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Safety Rolle key to Giants Defense


Safety Antrel Rolle has the Giants' second-longest active starting streak but isn't certain he will be in the lineup Sunday against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

For the first time in memory, Rolle missed practice today, the result of the laceration and contusion he suffered when he collided with a cameraman on the sideline late in the Giants' 36-7 victory last week at Carolina. His absence places some doubt about his availability for Sunday.

"Right now, I can't say it's a for sure thing," said Rolle, who practiced on a limited basis yesterday. "In my mind, am I going to play on Sunday? Yeah. But God willing, hopefully everything goes as planned and my knee feels good enough to go out there on Sunday, and I will be out there."

Coach Tom Coughlin said Rolle was sore, so he was kept inside today. Asked if Rolle might miss the game in Philadelphia, Coughlin said, "I would hope not, but anytime you keep them inside there's going to be a little question."

Not to defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, who is certain Rolle will be in his familiar spot in the back of the Giants' defense.

"I don't think there's any question about it (that Rolle will play)," Fewell said. "I mean he practiced on Monday, he practiced on Wednesday. I think he'll be ready to roll."

Rolle has started all 35 regular-season games since joining the Giants as a free agent in 2010. That is the second-longest streak on the team after Eli Manning's 122 consecutive starts. Corey Webster, who will play Sunday with a broken hand, is third with 19 consecutive starts. Rolle last missed a game in the 2009 season finale with Arizona (because of a thigh injury). He seldom skips a play even in practice.

"He never misses a thing," Fewell said. "(Sitting him today was) just more precautionary than anything else. It was probably erring on the side of good judgment."

Rolle said he was a "little sore," but is hopeful of extending his starting streak on Sunday.

"We just have to take it day-by-day and I have to take it day-by-day and hope for the best," he said. "I'm going to continue to keep working on my knee all day. That's pretty much all I do all day is just work it out and ice it down and stem it and things of that nature, try to get it right for Sunday and right now that's my only concern. Make sure I get all the mental preparation I need, watching as much film as I can, making sure I'm in my playbook.

"Nicks and bruises and things of that nature, it really doesn't bother me too much, but you can't play without your knees. So that's a little bit more serious and I'm just trying to make sure I'm able to… if I can give 90 percent or 85 percent on Sunday, I think that will be good enough for me playing the safety position and I'm just trying to get as healthy as I can before that time."

*Like everyone around the NFL, the Giants are pleased the league's regular officials are returning to work.

"There isn't any question that it's good for the game to get our officials back," Coughlin said. "Hopefully they'll have enough time. I know there's a group working tonight. From what I understand, they've discussed all the calls that have gone on so they feel like they're up to speed. Good, back to work.

"I didn't really buy into all the hype surrounding how bad the replacement officials were," defensive end Osi Umenyiora said. "They were just out there trying to do their job and we should have been out there trying to do ours, too, so I'm happy the old guys are back and I think they're gonna continue to do a good job."

*In addition to Rolle, tackle David Diehl (knee), cornerback Jayron Hosley (hamstring) and linebacker Keith Rivers (hamstring) did not practice. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (foot) and cornerback Michael Coe (hamstring) were limited.

Coughlin said Diehl, who was hurt in the victory over Tampa Bay on Sept. 16, is progressing, but doesn't know if he'll be ready for Sunday.

"That's all speculative, depending on what the doctors say," Coughlin said. "Right now he was on the side with the trainers. That's probably where he'll stay. We'll see."

*Coughlin on who will be the third wide receiver: "There will be roles for everybody. Ramses (Barden) has played well. Domenik (Hixon) has played well. Everybody will have the ball, will have an opportunity."

*Fewell was asked if Webster must prepare differently because he has a cast on his broken right hand.

"I don't know if he does or doesn't, because he made some plays in practice today that were just outstanding," Fewell said. "Obviously we're concerned with how well he'll be able to wrap tackle, but it looked like he did that pretty well today.  I'm saying no based on his performance in practice

"He made some outstanding catches today in practice with his left hand that were just phenomenal. Corey just goes out and plays ball."


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