The Giants are headed to the NFC Playoffs, which begin next week, but there is still much to play for before the regular season ends this weekend. Veteran LB and defensive captain Jonathan Casillas, a two-time Super Bowl champion, addressed the team before the start of Thursday’s practice to instill the importance of staying focused.
The address, which stressed the fact that the Giants have a golden opportunity in front of them and they cannot lose sight of their goals, was sanctioned by head coach Ben McAdoo and it was well-received by the team.
“It’s a day where you’re in Week 17 and you have pads on,” said fellow LB Mark Herzlich, one of the six remaining Giants from their Super Bowl XLVI roster. “That’s rare for a lot of guys. I think what Jon was saying (is) it doesn’t matter, the circumstances. We go out there and do what we need to do to create momentum going into the playoffs to get a win. We set our goals singularly and that’s one week at a time. Just getting a win one week at a time. This week is no different.”
LB Devon Kennard has never been to the postseason and appreciated the the fact that the Giants have the benefit of a player such as Casillas in their locker room for guidance.
“It is just huge for us to have the opportunity to listen to guys that have been there before,” Kennard said. “Those are some of the leaders on our team, guys who have won; he has won two Super Bowls, so for him to take the time to address the team like that before a padded practice, I think it is important.”
The Giants could be without Pro Bowl CB Janoris Jenkins fro the second straight week. Jenkins missed last week’s game against Philadelphia with a back bruise. He has been practicing on a limited basis but may be held out again for precautionary purposes.
“I don’t know,” said Jenkins when asked if he’ll play Sunday. “We’ll see what the coaches say. I’ve been practicing a little bit, getting in a rotation and getting a lot of reps. Continue to get the treatment. I feel better than I did last week. Coach made the decision not to play me (last week) and I went with it. I feel better this week.”
Jenkins has never played in the postseason but says he will be prepared when the Giants hit the road next week to play in the WildCard round.
“Just play as hard as you can as fast as you can and don’t worry,” said Jenkins when asked how he would approach the playoffs. “Whatever happens happens. All we can do is play to the best of our ability and hopefully come out with a win.”
But first comes this week and the Redskins. The Giants will be raring to go according to the players and coaches. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was asked why the Giants, with nothing to play for, were revved up for the season finale.
“Because you want to win football games in the NFL,” said Spagnuolo. “It is game 16, get to 11-5. There are a lot of reasons. If you aren’t going out there to win a football game, then you probably ought to not go out there.”