Tom Coughlin got it right Monday, less than 24 hours after the Giants dropped their season opener to Washington 28-14.
"We just have to get going," Coughlin said. "We have to start playing. The mistakes from the preseason – it’s not preseason. Nothing else matters but getting it right."
The 0-1 Giants got plenty wrong Sunday night. And even when somebody did something right, like Hakeem Nicks catching seven passes for 122 yards, including a 68-yarder that led to Eli Manning's two-yard touchdown run, something went wrong.
Seems Nicks came out of the game with a bruised knee. It showed swelling on Monday, and he underwent tests to evaluate the extent of the damage. Though he gave the thumbs-up sign to reporters on his way into the Timex Performance Center, the true severity of the injury may not be known for a couple of days.
Until he's cleared, Nicks could be in danger of missing Monday's game against the Rams, and that would be a devastating blow to a squad already beset by injury.
But even if Nicks remains in the lineup, the rest of it was, shall we say, less than perfect. Manning had a lousy game, and his goal of cutting back on those 25 interceptions of the year before went out the window when Ryan Kerrigan batted and intercepted his throw at the 9 and lumbered in for a third-quarter touchdown and a 21-14 lead.
"We have to play better football – that’s what it comes down to," Manning said, understating an issue that included a 1-of-10 success ratio on third down conversions. "There are things we need to improve on, things we can look at to see where we need to get better from fundamentals and from doing the right things."
The operation of the offensive line was faulty at times, especially on a fourth-and-1 conversion on which new center David Baas failed to block the right player. Instead, Ahmad Bradshaw was dropped short of the first down. The Giants had the league's worst fourth-down percentage in 2010.
Add eight penalties, including Antrel Rolle's dumb unnecessary roughness call that put the Redskins deep in Giants territory when a mere pat-down would have forced a Redskins punt, and the Giants did plenty to put themselves in a hole.
"After looking at the film I think it was definitely a legit call,” said Rolle, who questioned the flag immediately after the game. "My angle initially was to aim for his back and he began to alligator roll. Once he rolled, my momentum and our heads did collide.
"It’s a legit call. In the heat of the battle you’re just trying to help and get over there and get the guy down. He had one yard to get for the first down. My mentality was, he’s fumbling with the ball, hit him as hard as I can, knock the ball loose. At no certain point in time was I going for an obvious head-to-head contact, but after reviewing the film I think it definitely did happen.
"It was a legit call. But I can learn from that. Next time just make sure I go over there and try to, I guess, push him down as hard as I can. Just make sure he doesn’t get that extra yard. You know it happens. It’s something you learn from. You move on."
The Giants did little to dig themselves out of their hole. The offense did nothing in the second half. And Lawrence Tynes' blocked 39-yard field goal try never got "more than 6 1/2 feet" off the ground, Coughlin said.
The Giants need some drastic improvement if they expect to escape embarrassment in prime time next Monday against the equally-battered Rams. Quarterback Sam Bradford has a bruised thumb, among other issues.
"Everybody feels like there were opportunities left out on the field, opportunities to win the game and we went out there to win the game," Coughlin said. "It didn’t happen and there are reasons why it didn’t happen. You have to point that out because you have to make progress and go forward.
"It is not a fun day, you are not trying to beat anybody down. I’m the one to blame but there is no finger pointing. There are three groups and we all have to pull together in order to make this thing work. It doesn’t happen if it is just one or two or occasionally one or two contributes a little bit. You are looking at just the consistency of lack of point production offensively and it has to improve. It is a group that accounted for an awful lot of yards a year ago and a substantial point per game average too."