Giants' Collins takes full advantage of bye week

Kerry Collins is spending this week doing something he never does during football season: taking it easy. The Giants quarterback barely even practiced. Along with his teammates, he is enjoying a three-day weekend beginning today.

With the Giants (3-3) in their bye week, coach Jim Fassel wanted Collins to rest his right arm, which has attempted 203 passes in six games, third most in the NFC. The Giants practiced only three times this week, and Collins spent most of that time watching backups Jesse Palmer and Jason Garrett take snaps.

"Yeah, it'll help my arm," Collins said yesterday. "It doesn't get really tired, but not doing a lot this week helps, plus it helps Jason and Jesse. They haven't gotten many snaps with the (first) offense since training camp. It was a good idea for everyone involved."

Especially since Collins otherwise never misses a down. It was big news when he sat out a preseason game in August to rest his bruised shoulder. It would be really big news if he missed a regular-season game.

The 6-5, 248-pound Collins has been remarkably durable, starting 44 consecutive games, tying him with Dave Brown (1994-97) for the second-longest streak among Giants quarterbacks in the Giants Stadium era. Phil Simms has the longest streak in that era with 50 from 1984-87.

Collins has thrown 1,574 consecutive regular-season passes for the Giants, the longest current streak in the NFL and a franchise record. Jay Fiedler is second with 351 consecutive passes thrown for Miami; his streak will end Sunday when he sits out with a broken thumb. Dallas' Quincy Carter is next, having thrown 261 consecutive passes for the Cowboys.

"I've been fortunate not to get that injury that keeps me out, but a lot of that has to do with luck," said Collins, who has not missed a game because of injury since 1997, when he suffered a broken jaw. "I don't run a lot, which helps. They don't ask me to block a whole lot, which is good. I try to get rid of the ball (quickly), that helps. I've taken some big hits, and a lot of them have been my fault."

The Giants next play in Philadelphia on Oct. 28. Collins, obviously, expects to be in the starting lineup.

"It's one of those things where if you play long enough, you're going to get hurt," he said. "I know that. I know the odds are starting to stack against me a little bit because I've had a pretty good streak here."

The quality of that streak would improve if the Giants started to score more than the 14.3 points per game they are averaging. And Collins, in the spirit of Terrell Owens, is prepared for the breakthrough.

"I always keep a couple extra Sharpies in my socks, just in case," he said, smiling. "I haven't really felt the need to pull them out yet. We'll worry about getting in the end zone before I start pulling them out. I got a few of them in there, though."

Collins joked that he learned the trick from Joe Paterno at Penn State. "Joe's big on that kind of stuff," Collins said. "He's into the bringing-attention-to-yourself stuff. He really preaches that."
Oct. 18,02