Fassel pleased with practice; Mara visits

<P>Jim Fassel was adamant Wednesday when asked whether he planned to start inserting younger players into the starting lineup.</P>

Jim Fassel was adamant Wednesday when asked whether he planned to start inserting younger players into the starting lineup.

 "If anyone's asking me if I'm going to play young guys just to get them experience, the answer is absolutely not," Fassel said. "I'm trying to win football games. I'm not looking at next year yet."

Fassel was pleased with how his club responded Wednesday. "They went out and practiced and were enthusiastic," he said. "I thought they did a very good job."

He can only hope he gets the same response from his troops on Saturday, when they host the similarly 5-7 Arizona Cardinals at 1:30 p.m. The starting time was changed earlier this season from its original 12:30 kickoff.

However, on Wednesday most of the talk centered around Owner Wellington Mara's surprise appearance in the Giants locker room after morning meetings Monday. Mara's previous team address came before the season-finale in 1999, a game that New York lost in Dallas to finish 7-9. The 85-year-old Mara, who told the team to ‘stick with it' and ‘fight through and overcome the adversity,' is hopeful that Big Blue can turn things around.

Fassel said that he was "disappointed that we're in the situation that he felt he needed to come down there and do it."

It hit home with veteran LT Lomas Brown. "I was really encouraged by it all," Brown said. "He said that he's been in fires a lot hotter than this and he's come out of it. He could have come in here and blasted us but he was totally positive. "When you have a guy that knowledgeable and that committed, why can't we be that committed?" Brown asked.

On the injury report, WR Joe Jurevicius (hamstring) did not practice and is listed as questionable, while reserve RB Damon Washington (knee) remains doubtful.

Also, on Saturday the Giants will wear patches commemorating the career and accomplishments of former GM George Young, who passed away Saturday night. "That's a great way to honor him," Fassel said.


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