New York Giants S Antrel Rolle expressed many "beliefs"
Rolle, a Giants safety and captain, likes to share his "beliefs," needless to say. He is the team's fifth tackler (21 total) but is running away with the lead in hyperbolic comments for the New York media to scoop up.
His latest installment came on Tuesday on WFAN radio (h/t ESPN) when he expressed his "belief" that Big Blue's locker room is lacking "belief" in itself:
Honestly speaking, I really don't believe that everyone believes that we can win within our locker room...And it's hard. There's guys that haven't been there before, there's guys that haven't been affiliated with how the Giants make comebacks and how we can come back in the games, or how we can overcome adversity.
So I really don't expect every guy to believe, to have the same belief that I have, or maybe the other people that have been around the organization have.
A captain's words often inspire teammates to believe or offer a rallying cry, calling for players to get on board. This statement was a bit out of the ordinary.
Rolle, in his fourth season for New York, has a point about the Giants' youth, new faces and backup players. But his comments the day prior, about his own "belief" (seriously, his words) that the Giants would finish the season 12-0, are suspect if he doesn't trust his locker room.
"I believe we can go 12-0 from this point on," Rolle stated on Monday (per ESPN). "People can look at me like I'm crazy, but you know, I could really give a damn at this point."
He continued, "This is what I truly believe. I know the talent of this team, I know the mindset of this team, we just have to go out there and put it all together."
The Giants have a lot to put together should they get back on track in 2013.
They are 30th in the NFL in points per game (15.2), 23rd in yards per game (325.5) and 21st in yards allowed per game (384.3). They are dead last in third-down conversion percentage (22.5), turnover differential (-9) and points allowed per game (36.5), via NFL.com.
Rolle added on Monday (per ESPN), "This is a 12-game season for us at this point," and, "Nothing that has taken place matters."
They were shut out 38-0 in Week 3 in Carolina and they scored seven points in a drubbing by Kansas City in Week 4. But, miraculously, they are just two games back of the Dallas Cowboys (2-2) in the NFC East—in other words, if the Cowboys lose and the Giants win in Week 5, New York would be one game back.
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These remarks all come on the heels of a team meeting, perhaps the Giants' most important one, on Monday.
But before the meeting took place, Rolle's was not the only voice making too much noise—as is common with any losing team. Following the Carolina game, the Giants No. 1 wide receiver Hakeem Nicks told reporters, "I can't throw the ball to myself." He had been targeted one time for zero catches and expressed his frustration in the third week of his final contract year with New York.
Then on Sunday, two more comments were issued—one questioning head coach Tom Coughlin and the other threatening his detractors. After the Giants failed to convert a 3rd-and-17 in Kansas City, Coughlin sent out the punting unit. Victor Cruz said after the game (per the New York Daily News), "I thought we should have gone for it on that fourth down," and later, that "It was Coach’s decision to do what he has to do. He’s the head honcho. He makes the call and I just go out there and abide by his rules."
Another captain, and a defensive end who has been through it all with New York during his nine-year career (including two Super Bowl championships), had become fed up with Coughlin's enemies and told the New York Daily News, "If anyone turns on our coach, I would be the first one to punch him in the mouth," and urged to "put that in print. It better not happen, I know that."
Anyone from the Giants locker room, brass or fanbase might best summarize the situation by admitting it's time to either put up or shut up.
In recent years, they are no strangers to do-or-die regular-season contests. But after the 0-2 start, the must-win mentality has already been a cloud around the organization, and its presence has made the most recent performances feel that much more daunting.
First thing's first on Sunday, as the Philadelphia Eagles visit at 1-3. The good news for New York is the Eagles' current three-game losing streak and that the matchup will be just the Giants' second home game. The crowd in East Rutherford will have to decide between abhorrence for the 0-4 start and invigorated support against a division rival.
But to at least chip away at Rolle's 12-0 aspirations and reach .500 over the next four games?
They'd have to beat the Eagles twice (Weeks 5 and 8), the Bears (3-1) in Chicago and, in the Week 7 Monday Night Football game, the Minnesota Vikings (1-3) at home. The bye week is in Week 9, the perfect midway point to either claim the Giants' revival, chances or utter loss of hope.