EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Playing at Seattle is tough enough under normal circumstances, given the Pacific Northwest’s generally wet conditions and the unearthly sound levels generated by the Seahawks’ 12th man: the crowd.
On Sunday, the Giants will probably play the Seahawks without their starting center, Shaun O’Hara, as he rehabs a right foot sprain. Instead, backup Adam Koets is expected to step in for his fourth start and his first at noisy Qwest Field.
Such a din, measured at its loudest at close to major airport levels, could prove unnerving for the inexperienced. But coach Tom Coughlin said he expects Koets to provide a little quality he calls “poise in the noise.”
“I don’t think there’s any more concern than there normally would be,” said Coughlin. “Poise in the noise is a big factor.”
Koets filled in for O’Hara when the starter missed three games with a left Achilles’ tendon and ankle problem. So he has experience. But communicating with the quarterback in the middle of a jet engine level of sound is a different animal, as the Giants showed in a 24-21 overtime loss at Qwest in 2005, when they had 11 false start penalties.
Koets, a four-year veteran, wasn’t around for that.
“I’ve heard stories,” the 6-foot-5, 300-pounder said. “When I first got here, I heard about that game. You always hear about playing at Seattle. I’m just looking forward to experiencing it.”
The overall experience for the Giants (5-2) hasn’t been encouraging out there. They haven’t won in Seattle since 1981, and they are 0-2 at Qwest Field. But quarterback Eli Manning said noise should be the least of the Giants’ worries.
“Sometimes it freaks you out, but there’s no sense stressing it,” Manning said. “Just as long as the center hears me, we’ll be fine.”
Manning has the silent count at his disposal. But getting to the line quicker and keeping an up tempo might be even more important.
“If you get up there a little bit faster, get things rolling, it might be better for the offense,” he said.
But the ideal way to neutralize the crowd is to get off to a fast start. Seattle’s opponents have not been able to do that. The Seahawks (4-3) are 3-0 at home, averaging 26.3 points on offense and allowing only 12 on defense. They are also plus-8 in takeaway differential at home. There are few things that get crowds more into games than a fumble recovery or interception.
Poise in the noise, then, is Coughlin’s message. But that could be easier said than done.
“We know it’s going to be crazy,” left tackle David Diehl said. “Getting the crowd out of the game is one of the keys.”
“We’re not going to change anything we do,” Koets said. “We’ve just got to make sure we’re all on the same page and make sure we’re executing.”
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.