|ESPN.com: NFL Training Camp 2008||[Print without images]|
|The Giants pulled off one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history with a 17-14 win over the Patriots.|
When Giants players returned from extended vacations and book tours, Coughlin had a new batch of inspirational T-shirts waiting for them. In the offseason, he plows through books in search of inspiration. In fact, he has used U.S. swimming gold medalist Michael Phelps and PGA Championship winner Padraig Harrington (a fellow Irishman) as examples during team meetings over the past few days. Last year's enduring storyline involved Coughlin tweaking his approach in order to foster better communication with his players. He formed a leadership council and listened to its suggestions. So was that the secret to the team's improbable Super Bowl run? Who knows, but it changed a culture that had almost led to Coughlin's firing the previous season. "I'm not sure what we got out of the actual meetings," said center Shaun O'Hara, a charter member of the council. "I think it was more about the gesture that [Coughlin] made." Six months after the Giants' thrilling win over the Patriots, it sounds ludicrous to suggest that the world champs head into the season as underdogs. But that's exactly what Coughlin and Co. want you to believe. Quarterback Eli Manning talked Thursday about how the Dallas Cowboys' appearance on HBO's "Hard Knocks" and Brett Favre's arrival in Gotham City has overshadowed the "Can They Repeat?" theme. And quite honestly, he wouldn't have it any other way.
|Plaxico Burress is expected to be ready for the Giants' season opener against the Redskins.|
Strahan's another story. Teams spent more time game planning for him than people realize, and he was a trusted voice in the locker room. In his farewell speech, he talked about how someone would replace him and the team would move on. You don't replace a player like Strahan, but defensive end Justin Tuck is a dynamic player. In case you're just joining us, he's the player who had five tackles and two sacks in the Super Bowl. 3. Who will start in the secondary?