Giants only ones not surprised by early success

Sure Tom Coughlin was happy and excited after New York knocked off the Redskins and then the Browns at Giants Stadium. But that was nothing compared to Coughlin, who was practically giddy – for him at least – after Big Blue's big win at Lambeau Field. He could barely contain himself as he met the media, speaking excitably about what a great game it was and how much fun he had.

"He was ecstatic," Jim Finn said of Coughlin in the locker room after the game. "He was so excited he didn't know what to do with himself."

That's probably because as much as he's been preaching that the sky's the limit to his team since he took over in January, there had to be a part of him even that thought a 3-1 start by these Giants was farfetched.

For anyone who figured the Giants would be any better than break even at the quarter pole, give yourself a huge pat on the back. Or, more likely, stop lying and admit what you really thought. Shoot, TGI had them 1-4 at the break with Eli Manning readying to take the reins. At this rate, the Manning watch is still going to be on next season after four games.

"If you looked at our schedule and said that we would be 3-1 after four games, I think most people would be happy," said Kurt Warner, who coolly shook off his first interception in more than a year and completed 20-of-26 passes. "We would love to be 4-0, but we are happy at 3-1. We just have to keep it going."

"Coming in here against a very good football team and winning is obviously a huge factor," Coughlin said. "We showed a lot of character and a lot of fight. As long as we keep our poise, be humble in victory and keep our heads on straight we will be fine."

Apparently it's been all us so-called experts that haven't done the best job of keeping our heads on straight. The Giants players said they saw this coming.

"It feels good especially being 3-1 and winning at Lambeau," Michael Strahan said. "Brett Favre plays to win."

At least until he's knocked out, which happened early in the third quarter when William Joseph drilled Favre, who suffered a concussion and only played one more down the rest of the game.

"Our progress from the first game until now is faster than I thought it would be," Strahan continued. "But the results are not surprising to me."

"I think we've defied odds, but I think we've lived up to the expectations that Coach Coughlin set for us," Tiki Barber said. "He knew we had a lot of talent and a burning desire to win."

Both Barber and Warner were further encouraged because New York played far from it's best football, yet still walked out of Wisconsin with a "W" in its pocket.

"To be 3-1 is exciting," Warner said. "Who knows how good this team could be?"

"We have a lot of confidence in ourselves," Barber added. "We made a ton of mistakes yet we found a way to win."

Barber has certainly helped out via his ability to hang onto the ball. A problem all last season for New York's star back, fumbling has not been an issue in 2004. "It's a philosophy," he said. "It's a technique that Coughlin drilled into my head during the first minicamp. It's a state of mind; you sacrifice some things to protect the ball."

Many Giants have made sacrifices for the good of the squad, including Jeremy Shockey, who's been called on to block much more than he ever has before.

"I'm happy with winning," Shockey said. "It was big. It's important for us to start off well. We have to keep going and get this thing rolling."

Shockey did his part to keep the winning streak alive, catching a 4-yard TD pass five plays into the final period to give the Giants a lead they'd never surrender.

"I was lucky enough to come up with the big play," said number 80, who appeared to be back to full Shockey form.

That included being flagged 15 yards earlier in the drive for taunting. Shockey caught a 26-yard pass to convert a first-and-20, spiked the ball and started yapping. However, Shockey said that the officials flagged him for looking at the Packers sideline, something he found preposterous.

Shockey wasn't upset at the penalty in the least; to him, he had just made a big play and his enthusiasm was helping the team. He did that on the scoreboard only moments later.

"I'm just very happy they called my number," he said. "Most importantly we won the game."

Coughlin stated after the game that he didn't say anything to Shockey about the penalty, somewhat surprising in its own right.

Perhaps that's because winning has cured a lot of what's been ailing the Giants.

"What I'm concerned with is what we think about us," Coughlin said. "I'm not worried about what's said on the outside."

"I think we're exceeding everyone's expectations outside the locker room," Strahan said. "But we're not surprising ourselves."

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