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Antrel Rolle says unity sparked defense

Football is built on communication, and somewhere in the Giants' 0-6 start there was a breakdown.

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After the team was giving up 35 points per game, the lines were cleared up by a meeting between players and coaches on defense that Antrel Rolle says is the difference-maker heading into the second half of the season.

Instead of going into the bye week with sour tastes in their mouths, they got on the same page and strung together 10 quarters of not allowing a touchdown, propelling the team to consecutive victories. The Giants now return from their break to prove that the last two games are who they are – and not the first six.

"I think the difference is the coaches and players being on the same page," Rolle said today on his weekly WFAN spot. "After being 0-6, the coaches and players got together and we pretty much had a players-to-coaches talk, a heartfelt talk. And it was something that was very well needed and very well taken amongst the players and the coaches, which is something that is extremely important."

The defensive co-captain and nine-year pro safety has been around the NFL long enough to know the value of such a meeting.

"A lot of times you may go into a place where coaches have egos and they feel like, 'This is the way I want it. This is the way it's going to be,'" Rolle said. "I'm just very appreciative that our coaches are not that way. Our coaches are very open-minded, and more importantly, they want to be on the same page as the players. So we got together and we made those minor adjustments, and it's allowed us to play faster. It's allowed us to be more of an attacking defense, and it's allowed us to go out there and make plays."

Some may debate whether the bye week could jeopardize the Giants' momentum, but Rolle, who returned home to Miami and spent time with his family, said "absolutely not."

The Giants took the week to rest up and get healthy, but most importantly, they return with a purpose and a three-game homestand, beginning with the Oakland Raiders this Sunday.

"I think as a defense we have an identity," Rolle said. "That identity is just to go out there, play fast, play within the defense, make sure everyone is on the same page at the same time and make plays. I think that's something we've been doing a great job of the past couple weeks – making plays, creating turnovers, and more importantly, stopping the run."

Despite not getting help from NFC East while they were idle – the three division rivals won on Sunday – the Giants remain two games back in the loss column of the division-leading Dallas Cowboys.

Does that mean anything to Rolle? Yes and no.

"It means something because it puts us that much further away from where we have to be," he said. "And it doesn't mean anything being that we have to take care of our own business. A lot of people may feel different ways, but I like to earn everything that I get. I don't like anything to be handed to me, and that's just the way I approach the game."

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