A day after being verbally attacked by one of their own, Giants players refused to fire back at defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. Instead, the defense reserved its emotional energy for Sunday and its goal of making life uncomfortable for Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
"If we kick his butt at the line of scrimmage, it's going to take care of a lot," safety Antrel Rolle said.
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Second-year lineman Jason Pierre-Paul said: "We're tired of losing. It's frustrating, so we just have to go out and play as one."
Frustration and the threat of divisiveness within the team clearly is running high as the Giants (6-5) prepare for Sunday's game against the unbeaten Packers (11-0). The Giants have lost three games in a row and are in danger of dropping out of the playoff picture.
On Thursday, three days after the Giants allowed 49 points and 577 yards against the Saints on Monday night, Fewell questioned his unit's effort, adding that some players gave up on plays. He also insisted that his players were going to go after Rodgers on Sunday.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin didn't have much to say about his coordinator's comments, saying, "Those were his thoughts."
Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, however, saw it as a coaching ploy.
"He's obviously trying to get something done with his football team," McCarthy told reporters in Green Bay on Friday. "We're focused on our team. We'll see what happens."
Coughlin said Fewell talked to him about some of the things he said to the media. The head coach added that he did not think Fewell was trying to get inside of the head of the Packers or Rodgers.
"I think it was more because he was upset with what happened the last couple of weeks and would like to see us play harder," Coughlin said.
One of the things that upset Fewell the most was his unit's failure to pressure opposing quarterbacks. The Giants have totaled three sacks in their last three games and failed to record any against the Saints. He said the time for that to change is now.
"We're going to get to the quarterback, period," he said. "We're going to get it done."
The players, for the most part, chalked up their coach's public venting to frustration. Linebacker Michael Boley, who did not play Monday and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game, doesn't think his teammates gave up on plays.
"I didn't really see it, but I don't really have any thoughts on it," Boley said. "Right now, we've hit a tough patch. We're being very critical of ourselves right now and that's across the board."
Rolle did not want to comment on the specifics of Fewell's accusation that players gave up Monday night.
"If he's frustrated, I'm frustrated, we're all frustrated," Rolle said. "We're going to take that frustration and turn it into a positive thing come Sunday and get on the same page and make sure we come into battle. We need to have that attitude and determination and that dog in us, because that's the only way we're going to be able to win."