keep family business inside the family, and this protects the players in the media motivated world we living in today:
When asked about Hakeem, Coughlin said, “That’s not something I’m going to discuss… we’ll make the corrections and we’ll do a better job of trying to get everybody on the same page and we’ll move forward.”
“I’m sure that there is (frustration), and we all share in that,” Coughlin said. “We’ll just continue to try to support and encourage him to be the best that he can be and it will happen. There have been opportunities, but we’ve just got to continue to try to get better, work together and it will happen.”
What I love about this team, and every Tom Coughlin-coached team since the 2007 season (when he turn himself around to help turn the team around), and it is absolutely starting to seep through the pores of the entire organization right now in 2013, is that every action, every move, is made with this in mind: TEAM FIRST, TEAM LAST, TEAM ALWAYS. ALL IN. We hadn’t quite gotten there early in the season. But we are well on our way now.
But I won’t get too excited. I might screw the whole thing up.
Proud to say it now: ALL IN! Go get those Cowboys!!!
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