"Honestly, I think the reason we're playing so well is that we still have that 0-2 mentality," said middle linebacker Antonio Pierce, who had a team-high eight tackles, including a 10-yard sack, in Atlanta. "As long as we keep that mentality and stay hungry, I think we'll be okay."
Coach Tom Coughlin said that the underdog mentality is one he tries to foster.
"We do talk about and we do have a sign which says, ‘Prepare, practice, and play as if you lost your last game,'" Coughlin said. "I think that mentality kind of says it all. You never can be satisfied. It is a constant attempt to keep the bar high and to really run the race against yourself. Practice and play to meet a standard that you set for yourself. I think that is something that we have constantly tried to make our players understand downstairs and we have to keep doing that."
Michael Strahan has been around long enough to realize that this Giants team, like so many before it, thrives as an underdog.
"In some ways when you are 0-2 and things aren't going so well you have to take that ‘us against the world' mentality and that is the mentality that we took, that is the mentality that we are going to keep because I think that just helps us prepare to play better with a chip on our shoulder," he said. "That seems to work for us. We are one of those kinds of teams that need that. We just want to keep that happening."
Osi Umenyiora said the club had no other option that to be motivated by the lousy start.
"You have to," he said. "You have to constantly think that you are not as good as people try to make you out to be because, to be honest with you, we are really not. We are really not as bad as people said we were in the beginning so you just have to keep an even keel because it is all highs and lows in the NFL."
Coughlin said the players' commitment stayed positive during the rough start, which helped ignite the turnaround.
"I just think that the players have been very supportive of each other," Coughlin said. "There is a very good sense of responsibility, leadership is doing a good job, there is a solid feeling in the locker room that if we stick together and everybody does their job, we can win. Those are the things that are prevailing."
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