With playoffs in reach, Giants still taking things one day at a time
The Giants have followed Brian Daboll’s lead all season. They’re not going to stray now.
That’s why even though they are beyond thrilled about the possibilities that exist beyond Sunday’s game against the Colts, a win-and-in game for them that could clinch what for almost all would be a first postseason berth in a Giants uniform, they are trying to stay focused on the process rather than the payoff.
It is not easy to do.
“It’s tough,” safety Julian Love said on Tuesday. “None of us are naïve. We all know if we win this game what it means. It’s in the back of our minds for sure. But you have to stay true to what we’ve been doing all season.”
So they are taking everything one day at a time, one practice at a time, one game at a time here in Week 17 just as they tried to do in Week 1, Week 7 and Week 11. That’s when the groundwork for the mindset Daboll has instilled in the team was put into place. Now is why it was.
“I think his approach has been great,” Love said. “We know what we have ahead for ourselves but don’t do something outside of yourself, don’t do stupid [stuff] because of the increased ramifications. Just stay true. I think that’s why he’s not even mentioning it. He’s just treating it like another week, a week where we have to really get after it. We have a lot of things to correct, a lot of things to build off of, and I think that’s where it comes from. It’s not in a sense of denying what is going to happen but in a sense of keeping guys locked in on being themselves.”
None of the players, though, are in the almost comic denial Daboll has had about the potential destination for this team, now closer than ever. There is no ban on the P-word. It’s okay to talk about the goal this team set in the beginning of the season and is a victory away from achieving.
Some do it covertly.
“I’m mostly just excited to be playing competitive, meaningful football,” wide receiver Darius Slayton said. “That’s something that since I’ve been in the league I haven’t had the chance to do very much. I’m just grateful for all of these games that are going to be highly contested. Obviously, we are going to go out and give our best to win all of them.”
Others speak directly to the possibility.
“It definitely means a lot,” left tackle Andrew Thomas said. “I have never been in the playoffs as long as I’ve been in the league so it’s definitely something you look forward to.”
Even Love, who has been straining to remain in lockstep with Daboll, couldn’t help but look ahead a bit to the feelings he might experience Sunday evening if the Giants win.
“It would mean the world to me,” he said of clinching a postseason slot. “I’m a competitor. I’m a guy who has tried to be as consistent as I possibly can during good times and bad times. That’s been a constant for the past four years. But I haven’t been to the playoffs in the league yet. I achieved that goal in college and in high school of course, so I am excited. I’m excited to have a shot. This position is pretty exciting that we can control our destiny.”
Before they can control it, though, they will try to ignore it.
“For me it’s the same routine, attacking, playing with high effort, and giving our defense a place to stand at all times,” Love said. “If I just do my job, hopefully we get the win.
“And we all know what happens if we do that.”