Giants’ Antrel Rolle: Playoffs are goal, not reaching .500
The Giants may be only 3-6, but the whispers are turning rather audible in their pronouncement that they are back in the NFC East race.
Big Blue has won three straight games, have earned a season-series split with the Eagles (5-5) while the first-place Cowboys (5-5) are sliding back to the pack, so there are some within the locker room who are firm believers the six-game losing streak to start the season is all but forgotten.
Safety Antrel Rolle, however, was quick to remind his teammates that a three-win team — after nine played — is still not elite.
“We’re 3-6, so in no way, shape or form can we underestimate anybody. We haven’t done anything yet,” Rolle said when asked if he thinks the Giants’ playoff hopes are suddenly within reach. “We’ve been to the lowest of the lows and now we’re just trying to make sure we climb up out of it.”
If the Giants beat the Packers this week and the Redskins (3-6) beat the Eagles, then Big Blue will be playing for a tie of the NFC East lead in their Week 12 matchup with Dallas.
“We started off really weak in the beginning of the season. We’re 3-6, moving in the right direction, but we still haven’t done anything yet. And that has to be our mentality, because three straight wins is not enough at this point. We just need to keep it rolling, take it one game at a time,” said Rolle, adding he won’t merely be satisfied by finally reaching .500, but not qualifying for the postseason. “The postseason, for me, is all that matters — not evening things out. The playoffs is when I’ll be happy. I don’t care what or how it happens. It all starts with Green Bay.”
The Packers’ current situation may be just as dire as the Giants’ plight simply because they will be heavily undermanned. Green Bay (5-4) will likely field third-string quarterback Scott Tolzien, after backup Seneca Wallace injured his groin on Sunday, meaning a defense that is already on a roll should be licking their proverbial chops.
Head coach Tom Coughlin said he’s “not worried” about his team looking past Green Bay. And Rolle agreed.
“We’re definitely more confident, sure. With winning comes more confidence. That’s a no-brainer. I think it’s all coming together and when it all comes together, that’s when things become miraculous,” said Rolle, who noted that the defense is to the point where they expect to make stops on first-and-goal from the 1-yard line. “But we still have to go out there and do what we do, because at the end of the day, the Packers still have talent, too. I mean, we’re 3-6. We can’t relax with anyone.”
Big Blue notes …
» Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder/back) is “sore,” according to Coughlin, but otherwise is “fine.”
» Brown has now scored a touchdown in six straight regular season games in which he’s played, dating back to last season.
» Coughlin gave his typical “we’ll see” answer — but with a cryptic tone — when asked if Jerrel Jernigan will continue to be the kickoff returner. Jernigan fumbled the opening kickoff against the Raiders.
» Punter Steve Weatherford had a horrid day, barely averaging 30 yards per punt, but he can take solace in still not allowing a blocked punt in his career. Weatherford, who did have a punt partially blocked, confirmed that a partial block doesn’t count as a blocked punt in the official stat book since it crossed the line of scrimmage.
» Chalk this one up as yet another thing to fall into place for the Giants. Cowboys star linebacker Sean Lee is expected to miss three to four weeks with a hamstring injury. That timetable is important because that will include the big Nov. 24 matchup with the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.