Commentary

Giants preparing for new-look Cowboys

Big Blue expecting new wrinkles on heels of coaching changes in Dallas

Updated: November 11, 2010, 10:26 AM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants just saw the Dallas Cowboys less than three weeks ago.

And they might not recognize the Cowboys when they see them again on Sunday.

The Giants believe they will see a different Dallas team than the one they defeated, 41-35, on Oct. 25.

One that hasn't been seen yet this season.

After Dallas fired Wade Phillips and named Jason Garrett the interim coach, the Giants are bracing for a revived Cowboys team.

"You can most definitely expect them to be more fired up," said linebacker Michael Boley. "Attitude-wise, [expect] a very different team. I think this will be the hungriest they have been all year."

Several Giants said they almost have to work on what they do best as opposed to preparing for what Dallas does with so much change to the organization this week.

Owner Jerry Jones not only fired his head coach but he also dumped the defensive boss in Phillips as well on Monday. The new defensive coordinator is defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni, who was also the Dolphins' defensive coordinator in 2008 and 2009.

[+] EnlargeJason Garrett
Larry French/Getty ImagesNew head coach Jason Garrett had the Cowboys in full pads for Wednesday's practice.

Garrett ran the offense but now as the head man, he has already started to put his fingerprints on the team by having them practice in full pads on Wednesday for the first time since training camp.

Garrett wants his team to be tougher. He wants to change the culture of a team that was destroyed, 45-7, by Green Bay on Sunday.

The Giants are fully aware that they can give Dallas (1-7) some life.

"If the talent wasn't there, it'd be a different story, but we understand this team can wake up," defensive end Justin Tuck said in a conference call with Dallas reporters. "It's kind of like a sleeping giant. You definitely don't want to wake them up."

The streaking Giants (6-2) are trying to cover all their bases. But no one, not even the Cowboys, know what to expect on Sunday under a new regime.

Head coach Tom Coughlin said the coaching staff has looked at tape of the Dolphins when Pasqualoni was there to study his defensive tendencies.

"I think it is more difficult," Boley said of preparing for the Cowboys. "Up until this point, they have had the same scheme. For this deep into the season, for them to make a coaching change, it is going to be a tough task to really get a feel for what they are going to do."

Eli Manning -- who passed for 306 yards, four touchdowns with three interceptions in Dallas -- expects some different blitzes and a new wrinkle or two from the Dallas defense. But the quarterback thinks the coaching change will likely transform the Cowboys mentally more than anything else.

"In their case, a lot of the questions will stop," Manning said. "They have been getting asked about Wade and Wade and Wade and now that will get stopped. It is an opportunity for them to start over and kind of, 'hey we got a new season.' It is under a new coach and they will be hyped up and ready to play and we got to match that intensity."

The Cowboys were certainly desperate the last time they saw the Giants. Dallas was 1-4 and pretty much making a last stand of sorts against the Giants. And New York crushed any hopes the Cowboys had of turning their season around and making the playoffs by knocking out Tony Romo with a broken collarbone.

Now, Boley, the man who injured Romo with a legal hit, says the Cowboys will be a lot more desperate. Dallas will try to play spoiler and halt the Giants' five-game winning streak.

"They want to be that team that says, 'we took the Giants' win away from them,'" Boley said. "We are not going to let that happen."

The Giants may not know what Dallas will look like schematically on Sunday. But they aren't expecting a team full of zombies to walk into the stadium on Sunday even if Dallas looked lifeless in Green Bay.

"There will be new life pumped into that team," linebacker Keith Bulluck said of the coaching change. "They will come out with definitely a different energy, a more positive energy. I am sure Coach Garrett will rejuvenate them and have them fighting."

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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