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After ‘Wake-Up Call,’ Giants Set Sights On Rejuvenated Tampa Bay

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(credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)

(credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Justin Tuck hasn’t been sleeping well the past five days.

The two-time Pro Bowler and the Giants’ defensive captain is upset how the defending Super Bowl champions opened the season against the Dallas Cowboys.

Tom Coughlin’s team lost 24-17 Wednesday, but the score was not indicative of the way the Cowboys dominated.

“I think every guy in this locker room is disgusted with how we played, and want to come out and have a better showing, considering Tampa is coming off a great win over Carolina,” Tuck said Monday looking forward to this weekend’s game.

“I think that was a wake-up call, knowing this league will present new challenges and different threats each and every week,” safety Antrel Rolle said. “Just watching football this past weekend, I think teams are coming out to play. They are coming out fast and playing extremely tough.”

The Buccaneers played well in their first game under former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano. They limited the Panthers to 10 yards rushing and held the ball for more than 37 minutes in a 16-10 win.

“That team is fired up,” Tuck said. “That team is going to have a lot of confidence.”

The Giants have much to improve on.

The defense allowed Dallas quarterback Tony Romo to throw three touchdown passes while running back DeMarco Murray ran for 131 yards. The offense sputtered. The run game was almost non-existent and Eli Manning and his receivers produced two big plays.

“I’m not saying Dallas didn’t beat us, they definitely did,” said Tuck. “They did a lot of things better than we did. But we didn’t play well. In certain situations, we didn’t give ourselves a chance to win the game. That’s not to say that if we would have played well we would have won. I don’t know.”

What annoyed Tuck was that the Giants didn’t respond to playing in the spotlight of the NFL’s debut game against a rival.

“You want to come out and play your best game, and say they beat us playing our best,” Tuck said. “We didn’t do that, so that irks me. That really bothers me considering we had a lot of time to prepare for that team. We should have been more … ready.”

Veteran safety Kenny Phillips, who didn’t practice Monday because of a sore back, said the defense played like it did early last season when everyone wasn’t on the same page.

“Once the game started, I don’t want to say it got away, but once they started to make some plays, everyone wanted to be that guy, be that hero to make the play for the team,” Phillips said. “We got away from doing our job that way we were supposed to do it, like if you were a corner just being patient, or being a defensive end and staying outside. Everyone tried to win the game each play instead of playing as a team.”

Rolle said the defense has to start trusting one another again, which was the key to their play late last season.

“We definitely have to step up, and we have to step up now,” said Rolle.

The one thing that caught the Giants’ attention Monday was the NFC East standings. Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington won, leaving the Super Bowl champions bringing up the rear.

“You can’t lose a game,” Coughlin said. “Everybody’s 1-0, and we’re 0-1. We have another big game this weekend. That’s the great thing about our profession, we get to line up and play again.”

Tight end Martellus Bennett was his usual optimistic self.

“I see room for improvement, so I am excited,” the former Cowboy said. “Even though we didn’t play the way we wanted to play, I saw a lot that was correctable. It’s not like we’re bad football players out there and we need to get new guys. I think we played bad and still had a chance to get the ball back at the end and tie the game. I wouldn’t say we’re disgusted, but we’re not happy.”

NOTES: CB Prince Amukamara practiced for the first time since spraining his right ankle Aug. 24 in a preseason game against Chicago. He hopes to play Sunday, but said it’s still a “wait-and-see situation.” CB Michael Coe, who started vs. Dallas, also is hopeful that the hamstring he tweaked will be ready Sunday. … OT William Beatty (back), a projected starter coming into training camp, has been splitting first-team snaps with Sean Locklear. Beatty believes he is close to being ready. He missed the preseason. … Second-year DT Marvin Austin (back) also hopes to play after missing most of the preseason.

Think the Giants will level a ‘Super’-sized beating on the Bucs? Be heard in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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