INDIANAPOLIS - The Giants have been teetering on the edge of trash talk throughout the week. On Thursday, word spread to the Patriots that their opponent had fallen off that cliff.
Defensive lineman Chris Canty was the latest member of the Giants to express supreme confidence in his team's chances on Sunday, telling a New York television station that his team will win.
"Get ready for a great game on Super Bowl Sunday," Canty said on WNBC-TV when asked to give Giants fans a message on camera. "And get ready for a parade on Tuesday."
Evidently the word spread quickly to the Patriots. Cornerback Kyle Arrington was asked if he heard what Canty said.
"Oh, what, about ready for the parade or whatever?" Arrington answered quickly, clearly well aware of the situation.
Vince Wilfork was asked as well but wouldn't engage in much back and forth. "The game is never won through the papers or media," Wilfork said. "We'll do our talking on Sunday."
Guard Logan Mankins, on the other hand, was more than willing to address the topic.
"I'm not surprised. We've played these guys a few times now, you kind of can expect this from their side," he said. "I don't blame them for being confident and wanting to win. We would love to have a big parade for our fans too. We know only one team can win and it's either going to be our fans or their fans.
"We'll just have to wait and see. Football is about making your statement on the field. The game is on the field. It's not during the week, or in practice, or through the media, it's on Sunday in that three hour block. We'll see who does the talking this weekend."
Several Giants, including Victor Cruz, Antrell Rolle and Jason Pierre-Paul haven't exactly guaranteed victory but have expressed a great deal of faith in their team going against the Patriots. Pierre-Paul told reporters that he respects Tom Brady but added "anybody can be rattled."
"Tom Brady is a great quarterback, but at the end of the day, he is just a quarterback. It is not like he is God. We've just got to get to him. We know what's at stake and we've got to get there fast enough. I know our secondary is going to do a great job covering wide receivers and tight ends and we've just got to get to him. It all starts up front no matter what."
Gronk remains in limbo
At this point of the week the only news issue involving the Patriots remains Rob Gronkowski's high ankle sprain. Bill Belichick continues to say the tight end is improving but would not indicate whether he would practice on Thursday. Gronkowski has not taken part in practice since injuring his left ankle in the AFC Championship Game against Baltimore Jan. 22.
Belichick said this afternoon's practice would be shorter than Wednesday's with some review work on tap. The game plan has been installed for the most part and the remaining work will involve some fine tuning.
As for Gronkowski, he's doing his best to remain sharp even while not taking part in practice physically.
"It gets better every day. That's all I can ask for," he said. "I've been doing work with the training staff trying to get healthier. Taking some mental reps and studying film so your mind is ready. Focusing on the Giants defense watching film. I work out, get some upper body lifts in, stay strong, get a little cardio in and just keep up with everything."
The second-year All-Pro said he's never dealt with uncertainty heading into a game during his young career but didn't seem overly fazed by his current situation.
"Not during my NFL career yet," Gronkowski said. "I haven't missed a game yet. I've always been healthy. It's just a little speed bump and we have to get over it."
Gronkowski did want to clarify a comment he made on Wednesday about the possibility of wearing a special cleat.
"That's what someone asked. I didn't say cleat, I just said I don't know," Gronkowski said. "But it's not a special cleat. We just have many options about what we can do. We can tape it. But there is no such thing as a special cleat. If I practice today, we definitely have to feel out what's my best option to protect it, keep it safe and everything,"
Earlier in the week the Patriots were without tackle Matt Light and Sebastian Vollmer as they dealt with the flu. Both returned on Wednesday and were on hand for media access Thursday. Both also practiced yesterday with Light listed as a full participant and Vollmer limited with back and foot injuries as well as the flu.