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Coughlin has Giants on roll

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Riding their longest winning streak in two years, the New York Giants no longer are complaining about Tom Coughlin's rules, personality and fines.

Winning is proving a cure-all for the Giants (3-1), who are one victory away from matching their 2003 win total.

"What he did was new and different, so it was a shock to more guys than anything," quarterback Kurt Warner said of the Giants' initial reaction to Coughlin, hired in January after the easygoing Jim Fassel was fired. "We said, 'This was never the way we had done it before, so what's going on? How come we have to do it like this now?' "

Coughlin's rules are notorious among players. There are stringent dress codes. Players have to arrive at meetings five minutes early. They have to walk on the field a certain way. Televisions are missing from the training room and the weight room.

After the Giants were beaten badly by Philadelphia in the season opener, the players' concern grew and outsiders let Coughlin have it.

Wins over Washington, Cleveland and Green Bay have silenced the dissent and won over the team.

Players have been impressed with the little things Coughlin stressed in training camp. The nitpicking has paid off.

"He is definitely a guy who focuses on detail," said linebacker Barrett Green, who was fined for being only three minutes early for one training camp meeting. "Anytime you do that, it will come back to help you. In this game, it's a narrow difference between winning and losing and a lot of time it's the detail."

In the closing seconds of Sunday's 14-7 win over Green Bay, Packers third-string quarterback Craig Nall hit Robert Ferguson with a 24-yard pass to the Giants 32-yard line. Rookie safety Gibril Wilson made the tackle and remembered the practice drill.

"Minicamp, training camp, if a situation like that happened, we were taught to get up slower than you usually would," Wilson said.

Wilson did, and the Packers could not get lined up for another play.

Defensive end Keith Washington isn't surprised by the Giants' success.

"We believe in the guys out there," Washington said. "We believe we have a sound scheme, that if we do our job that we can put ourselves in position to make plays and that's what we are doing. Our main focus is being where we need to be in order to be accountable to the next man."

Receiver Ike Hilliard said many of the things Coughlin stressed were also emphasized by Fassel, who led the Giants to a Super Bowl appearance in 2000 and two other playoff trips in his seven seasons.

"We have put ourselves in position to play better football, whereas we didn't do that that well last year," Hilliard said. "Extra effort here and there has allowed us to be where we are."

When asked why they didn't play this way last season, the holdovers just shook their heads.

While happy with the quick start, linebacker Carlos Emmons wasn't making playoff plans.

"Three-and-one means nothing this early in the year," Emmons said. "If you don't continue to play well and continue to win games at the end of the year you'll be on the outside looking in."

He also downplayed the complaints about Coughlin as a family matter.

"Wins help anything," Emmons said. "Wins heal injuries. Wins heal the mind. When you win a ballgame it makes you feel a lot better. It's a lot easier to go to work and a lot easier to go out and practice."

Coughlin spoke to his team about success on Monday.

"We have a long way to go to be the type of football team we want to be," Coughlin said. "We have a lot of improvement that can be accomplished, and I like their attitude in looking at that."

The Giants face the Cowboys (2-1) in Dallas on Sunday in a game that matches Coughlin against his old boss, Bill Parcells. Coughlin was a Giants assistant in 1990 when the Giants won the Super Bowl.

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