Each week, more information is written about the injuries that the New York Giants faced last season. Although their depth chart had to be heavily relied-upon and several assignment and mental hiccups were visible, the team actually overcame more than just tens of players on injured reserve and a few guys “getting healthier” down the stretch.
DT Linval Joseph, S Antrel Rolle and DE Justin Tuck all played though excruciating pain this past 2011 season and attempted to keep their injuries on the down low as they realized what the possible roads before them were. RB Ahmad Bradshaw has done the same (in previous seasons) on two broken wheels. If injuries and future health/career aren’t a concern then most Giants seem to want to stay on the gridiron.
Of course, injuries are a concern and the fact that owner John Mara has spoken on behalf of keeping players as safe as possible in a sport of speed and viciousness just shows the class of the franchise. Another piece of the franchise that’s evident is toughness. Players limping to the sidelines and getting taped up or “fixed” so they can run back in for the next play historically wasn’t unheard of. Infamous pictures of Y.A. Tittle and old film of H-Back/DB Frank Gifford playing all three sides of the ball are iconic to our Big Blue organization—while the thought of that “tough son-of-a-bitch” (a la Parcells) TE Mark Bavaro comes to mind as he had his jaw broken in 1986 in a game versus the New Orleans Saints and not only finished the game (with his mouth bloodied, jaw wired shut), but never missed a game that season.
Aside from upholding a certain physical toughness from their players, the New York Giants also advocate a mind frame that is as equally strong while giving the players support in maintaining that physical and mental fortitude. Physical pain and dealing with an inability of one’s body to carry out daily activities of living can bear a toll that many that have never suffered injury cannot fathom; add pain-management to the mix and more harm can be had than good.
In hindsight, the Giants should have never won Super Bowl XLVI, but they did. Immovable power and stability in all aspects of this Big Blue institute are what should be considered the pillars of their new mantra: “Build the Bridge” and credited for their phenomenal finish to 2011 (not just plain ol’ luck—for “luck is the residue of hard work and design”). The Giants took what was before them and approached it the way they have done for decades—with a strong support system in place and concurring team players that won’t let one another slip. Strength does truly lie in number in the NFL—if they come together as one.
Head Coach Tom Coughlin has this team in agreement once again, believing that which he wants to build upon. In June, he told Giants.com:
“We have moved the bar up. We’ve raised the bar and the quality of our practices, our preparation and our play throughout the playoffs is something we can all be proud of. What I’m trying to do is to verbally, motivationally, efficiently, from the classroom to the practice field, bridge it – bridge it over to the 2012-2013 New York Giants.”
The feelings gathered around from visiting training camp in Albany were of the same ilk. Fans felt a certain hard, resounding seriousness exuding from players during competitions there and in comparison to 2008, the differences are vast. Nothing is being assumed (as far as continuance) and the goals remain: to improve, get into the playoffs and explode with a smash-mouth mentality once there.
In a little under three weeks, the kickoff on the evening of September 5th will signify the defense of the World Championship. Big Blue Faithful, you All In?
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