Clearly the Patriots’ strategy is to smother the Giants with kindness. Either that or they’re realizing they can’t win and have given up. Because nearly every quote I saw from the Patriots’ locker room today was so exquisitely positive and wide-eyed towards the Giants they might have been reading off a script prepared for them by Pat Hanlon himself.
Here’s what defensive back Devin McCourty said today about the Giants’ receivers:
“I think one big difference for us is Hakeem Nicks wasn’t playing so it kind of changed how they played compared to how they’re playing now … For us in the secondary, they have three phenomenal receivers. They made plays all throughout the playoffs, whether Cruz, Manningham or Nicks. I think if you put those guys together with a quarterback like that, they create so many different matchup problems that throughout any playoff game they’re taking advantage. That’s why you see so many different guys have big games each of the different games. I think just to prepare for all those guys is the toughest thing.”
Later, McCourty added this Hallmark card about the Giants’ balanced offense:
“Looking at their offense, with Bradshaw, Jacobs and Ware in the backfield, just when you think about especially Jacobs’ and Ware’s ability to catch balls out of the backfield and you put that together with the receivers they have, everybody can make a catch. The biggest thing is all those guys after they get the ball in their hands they’re dangerous. It’s definitely going to be a very balanced attack that we’re facing … It’s kind of hard, like you said, with a balanced offense to pick one thing and zero in and say, ‘Let’s just stop this and the rest while take care of itself.’ We have to play good, total overall defense. Up front we have to do a good job getting pressure on the quarterback, stopping the run and in the secondary we have to cover. We’re going to have to have a good defensive effort but that’s natural in the biggest game of the year. Going against the best team we’ve played all year, you have to play your best.”
I know he plays an important role for the Giants, but anytime someone on another team starts talking about how dangerous D.J. Ware is, it gets a little suspicious. Oh, and in case you’re just thinking that McCourty’s head was spinning from the Greg Schiano news of the day, here’s Vince Wilfork talking about Eli Manning:
“You’ve seen him grow. You’ve seen a guy not making the bonehead mistakes. He’s protecting the football and that’s first and foremost. When you can protect the football offensively, you have a good shot. And I think with the guys surrounding him that can make plays, that’s all they have to do is protect the ball and they’ll find themselves in pretty good shape. So it’s just a team that’s going to grind it out for 60 minutes. They going to play for 60 minutes and you know what, if we make a mistake or anyone that faced them made a mistake, it’s going to cost them so it’s going to be a tough, tough game for us but at the same time it’s going to be very, very exciting.”
And of course there was Tom Brady’s recital of his new poem, “Ode to The Younger Manning,” delivered with as much feeling and sincerity as he could manage.
Obviously word has come down from on high to the players that they are to avoid saying anything that could be perceived as the least bit inflammatory. It may make for a good strategy, but I fear it will make for a very boring and one-sided Super Bowl week.