they might be (london) Giants

By George Somerville

The New York Giants flew into London this week ahead of their highly anticipated match up with the Green Bay Packers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

The Touchdown was in attendance to see how the Giants settled into their countryside surroundings, and to hear what they thought about playing in London:

Image credit:George Somerville

Just A Business Trip

Image credit: George Somerville

Head coach Brian Daboll was taken with his surroundings, but it was clear from the outset that this is a business trip for Big Blue.

” I think they understand why we’re here. You only have so many games, so whether you are playing at home or on the road or overseas – obviously this is a cool trip playing in another country and we are proud to represent the Giants, but we have to control the things we can control – both teams got to play across the Ocean”.

Understandably there was a lot of focus on the growing injury list that the Giants are currently experiencing. A total of 14 players did not make the trip to London, including wide receivers Sterling Shepherd and Kadarius Toney. Toney in particular was a surprise as Daboll confirmed he had received another hamstring injury (not the same injury he is currently nursing), which is something of a worry to the Giants coaching staff.

Two players who did make the trip were both quarterbacks, Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor. This comes as a real boost to the Giants, who were looking to sign a quarterback in free agency to cover for Davis Webb who had been signed from the practice squad. The Giants did not pursue any of the QB free agents they worked out.

Feeling Good

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“Feeling good, I’ve felt better every day in practice and yeah I feel good”

These were the words of Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, when asked if he was fit enough to play on Sunday.

“During the week I started to feel better really quickly, that I was recovering quickly and I feel good”.

Which certainly points to Jones starting the game on Sunday. He suited up for practice and looked very mobile in what was a reasonably low key practice on Friday. No great surprise given the team was literally hours off the plane. 

His teammates appreciate the mental and physical toughness that Jones is showing in playing through the pain. Nose tackle Dexter Lawrence talked about the effect it has on his teammates:

“He’s a tough dude. Right after the game he was running on it. 

It makes us want to play for each other more, knowing we are all nicked up a little bit and hurting a little bit, but we are all fighting for each other and playing for a win. You know that pumps you up a bit knowing your brother is fighting for you even though he’s wounded”.

"It's Like Being In A Movie"

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Whilst the head coach and the QB were keen to stress the importance of the trip being just another day at the office, some others could not hide their excitement of being on another continent to play football.

Safety Xavier McKinney seemed especially keen to see the sights. Whatever they were.

“It just felt like we were in a movie, it feels fun – I’ve never been here before so I’m pretty excited – I know a lot of of the guys are too. Its he first time (being here) for a lot of the guys”.

Said McKinney after practising at their London hotel.

“I’m going to London. I’m going to enjoy the city, look around – eat something good”.

when asked what sights he wanted to see McKinney was non specific,

“I have no clue what is down there but I know there’s a lot of fashion and that’s my lane so I’m going to be everywhere where there’s clothes at”.

It seems Oxford and Regent Street is where Xavier McKinney will be at. Not Big Ben or Buckingham Palace.

But surely having a Brit on the team would help in that direction, no? Kicker Jamie Gillan was on hand to help out with advice and directions.

Turns out not so much..

“he can go take the touristy stuff right?”

Said the Giants punter,

“get on the bus and hop round all the places, pay the £40 or whatever it is, tick all the boxes”

Said Gillan with a smile. Gillan’s Friday night was going to be a local one, getting the rare chance to meet up with family,

“I’m going to hang out with my Mum and Dad – I haven’t seen my Dad in a long time, so it will be really good to see them”.

Tackle Dexter Lawrence was pretty laid back about being in the UK, but he is in fact a pretty laid back guy. He found his surroundings peaceful, surrounded by fields and a pond he discovered while on a walk around the hotel complex. The kind of place you would go “yoga” as he described it.

Like McKinney, Lawrence was keen to explore the city – again shopping and food was high on the agenda. When asked if he would get some fish and chips, he smiled widely saying “yeah, got to get some of that”.

The Bama Connection

Image credit: Associated Press

The depleted Giants squad was boosted with the arrival of safety Landon Collins.

Daboll confirmed that former Giant Collins had landed in London having travelled separately – and had signed papers allowing him to join the squad.

“He’s just got here, he’s got a lot to learn about how we do things, not just the play book but as an organisation so we’ll just take it each day with him…..he’s just signed his papers – he’s got a long way to go”.

While the head coach was downplaying any role that Collins may play with the team going forward, his teammates were excited to have the former Giants safety back on board. None more so than Xavier McKinney who was very pleased to have another Bama boy in the Giants locker room.

“It feels good to have a familiar face, a guy that I can really relate to, a guy that’s pretty much, as far as football wise, being at Bama has been through the same things that I have been through”.

Said McKinney during Friday’s press conference, 

“It’s definitely good to have him back – he’s a really great safety. He’s going to be able to teach me, our group a lot of things and a lot of wisdom. We’re looking forward to it and it’ll be fun”

The London Experience

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“I really don’t know what to expect, that’s kind of what I am excited for – the unknown. I’ve heard it’s like if you play a big college game, a big bowl game”

Said running back, Saquon Barkely when asked about the atmosphere he and the Giants expect to experience this weekend.

Daniel Jones too was relying on the experiences of others to try to anticipate the atmosphere to expect,

“I’m excited – we’ve heard a lot about the atmosphere, the energy and playing in front of a somewhat neutral crowd. People cheering a lot throughout the game – it will be fun to be on that atmosphere”.

The last word on the atmosphere is left to the local guy – well as local as we can get. Jamie Gillan spoke about what he had told his teammates to expect when running out at Tottenham on Sunday,

“some people were asking me and we were watching, a few of the guys watched Ted lasso – I love that show – the atmosphere of our football versus their football, soccer, the chants – should be a good experience for everybody”

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george somerville

College football writer