Antrel Rolle is a prideful guy. Or, as he put it while walking off after his session with reporters today, a “cocky (guy).” Note the brackets in his quote.
So all of this talk about the New England Patriots, Wes Welker and the Giants’ brutal schedule the rest of the way? Yeah, it’s clear he’s had enough of it.
“I don’t worry about our schedule,” the Giants safety said. “I think our schedule needs to worry about us.”
Over the past two seasons, Rolle has elicited plenty of eye rolls with his comments on the radio and in the locker room. He’s an outspoken player and that often gets him into trouble.
But he also brings the attitude — or as he likes to call it, “swag” — to the Giants’ defense. And while he and Tom Coughlin don’t always agree, Rolle definitely embodies the second half of Coughlin’s “Respect all, fear none” mantra in approaching opponents.
Rolle certainly isn’t fearing the Pats, whom the Giants face on Sunday. Not even close. And his attitude is apparently contagious because his fellow defensive backs were echoing his sentiments today.
“I mean, we’re not really worried about what the outside people feel about us,” safety Kenny Phillips said. “We definitely feel like we’re a good team and we play for each other, we play for our coaches. Whatever’s being said, we really don’t care.
“But if we win this, which I feel we will, the outside world will say the Giants are now a great team.”
The Patriots come into this weekend’s game with the second-ranked passing attack in the league, as they’re averaging 327.4 yards per game. Welker is on pace for 130 receptions and Tom Brady’s 67.6 percent completion rate is second to only the 68.9 percent he posted in 2007.
The Giants, meanwhile, have the 13th-ranked defense, are still trying to get over the loss of cornerback Terrell Thomas and have given up 25 passes of 20 or more yards.
All of the above is a big reason many see a mismatch here. And why the Patriots are favored by 8½ points against a team with an identical 5-2 record.
Just don’t expect Rolle to share such sentiments, particularly about Welker, whom he believes won’t be the problem for the Giants he’s been for other defenses.
“I don’t know. You have to ask those guys he’s given trouble to,” Rolle said when asked why Welker is tough to cover. “I don’t plan on having to answer those questions.”
Color Deon Grant unimpressed as well. Of shutting down Welker, he said, “It ain’t tough. It got done (Sunday), so it ain’t tough.”
The Steelers are the ones who got it done. They held Welker to 39 yards on six catches, thanks to a not-so-intricate plan.
“They played ball, man. They didn’t do anything spectacular,” Rolle said. “They weren’t double-teaming, they weren’t doing anything. They just lined up and they kicked their (butt). Bottom line.”
Speaking of which, the Giants defensive backs don’t believe they’ll need “bracket” coverage (i.e. double teams) on Welker or any of the Patriots’ targets. In fact, Phillips likes the matchups of Rolle or Ross or “whoever” against Welker. Notice he didn’t mention Corey Webster, who is more adept at handling bigger receivers. Webster might have his hands full with tight end Aaron Hernandez, whom the Giants said should be treated like a wide receiver.
“We’re not too shabby,” Phillips said of the Giants secondary in relation to Brady’s bunch of targets. “I think we’re pretty good also.”
Rolle put it flatly: “I can handle anything. And I’m up for all challenges.”
He’s not alone.
“We know what type of guys we have, especially in our secondary,” Phillips said. “It’s going to be a challenge. I’m not going to say it’s easy, but I think we’re up to it.”Click here to order Antrel Rolle’s or Kenny Phillips’ proCane Rookie Card.