The Giants' game against the Bengals Sunday became more buzz-worthy today, thanks to a comment by Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green.
In an interview with New York sports radio station WFAN, Green said, "I feel like they've got a lot of holes in their defense."
The Giants reacted with an incongruous mixture of nonchalance and defiance.
"We don't worry too much about talk or what's being said," safety Antrel Rolle said. "We'll see come Sunday." But a few moments later, Rolle said, "I'll talk with my pads. If he sees me, he better duck."
"It is what it is," defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said of Green's comments. "Everybody has their own opinions about our defense and it is what it is. Come Sunday, all we're going to do is play football before our bye week. So we're going to give them the best shot we got and hopefully it falls through."
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell preferred to use Green's comments as constructive criticism.
"I think we've shown lapses in play," Fewell said. "There are holes in every defense. If you're a good offense, you exploit what the defense gives you. All that says to me and says to our players is we need to play better."
In the interview, Green praised the Giants' defensive front. But the secondary, not so much.
Green is one of the NFL's most talented wide receivers. He has caught at least one touchdown pass in seven consecutive games and is tied for the league lead with eight overall. Green is seventh in the NFL with 51 catches and fourth with 735 yards.
He will try to add to those numbers against a Giants pass defense that currently ranks 26th in the league, allowing 264.3 yards a game.
"Have we given up plays? Yeah, we've given up plays," Rolle said. "So I can definitely see why he says that. But at the same time we're winning games. We're doing whatever it takes to win games out here. We're creating turnovers when an opportunity presents itself. So I don't really worry too much about what he says.
"He's a great receiver, though. You can't take anything from A.J. Green. He's a great receiver and I think definitely the best player on the offensive side of the ball. He makes a number of plays for them and I think his relationship with (quarterback Andy) Dalton is something special. The game has to be played on Sunday and we'll play it."
*Four Giants did not practice today, including cornerback Michael Coe, a newcomer to the list with a hamstring injury. Also sitting out were guard Chris Snee (ankle), safety Kenny Phillips (knee) and linebacker Jacquian Williams (knee).
Tom Coughlin said "it will be deep in the week before we know" if Snee can play Sunday. Snee has missed only one game in the last eight seasons, against Buffalo last year because of a concussion he suffered the previous week.
If Snee can't pay, David Diehl could move inside to guard and Sean Locklear would return to right tackle, where he started six games before going back to a reserve role last week.
"There are a couple of options there," Coughlin said. "We've (tried) a couple combinations in there."
Snee, however, has long been considered the Giants' best lineman.
"He's such an integral part of what we do," offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. "Obviously, if you lose him, you lose a good football player, but you also lose a very intelligent football player, a guy who's been an anchor for the group. His strength, mentally and emotionally; he's one of those guys you depend on when things aren't going well. He's just so stable and determined and mentally tough that everybody kind of looks to him as an example. That's a big loss when you lose a guy of that quality."
*Six players were limited in practice: linebacker Chase Blackburn (hamstring), running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), defensive tackle Chris Canty (groin), wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (knee), center David Baas (ankle/elbow) and tight end Bear Pascoe (ankle).
"I did as much I would normally do in a practice today," Nicks said. "Yesterday (when he didn't work) was just taking a day off because I was just still a little swollen, a little puffy from the game as it always is after the game. This time it was just a little bit more puffy, so they just wanted to sit me down for a day and I got back out there today and everything was fine."
Nicks said the swelling in his knee has subsided and he will play in Cincinnati. Phillips and Williams will rest their injuries through the bye, but Nicks didn't consider that.
"That was never a thought, at least not on my behalf," he said.
Nicks caught just one pass last week and has 12 receptions for 152 yards and no touchdowns in the last four games. But he's not concerned about the numbers.
"The season is going to be up and down," he said. "It's about how you ride the wave, if you let it affect you. I know I'm a great football player and we're ready to make the run."
*Blackburn, who did not play last week vs. Pittsburgh, is equally adamant about suiting up.
"I plan on playing unless they tell me no," he said.
Coughlin said Blackburn "did quite a bit" in practice.