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NEW YORK (WFAN) – After last season’s Week 15 letdown against the Washington Redskins, Giants safety Antrel Rolle let his teammates have it.
He challenged Big Blue’s nicked-up players — without naming names — to suck up their injuries and get back to practice. It was seen by some as a turning point for the Giants, who shook off their second-half swoon, winning six straight games to take home the Lombardi Trophy.
Amid yet another slide — and again after a big loss to the Redskins — Rolle delivered a new charge to his teammates Tuesday: drop the good-guy stuff. It’s time for a “dog mentality.”
What’s that mean? Well, no praising opponents before games for starters.
“Personally, that’s something myself, that’s not anything I’ve been too fond of,” Rolle told WFAN’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts. “Do I respect my opponents? I respect them. You know, I’ll give credit when credit’s due. But I’m not gonna kiss anyone’s butt before the game. That’s something that I’m never, ever gonna do as long as I’m playing the game of football.”
LISTEN: Rolle challenges teammates — again!
The Giants were a dramatically different team in the second half of Monday’s 17-16 loss — and Washington took advantage of it.
Led by sensational rookie Robert Griffin III, the Redskins are now just one game behind Tom Coughlin’s slumping team in the NFC East. The win kept Washington on pace with Dallas at 6-6.
The division is no longer a lock for the Giants — far from it.
“I think we just need to get back to being a little nasty, having a nasty attitude,” said Rolle. “Like I said, don’t do anything that’s out of the line of football, but have a little nasty attitude, get a little bit more dog in us, and go out there and play the game. Play the game physical, play the game tough, play the game hard, and we’ll give hugs and kisses after the game.
“But while that game is going on, we respect no one. And that’s how the game of football needs to be played.”
Rolle insisted he wasn’t pointing the finger at a particular player. He was speaking of the team as a whole — himself included.
“I don’t see enough dog out there on the field,” Rolle said. “I don’t see enough dog, I don’t see enough manhandling out there on the field, and I don’t see us putting opponents away when we know we could.”
Having lost three of four, it’s undeniable that the Giants are battling through another season of second-half woes. How could this be the same team that destroyed contenders Green Bay and San Francisco?
“There we go again with the inconsistency,” Rolle said. “I think when we play certain teams, yeah we definitely have that dog mentality. But then we go into a game last night and I dont think we got pushed over by any means, but at certain times we did. I think at certain times we did get pushed over. To me, there wasn’t a more important game in the season than that game last night.”
Rolle said New York played “extremely” hard and tough in Washington, but reiterated he “just didn’t see that dog mentality.”
Hey, his prodding seemed to spark the Giants last season.
Fans certainly hope it’ll do the trick again.
“We know who we can be as Giants. We know how we play the game of football, and we know how dominant we can be. We just need to get back to being that.”
Do you agree with Rolle? Sound off in the comments below!