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Giants Q&A: Music at Friday practice puts Giants in right mood

Eli Manning #10 of the Giants waves to

Eli Manning #10 of the Giants waves to the crowd as he runs off the field after defeating the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Jim McIsaac

What was it that helped the Giants change their tune?

Several players, including Antrel Rolle and Eli Manning, pointed to Tom Coughlin's allowing music to be played during warm-ups at the Friday practice as the key to the team's mood. It helped relax the players and coaches after the Giants lost their first two games, creating a desperate situation.

"We knew it was a big [game],'' Manning said, "but the most important thing you can do in that situation is to not let it feel that way. It was good that we had a lighter mood at the practices.''

 

What prompted Coughlin to allow the music?

He met with the leadership council last week and they talked him into it.

"It was something that lifted the team's spirits,'' said Rolle, the defensive captain. "It was something different. Sometimes change is good. Hopefully, we have some more music [this week], because it seemed to work.''

 

Who selected the soundtrack?

"I think we stole it off of coach Coughlin's iPad,'' Manning said. "It seemed like all of his music, the early '90s rap that he digs.''

 

What else did the Giants do to stay so loosey-goosey?

They had a punt-off at the end of Friday's practice in which the offensive and defensive linemen competed to see who could catch the most footballs off the punting machine. The offensive line won, 4-0.

 

Where was Arian Foster?

The Texans' standout running back was sidelined with a hamstring injury. He'd been limited during the week and listed as questionable on the final injury report, but when he couldn't pass a pregame workout, he was a surprising scratch.

"You always hear guys are on the injury report,'' defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said, "but I figured he's been on the injury report most of his career, so it was a big surprise when he didn't play.''

Foster's backup, rookie Alfred Blue, gained 78 yards on 13 carries.

 

Rolle challenged the crowd earlier in the week. How did the fans respond?

It was one of the louder days in the history of MetLife Stadium -- perhaps not up to the ear-popping standard set in the playoff game against the Falcons in January 2012, but enough to help sustain a positive vibe even when things weren't going well early.

"The crowd was great,'' Rolle said.

Added clearly excited linebacker Jameel McClain: "The fired-up-ness is just a reaction to them. That's my response and our response to telling them we appreciate them.''

 

Did Larry Donnell know the Texans were going to try an onside kick?

The tight end said he did because kicker Randy Bullock kept looking at him as he lined up to attempt the play after the Texans cut the Giants' lead to 30-17 with two minutes remaining.

"I was like, 'Uh-oh, he's gonna kick it to me,' '' Donnell said. "I was nervous.''

He pounced on it cleanly, though, to help make up for his fumble at the Texans' 4-yard line in the first quarter.

 

Anyone special at the game?

Embattled NFL commissioner Roger Goodell watched from a luxury box at MetLife Stadium, taking in his first game in person since the league came under intense public scrutiny with the disclosures about the Ray Rice video Sept. 8. He did attend the league opener Sept. 4 in Seattle.

New York Sports