The bye week in the NFL obviously gives players a chance to heal and to rest.
“Yeah, it does feel good to not get tackled, you know?” wide receiver Darius Slayton said after the Giants' bye. “I kept my body off the ground. It helped out. I feel good.”
“You get so used to starting your week feeling terrible,” he said. “Like now, like on Monday, you know, I feel great. It's like, wow, this is how Mondays are for regular people. It's always like that coming off byes. But I feel rejuvenated, refreshed and ready to go.”
Only the Cardinals and Commanders have a later bye, and the Giants (4-8) — who have five games remaining, including two against the Eagles — needed it.
The four players made available on Zoom on Monday — Slayton, Adoree’ Jackson, Bobby Okereke and Andrew Thomas — indicated they felt refreshed and generally hopeful.
For a team that was in the thick of the playoff race last season — and won a playoff game at Minnesota — what is the mindset?
“You never know what could happen,” Thomas said. “Then, outside of the playoffs, we get an opportunity to play football. This has been our dream for a long time, so any time you step on the field, you want to put your best foot forward.”
Is that enough of an incentive?
“I think it is,” Thomas said. “As long as you go out there, [you should] do the things that it takes to win.”
The late bye can be as much a blessing as a curse.
Asked if this was the latest he’s had a bye, Okereke said, “I believe so.”
How did he spend it?
“I watched football on Sunday.” he said. “It was fun.”
Okereke said the Giants have reason to be optimistic.
“I mean, when you look at obviously the parity in this league, we are two games out of the playoff hunt,” he said. “We have the opportunity to leave a good building block going into next season, and obviously just play for pride at the end of the day. With this last five-game stretch, this bye week was kind of an opportunity to reenergize and rejuvenate and really just get your mind right. There is a lot of opportunity ahead of us.”
Jackson spent his bye week the way some Giants fans probably did — on the couch.
“I didn’t do anything but relax,” he said. “So that was much-needed. To get a little away from football and let my mind do something else besides think of guarding a receiver or looking at different formations. So it was nice.”
For Slayton, optimism reigns when it comes to the Giants' playoff chances.
“Everything that we want to accomplish is still out there possible for us,” he said. “We just have to do a good job of taking it one week at a time, one game at a time, one opponent at a time. If we're able to keep stacking wins, you know, we had two wins before the bye. If we keep stacking wins, we'll end up where we want to be."