"You kind of treat training camp as a new start, a new beginning," added quarterback Eli Manning. "You erase everything from the years before that has always been my approach in years past. I tell myself that the last year doesn't matter and that I'm going to learn from my experience, to try to become a better quarterback. This year is the same way. I'm going to learn from my experiences from last year, but you've still got something to prove."
The Giants have something to prove in general. There are holes to fill after the departure of several players including tight end Jeremy Shockey (traded to New Orleans) and defensive lineman Michael Strahan (retirement), and several preseason NFL magazines don't have Big Blue winning the NFC East.
"Perception is not necessarily reality, and I think you have to give us a chance to have our training camp and see where we go," said Coughlin. "I think we do have a number of players that have played if you just take our young players alone and the experience factor that they had, I think that the level of play and the way in which they have upgraded their individual talents and the way we can utilize them is going to put us in a good position right off the bat."
The defense played a key role in the Giants' playoff push, as it shut down the high-octane offenses of Dallas, Green Bay and New England. And defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said the key to maintaining the Giants' high level of play on his side of the field is tinkering without radically changing anything.
"I think you have to stay ahead of the curve a little bit because there are too many smart offensive coordinators in this league, but you don't ever abandon what you've done in the past," Spagnuolo said.