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Gilbride, Giants get fired up for the good teams

Gilbride, Giants get fired up for the good teams

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said he's probably too close to his unit to notice if its collective emotions rise more when facing one of last year's playoff teams.

He does know about the defense's pride, though.

``I'm so immersed in the gameplan that I can't see the forest for the trees,'' he said. ``Outside looking in, you probably could discern those things more easily. But I've certainly been proud the way they've responded.

``There's a lot of pride within the group, so when they look at a team that's regarded as a good football team, they've traditionally responded in a way that's very positive.''

That is especially true this year. The Giants (8-5) on Sunday will face Atlanta (11-2), and have a chance to beat a fourth team that made the postseason last year. Since they don't play the Lions this year, a win vs. the Falcons would make it a clean sweep of the NFC side of last year's bracket. On the AFC side, the Giants lost to Pittsburgh and still have Baltimore remaining on the schedule.

Beating the Falcons won't come without a challenge, though, as the Giants will walk into the Georgia Dome. Atlanta has won 10 straight since last season at home, and will want to atone for a 30-20 loss to Carolina last Sunday. But the Giants have excelled, at times, this year, neutralizing high-powered teams, home or road.

The last eight games are indicative of that. A stretch that started with a 26-3 romp over the 49ers in San Francisco, continued with a 38-10 pounding of Green Bay at MetLife Stadium. Last week, the Giants handled New Orleans, 52-27. Those three wins amounted to a cumulative score of 116-40.

``Big-time games, man, you tend to show up,'' linebacker Michael Boley said. ``But we need to do it all the time, not just for the big-time games. But this one will certainly be a challenge for us. They play well at home.''

The Giants have played well against the Falcons' division, too, going 3-0 in the NFC South against Tampa Bay, Carolina, and New Orleans. The Falcons have already clinched that division title.

``These last few weeks, we've played good football and we've got to continue to do that and keep making strides,'' Giants quarterback Eli Manning said. ``Everybody has the right mindset and great confidence right now. But the mindset is we've got to work on some things. We've got to get better in practice and make sure we're well prepared for every game.''

The Giants have won the last three meetings with the Falcons in Georgia.

``We've played well when we've played there," New York coach Tom Coughlin said. ``I can't analyze it a whole lot further than that. We've prepared and gone up against good teams, so obviously our focus has been good. It's no different now.''

So, the Giants are naturally confident despite a host of injuries that could keep key players, such as running back Ahmad Bradshaw, cornerback Prince Amukamara, and safety Kenny Phillips, out of the lineup. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is also questionable, given his limited work Thursday with a knee sprain.

But, in times of despair, Coughlin knows he can count on the character - and depth - of a team that won the Super Bowl just 10 months ago.

``We'll call upon all of that," Coughlin said. ``The main thing we need to do is develop consistency in our play and all three levels continuing to support and contribute and not have one of those days where we step back in an area.

``That's what we're trying to emphasize.''

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NOTES: Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said if Amukamara (hamstring) sits out against Atlanta, he is confident rookie Jayron Hosley can do the job at starting right cornerback. ``He's got great ball skills,'' Fewell said. ``He can always tip the ball and intercept it.'' Fewell noted an outstanding practice play Thursday where Hosley broke in on an in-cut and intercepted the ball. ``He was in the end zone before I could turn my head,'' Fewell said. ... The Giants hold a one-game lead over Washington (7-6 ) and Dallas (7-6) in the NFC East.

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Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Following the Redskins' Week 2 preseason win over the Jets on Thursday, Jay Gruden said both Byron Marshall and Samaje Perine were "OK" after the two running backs each left the game with injuries. Marshall's was labeled a lower-leg issue, while Perine's injury was called a twisted ankle.

Timetables for their recoveries were then reported on Friday, and while the two members of the backfield escaped anything too severe, they will each be sidelined for decent chunks of time.

Perine will miss a week, according to Mike Garafolo. Marshall, meanwhile, is looking at a longer two-to-four week recovery, per Tom Pelissero. Those pieces of news hurt them in more ways than one.

