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Could Fewell's words create rift with team?

Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell greets Corey Webster on

Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell greets Corey Webster on the sideline after Webster made an interception in the 4th quarter. (Sept. 12, 2010) Credit: David Pokress

Perry Fewell’s rant on his own players was a little unexpected today. He’s normally a big cheerleader, but his rah-rahs turned into roars as he essentially lambasted the team for not playing with heart, with the “will to win,” and for – although he did not use this particular word – quitting.

But rather than get the Giants fired up, it could go the other way. Interestingly, there were some questions in the locker room today about Fewell and whether or not the players were backing him 100 percent. When the team last had a defensive crisis like it has now, in 2009, there was waning support for Bill Sheridan.

This time, though, the players all said they had Fewell’s back.

“We have to work together,” safety Antrel Rolle said. “There is no one success without the other. If he’s doing bad, we’re doing bad. If we’re doing bad, he’s going to look bad. It’s a collective team effort. We have to do whatever we can to make sure he looks good.”

Rolle was asked point-blank if the team believes in Fewell.

“No question,” he said. “No one is going to point the finger at anyone.”

Of course, that was before Fewell pointed it at them.

Fewell did say give a token “out-coached” in his list of things that went wrong on Monday night. But clearly he and Tom Coughlin believe they had the right plan to beat the Saints. Both have said that the team was prepared, it just did not play well.

Maybe Fewell’s tirade will inspire the Giants. Maybe they do need, as he said, a kick in the blankety-blank.

But there is a danger that the guy many consider to be a players coach has turned into simply a coach.

“I was (angry), okay,” Fewell said. “I was getting them going Monday night and we’re getting going this week. Player friendly or not, it’s all about winning. It’s all about being successful on the football field. I think that they got the message and we all understand what’s on the line for us.”

Fewell said he saw in the team’s eyes the desire to win and the understanding of what it would take to win on Sunday when he addressed them. But it’s one thing to say those things in meetings and in film rooms. It’s quite another to say it down here in the media room where we all got giddy over such juicy quotes. And this wasn’t a heat-of-the-moment comment like when Coughlin called the running game “pathetic” just minutes after a gut-wrenching loss. Fewell had time to think about things. Days to think about it. And he didn’t hold back.

His answers got me excited. Heck, I was ready to get after Aaron Rodgers’ blankety-blank after listening to him. But there is a chance that Fewell could lose some of the players who, just hours earlier, were saying they were 100 percent behind him. Especially if they begin to feel the he is not 100 percent behind them.

New York Sports