Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Desire Seems to Be There, but Skills Not Up to Par

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Desire Seems to Be There, but Skills Not Up to Par

Article excerpt

ARLINGTON, Texas - From the embarrassment of their wounded pride to the empathy for their wounded teammate, the Giants had every reason to come to Dallas and prove they were not the terrible team that limped out of Philadelphia shut down and shut out by the division rival Eagles.

They had every reason to heed the words of fallen captain Victor Cruz, the man unable to join them in the tail-between-the-legs retreat home from that awful game against the Eagles, forced instead to spend the night in a Philadelphia hospital. Cruz made it home last Monday, had surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon that evening, and by week's end was back at the Giants' training facility.

It was there he decided to record a message for the players that would head to Texas without him, one they heard during Saturday night's team meeting, one in which he implored his football comrades to fight on without him, to fight for one another, to give everything they had against the high-flying, division-leading Cowboys.

"It was emotional, obviously, to see him in that position He's been such a strong contributor not just on the field, but in the locker room," Mathias Kiwanuka said. "I feel like everybody drew a little from that, but for whatever reason we didn't get him the victory, so we feel bad about it."

They had every reason to listen to Cruz, and more than anything, they wanted to deliver the victorious payoff. But without the likes of Cruz, without the offensive explosiveness he brings to the game, without the discipline or consistency to avoid more self-inflicted wounds, it's becoming more and more clear this team isn't good enough - yet, or maybe at all - to deliver on their desire.

Yes, the Giants played a whole lot better than they did against the Eagles, but it still wasn't enough to win. Instead, the 31-21 loss, the second straight in the NFC East, sends them into the bye week still trying to figure out what's gone wrong, still trying to find answers they thought were emerging in the three straight wins before the Philly game.

"I just want to win; that's the bottom line. No reason to mince words. I'm tired of losing," Kiwanuka said. "It's a loss, a divisional loss, so that hurts our chances, hurts our pride, but there's no desperation, just increased desire to get it fixed. ... By no means are we out of it. We've got to make sure we don't harp on it. Just take our lumps and move on."

What's making that forward journey so daunting is not simply the caliber of opponent that awaits them -- Indianapolis, Seattle and San Francisco before facing Dallas again -- but how much they're helping those opponents by hurting themselves.

"It's more us than it is our opponents. We're shooting ourselves in the foot," tackle Will Beatty said. "As a team, we have to take this week off to evaluate ourselves, to evaluate what is our legacy of this 2014 team. …

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