EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – The National Football League allows only quarterbacks to wear earpieces that let them receive instructions from the sidelines, but that hasn’t stopped other players from dreaming.

“That would be nice. They could tell me when to cut,” New York Giants running back Tiki Barber said Friday.

The subject of the earpieces was raised in a discussion of the Giants offensive line, which could have used the listening devices last season when it committed a startling 11 false-start penalties in a 24-21 overtime loss at Seattle.

New York returns to Qwest on Sunday determined not to make the same mistake twice (or three or four times). The decibel level and its role in disrupting the Giants offense in last year’s game has been topic No. 1 this week.

“It’s probably the loudest place I have ever been,” guard David Diehl said. “It’s loud, the fans are into it and they have music going. It’s pretty crazy out there. We’ve been out there before and know what to expect. They’re going to try to be louder than last season.”

Some of the specifics bear revisiting if only because they are still difficult to fathom 10 months later:

• Diehl (3) and tackle Luke Petitgout (5) combined for eight false starts.

• Cornerback Frank Walker beat the snap count on successive punts by Jeff Feagles in the first quarter, forcing Feagles to punt from inside his own 10-yard line.

• Prior to Walker’s penalties, Petitgout, Diehl and wide receiver Plaxico Burress false-started, giving New York five on one possession.

• Diehl had two false starts in a span of three plays in the third quarter, contributing to the Giants moving backward from their 47 to their 32, where the drive stalled.

The lost yardage was merely reflected how much the noise was able to rattle the Giants offense. Yet amazingly, Barber still managed to run for 151 yards on 25 carries and Eli Manning was 29-of-53 for 344 yards and two touchdowns. The Giants would have won the game anyway if Jay Feely had converted one of three field goal attempts in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Barber said it is up to each player to make the necessary adjustments.

“You find a way to deal with it, and not make mistakes,” he said. “It’s not easy. It’s an individual thing; it’s not coaching. It’s about getting our timing right and focusing on Eli’s voice, and not letting distractions dictate how we play the game.”

Snap counts were not the only area of concern for the offensive line this week. There was the matter of eight sacks allowed to Philadelphia last Sunday, the most in Eli Manning’s 2 seasons as a starter. In what qualifies as a trend, the previous high was five, accomplished by the Eagles twice before.

Most of the sacks came against standard pass rushes rather than blitzes, head coach Tom Coughlin said. It was an about-face from the opening game against Indianapolis in which the line allowed none.

“Just like last week when we could not relish the fact we gave up no sacks and had to work on Philadelphia, this week we can’t think about giving up eight sacks,” center Shaun O’Hara said. “We have to focus on Seattle. We have to play better and I know we will.”


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