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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants may be the most optimistic 0-3 team in NFL history.
Three days removed from one of their worst drubbings in recent memory, the Giants returned to work Wednesday talking like a team that still fancies itself a Super Bowl contender.
The day began with Tom Coughlin's weekly news conference, and the coach sounded upbeat, despite his team's predicament, and the fact that he had just attended his brother's funeral the day before.
The confidence is good. I think guys are excited, and looking forward to changing things. We feel we have a great opportunity to change things around and get some momentum. We can't change the start of the season, but we can start right now and change the ending.” -- Giants quarterback Eli Manning
When asked if he believes the Giants' season is on the line Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, Coughlin answered: "No, I think it's a long season. We've played three games, we have a lot of games to go."
The Chiefs are 3-0, will host Sunday's game, and have not turned over the ball this season. Only three 0-3 teams (out of 115) have made the playoffs since 1990, and only one 0-4 team has done so.
"Certainly we want to win, and that's our entire objective," Coughlin said. "Are we standing on the edge of the cliff? I don't look at it that way. I see a lot of football to be played."
Three hours later, following practice, many players sounded confident that they still can turn their season around.
"I feel like we got one of the best offenses in the league, and I stand on that," wide receiver Hakeem Nicks said.
When reminded that the Giants were shut out 38-0 by the Carolina Panthers last week, Nicks said: "I'm still saying that. And I believe we're gonna prove it, too."
Nicks and fellow wideout Victor Cruz are both former 1,000-yard receivers, and quarterback Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl MVP. But starting running back David Wilson has been turnover-prone, and the offensive line has been banged up. Through three games, the Giants are last in the NFL in rushing (44.3 yards per game), 20th in total offense (334.7 ypg) and 27th in points (18 ppg).
But Cruz shared Nicks' enthusiasm.
"We had a great practice today, guys were flying around," Cruz said. "There was a different energy out there, you can feel it. I think guys understand the position that we're in, and we're gonna be ready come Sunday."
Two starting offensive linemen missed practice Wednesday due to injuries -- center David Baas (neck) and right guard Chris Snee (hip). They may not be ready for the Chiefs, and even with them playing last week, the Giants surrendered seven sacks. But Manning did not sound too concerned.
"I have great confidence, whoever's in there, they're going to do a great job," Manning said about his O-line.
Regarding his team overall, Manning said: "The confidence is good. I think guys are excited, and looking forward to changing things. We feel we have a great opportunity to change things around and get some momentum. We can't change the start of the season, but we can start right now and change the ending."
Many players on the other side of the ball sounded fired up, too. The offense was the primarily culprit against Carolina, but the defense has been even worse statistically -- 24th in total defense (382.3 ypg), tied for last in sacks (three), and last in points (38.3 ppg).
"We're gonna fight," cornerback Terrell Thomas said. "We got socked in the mouth last week, and that's not what the New York Giants are all about.
"We've got players on this team that won two Super Bowls, they know about being tough and being resilient in the moment and understanding everything. It's disheartening, it's sad, we all felt sorry for ourselves, but we're over that now. … We'll definitely be a different team come Sunday."
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul offered up a prediction as well, or close to one.
"I'm pretty sure we'll come out with a win this week," Pierre-Paul said. "I feel like our team's gonna come together in harmony. … We haven't been playing with chemistry or harmony. I'm pretty sure we're gonna do that this week."
About the only player who delivered a dose of doubt was the normally confident Antrel Rolle.
When asked if he had a sense this would be a different team this week, the safety took a long pause before answering.
"Ummm, do I have a sense?" Rolle said. "I think that really doesn't matter at this point. I think the only thing that matters is what team shows up out there on Sunday."
That's one statement on which everyone can agree.