Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka speaks at the team's practice facility...

Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka speaks at the team's practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sept. 6. Credit: Ed Murray/Ed Murray

In their season opener, the Giants failed to score, the defense allowed 40 points and special teams was anything but, yielding a blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown on the first possession of the game.

Ultimately, that play defined everything about the Giants' home opener, didn’t it?

So, there was much to discuss Thursday with the Giants coordinators, who are available to the media once a week.

Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said it was, “actually, just little things,” that beat the Giants' defense on Sunday night. “You know what I mean? Just little things.”

Tell us.

Martindale started with the 49-yard catch by Dallas receiver CeeDee Lamb in the first quarter. 

“I think we could have helped ourselves by alignment on the [Lamb] pick play,” Martindale said. “I thought that for the most part of the game, we played well against the run. There’s one that got away from us we’d like to have back [a 25-yard run by Tony Pollard.] That’s another one of the little things that you point out, and you need to fix it. It’s an ongoing process. We’re coming together. I told you last week, I think it's going to take a little bit for that first group to jell, and I really like that we had a really good practice [Wednesday]. I'm looking forward to having another one [Thursday].”

The Cowboys challenged the Giants' defense by making sure quarterback Dak Prescott got rid of the ball quickly, Martindale said. So he dialed back on the pressure.

“I think, besides the one play where we got picked — and, like I said, that was more our fault than anything else — you take that play out and he had what, [three] receptions? So, we did that, and I think Dak’s completion percentage was 52%. So, there's a lot of things, a lot of positives that we can build on. That’s what I told the defense.”

As for the offense, the priority has to be to put points on the board Sunday in Arizona.

For coordinator Mike Kafka, that’s part of a bigger process, of course.  

“You go through each week and you look at the opponent and see what they’re doing,” he said. “You try to get the best game plan that you possibly can and put your players in the best position to be successful. So that’s what we spent a lot of hours working through that and studying that and that’s what we’re working to do this week.”

Kafka said the Giants will take “all the good stuff we did” last week, and also learn from what they didn’t do well.  

You could surmise that the “didn’t do well” category of Giants plays from the opener easily outweighed “all the good stuff.”

“We have to have the right urgency and the right tempo and demeanor,” Kafka added, “and practice that way.”

Kafka, conceivably, could have been on the other sideline for this game. He was interviewed by the Cardinals for their head coach opening earlier this year.

On Thursday, Kafka referred to that experience as “so far in the past” and also as “a great opportunity.”

And if you are wondering about special teams, coordinator Thomas McGaughey was asked, of course, about the blocked field goal that set an ugly tone for an ugly loss. 

“I mean, they made a play, and we are on to Arizona,” McGaughey said. “I kind of turned the page on that on Monday afternoon. And yeah, I mean it’s a lot of different things we’d like to have back, and it’s definitely one of them.”


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