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Giants are using Antrel Rolle in "creative" ways

Tight end Owen Daniels of the Houston Texans

Tight end Owen Daniels of the Houston Texans is tackled by Giants safety Antrel Rolle in the first half at Reliant Stadium in Houston. (Oct. 10, 2010) Credit: MCT

What do the Giants have in mind for Antrel Rolle this week? Whatever it is, Rolle spent about two hours last night going over it.

The safety has been used in the box as an extra linebacker and back deep as a last line of defense this season and he’s taken to it. His ability to clean up the cutbacks forced by the defensive line against the Texans last week was a big reason why the Giants were able to hold Arian Foster in check. But this week, well, he’ll be doing something so new he had to put in extra prep time just to understand it.

“Last night he had me in the playbook,” Rolle said of Perry Fewell’s defensive gameplan. “Throughout the prior weeks I haven’t really had to study too much. Not even when they changed and had me at different positions. I kind of got it through repetitions at practice. But this week I have a different task at hand so I went home and opened the playbook for about two hours last night and made sure I had it down pat.”

So what is he doing that’s so different? Where can he possibly line up that requires such studying? Defensive end?

“You never know with Coach Fewell,” Rolle said. “It’s just that certain schemes are different as far as my assignments and my adjustments. But you just have to re-program that chip. It all comes to play at the end of the day.”

Fewell said Rolle is playing “kind of a hybrid” position, somewhere between safety and linebacker. It’s one of the ways the Giants have been able to get their best 11 players on the field and generally include three safeties in that mix. “We’re trying to use him in a creative way,” Fewell added.

Rolle said he’s been trying to keep up with all of his assignments, but it’s been tough.

“He has my brain spinning at times,” he said. “He knows it. He always tells me ‘Antrel, if it’s too much, just let me know.’ But of course me being the guy that I am I would never admit it was too much so I always do the best that I can to make sure I get it down pat.”

Has all of this assignment-shifting taught Rolle anything new about himself as a player?

“I didn’t know I was such a big guy to stop all of these running backs and offensive linemen who are pulling and everything like that,” he said. “I’ve always been a physical player, that’s never been a part of my game that I had to worry about. It’s a good thing that the coaches also notice that. It gives them more flexibility to do what they want to do.”

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