Derrius Guice's torn ACL in Week 1 of the team's exhibition schedule meant that Marshall and Perine both had a big-time opportunity to step up and earn a spot on Washington's 53-man roster, spots that were harder to envision for them when Guice was healthy.

Overall, the two were slated to compete with Kapri Bibbs for what will likely be two spaces on the depth chart behind the absolutely safe Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley. Now, though, they'll be forced to sit until they're healed up, giving Bibbs more chances in practice and the two remaining August contests to earn Jay Gruden's trust.

Against New York, Bibbs struggled on the ground but led the offense with seven grabs, including a 29-yard gain off a screen play. That performance absolutely brought him closer in the race with Marshall, who scored vs. the Patriots a week earlier. Next, he'll need to prove he can run effectively between the tackles vs. the Broncos in Week 3, which will put some heat on Perine as well.

The 'Skins have 15 days left until they have to finalize their regular season roster. As things stand now amongst the running backs, Bibbs presently has a real shot at stealing a job from the two shelved RBs. But with the way this race has unfolded thus far, that can all change in a split second. 

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Familiarity for coach and GM should allow Capital City Go-Go to hit ground running

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Associated Press

Familiarity for coach and GM should allow Capital City Go-Go to hit ground running

Despite being a brand new franchise with a new roster and new facilities, the Capital City Go-Go will carry into their inaugural season a level of continuity. Both their general manager and head coach are familiar with what they are getting into and the people they will be working with.

GM Pops Mensah-Bonsu is no stranger to the D.C. community and the Wizards franchise. He made a name for himself starring at George Washington University, spent time with the Wizards as a player in their 2013 training camp and remained a frequent visitor to Wizards games as a scout for the Spurs in recent years.

"To be back in the community and the first general manager of the G-League team is special," Mensah-Bonsu said. "This is D.C.’s team. I want them to embrace us."

Head coach Jarell Christian played college ball in Virginia and goes back several years with Wizards coach Scott Brooks. Christian joined the Oklahoma City's G-League staff when Brooks was in his final year as head coach of the Thunder.

Christian began his coaching journey with an eye trained on how Brooks goes about his job.

"My introduction to pro basketball was under Coach Brooks and his philosophies. A lot of that stuff, I believe in wholeheartedly. That’s my foundation," Christian said. "I got a chance to know him through training camp and throughout that season. He and I developed a bond and a relationship that stood the test of time. To this day, we still talk often. It’s just another chance for me to reconnect with him and to continue to grow our relationship."

The Go-Go intend to make what they do as similar to the Wizards as possible. When guys like Devin Robinson, one of their two-way players, is called up he can step right in without a learning curve of the playbook or how they practice.

Having Christian in place will help that process in particular.

"There won’t be any issue or any slippage with guys going up and down to know what’s in store for them," Christian said. "A lot of the stuff that the Wizards will do, we will implement with the Go-Go. Just some offensive and defensive concepts. Some of the playcalls and the terminology will be the same."

"Whatever you see the Wizards doing, you will probably see the Capital City Go-Go doing, too," Mensah-Bonsu said.

The symmetry between the G-League and the NBA teams will also be helped by the fact they will share the same practice facility. Their proximity will come with many advantages from the Go-Go perspective.

"I think it’s going to help motivate these guys. We’re going to be practicing in the same place that the Wizards do and the Mystics do," Mensah-Bonsu said. "I think if these guys can see Dwight Howard and John Wall and Bradley Beal walking around every day, it will help motivate them to get to that next level."

"The exposure our players get with the Wizards [front office], the Wizards personnel, being able to watch them practice daily, watching their practice habits and what their routines may be, is really big," Christian said.

That element will also apply beyond the players. Christian, who is just 32 years old, will get to watch how an NBA coaching staff operates on a daily basis.

Christian has yet to take a tour of the new building in Ward 8, but he has seen blueprints. Among the amenities the Go-Go will enjoy that other G-League teams do not usually have is a dedicated dining area.

Many G-League teams do not go to that length.

"A lot of organizations do not provide food for their players on a daily basis, but we will. That’s the No. 1 thing in my opinion that’s gonna set us apart from our competitors," he said.

The Go-Go won't take the floor for their first game until November, but it seems like a good foundation is starting to take place.

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