Antrel Rolle preaches winning to Giants' non-believers
The Giants play the Eagles this week, but one of their toughest opponents through the first quarter of this season has been doubt. Even Antrel Rolle, the Prophet of the Secondary, has looked into the eyes of his teammates and seen them as non-believers.
Rolle, of course, addressed the Giants team on Monday after they fell to 0-4 and spoke about the importance of believing that they can win. Later in the day Rolle told reporters that he thought the Giants could win their last 12 games and finish 12-4.
But Tuesday, when he made his weekly radio appearance on WFAN, he was asked if he thinks all of his teammates share his convictions.
"No, I really don't," he said. "Honestly speaking, I really don't believe that everyone believes that we can win within our locker room. And it's hard."
Rolle wasn't blaming them for their skepticism. Only one team since the merger has overcome an 0-4 start to make the playoffs, the 1992 Chargers. They went 11-1 in their last 12 games. That was long before any of the current Giants were even in the league.
The more recent miracles have included the Giants, who bounced back from an 0-2 start in 2007 to win a Super Bowl and weathered a four-game losing streak in November 2011 only to win another title about two months later.
"There are guys that haven't been there before, guys who haven't been affiliated with how the Giants make comebacks and how we can come back in the games or how we can overcome adversity," Rolle said. "I really don't expect every guy to believe, to have the same belief that I have, or that maybe other people who have been around the organization have. But that's why we're trying to bring everyone together, that's why we're trying to get everyone on the same page. Just let them know that it's OK.
"We've put some awful football out there, we all understand that," Rolle continued. "But it's not too late for us to turn it around. All we have to do is believe."
As the losses pile up, that gets more difficult. Perhaps the player who would be expected to struggle with it the most is defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins. He was on the Eagles last year, a team that went 4-12. In his last 16 games played, the equivalent of a full regular season, his team has gone 1-15.
Jenkins said the Giants have a "totally different attitude" than the Eagles had a year ago. He said the Giants feel more like the 2004 Packers, a team he was on as a rookie that won its first game but started 1-4. They wound up finishing 10-6 and made the playoffs.
"One of the things that made that team so good was that they were used to success," he said. "Even when stuff got bad, they expected it to turn around. You kind of have that feeling around here that this is not something that guys are used to and everybody is trying to find that trigger to get it turned back around because they know that it can be turned around and they're expecting it to be turned around."
Rolle believes that it will be. And it sounds like he won't rest until he convinces everyone else, inside and outside of the Giants' locker room.