Tom Coughlin was deeply moved by former Giants coach Bill Parcells' Hall of Fame induction speech last weekend, so much so that he has incorporated with his own team much of what Parcells shared from his NFL experience.
The part that really got Coughlin was when Parcells spoke about how players from different backgrounds managed to come together as one as they pursued a common goal. Parcells compared that to the times when a locker room divided by cliques would ultimately result in failure.
"The thing he said about all kinds of people from different backgrounds, all races, all creeds, and if they're all there for one purpose -- and that's to support the common good -- then everything's fine," Coughlin said after Thursday's practice. "He went on to say how, unfortunately, there's that other side, the 'cliquey' side, the pointing the finger at everybody trying to defend yourself all the time, the negative aspect of it.
"To me, that's what it's all about, coming together as one. It's not about the individual, it's about coming in and recognizing the common good and always doing the right thing. That's the theme here over and over, not only in the locker room, but in your lives. It really is a microcosm of the world. That's what made the greatest impression on me."
Coughlin shared his message with his players when he returned from Canton, and it has resonated in the locker room. Recently signed linebacker Aaron Curry, who has played with the Seahawks and Raiders, has noticed a harmonious attitude with his new team.
"It's unique around here," Curry said. "There aren't different cliques of people. I've sat down to eat with all types of guys, from every position, from every walk of life, from every race. Everybody is getting along."
Coughlin feels good about the dynamic.
And was it ever not that way with the Giants?
"I'm not going there," said Coughlin, who met with locker room resistance during his early years with the Giants. "I'm not going there."
Mike Tice had hoped to land a job in the NFL this year, but was shut out of a role as an assistant coach during the hiring cycle. But Tice, who grew up in Central Islip and was the Bears' offensive coordinator last season, put his free time to good use earlier in the week.
"I'm a horse guy. Belmont and Saratoga started, and throughout my football life, I've never been able to play them because I've always been in training camp," Tice told ESPNChicago. "I was on the phone with [my wife] Diane, and I told her I might have won. Then the girl at the [track] is announcing the winner, and she's like, 'Can you please put your phone away and keep it down?' "
A lucky bet?
"Sure, there's some luck involved," Tice said. "But I had the [racing] form out for two days and handicapped it."
Does former Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, now the Browns' head coach, think Newton can be the dominant quarterback the Panthers envisioned when they drafted him first overall in 2011?
"I do," Chudzinski said. "I think he made great strides last season."
Most people think Newton took a step back last year after a dazzling rookie season in which he threw for 4,051 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushed for 14 TDs. Newton was not only statistically inferior (3,869 passing yards, 19 touchdown passes, eight rushing TDs) to his rookie season, but he also drew criticism for his brooding demeanor when he struggled during games.
But Chudzinski says that what Newton went through last year was an important part of the growing process for a quarterback.
"Quarterbacks are going to have a lot of adversity along the way during their career," Chudzinski said. "How they respond to it is indicative of how successful they're going to be. I saw last year as a big growth time for Cam, and I expect great things from him."
- The 49ers are hoping for big things from 2012 first-round receiver A.J. Jenkins, but he has been more bust than boom so far. He barely played last year and didn't have a single catch, and made an inauspicious preseason debut on Thursday with a fumble and a pass that was intended for him but intercepted. "Uh, could have been better," coach Jim Harbaugh said. Not what you want from a first-round pick, especially now that another former first-round receiver, Michael Crabtree, is out several months with an Achilles injury.
- The pistol formation, an adjunct to the shotgun alignment in which the quarterback lines up slightly closer to the line of scrimmage and has a running back directly behind him, made an unlikely appearance -- in Denver. Yup, that was Peyton Manning lined up in the formation used plenty by younger quarterbacks such as Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick. A sign of things to come for the Broncos?
- Really liked Bengals second-round pick Giovani Bernard coming into this year's draft, and the North Carolina running back looks plenty comfortable so far. He ran 10 times and had a touchdown, and added three pass receptions, staking a claim to playing time along with starter Benjarvis Green-Ellis.
- Looks like that might be it for former Giants receiver Plaxico Burress. The soon-to-be 36-year-old wideout will have surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. He'll likely miss the Steelers' entire season.