EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — There's nothing like adding a little intrigue, secrecy, and skullduggery to a season-opening contest between two longtime NFC East rivals, the New York Giants and Washington Redskins.
The Redskins' signing of former Giants quarterback Andre Woodson to their practice squad on Sunday has New York Coach Tom Coughlin and players thinking the move is as sinister as a twist in a Tom Clancy novel. Or some plot hatched by the Redskins' northern Virginia neighbor, the CIA.
Woodson, a former star QB at Kentucky, spent all of last season on the Giants' practice squad and was among New York's final cuts this weekend. He knows all the plays and, even worse, all the audible calls.
Coughlin was blunt in saying it was obvious why Woodson was signed.
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"I have been a part of it," Coughlin said Monday when asked whether he has ever signed a player released by a team he was about to play. "I have seen it done. A guy doesn't get in the door two seconds, and he is in a classroom being grilled."
The cloak and dagger decision will force the Giants to change some audible calls for Eli Manning, Coughlin said.
Redskins Coach Jim Zorn insisted Woodson wasn't signed just for this week.
"Oh, yeah. Yeah," Zorn said. "And that's something that I would be frustrated with, too, and I do understand that, that it makes it look like we're jumping on that, but that wasn't the major issue with the find."
Zorn said the Redskins scouted Woodson coming out of college and decided to take a chance on him after New York let him go.
"He might be able to help us a little bit," Zorn said. "He knows their stuff. He certainly knew their snap count and just the obvious things, but we're not trying to glean every little (detail), we're not going to put him under the microscope."
Giants backup quarterback David Carr smiled when asked about the signing and acknowledged he sent a text message to Woodson early Monday.
"Don't give out our secrets, Wood," Carr said. "That's what I told him. I haven't got a message back. I'm sure he is in meetings. I'm sure I'll hit him up this afternoon."
Standing in front of a locker that did not have his nameplate on Monday, Woodson said that he didn't hesitate to sign with the Redskins after they called.
While disappointed and frustrated, Woodson said he had no hard feelings toward the Giants. He also said he knows the Giants' playbook and realizes who is paying him now.
"I'm definitely a little bit familiar with it," he said. "Right now, anything to help the Redskins out, I'm willing to do."