Antrel Rolle ‘truly believes’ Giants can go 12-0 rest of season
The Giants are trending toward a historically bad season. No team had allowed 30-plus points while committing three or more turnovers in each game to start the season until the Giants this year.
Yet the players and head coach Tom Coughlin continue to put on brave faces and reason that the season isn’t over just yet.
No Coughlin-coached team at any level has ever started a season 0-5, so with that in mind, the coach noted he doesn’t intend to see that happen, simply because despite the 31-7 loss to Kansas City, there were still good things to take away from the game.
“When we talked with the team today, we obviously were straight forward about the loss and about the fact that there were a lot of good things in this game. I felt good about the effort, which quite frankly as I told the team, was the expectation,” said Coughlin. “I think there were some things in the game yesterday that would lead us to [think] we need to be a smarter team.”
Safety Antrel Rolle thinks a winning streak is right around the corner, starting next Sunday against the Eagles. Rolle, a team captain for the first time who is never afraid to speak his mind, said he thinks Big Blue can run the table — or at the very least go out in a blaze of glory trying.
“I believe we can go 12-0 from this point. I truly believe that and I’m not saying that. People may look at me like I’m crazy, but you know, I couldn’t really give a damn at this point,” said Rolle. “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 and put it together. … The season is not over. We have 12 [games] left. That’s plenty of opportunity to fight. I don’t care if we are 0-15, we’re going to continue to fight until the last game. Y’all haven’t seen the last of us yet. We’re never out of the fight until we’re out of the fight.”
One thing Coughlin did that was smart was to give his team hope by reminding them that they play in the pathetic NFC East, where the division leader, the Cowboys (2-2), are only two games ahead of the Giants. The Eagles and Redskins are each 1-3.
“We are aware of the circumstances in the NFC East. No question. That’s the way I led the meeting off,” said Coughlin. “Quite frankly, I went through all of [the scenarios] on Friday, actually predicting the difficulties that a couple of our divisional foes would have in their games coming up and the situation we were in. And had we won, we’d have been one game out of first place. … I did go over that scenario [but] it doesn’t mean a whole lot unless you win.”
Cynics would say the team has lacked fight for weeks now — ever since midway through the third quarter of a Week 2 loss to the Broncos. That snowballed with the beating in Carolina and culminated in Kansas City.
“I continue to believe that we still can be good,” said wideout Hakeem Nicks. “It’s just four games. We still have the same guys that still could make plays. It’s still early in the season. I believe we can fix this and I think we will fix this.”
According to defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, lesser teams would likely mail in their final 12 performances, but he still feels good about the team’s mettle.
“I would never use a word like demoralized,” said Kiwanuka when asked to describe the team’s collective mindset. “It is disappointing, for sure, and it’s not where we want to be. But it’s the situation we put ourselves in, and we’ll get out of it.”
Big Blue notes …
» From road warriors to road worriers, the Giants have now lost seven straight away from MetLife Stadium.
» Big Blue has allowed at least 30 points in four straight games, the first time that’s happened since 1964.
» In 240 minutes of football this year, the Giants have led for a total of nine minutes and 51 seconds, and haven’t had a lead since the second quarter in Week 2.
» Not counting the strike-disrupted 1987 season, the last true Giants team to start this badly was the 1979 squad that started 0-5.
» The Giants remain the only team in the NFL without a scoring drive of at least 10 plays this season and are averaging a league-worst 4.5 plays per possession.
» New York is allowing an average of 24 points per game in the second half of their games. To put that into perspective, there are 19 teams in NFL that don’t allow that many points per game.
» This is the just the second time in his 18 seasons as an NFL head coach that a Coughlin-led team has started 0-4. In 1995, his expansion Jaguars lost their first four games.
» This is the Giants’ first four-game losing streak since Nov. 13-Dec. 4, 2011.
» The Giants have lost their first three road games for the first time since 1995. New York’s last road victory was on Oct. 28, 2012 at Dallas. Their next away game isn’t until a week from Thursday to take on the Bears.
» This will be the first time in Coughlin’s 10 seasons as the Giants’ head coach they will have at least four losses at midseason. In his first nine seasons, they were no worse than 5-3 after eight games.
» This is the first time the Giants have scored no more than seven points in consecutive games since Nov. 28 and Dec. 5, 2004 (a 27-6 loss to the Falcons and a 31-7 drubbing by Washington).
» Coughlin said he wasn’t “at all” concerned by wideout Victor Cruz’s second-guessing his decision to punt on a crucial 4th-and-1 late in the third quarter against the Chiefs.
“The ball is at the minus-30. It’s the third quarter and it’s 10-7 [Chiefs] and we’ve had little or no success with our short yardage,” said Coughlin. “We’re 0-2 for the year. … I’m not concerned [with Cruz’s words].”
» Coughlin said Rolle’s speech to the team was powerful and thinks it’ll resonate going forward.
“He had a couple of messages today. One is that he feels tighter and more connected to these players right now than he ever has,” said Coughlin. “He knows our back is against the wall [but] he’s not afraid of that circumstance. He’s kind of put his arms around this team and asked the members to accept and understand that as well and to know that when you take the field as a unit, you really do feel as if you represent one another and have each other’s back. You have to totally believe that you have the ability to succeed. I thought that was a good message today.”
» Defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins was seen in a walking boot at the facilities. The team reported he has a knee and Achilles injury.
» Starting middle linebacker Mark Herzlich also wore a boot on his right foot for what the team deemed as a toe injury.
» Safety Will Hill is set to make his return to practice this week after missing the first four games due to a suspension for marijuana use. Coughlin said the talented, yet troubled player will be expected to step back into the routine as if he never skipped a beat.
“He will [have] a few days [to work out],” said Coughlin. “But as you know he’s lifted and conditioned here since day one … so I really expect him to just be ready to practice.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.