The Giants are looking to trounce the Jets in Saturday night's preseason game. It has little to do with the in-state rivalry or the urgency of the approaching regular season. Those things matter, sure, but the real reason the Giants are expected to come out looking to run up the score and beat down the Jets is because of the possible relaxing reward on the other side of a decisive victory.
It's already being called "Spa Day" by some, but technically it's a recovery cycle and part of what Tom Coughlin called the "GPS Week" schedule. The Giants practiced long and hard for two days this week and then spent Thursday in meetings before going through a series of exercises meant to reduce the stresses on their bodies.
Instead of going through the grind of the last day of training camp, usually associated with two-a-days and 100-degree heat, they were asked to choose two stations from a selection of six elements that included yoga, massages, stretching and soaking. Players select them based on seniority (in other words, the veterans flock to the massage).
If it leads to a strong performance Saturday, Coughlin said the recovery cycles and days off the practice field could be implemented into the regular-season schedule.
"I don't think any of the guys are complaining," cornerback Prince Amukamara said. "It's kind of similar to the bye week. If you go out and demolish a team before your bye week, you would hope your coach would give you the whole week off. If we respond right, hopefully we can keep the schedule."
Of course, this is an experiment. It could fail.
"If we come out there and guys have cement blocks in their feet, there will be something to be said about that," tackle Marshall Newhouse said. "I think everyone is trying to learn and figure out what's best to help the team be ready to go come game time."
Coughlin is. After two seasons in which the team has been crippled by injuries, and more of them this summer in training camp, he's apparently willing to try anything. Even if that means forgoing a practice during the season because a computer tells him he has to.
"Let's not go there," Coughlin said about that prospect.
But there is little doubt that if Coughlin thought it would help the team win, he would play "Sounds of the Rainforest" during pregame warmups and serve chamomile-flavored Gatorade on the sideline.
"It's a unique kind of a day and I'm interested in the feedback I get from the leadership council as well as the assistant coaches as we go through the day," Coughlin said. "The proof will come later as to how we perform."
Ideally, the GPS system that tracks the movements and other biomedical data from the players will allow the team to ease off players when they get to a certain point and are in danger of suffering a soft-tissue injury. Coughlin said that already has occurred during camp and that the data has led to a decreased number of reps for individuals.
"It's interesting, there's no doubt about it," he said. "The whole purpose is to recognize someone who is headed toward a strain and be able to do something about it."
Running back Rashad Jennings downplayed the idea of calling this a "Spa Day," insisting that the exercises are more about getting the players to focus on their bodies than to simply relax.
"It's always about being at your peak on a Sunday, making sure you are dialed into the details and ready to go," he said. "You have a mandatory focus on taking care of your body, and that's the machine that helps you operate as a pro. I think we're going to reap benefits from it."
It's hard to erase the image of relaxation, though, when fellow running back Shane Vereen described sitting in a pressurized boot to help treat his legs while playing video games to pass the time. Junction Boys these are not. "It's nice, it's fun," Vereen said. "I feel good."Added Newhouse: "It's not too bad of a Thursday."
Coughlin is reserving judgment.
"We'll see how we like it at the end of the week," he said. "The week's not over yet."