Antrel Rolle called out his teammates on Tuesday for a lack of passion and pulse. On Wednesday, some of them agreed with his assessment . . . if for no other reason than to stand behind their captain.
"Antrel is the general," linebacker Jameel McClain said on a conference call. "Whatever the general says, it goes. At the end of the day I'm a part of this battle with him and if he feels that way then I feel that way."
Rolle may be the general, but there are some who outrank him. "I think we played hard the other night," Tom Coughlin said. "I think we played consistently hard throughout the game. What is Antrel's interpretation of that? I'm not sure. I know he's an emotional guy and he does wear his emotions on his sleeve. He's a passionate young man. Not all people are the same."
Coughlin said he thought the play late in the game was indicative of playing hard, scoring two touchdowns after the Colts had put the game away. "It wasn't a 'rah-rah' situation most of the time on the sideline, but people were into the game and they were playing hard," he said.
Defensive end Robert Ayers Jr., one of the bright spots on the defense, sided with Rolle. "This is a game of passion, this is a game of intensity, this is a game of want-to and will," he said. "We definitely have to display some of that, we have to play with a lot of that, we have to want to win, we have to want to be dominant, we've got to expect to be dominant, we've got to expect to win. Antrel Rolle is a great guy and I am with him, I am going to ride with him, regardless, and I do feel like we can play with more intensity."
Ayers did point out the chicken-and-egg conundrum of passion and performance. "It's easy to be intense when things are good, but when things are bad, we still have to keep it going," he said. "When you lose, it is tough, but we have to keep working at it, and it will all come."
McClain-- who was a captain in Monday night's game alongside Rolle -- said he took Rolle's comments to heart and they forced him to look at his own play and effort. "I play with everything I have," he said. "My goal is to leave that field empty and my teammates share that. Whatever Antrel sees, I take it as a challenge for us to step it up and for me to give more. When I hear things, I look at myself, I try not to look at other people."The one player Rolle said displayed enough passion on Monday was Odell Beckham Jr., and he passed that compliment along to Eli Manning.
"He has a lot of heart," Beckham said of his quarterback. "I have never seen any give-up. He comes into the huddle and is like, 'Let's get going.' It's one of those things that the other 10 people on the field have to be behind him and support the movement he is doing and support the emotion and the pride that he plays with."
Beckham said everyone needs to give more, both in terms of making plays and bringing energy.
"We all need to come together as a team and decide," he said. "At the end of the day, you determine your own destiny. We need to decide how we want to finish these last couple of games. And I think there is no other reason but to finish them all with wins."