Trust me when I tell you there’s not much difference from one team to the next, except for their records. All NFL teams operate in a similar fashion. The things the Steelers did when I covered them are largely the things the Jaguars did when I covered them, and the things the Packers do largely happen on the same days and in the same ways to which I was accustomed in Pittsburgh and Jacksonville.
I have detected, however, one significant difference in Mike McCarthy’s press conferences from Chuck Noll’s and Bill Cowher’s and Tom Coughlin’s and Jack Del Rio’s: McCarthy has an edge to his delivery that is a true reflection of his play-calling and coaching personality. Whether it be along the sideline or at the podium, Coach McCarthy is no shrinking violet.
For example, I would expect a coach who’s taking an 11-0 record to New York to be somewhat passive in his remarks this week. You know, try to soften your opponent a little with sweet talk.
Forget about it.
“We’re healthy and we have a lot of energy,” McCarthy said in his Wednesday press conference.
Hmmm. That’s not likely to soften the Giants.
“We expect a very physical football game,” McCarthy added.
Hey, that’s definitely not going to soften the Giants.
It wasn’t the Giants, however, that McCarthy was trying to reach. He was challenging his own team to play to the standard he’s set for them, and to which they have played through 17 consecutive wins.
He’s as strong-willed as any coach I’ve ever covered, and his play-calling and his players’ execution of his play-calling are a clear reflection of their coach’s will and resolve. There is absolutely no Lou Holtz in McCarthy, which is to say that nothing about his delivery is political. It’s right from the hip, which is what we’ve come to expect of his team’s delivery on game day.
Here are 10 things the Packers have to do to beat the Giants.
1. Respect them—Their three-game losing streak and that 45-17 whipping the Packers put on the Giants last season is not an accurate indication of who and what they are. These are the New York Football Giants. It is a proud franchise.
2. Beware of desperation—At 6-5, that’s what the Giants are, desperate. The Packers are gonna get the best the Giants have to give.
3. Attack—The Giants defense just got smoked in New Orleans and doubt might set in early if the Packers follow in the Saints’ footsteps.
4. Protect Rodgers—Rushing the passer is the strength of the Giants defense.
5. Turn Cobb loose—You could hear it in Tom Coughlin’s voice in Wednesday’s conference call. He went right to Randall Cobb, who will be returning punts against a Giants punt-defense that has been struggling ever since DeSean Jackson broke their hearts.
6. Make Manning move his feet—He’s always struggled against pressure. Given time, however, he’s been an accurate passer.
7. Step up in the pocket—The Giants come at you from the wings.
8. Manage the wind—It’s always an issue late in the season in the Meadowlands.
9. Play for the division title—One goal at a time.
10. Ignore the Giants’ rush ranking—It’s a lie. They are not a true No. 32 rushing team. Additional coverage - Dec. 1