ALBANY, N.Y. — If Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was hoping to get a reaction from the New York Giants when he predicted Dallas would kick their butts in Texas this season, he was mistaken.
The Super Bowl champions weren’t biting Wednesday. To a man, the Giants uttered their usual clichés about talk is cheap and playing the game.
Even a die-hard Cowboys hater like defensive end Justin Tuck downplayed Jones’ boast. And former Dallas lineman Chris Canty said the comment was exactly what he expected the maverick owner to say to his fans about the NFC East meeting in Texas Oct. 28.
Giants co-owner John Mara had a little fun though, pointing to a bandage on his forehead.
“You should see what Jerry Jones looks like,” he said with a wry smile.
Jones seemingly tried to get his fans excited about the upcoming season Monday when he told roughly 5,000 fans attending a ceremony opening the Cowboys’ camp in California that they should come to Cowboys Stadium and “watch us beat the Giants’ (butts).”
The Giants beat the Cowboys twice last season with New York winning the regular-season finale at the Meadowlands to capture the NFC East, sending them on a postseason trip that would end with their second title in five seasons.
New York and Dallas will kick off the NFL season on Sept. 5, again at the Meadowlands.
“This is the part of the season you want to instill confidence in your fan base and your team, and I think he chooses to do it by making those types of comments,” Canty said after lunch at the Giants’ training camp at the University at Albany. “So be it.”
Canty didn’t want to fire back at his old boss.
“I just choose to let my play do the talking for my performance,” Canty said. “Obviously, you have to pick and choose your spots. Sometimes those kind of tactics can be effective. But for the most part, you try to be smart about it and go about your business with the least amount of distractions, and hopefully that bodes well for you to be successful.”
Tuck, who has never hidden his dislike for the Cowboys, did this time. When asked if Dallas will kick the Giants’ butts, Tuck didn’t even smile.
“I don’t know. That is why we play the game. We’ll see,” he said, adding was not surprised by the comment and didn’t care it was uttered.
Tight end Martellus Bennett, who left the Cowboys to sign with the Giants after last season, said the game in Dallas is months away so he wasn’t focusing on it. Bennett, who said at the start of training camp that he was anxious to face the Cowboys, had little to say about Jones’ comment.
“I wasn’t there so I don’t know what he was doing,” Bennett said. “But yeah, Jerry’s a good guy. He does a good job. He was just doing his job.”
Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning took the Jones’ comment in stride.
“I don’t get worried about that stuff. We have a lot of work to do,” he said. “We are going to concentrate on getting better and working hard. Obviously, we have them the first game of the season and we’ll go from there.”
Guard Kevin Boothe said no one was taking it too seriously. When asked if they would on opening day, he smiled: “Maybe.”
Cornerback coach Pete Giunta said every team is going to give the Giants’ their best shot. They are, after all, the champs.
“When you achieve what we achieved everybody wants to beat us,” he said. “We’re everybody’s Super Bowl game. We are going to get everybody’s best shot. We know that. We understand that. Our guys love to compete no matter where we go. We know who we are going to play and we know when we are going to play.”
Safeties coach Dave Merritt deferred comment on Jones to coach Tom Coughlin, but then added:
“I plan on winning. I’ll put it that way.”