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Giants unconcerned about opponent, just wanting to avoid mistakes

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin looks on against

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin looks on against the Arizona Cardinals at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The feeling around the Giants is that their 0-2 start is more a function of their own mishaps and lack of execution than anything the Lions and Cardinals did to beat them. It runs so deep that this week's opponent has become almost an afterthought. Clean up their own mistakes, the thinking goes, and they'll be OK.

It's such a self-centered sentiment that when defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul was asked what concerns him about the unbeaten Texans heading into Sunday's game at MetLife Stadium, he dismissed it with a one-word answer: "Nothing."

As far as they're concerned, it's Giants vs. Giants. They're hoping the better team wins. So far it hasn't.

Penalties on both sides of the ball, missed assignments, turnovers, a lack of takeaways -- all of that has added up to two losses in two games.

"We know what we have to take care of to make us 1-2," Pierre-Paul said Thursday. "Come together as a team and go out on the field and don't be selfish. Do what you're asked to do and everything will be fine."

Even Tom Coughlin seems to agree with the thinking that fixing their own problems is more important than focusing on the Texans. He might not concur with Pierre-Paul's worrying about "nothing," but he's close to it.

"You go back to John Wooden, it's your team," Coughlin said. "Your concern is your team. Obviously, the opponent coming in here, you're looking for strengths, weaknesses, how they play and so forth. But your team is where most of your attention and your energy goes, to try to correct the things that have prevented us from winning a game."

On defense, Pierre-Paul said the biggest issue has been players trying to do too much. They're overextending and not staying in their gaps or their lanes rather than trusting one another to make the play.

"Even myself," he said. "We all try to do a little bit too much. We want to help even more."

Offensively, the Giants dropped key passes in the fourth quarter, fumbled in the red zone and threw two interceptions against the Cardinals. The new offensive system seemed to work fine; it was the offensive players who didn't.

"We definitely left a lot out there this past game and I think we are definitely close," Victor Cruz said. "It is just a matter of us completing certain passes and catching certain balls and moving the chains in crucial third-down situations, and I think we are right there in the mix. We are right there in the thick of it."

Not even special teams is immune from the microscope after allowing a punt return for a touchdown and fumbling a kickoff return last week.

Coughlin said the players have been talking among themselves about their issues, their lack of big plays.

"They mean well," Coughlin said, "but it has to take place on the field."

This week, that just so happens to be against the Texans.

Not that it matters.

New York Sports