An obvious storyline heading into the Giants-Redskins matchup on Sunday is the return of Landon Collins to MetLife Stadium to face his former team.
Collins walked into free agency this offseason, something Giants fans didn't see coming and neither did he. Since then, Collins has not been shy about voicing his frustrations with the Giants and how everything ended.
So you can bet Collins will be running on the turf with a big chip on his shoulder, ready to prove to his former team they shouldn't have let him go. He even said back in August that "it's going to be a lot of aggression" when he sees the Giants for the first time.
But those weren't type of reactions the Giants players or head coach Pat Shurmur had when asked about facing Collins. Instead, it was nothing but love.
"That's my brother, we also share the same agency, so I have known the guy for a while," WR Sterling Shepard told reporters on Tuesday. "I played against him in college. Like I said, that's my brother at the end of the day. When we step on the field, he knows what time it is. We do this all the time."
Evan Engram also praised Collins, saying that he made him a better player when they went up against each other in practice.
"It definitely made me a better player versus man coverage and things like that," Engram explained, "so it's going to be exciting playing against him."
Engram noted that he saw Collins a couple weeks back at a treatment facility in the area, and said he "caught up with him, he's doing well." But just as Shepard pointed out, things change when these players step on the field. They're no longer friends, but rather enemies going after the same goal.
Engram, though, isn't worried about all the trash talk Collins has thrown the Giants' way up to this point.
"This sport brings out a lot of us on game days, so we're not really worried about that," he said. "Like I said, he's a good player and I always wish him the best..."
Collins' new head coach in Jay Gruden had to deal with Collins on the Giants for the past three seasons, and he admitted he was a "pain in the ass" those two games he had to see him each year. Since he's joined Washington, he has "been a great leader and communicator," while showcasing that great tackling ability he had with Big Blue in his new burgundy and gold threads.
Gruden knows Collins' natural competitive spirit will only be heightened on Sunday, and he won't be holding that back.
"As far as his feelings towards the Giants, I have absolutely no feeling whatsoever," Gruden said. "I know he is going to be an emotional guy, he was drafted by them, he has lot of friends on that team. He had some great years with that team and any time you lose a player, there is some animosity from time to time. He does play with a little chip on his shoulder, but the way Landon plays, I think he plays like that all time."
Collins' competitiveness and overall play made him a captain last season with the Giants, so Shurmur spoke very highly of him as well.
"I think he's a tough, physical guy. Last year, I gained an appreciation for Landon," Shurmur said. "He was a captain, and so we met every Wednesday morning. I got to know him pretty well. He was a valued member of our team. Now he plays for someone else, and we wish him well, just like anybody that leaves. But what I expect is for him to come and play hard and try to fight for his team.
A lot of the fury Collins has for the Giants stems from GM Dave Gettleman, who he called a "liar" earlier this month in an interview with NJ.com's Darryl Slater. Collins said Gettleman "lied to everybody. So that's a man I do not trust. I would hope nobody else would, too." He also said he would "run over" Gettleman if he saw him on the sideline during warm-ups, and even though he said it was a joke, the NFL reportedly told him to cool it.
When the game kicks off, Collins won't be cooling it at all. He'll likely be running around like his hair is on fire, trying to tackle everyone in his path and make as many plays as he can. He said he circled these Giants matchups on his calendar, and this will be the first of many to come after signing his six-year, $84 million deal with the Redskins. So amped up might not be an understatement when describing how he'll feel on gameday.
But, for the Giants, it's going to be business as usual. They're looking to build off their win last week, and they'll go through whoever they have to if it means chalking up another win.
That includes their former teammate.