More than one reporter who spent time in the New York Giants locker room during the past week came away with the feeling that the Giants know they have already tossed their season in the trash can.
The Giants can still make the playoffs today if they defeat the Washington Redskins and Green Bay loses to Chicago. A victory, even if Green Bay wins, would still give the Giants a 10-win season.
Here is an assessment of the team’s mood from a pair of the beat writers who see the team nearly every day during the season.
From the Star-Ledger’s Mike Garafolo:
I can’t help but read into what’s going on in that locker room this week. And it hasn’t just been what I’ve been sensing but also what I’ve been hearing. Some of the statements I’ve heard both on and off the record have been spoken with a kind of finality I didn’t expect. It’s not everyone, of course, but enough for me to wonder if a discouraged team needing help for the postseason will beat a Redskins team that’s playing fast, free and loose right now.
I did not get a very good feeling around the locker room this week. The room felt and sounded like what I’d expect on the day after the season. Too much talk of impending changes. To much talk in the past tense. They sounded depressed, like they had already accepted their fate, like the season was already over. It was … sad. That’s probably the best way to describe it. Now, it’s a dangerous game to try and read the team’s psyche from short interview sessions. And Tom Coughlin insisted they practiced well this week and with energy. But I can only tell you what I saw, and that wasn’t good. They looked like a Dead Team Walking. It felt exactly like it felt before their disastrous finish in Minnesota last year.
Hank Gola of the Daily News wrote today that the Giants are ‘putting on a brave front’, but they seem to know they have ruined their own season.
“You always have hope,” Shaun O’Hara said. “We have a lot to play for and the playoffs are certainly one of those things but even if you take that out of the equation, there’s still a lot of things to play for … 10 wins is still a pretty big accomplishment in the NFL and I think that’s where our mindset is.”
Tell that to the fans if 10 wins is the best thing to be said of the 2010 season. Tell that to everyone who was putting them up there with the best teams in the league midway through the season.
And the Giants can also tell that to themselves, because how can they really be satisfied if that’s the outcome?
If that was so, the locker room would not have seemed so depressing this past week. Maybe it was different when they were in their meetings and on the practice field, but during interviews the best that could be said was that they were putting on a brave front.
Maybe the Giants will put on a spirited performance today against the Washington Redskins. It certainly feels and sounds, however, like their spirit has already been broken.