Giants vets try to prep newbies for playoffs

The Giants have not played a postseason game in almost three years -- since Jan. 11, 2008, a 23-11 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Several key players from that season are still with Big Blue, but many others are new, some of whom have never played in a playoff game before.

Coach Tom Coughlin and the Giants' veteran players are trying to prepare the new guys for what lies ahead on Sunday against the Falcons.

"You talk to them all, about everything you can," Coughlin said Thursday after practice. "You have to really teach as much as possible to everyone, and that filters down through to the younger guys who’ve never been through it."

The Giants are fortunate to still have a bunch of players from their Super Bowl run in 2007, meaning they have plenty of postseason perspective to share. One of them is left tackle David Diehl, and he believes his team has been aided by the fact that it had to win its final two games of the regular season just to make the playoffs.

"I think it has," said Diehl. "But there’s nothing that simulates the playoffs. There’s nothing that simulates that speed and the excitement that there’s gonna be out here on Sunday. But I think that they’re prepared.

"That’s where a veteran like me, and the guys around this locker room, have to step up and make sure that they’re ready to go."

Running back Brandon Jacobs, another vet from the Super Bowl run, shared the advice he has for the younger players. "I tell them that it is the third season for a lot of the young guys," Jacobs said. "You have the preseason, which is going to be turned up from training camp. You have the regular season, which is going to be turned all the way up and is a whole different ball game. The playoffs are going to be turned up a lot more as well and that is just the way it goes. Teams are going to be that much stronger, they are going to hit that much harder and be that much faster."

Defensive tackle Chris Canty is another veteran with playoff experience, although he got it with the Cowboys, prior to joining the Giants in 2009.

"One thing that you have to say when you get in that playoff atmosphere, the intensity, physicality picks up and you have to mentally be prepared for it," said Canty. "You can’t simulate it. You have to have been through it to understand it. The best you can do is to tell the young guys to try to prepare them."

"After that initial surge, that first quarter, all that kinda wears off and you get down to the nuts and bolts of football, and you gotta execute," added Canty. "You gotta be sharp out there. One step here, one missed assignment there, and you can cost your team dearly. Playoff football is about execution, intensity and physicality."

Rising stars like defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and wide receiver Victor Cruz are eager to show what they can do on the postseason stage starting Sunday. But the Giants' veterans sound just as eager, if not more so.

"As a competitor you’re here for one reason, and once you hold that trophy it’s contagious, and you’re gonna do whatever you can to get back there," said Diehl. "I think we’ve used that as motivation."