After the warm-up and stretch and before the team broke away into individual drills, Ben McAdoo called the Giants together Thursday early in practice inside the field house. A large huddle was formed, and in the middle of it, linebacker Jonathan Casillas provided some inspirational words.
Why Casillas? Well, he is a two-time Super Bowl winner from his days with the Saints and Patriots, and with the Giants headed to the postseason after Sunday’s game against the Redskins, McAdoo wanted a veteran who has been there before to be heard.
“I think it’s just huge to have the opportunity to listen to guys who’ve been there before,” said Devon Kennard, a third-year linebacker who never has been to the playoffs. “Those are some of the leaders on our team, guys who have won. He’s won two Super Bowls, so for him to take the time to address the team like that, I think it’s important.”
Casillas, the defensive team captain, was not available in the locker room to expand on his message.
“I think that was the first time this year where we kicked off practice with that,” said linebacker Mark Herzlich, who won a Super Bowl after the 2011 season with the Giants. “It’s a day where you’re in Week 17 and you have pads on. That’s rare for a lot of guys. I think what Jon was saying, it doesn’t matter, the circumstances. We go out there and do what we need to do to create momentum going into the playoffs to get a win. We set our goals singularly, and that’s one week at a time. Just getting a win one week at a time. This week is no different.”
Clearly, McAdoo wants to make sure his team is not overlooking the Redskins, even though the Giants are locked in as the No. 5 seed in the NFC and cannot move up or down no matter what happens this weekend at FedEx Field.
“He did a great job,” defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said of Casillas. “It was well said. JC is a good man, a good leader, has good insight, has some good experience, so it is good stuff.”