The Giants' Antrel Rolle usually speaks his mind, and yesterday on the Joe and Evan show on WFAN in New York, the veteran safety gave some insight into the factors behind New York's rocky start to the 2013 NFL season.
"Denver didn't do anything special, the only thing they did differently, was they ran the ball," Rolle said when asked by co-host Joe Benigno what went wrong in the second half of close game against Denver.
Then Rolle verbalized his concerns about what needs to change for Big Blue to move forward, "We could have helped ourselves out by guys playing the right assignments, and playing the correct technique. But more importantly than anything is to have an extreme hustle to the ball and a sense of urgency."
The shows other co-host Evan Roberts picked on a recurring theme over the past two years, that the Giants lack enthusiasm.
Rolle responded, "As NFL players, [playing] is something we should love to do. [Playing] is something we should automatically get amped for. [Playing] is something we should be excited to do come Sunday. Right now, on the sidelines, I'm just not seeing [enthusiasm] honestly."
These words could not be music to general manager Jerry Reece's ears, as the team he constructed went through an ill-timed sleep walk late last season, losing in blowout fashion to the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens in consecutive weeks. In both games, the Giants were out-hustled and outworked by two squads, who appeared hungrier than Big Blue.
Although the Giants were competitive against the Dallas Cowboys in the season opener, six turnovers sealed their fate. Against the Broncos, in New York's home opener before a loud MetLife Stadium crowd, the Giants shadow boxed the Broncos, on their way to a 10-9 halftime deficit, before throwing in the towel by giving up 31 points after the break.
The team showed little resiliency and no urgency in two games, as players appear to be waiting for someone else to make a play.
New York did re-sign enthusiastic running back Brandon Jacobs, but it would be a tall order to expect him to create a new locker room environment immediately. Add to it the fact that the team jettisoned some of its enthusiastic players in the off season, and it certainly appears that the presence of Ahmad Bradshaw, Micahel Boley and Osi Umenyiora is missed.
"Football is a game of passion. Football is a game of excitement," Rolle stated.
Hopefully, Rolle's emotion will rub off on his teammates this week against a wounded Carolina Panthers squad, before the lack of enthusiasm comes in the form of empty seats at MetLife Stadium.
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