Devin Singletary. at a Giants OTA in East Rutherford, N.J.,...

Devin Singletary. at a Giants OTA in East Rutherford, N.J., on Thursday. Credit: Ed Murray

A year ago, the Giants tried to close the gap between themselves and the Eagles.

This summer, they probably want to close their yap.

In case you missed it earlier this week, Philadelphia coach Nick Sirianni told reporters about his occasional run-ins with Giants fans in South Jersey. He said he typically lets them have their say, but when they go a little too hard at him and he’s had enough, he fires back with a preloaded zinger.

“If the [fan] gets me good enough, I usually say: ‘You know, we got your best player.’”

That hurts. And like all snarky remarks it burns deeper because it is true.

The Eagles, who have been dominating the Giants for most of the past decade, swooped in this offseason and signed Saquon Barkley without the Giants putting up much of a fight. This after they had already done nearly the same thing a few years earlier with James Bradberry, who helped the Eagles reach a Super Bowl two seasons ago (his critical penalty against Kansas City denying them that title beside the point).

Brian Daboll was well aware of Sirianni’s trolling when he spoke with reporters on Thursday.

“I love Giants fans,” Daboll said.

Asked about his relationship with Eagles fans, Daboll simply said: “I love Giants fans.”

The fact of the matter, given the position of the Giants to their division rival, is that there really is no comeback, no counterpunch. At least not verbally. There is only one way that the Giants can get the taunting and yammering from Philadelphia to stop: Beat them on the field. Consistently. In meaningful games.

Until then, expect the vitriol and viral soundbites to keep running in one direction: Northbound on the Jersey Turnpike.

The regular-season finale in January in which the Giants won 27-10 and ended a five-game losing streak in the rivalry was a start. It at least sent the Eagles into the playoffs on a sour note. But the Giants’ season ended there while the Eagles played on.

And now they have Barkley to lord over the delicate psyches of the fans and the franchise. They have given him what the Giants never could. No, not the contract, but the infrastructure to succeed. The standout offensive line. The explosive passing threats. When he was with the Giants, the team expected to be carried by Barkley. Now that he is in Philly, Barkley will be carried by the rest of the Eagles.

At least the running back  trying to replace that “best player” who bolted to Philadelphia knows what needs to be done to quell this one-sided fight and end the Birds’ chirping.

“Ball out and win games, I think that’s the biggest thing,” Devin Singletary, who brazenly stepped right into Barkley’s old 26 jersey here, said Thursday about overcoming the playmaking vacuum left by his predecessor. “That’s our focus anyway. We ain’t really worried about the shadow of Saquon. We just have to find ways to win games.”

Singletary believes he is up for the job.

“Shoot, you’re getting a dog,” he said when asked why Giants fans should be confident he can produce at or near the level Barkley did. “You’re getting somebody who is ready to work. I’m going to bring it week in and week out.”

Weeks 7 and 18 would be an especially good time for that. That’s when the Giants face the Eagles this season. That’s when Barkley gets to have his first revenge games.

Daboll insisted he wasn’t thinking about that or anything else regarding Philadelphia on Thursday. And even if Sirianni is right and they did nab their “best player,” – which Daboll would not concede -- he does still have some pretty darn good ones left such as Dexter Lawrence and Andrew Thomas, not to mention the promising rookie Malik Nabers who put on a dazzling display Thursday.

“I’m focused on OTAs, I’m focused on our football team,” Daboll said. “Go out here and have a good practice.”

Until he and his team can stand up to the Eagles on the field, that’s all he really can say.

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