EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Antrel Rolle didn’t want to hear anything about the rift between the New York Giants’ offense and defense.
Three days after the so-called schism was the biggest thing to come out of the Giants-Seattle Seahawks game this past weekend, Rolle didn’t want to have anything to do with it.
When the question about controversy arose, the safety and defensive co-captain shut it down quickly.
Rolle’s focus, and that of most of his teammates, was playing a better game on Sunday against the Detroit Lions (7-7).
“I think you are playing for pride each and every week no matter what is at stake,” Rolle said Wednesday. “We are all men, we are all competitors. We play the game because we love it and no one likes to lose.”
Rolle wasn’t so kind Sunday after a no-show effort by the Giants’ offense in a 23-0 loss to the Seahawks. He questioned the offensive players’ heart, passion and whether they had a pulse.
The issue was forgotten by Wednesday, at least according to defensive end Justin Tuck.
When asked if the players had cleaned the air, he quipped that he thought the recent snow had cleared the air, noting the flakes were white.
“Honestly I don’t think we even had to,” Tuck said when pressed. “I don’t think it was that much of a big deal.”
The Lions need to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Giants (5-9) need to win to restore some pride and to start feeling good about themselves after missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. New York has lost three of its last four games after putting together a four-game winning streak following a 0-6 start.
“I’m not thinking we need a win, we just want one, period,” defensive tackle Mike Patterson said. “We don’t want to (go) out saying our record is this or that and say let’s forget it. We want to go out there and win. We want to go out there and compete.”
With two games left in the season, the Giants, especially the veterans, know this isn’t the time to mail it in. Coaches and front-office personnel are looking to see who plays hard in meaningless games.
“That is important,” safety Ryan Mundy said. “Our film is our living, breathing resume. Every time we step on the field it is documented and that is noted by everyone on this team and in the league. Whenever you step on the field you want to give your best.”
The defense also realizes that the Lions have the capability to embarrass them if players like receiver Calvin Johnson, quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Reggie Bush get loose.
Mundy also said the Giants are not worried about how their offense plays a week after it was limited to 181 total yards by Seattle.
“We need a W,” Mundy said. “We can’t control what goes on in any other facet of the game. We have to focus on our performance defensively. Hopefully, we can get in sync as a team, offense, defense, special teams, helping each other out. That’s how you win ballgames in this league. You have to be clocking on all cylinders. It can’t just be offense is playing well this week, special teams is so-so and the defense is trash.”
That consistency has been lacking all season.
After playing the Lions, the Giants will wrap up their season against the Redskins at MetLife Stadium.
NOTES: Injuries kept 10 players from practicing Wednesday, the most notable being receiver Victor Cruz (concussion, sprained knee). Cruz is two yards shy of his third 1,000-yard season in receiving yards, but it does not look like he will play this week. Also not working were starting guards David Diehl (knee) and James Brewer (ankle); RB Peyton Hillis (concussion), DT Cullen Jenkins (shin/quad), WR-KOR Jerrel Jernigan (knee), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), S Cooper Taylor (hamstring) and CBs Trumaine McBride (groin) and Terrell Thomas (knee).
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