New York Giants' Antrel Rolle intercepts a pass intended for...

New York Giants' Antrel Rolle intercepts a pass intended for New England Patriots' Darnell Jenkins in the first quarter. (Sept. 2, 2010) Credit: AP

After criticizing his teammates for their lack of leadership and passion in Sunday night's 38-14 loss in Indianapolis and implicitly questioning head coach Tom Coughlin's strict rules and scheduling in a radio interview on Tuesday, Giants safety Antrel Rolle said he should have taken his complaints to the coach first instead of using WFAN's airwaves.

But to Rolle's credit, he didn't take back a single word of what he said when he fielded reporters' questions for more than 10 minutes in the locker room after practice today. Not only that, but he said he has a "great" relationship with Coughlin and believes the coach appreciated his honesty. The only question Rolle declined to answer directly today was the issue of "control" that he raised, which goes directly to Coughlin's rules for scheduling and behavior.

"I'm not going to talk about control," Rolle said. "I'm leaving that where it is."

Revisiting his interview with hosts Evan Roberts and Joe Beningo, Rolle said he wasn't speaking out of anger but rather out of concern for the lack of intensity on the Giants' defense. Although he said he was speaking only for himself, Rolle added that he knows others feel the same way but simply haven't expressed it publicly.

"I don't feel like I was talking out of turn at all," Rolle said. "I said what needed to be said. No matter who heard it, it needed to be said. I should have definitely come to Tom Coughlin before anyone else, which was bad on my behalf. But what I said needed to be said."

Asked if he believed the Giants accepted losing too easily, Rolle said: "I wouldn't say we accepted losing too easily, but I don't think there was enough fight. I don't think there was enough being said. I don't think there was enough attitude, enough anger towards getting your butt whupped the way we were getting whupped. That was my problem; that was the issue I had. If I don't have that issue, then, that's a problem in my eyes. This is a professional league. We get paid a lot to go out there and be professionals at what we do, so, I take what I do very seriously."

Questioned again as to whether he didn't see enough distress among his teammates after such a lopsided loss, Rolle again raised the leadership issue. "Like I said, I just felt like there wasn't enough leadership," he said. "I felt like there wasn't enough passion about a loss; there wasn't enough passion going into the game; there wasn't enough passion during the game when we were down by such a large margin. But it's going to be fixed. I didn't speak out of anger or because we lost. I spoke because it's a concern. I want to nip it in the bud now as a unit before things prolong."

Rolle said he felt the Giants' 3 p.m. Saturday arrival in Indianapolis was too early for a Sunday night game, and he didn't like going to Lucas oil Stadium four hours before gametime. He discussed the matter with Coughlin. "He said, 'Antrel, schedules are set.' He said he never had any complaints about it before," Rolle related. "Like I say, just because it's not being said doesn't mean they don't feel that way. I was relaying that message on behalf of the team."

Rolle laughed when one reporter began a question by saying, "Let's say you show up at 9 a.m. on Sunday" for the 1 p.m. Tennessee game. "I won't be showing up Sunday at 9," he said. "If it's played at 1, I'll be there at 11."

That comment wasn't meant as a challenge to Coughlin. No doubt, he'll do whatever the coach asks of him. Rolle actually seemed pleased with the conversation he had with the head coach. "Absolutely," Rolle said. "[Coughlin] didn't have too many problems about what I said. It was how it was broadcast. I definitely should have come here first. I told him, 'I apologize, coach. It'll never happen again.' Which it won't. But I'll stand by my word. What I said is what I said."
 

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