Extra Effort Making Giants A Winner

Coming in on their off day has definitely paid dividends in the Giants' latest resurgence from a two-game losing streak.

Tuesdays are off days for most NFL rosters; a day where the players can get a full day of rest while the coaching staff spends it developing the bulk of the gameplan for the next opponent.

It's just another work day for many of the Giants, however. Always has been. Eli Manning, the offensive line, secondary, even some skill players show up at the Timex Performance Center to get a jump on that opponent.

It's extra work. Voluntary work. And when it results in a total-team victory like the Giants' 34-10 win over the Texans, it just validates the effort.

"They get a tremendous amount out of it because they get ahead," coach Tom Coughlin said. "They've all got DVDs, they've all got study guides, but when you have the opportunity on a Tuesday when it's not hectic and you're not being hustled to the next phase of your protocol, of your morning, you can take the time to study not only the overall feeling and the overall way in which the opponent plays – a particular style of game is offense, defense or special teams – but you can zoom in on the guys you're playing against.

"If you're an offensive lineman, you can zoom in on the defensive player that you're going to play against. If you're a receiver, the corner, if you're a secondary player or a defensive back, you may zoom in on the receiver that you feel like you're going to be matched up against. So, I think it gives guys a nice head start and it pays off."

For Manning and his offensive line, Tuesdays have always been workdays.

And he, in turn, has encouraged others to join him in the film room.

Of course he would. That's what team captains do. Put in the extra effort.

"I think that a lot of our teams have been encouraged to do that. They like to come in and have lunch, for example," Coughlin said, laughing. "They seem to stop in at about that time.

"But we've had guys that have been in on Tuesday since Day One. I mean, Eli is in here on Tuesday always and always has been. So if guys want to study with him or watch tape with him, they're in here with him. Some of the defensive guys – you notice how the defensive backs will get together and come in. There's a lot of that that goes on and it's good because it's unannounced. It's not for anybody's story the next day – that's not what it's about. It's about guys wanting to do a better job in their profession."

The extra sessions certainly haven't hurt a defense that has quickly embraced new coordinator Perry Fewell's schemes. To actually master them and understand them, it takes a bit more studying than the usual, workday classroom meetings, though. That's where doing some extra work in a quiet environment really pays off.

The defense ranks first in the NFL in yards allowed per game (244.6) and per play (4.1) and passing yards (146.0) and second in sacks (19).

"We're getting more comfortable in the scheme," tackle Chris Canty said. "Coach Fewell is understanding the personnel, and he's utilizing us and taking advantage of our strengths to try to minimize our weaknesses. I think guys are finally taking practice to the game on Sunday. A lot of the things that we're doing in practice - we're executing, but we weren't quite executing the way we should have been earlier in the season. Now I think you're starting to see us carry over some of that execution into game situations, which is important for any team. So you definitely have to attribute a lot of it to that."

For many, a good portion of that happens on Tuesday.

It's part of the reason for the recent turnaround, though not the whole reason. One still has to execute on Sunday. And it wasn't like Manning and his crew were out partying the Tuesdays of the Indianapolis and Tennessee games, or the last 11 games of the 2009 season, for that matter.

But Coughlin had no doubt that the efforts early in the week have greatly benefitted the efforts on Sunday. Especially last Sunday, when the Giants utterly shut down a very tricky Houston running game.

"Prepare, practice, work hard, focus, understand the opponent, understand what we're asking you to do," Coughlin said. "Prioritize what needs to be done in order to be effective. Go spend extra time in the classroom, which, whenever we play someone of the nature of Houston, for example, that is someone we don't know all that well, we stress to them that because we don't know the opponent, you've got to put them under the microscope, you've really got to do a good job.

"You've got to spend the extra time studying them and I feel like the evidence is pretty much there.

"If you want to take the defense, I think the idea of the way in which we adjusted and played this very unique style of running game, gives evidence to the preparation part of it."


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