Barber confident fumbles will stop

Updated: October 15, 2003, 8:42 PM ET

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tiki Barber isn't going to change his running style despite fumbling four times in the New York Giants' first five games.

Barber might change the way he holds the ball though, especially after watching videotapes with coach Jim Fassel.

"As soon as you start changing who you are, you lose yourself as a player," Barber said Wednesday after the Giants (2-3) finished practice for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles (2-3). "You don't become as effective. The things that made you successful, you aren't doing anymore. That's what I have to be cognizant of."

Barber is well aware of his problem holding the ball. His 30 fumbles since the 2000 season are the most in the NFL among non-quarterbacks in that period. Three of his fumbles this season have resulted in turnovers, none bigger than the one in the first quarter that linebacker Matt Chatham returned for a touchdown, giving New England a lead it never lost.

"I am very confident in my abilities as a football player and I know everyone around me is as well," Barber said. "It's just a matter of going to work and doing my job and focusing in on the little things."

After seeing his team turn the ball over nine times in the last two games, Fassel had his video crew catalogue every fumble and interception this season.

Fassel noticed that Barber seemed to be holding the ball a little too far back in his grip. That forced his elbow to come out a little and created a gap for the ball to come out when he was hit.

Barber also was extending the ball when he jumped or leapt, which increased the chances of a fumble.

"To me, it's not about sitting here and constantly reminding him of this, this and this," Fassel said. "You can make a guy phobic about that. He is going to carry the all a lot for us."

Barber, who has been the catalyst of the Giants' offense in recent years, has been effective when he hasn't fumbled. His 455 yards rushing is 11th in the league and fourth best in the NFC. His 20 receptions is tied for 25th best in the conference. His 575 total yards are sixth best in the NFC.

Besides watching his own fumbles, Barber also took time this week to watch film of the Giants playing the Eagles at the end of last season.

New York, which has scored just 16 points in losing its last two games, was at its best late in 2002 when the offense got going.

"The one glaring thing I noticed was that we were very aggressive and we were very determined," Barber said. "Even though we were making mistakes, we were after them, playing faster than them. I think we lack that right now.

"We need a shot in the butt to get that urgency, to get that will power to win a game no matter what is going on. That's what we are working on."

If the Giants don't find the momentum this week, the team will find itself in last place in the NFC East in a year when there was considerable talk that New York had the talent to play in the Super Bowl.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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