Losing is never any fun, no matter what the competition or level. And when the losses pile up one after another, it's only natural for some athletes to begin having second thoughts about going through the preparation, the sacrifices, and, in the case of football, the bumps and bruises that come with every game.
It's also not uncommon for some athletes to begin mailing in their season and riding out the schedule. But for the New York Giants, the players remain committed to turning things around and working as hard as ever to honor the franchise.
"Yeah, it’s tough, but you have to keep plugging," said receiver Sterling Shepard. "Whatever we’ve done in the past to figure out kind of midway through the season, we have to hurry up and do it now. That starts on the practice field. That starts the way that we work throughout the week."
That all sounds good, but besides dealing with the losing, the Giants are now dealing with some significant injuries that have depleted some of their starters for the season and which have cost others multiple games (or are about to cost others game time).
That last point makes the notion of getting back in the lab and back to work a challenging task. But head coach Joe Judge, who after his team upset the Saints reminded his players to focus on the process rather than the results, has a way of being able to tell if his players are tuned in through these challenging times.
"I always look at how they prepare," he said. "How do you come in the meetings? How focused are you? What kind of mental intensity are you having in the meetings? What kind of communication do we have? And then when we practice, how are you practicing?
"To me, it’s all about actions. Guys can come in and they can sing a good song and they can whistle by the graveyard and all that kind of stuff, but when you come to work, how intent are you in getting better and how intent are you going to practice on the field?"
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And how has that gone?
"I’ve seen our guys come in and prepare hard and work hard on the field, and that’s what we’re looking forward to doing today again," Judge said.
Shepard agreed. "I think it’s been good, but it could obviously be better. That’s what we’re striving to do. We’ve got to fix the things that we’re not doing well and that’s the bottom line."
What helps, according to Shepard, is not paying attention to the won-loss record, which is the same edict Judge always preaches.
"We’ve got to focus on the game that’s coming up that week and whatever we have to do to get prepared for that," Shepard said.
"You stay looking at the record and stuff like that, none of that matters. It’s about what we do on Sunday, so we need to pay attention to that and put forth all of our efforts towards that."
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