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Safeties to Coughlin: Be more like Rex

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin cheers on his

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin cheers on his team during warmups before a game against the Washington Redskins. (Jan. 2, 2011) Credit: AP

Turns out Rex Ryan doesn’t only inspire the 53 players on his roster. There are a few in the Giants’ locker room who like the way the Jets coach handles things and they think that Tom Coughlin should loosen up and be more like his cross-town counterpart.

In an interview with Sid Rosenberg on WQAM in Miami yesterday, safeties Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips – who both played at The U – were talking about the differences between the two New York teams and their coaches. Rolle said that he enjoys Coughlin “on a personal level,” saying that he is “very caring” and “honest.”

But his coaching style?

“That's where the problem comes with me, as a coach,” Rolle said.

“When you're talking about the coaching side of things, do I feel like things are a little too uptight? Yeah, I do. If he just loosened up just a little bit, still run the ship the way you want to run it, run the program the way you want to run it, but let us have a little fun, because at the end of the day that's what it's all about."

"I like the coach, I understand what he's trying to do. But he has to understand it's 2011, man. Things have changed," Rolle added. "He has to understand we have a great team, we don't have guys with discipline problems. We're going to pretty much handle our own outside of football. When it comes to football we're going to take care of our business on the field. Just let us have a little fun a little bit, man."

Rolle said he loves playing for the Giants, loves playing in New York, but that he is not having fun.

Rolle also put at least some of the blame on Coughlin and the staff for the 7 minutes of hell in the Eagles game last month, a span in which the Giants surrendered 28 unanswered points, blew a 31-10 lead, and let the playoffs slip away from them

"It was just one thing after another," Rolle said of the end of that game. "In situations like that, in my honest opinion, I feel like that’s where the head man or any of the coaches, you get your players together because obviously something’s not right."

Rolle just finished his first season with the Giants. Perhaps more interesting was Phillips’ response when asked: Who is Tom Coughlin?

“Honestly I don't know,” Phillips said. “I'm still trying to figure it out. I'm going into my fourth year and I'm still trying to feel him out. He's a strict guy, sometimes he's kind of loose. He's sort of like a general, especially the way he runs his football team.”

The two safeties made it clear that they’d like Coughlin to be more like Ryan.

"I would love to play for a guy like Rex," Phillips said. "He goes to bat for his players. He'll get outthere, he'll take the blame, he allows you to be you. He's not asking you to hide. If you're a guy who likes to talk, go out and talk, as long as you back it up. His guys are playing for him and I'd love to be a part of that."

Rolle even made it sound as if Ryan’s personality is one of the big reasons the Giants are free to do radio interviews in Miami while the Jets are preparing for a conference title game.

“If you match us up against the Jets, do I think they're a better team? No, I don't think so at all,” Rolle said. “But when it comes to their chemistry, I think their chemistry might be better than ours. I think they have a lot more fun than we have … At the end of the day, yeah, we're professional athletes, we get paid a lot of money to do what we do but we're all human. No one is a robot at this level. We do have feelings ... we like to have fun.

"People want to talk about Rex Ryan and this, that and the other. That team is going to war for him," Rolle said. "They would die for him."

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