FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Former Giants defensive end Michael Strahan wouldn’t divulge exactly what he told his old team during a post-practice visit on Saturday, but after checking in on the Jets Wednesday afternoon, Strahan did express his deep-seated belief that this year’s Giants have what it takes to win it all.
“I love ’em,” Strahan told Newsday of this year’s Giants. “I think they’re gonna be a great team.”
Great enough to win the Super Bowl?
“Absolutely,” he said. “At this point in the season, everybody has Super Bowl potential. Did we win Super Bowls on (Giants) teams that we thought were great? No. So yeah, they’ve got Super Bowl potential.”
Strahan didn’t address the Jets as a team, but did speak after practice with defensive linemen Leonard Williams and Sheldon Richardson. Strahan didn’t say why he was at Jets’ practice, although he and coach Todd Bowles have the same agent, Tony Agnone.
Strahan declined to speak to Giants’ reporters after meeting with the team on Saturday, and he seemed in a rush to walk inside the Jets’ training camp after practice, not wanting to make the story about himself. He offered no details about his meeting.
“I can’t tell you that,” he said. “That’s between me and them.”
Giants coach Ben McAdoo said Strahan “talked about the love of the game, he talked about the pride in the Giants organization, about how the teams he was on are connected to the team that we have here today, and what a special place this is.” McAdoo also said Strahan told the players not to “have any regrets. Make sure you get everything out of camp, and have no regrets moving forward.”
The Hall of Fame defensive end, who now stars on ABC’s Good Morning America, acknowledged this year’s Giants team is every bit as good as the ones that wound up as Super Bowl champions after the 2007 and 2011 seasons. Strahan helped the 2007 Giants win Super Bowl XLII and then retired after a 15-year career in which he recorded a franchise-record 141 ½ sacks.
“They’re talented across the board,” he said.
Strahan is also convinced that quarterback Eli Manning is still playing at a high enough level to win a championship.
“He’s not an old man,” Strahan said of the Giants’ 36-year-old quarterback, who has started every game since the middle of his rookie season in 2004. Strahan was convinced by Manning’s efforts in a playoff loss to the Packers that he still has what it takes. Even though the Giants wound up being blown out, Manning was the least of the team’s problems. He was 23-of-44 for 299 yards, with one touchdown pass and one interception, but he was the victim of several dropped passes by his receivers, including a would-be touchdown by Odell Beckham Jr.
“In the Green Bay game, he had one of his best games of the season,” Strahan said. “He had some unfortunate things happen. Eli is fine. When I think about quarterbacks in this league, it’s a luxury to have Eli Manning.”
The Giants have very few weaknesses, and the receiving corps of Beckham, Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall is among the best in the league. The defense features bookend pass rushers Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon, run-stuffing nose tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison, as well as All Pro defensive backs Landon Collins and Janoris Jenkins.
But Strahan suggests all the Giants’ players – even ones with the biggest star power – play with the same mentality. It’s the kind of approach Strahan’s Giants took in 2007, when they stunned the previously unbeaten Patriots in the Super Bowl, and then again when the 2011 edition that beat the Patriots again in Super Bowl XLVI. And if they use it once more in 2017, he thinks there can be a fifth Lombardi Trophy for Big Blue.
“There are stars, for sure,” he said, “but you’ve got to play like no one knows your name. And that goes for everybody.”