Everyone has their theories regarding how we turned it around. But I think it was just because guys really wanted it. Guys saw other guys on the field and said, ‘Okay, why can't I do this? Where should I be? What's my niche on this football team?' Then guys just started plugging themselves in. You really just have to go out there and get it done, because there are always going to be guys behind you that can do it if you can't.
Guys just pretty much made up their minds that this is what I'm supposed to do; I'm going to take responsibility to do it. Guys were watching more film and doing extra. That's what it takes.
Obviously you never want a bad start, but in this situation it was good because it made guys hungrier and more focused. It put guys behind the eight ball, which makes people show their true character; how they respond in that type of situation. The character of the guys around here has been very, very positive lately. Once guys step on the football field, it's all business. We've been playing lights out week in and week out, which is really all you can ask for.
The older guys like me, Antonio (Pierce) and (Michael) Strahan, we all worked harder. We practiced harder. We focused harder and ran to the ball every play in practice. We did all the little stuff that guys were missing that needed to get done. If you don't get it done in practice, you're not going to get it done during the game. Just changing all those little things in practice without anyone having to tell us has shown to have worked.
It's obvious that the young guys we have listen to the veterans around here, because when we started doing it, they started doing it too. And you need everyone ready to go because anything can happen in this game. That's why it's good to have three running backs. That's why it's good to have six starting corners and four starting safeties. It's good because you never know what's going to happen.
We never doubted the coordinator (Steve Spagnuolo). We were watching film and each time it was one play here, one play there, one penalty here, one penalty there. Those things add up. By the end of the fourth quarter, you have 20 negatives and you can't win a football game like that. Once we started getting the chemistry down, those things started coming down and hopefully we can get it all the way down to zero. One thing I can say is that in Atlanta, we didn't even have any penalties on defense.
Whatever Spags calls, it still comes down to those 11 guys on the football field. Do I want to make Spags happy and make him the best coordinator in the world? Of course. But the people I'm really worried about are the other 10 guys I'm playing with. It really doesn't matter what's called. As long as we're all on the same page and play full speed and execute correctly we'll be successful and victorious.
Personally, I can still do some things better. Am I playing better than I did last year? Yes, I think so. But am I getting minuses and can I still play even better? Yes to both of those as well. Everybody has something they can work on to get better. Once it's time to play you can't worry about what's going on in the locker room or anything else; you just have to try to leave it all out on the field. I guess it's been showing in my case.
I feel like I'm playing better this year. For one thing I'm healthier. Last year, pretty much everyone in our secondary was banged up. But that's no excuse. The Giants are paying us a ton of money to get the job done. It hurt me, because I couldn't do the things that I wanted to do. All these guys expected me to come in and do everything and I couldn't do it.
That's why I thank the Giants for giving me the opportunity to take care of my body this offseason, work in Florida and get myself back to 100 percent. Then when I pulled my hamstring in camp, they told me to relax. They saw me go and push my body early in camp and saw that I can do some things. They obviously felt comfortable enough to keep me here. Now it's paying off and hopefully it will continue to pay off down the road.
My teammates and I can tell that I've been playing better so it honestly doesn't much matter what anyone else says or thinks. I've been under that microscope for a long time. I've gotten good publicity; I've gotten bad publicity. But like I always say, the only people that I care about are those other 10 guys out there on the football field. All I really care about is when we're watching film, are my teammates asking ‘what is this guy doing?' or are they saying ‘good job' to me? I doesn't really matter what people outside the locker room say; just as long as we win football games.
Finally, I have to say that I like Aaron Ross a lot. He listens to all of us. This is his first year and there's a lot on his plate. There are a lot of things being thrown at him. But he's accepted all the minuses and the pluses he gets. He credits us for helping him. It's good to have a young guy that respects you but still when he gets on the football field, he has his own identity.
From the first day he got here, he's impressed me. Most young guys don't listen. But he'll listen and then when we're watching the film, he'll say ‘Sam or R.W. (McQuarters) told me how to do that,' and he'll thank you for the help. Most young guys don't carry themselves that way. He's just a down-to-earth guy that loves to work and likes to compete. He's a very, very professional young guy.
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