Players follow Fassel's words: 'Shut up and play the game'

Team's quiet confidence continues to please coach

Giants notebook

January 26, 2001|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

TAMPA, Fla. - While the Ravens have done their share of talking this week, the New York Giants have quietly gone about their business. That's how coach Jim Fassel likes it.

"A long time ago, I told the guys what I wanted our team to be. I just said, 'Hey, listen, shut up and play the game,'" he said.

"We don't need to get into the evaluation of what we're doing, how they're doing or anything else. We need to just go out and play and prove ourselves on the field. The less said, the more done, the better I like it. And this team has followed that to a T."

So all the Giants have been prodded by reporters plenty - question after question, day after day.

Nobody is biting.

"We're confident in our ability to go out and execute the game plan and get the job done, but guaranteeing a win, I'm not going to do that," defensive tackle Keith Hamilton said. "But we are going to come out and be ready to play."

Added defensive end Michael Strahan: "We're just concentrating on winning, and it doesn't matter what anybody says. I think anybody that has seen us play the last eight weeks will realize that we're not playing off of public opinion."

Accorsi to be honored

The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation announced that Giants vice president and general manager Ernie Accorsi will be the first recipient of the organization's John Steadman Award.

Steadman, a member of the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame who covered pro football for more than half a century in the News-Post, News American, Evening Sun and The Sun, died of cancer Jan. 1 at age 73.

The award honors that individual who "continually demonstrates professional excellence and epitomizes the values of courage, character, compassion, commitment and service to the community," according to the foundation.

Accorsi will be presented with the award at the Ed Block Courage Awards banquet March 6 in Baltimore.

Injury report

Receiver Amani Toomer (ankle), fullback Greg Comella (buttocks) and safety Shaun Williams (hamstring) all practiced yesterday.

Offensive tackle Luke Petitgout had to leave Wednesday's practice early after hurting his ankle, but returned for all the drills yesterday.

The Giants practiced in pads for nearly two hours at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' training facility.

"They practiced good," Fassel said. "We're still running a lot of plays, and they're practicing hard. I wanted them to practice real smart. I didn't care if there was aggressive hitting and all that stuff. We've done this long enough now. They're tough. ... But I wanted the pads on so nobody would get nicked."

Je. Lewis watching

While Ray and Jamal are the obvious Lewises who can alter a game, Fassel said the Giants will need to keep a close eye on the Ravens' Jermaine Lewis as well.

"He's a real force on punt returns, and we're going to have to do probably our best job," Fassel said. "We're going to need Brad Maynard to punt well and we're going to need great coverage on Jermaine, or he can change the game himself."

No fear of Ravens

First, it was Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown's wife commenting on the lack of desire in seeing her husband go up against the Ravens' defense. Now, Micheal Barrow's wife is having her say.

"She heard all the hoopla about the Ravens, and rightly so," Barrow said. "One thing she did say was, 'It was kind of like David vs. Goliath, and they're Goliath.' The media and everybody makes them look 10 feet tall, unbeatable. One thing about David was he knew who he was. One thing about this team is we know who we are. We don't care about who we face."

End zone

Corner Jason Sehorn, on the Ravens billboards in Tampa: "Half the people in Tampa are from New York. We don't need to buy billboards. They're all wearing blue anyway."

Sun staff writers Brent Jones and Don Markus contributed to this article.

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