It may be a new season with new faces, but Antrel Rolle said he saw some familiar gazes at the Timex Performance Center on Monday.
"You still see the determination in their eyes," the Giants safety said of his teammates on the first day on the voluntary offseason training program. "We're not going to be complacent. Super Bowl XLVI, we live it, we enjoy it, we keep it in our hearts. But we're looking to move on to bigger and better things this year."
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How much bigger and better things can get for the Giants is the question. They can certainly improve on the regular season, where they finished 9-7, but it will be hard to top the postseason run to a fourth Super Bowl.
Of course, it can always be matched.
"[We] know what it takes to make that run that we did last year and for the few that remain from five years ago," guard Chris Snee said. "I would hope that they're hungry. The job of the leadership on this team is to make sure everyone's on board. We also know the challenge is going to be very difficult defending. Everyone is going to give you their best shot."
While most Giants attended the opening day of the workouts -- which, based on the new CBA, consisted of some weight and conditioning training and a few tosses of the football with quarterbacks and receivers -- Osi Umenyiora did not. The workouts are voluntary and Umenyiora typically prepares for the season at home in Atlanta.
Still, for those who were in New Jersey, it was good to get most of the group together for the first time since the victory parade and catch up on the offseason.
"I think it's always exciting to get back," Eli Manning said. "It's like the first day of school after the summer. You're excited to see all your teammates and coaches and try to figure out how we're going to get better and what we're going to improve on. You see some of the new faces and get them caught up on what we need to do. It's always exciting to get back here, knowing we're getting back to work."
Voluntary workouts typically began in mid-March under the previous CBA, which meant a fast turnaround for Super Bowl champions. This offseason the Giants got an extra month to relax, recover and reflect.
"I've never been so excited to get in and finish what we started," Rolle said. "I'll still have more time to enjoy myself and relax. But right now it's just about business. It's about getting that mindset, getting back around my peers. I missed the hell out of these ugly guys in this locker room. I'm ready to get back to work."
Notes & quotes: The Giants announced the signing of cornerback Antwaun Molden, who played for the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. Terms were agreed to on Friday. "It was a great experience playing in the Super Bowl," Molden said. "In the Super Bowl, you get a playoff atmosphere times five. I definitely had fun with the Pats. It's an experience I would definitely like to get back to." . . . New tight end Martellus Bennett said he knew most of his Giants teammates from playing against them for four years with the Cowboys. "It is kind of like when you were a kid and switched schools when your parents moved and you have to meet new students, new teachers," he said of the first day of workouts. "We moved a lot as a kid so it is pretty easy for me to make friends. Everybody seems cool, everybody is nice." . . . Left tackle Will Beatty, who missed half of the 2011 season with a detached retina, tweeted that his eye is 100 percent and that he will play with a shield on his face mask to protect the area from injury . . . Manning said he took a break from throwing during the offseason. "Because the season went longer I wanted to give the body full time to recover and give the arm full time to recover," he said. "[I] went and tossed it around [Monday] a little bit. I've been tossing it a little bit, but haven't been throwing too much, because I wanted to make sure the arm got plenty of rest." . . . Manning will host "Saturday Night Live" on May 5, an experience he said he is excited and nervous about. "It's something that's been offered a few times and I've turned it down," he said. "But it seemed like the right time. I felt ready to do it and I'm excited about that opportunity."