It started with owner John Mara right after the Giants put the finishing touches on their 3-8 finish to the 2009 season and has continued throughout the offseason. One by one, every member of Big Blue has stepped forward to express their disappointment with the way the team fell apart and promised that things are going to be different this time around.
Defensive end Justin Tuck is the latest Giant to weigh in on the topic. He told Mike Garafalo of the Newark Star-Ledger that he hopes the team loses its first two games next season, we imagine he's kidding, because they do better when faced with adversity than when they are successful.
"I think we got spoiled. We started 5-0 and we kind of looked at ourselves like, ‘Here we go again. We’re going to make the playoffs and blah, blah, blah.’ And then we got hit in our face and we couldn’t respond. So it’s a good thing. I’m actually happy all of that happened last year because now we have to start from square one."
He's saying all the right things, but the Giants said all the right things leading up to last season too about not being overconfident and earning everything they got. It didn't translate onto the field, obviously. We also can't help notice a couple of contradictions that might get in the way of Tuck's big words leading to big results.
The first, and biggest, is that the Giants respond well to being humbled. As Tuck himself says, the Giants got humbled quite often over the final 11 games last season and never once responded with anything but a meeker effort the next time out of the gate. That leads us to the second contradiction.
Have the Giants really started over from square one? They've made some changes to the roster, but the guts of the team are the same as they were when the sky was falling last season.
Injuries played a role in some of that, which makes you wonder why the Giants think that another year of age will make those core players more likely to be in good physicial health this time around. Add to that the oft-mentioned lack of leadership on defense last year, a hole that Antonio Pierce leaves behind, and it doesn't really feel like a brand new team.
Now, Tuck may well have been referring to the change from Bill Sheridan to Perry Fewell as defensive coordinator. That would make sense, especially since the impression Sheridan gave was that no one was in charge of the defense and the whole unit suffered as a result. If Fewell is better at maximizing the team's strengths, it would go a long way toward negating the sense that there's no leadership on that side of the ball.
If he isn't, there won't be much doubt that the Giants will be back at square one when it comes time to prepare for the 2011 season.