|National Football League|
Giants expect better effort vs. Lions
The New York Giants will open their 2017 home schedule playing host to the Detroit Lions on Monday night, while also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Super Bowl XLII championship team during halftime of the game.
The 2017 Giants (0-1) could use a little magic from that group after laying a major dud last week at Dallas. The New York offense, which was mostly revamped in the offseason with the additions of receiver Brandon Marshall, tight ends Rhett Ellison and Evan Engram, and the promotion of Paul Perkins to starting running back, couldn't get out of its own way against a Cowboys defensive front that had its way against the returning five starting Giants offensive linemen.
The absence of Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle) didn't help the Giants offense any. It is unclear if he will play this week, either.
Unlike most of its fan base, which appears to be in a panic over what transpired Sunday night, members of the New York offense have a different take.
"First game," Giants quarterback Eli Manning said Wednesday. "Guys were playing fast, got some good guys out there, some new bodies. So, we'll bounce back. We'll be fine. We just have to slow down, everybody take a breath and just run the plays the way we've been running them all spring and all summer."
"I mean, just go back to work," said left guard Justin Pugh, when asked how the offense can ensure that what transpired last week isn't a recurring issue moving forward. "That's the only way you can get better. You got to work on the mistakes you made and correct them. That's the only way you're going to fix it."
Although he was often running for his life Sunday, Manning stressed that he hasn't lost confidence in the offensive linemen to pass block for him.
"They're going to do their job," he said. "Everybody just needs to step up their game a little bit and, again, we don't have to go recreate anything. We just have to execute, play better football."
That might be easier said than done against a Lions team that is coming off an impressive 35-23 win over Arizona last week, a win in which quarterback Matthew Stafford rallied Detroit from a 17-9 third-quarter deficit to score 19 unanswered points to go along with a 35-yard pick-6 by safety Miles Kilbrew that helped seal the win.
Of late, Stafford has dethroned Manning as the comeback king, engineering 27 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime since 2011. Stafford, who completed 70.7 percent of his pass attempts Sunday, is also undefeated under offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter when he completes at least 70 percent of his pass attempts as he did Sunday (70.7) for the 10th time since Cooter was named to his current post.
Stafford's latest comeback was made possible thanks to his defense, which a year ago was in shambles. In 2016, the Lions allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete a historic 72.7 percent of their pass attempts and recorded just 14 takeaways, tying them for 28th (with the Jets).
This year, Stafford has a new weapon to target in 6'4", 213-pound receiver Kenny Golladay, the Lions' third-round pick who caught two touchdown passes last week and seems to have passed T.J. Jones on the depth chart as the third receiver.
Golladay, who had a strong preseason for the Lions, has impressed his teammates with his commitment to honing his craft and becoming a bigger part of the offense.
"He's developing. He's a rookie," said Stafford after last week's win. "Did he do everything right? No. But did he make some big-time catches? Absolutely.
"It's nice to have a guy that's willing to put in the work and really grind," he added.
With most of that starting defensive secondary back in the fold and the return of defensive end Ziggy Ansah, the Lions defense is once again roaring.
"When you hustle to the ball, when you do what you're supposed to do, when you execute, you make plays like that," said safety Glover Quin, who had one of Detroit's three interceptions last week.
"I mean, I try to preach to the guys all the time, interceptions don't come from doing something spectacular. Nine times out of 10 if you just do your job and be in the spot that you're supposed to be in and hustle, interceptions will come to you."
Updated September 13, 2017