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New York Giants Notes: Eli Manning Steps Up

I don't know if Eli Manning's players only meeting Monday morning will make any difference on Sunday when the New York Giants face the Green Bay Packers. I am not a big believer in the impact of these kinds of meetings, which you see more often in baseball than football. I am, however, thrilled at Manning's stepping forward at the darkest and most critical time of the Giants season.

"I just wanted to have a little team meeting. I didn't know if anybody else was going to talk, but I wanted to say a few words," Manning said. "Just talking about the situation we're in and now is the time not to get down and get in a panic. There were a lot of things about our current situation, and we just have to keep excelling and getting better."

Safety Antrel Rolle was asked about Manning's speech Monday.

"Eli was Eli. He's a team leader, veteran, upstanding guy. Everything he said struck home and everyone could relate to exactly what he was saying. We're in this hole and it's not quite a hole because we still control ourselves. All we have to do is go out and win. We win and we're in," Rolle said. "He just told us to put it behind us, we know what went wrong, and let's just keep fighting. Sometimes it's best to have your back against the wall and right now we have our back against the wall so we're just going to come out swinging."

Speaking of Rolle, reporters long ago figured out he is one of the team's most quotable players. He didn't disappoint Monday, guaranteeing the Giants will make the playoffs.

"I don't think it, I know it," Rolle said. "I have no doubt."

Rolle, as other members of the defense did Sunday, deflected blame for the loss away from punter Matt Dodge.

"I've said and I'll say time and time again, it should have never come down to Matt having to kick the ball out of bounds. He's a young guy, he's a rookie with a ton of pressure on him. Matt knows we hold him accountable, and he's done a good job for us. Also, there are times when he's done a bad job, as well as everyone else who has been on this team. That blame is not going to go on him, and I'll do my best to make sure that it doesn't go on him," Rolle said.

" I've said it before that the blame goes on the defense. Our offense put up 31 points and we didn't hold them as a defense. That's the bottom line. Coach Coughlin can sit here and say that he put the blame on himself but I don't buy that s---. I don't buy it. We're all men out there on the field and we'll take responsibility for ourselves because Coach Coughlin does not play the game for us."

Rolle is sometimes too honest for his own good, but you do have to love the fact that he is a stand-up guy who makes no excuses.

There were reports on Monday that Bill Cowher has let it be known that he would like to coach next season. And, golly, the New York Giants just happen to be one of the teams he would be willing to lead. I know Cowher is the first name everyone who would like to see TC out the door brings up, but I just plain do not get the hype. Cowher and Coughlin are, essentially, the same coach. Cowher has one Super Bowl title in a 15-year head coaching career. The Steelers missed the playoffs five times during his tenure. Coughlin also has one Super Bowl title in 15 years. Both are revered as hard-nosed disciplinarians. It's not fair to compare their career records since Coughlin took over a first-year expansion team in Jacksonville.

If the Giants were to lose their last two games an argument could be made for removing Coughlin, though today I can't say that I would buy it. I just don't get the Cowher love. I think it's simply a case where the longer he stays away the more some people want to turn him into some sort of Lombardi-esque coaching icon. Good coach, yes. Different voice than Coughlin, yes. Better football coach than Coughlin? No.

Tollefson suffers MCL injury; Bomar on way to Minnesota - Giants Blog - ESPN New York
Tom Coughlin said defensive end Dave Tollefson suffered a sprained MCL knee injury on Sunday. Tollefson could miss the remainder of the regular season.

"Sore" O'Hara hopes to practice this week - Giants Blog - ESPN New York
Giants center Shaun O’Hara said his right foot was "sore" on Monday but he hopes to practice on a normal schedule this week.

"I haven’t played football in quite a few weeks so it was like the first day of training camp, which also happened to be a game," O’Hara said on Monday.