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Giants' plan of attack for season has changed at multiple positions

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin reacts

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin reacts to an official's call in the first half of a game against the New England Patriots on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in Foxborough, Mass. Credit: AP / Stephan Savoia

The Giants begin installing their game plan for Sunday's opener on Tuesday, which must be of some comfort as well as some concern to them.

Comfort because they finally get to focus their attention on a singular game and opponent, hone it for specific instances, and clearly define both objectives and strategies.

Concern because almost everything they were planning on this season thus far has gone awry.

Of mice and men ... and Giants.

They planned on first-round pick Ereck Flowers beginning his career as a right tackle, a somewhat easier transition into the NFL. Then Will Beatty, the starting left tackle, tore a pectoral muscle and Flowers had to be moved to the more demanding side of the offensive line. That left a hole on the right that is currently being filled by Marshall Newhouse, who the team planned to use as a veteran backup.

They planned on Jason Pierre-Paul having a big year at defensive end and being the cornerstone of their front seven. There was even talk of a long-term deal with him in lieu of the franchise tag, which is what the Giants have so often done with their tagged players. Those plans changed when he injured his hand in a fireworks accident on July 4, then refused to allow the team to examine the damage until this week.

They planned to lock Eli Manning up in one final long-term contract for the rest of his career. They planned on moving Bennett Jackson to safety and the emergence of Nat Berhe at the same position. Before that, they planned on signing Devin McCourty as a free agent to replace Antrel Rolle.

They planned on moving ahead without Stevie Brown. Then they planned on having him back. And now they are planning on moving ahead without him once again.

Even the things they planned against haven't worked out. They never expected to have a fully healthy Victor Cruz, approaching his return from a torn patellar tendon with caution. Then just when it seemed as if he had cleared any hurdles in that recovery and the Giants could begin to count on him, plans changed. Calf injury.

Why all of the uncertainty? All of the course corrections?

"It's pretty normal," Tom Coughlin said of life as an NFL head coach. "If it isn't that, it's something else. I'd like to have definite answers for you on all these guys, but sometimes you don't have that."

So now the Giants move to game planning. Targeting the Cowboys. Trying to snap a four-year losing streak in opening week games that is the second longest in the NFL right now. Looking to end a four-game losing streak against Dallas, a two-game skid in Dallas and the stadium they once dominated.

The Giants mapped out a path to this point months ago, figuring they would arrive in far different condition than they have.

"There's always a plan, everything is planned, everything is in great detail," Coughlin said. "Sometimes you adjust, but everything is planned."

Now the Giants forge into the regular season with what they are, not what they once envisioned they would be.

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