New York Daily News media columnist Bob Raissman absolutely shredded New York Giants defensive captain Antrel Rolle in his Sunday column. Before we get to exactly what Raissman wrote, and whether you believe what Rolle and Jason Pierre-Paul said this week is accurate, the view here is that Raissman is right. What the Giants need from both Rolle and JPP is not their words -- it is for them to play up to the status they have on the Giants' defense.
Here is part of what Raissman wrote:
What exactly did Rolle do Monday night on the field against Indy for anyone to take his words seriously? What has Rolle done all season, as leader of a suspect secondary, to justify him casting aspersions on others who he says don't play with proper passion?
Nothing. That's the answer. Rolle should be pointing fingers, all right - in his own direction.
If Rolle were locking down receivers, coming up with interceptions rather than dropping them, and not generally looking confused back there, we could take his words seriously. Now when Rolle's mouth roars, only stale air comes out.
If this continues, Rolle's credibility will erode. The media covering the Giants, rightfully so, digs him because of his sincerity and ability to deliver eye-popping quotes. If he continues talking tough while under performing on the field, even they won't take him seriously.
I have said in the past that I appreciate Rolle's passion. I know he wants to win, and that he often lets his emotions pour out -- rightly or wrongly -- during these WFAN spots. Thing is, the one thing we didn't hear from Rolle on Monday was him taking any personal responsibility for the failings of the Giants' defense, for the plays he didn't make.
Asked about the interception he dropped against the Indianapolis Colts, Rolle made an excuse about being caught in-between playing the receiver or playing the ball. The responsible thing to say is simply "No excuse. That's a play I have to make." That's the thing a leader should say -- and, incidentally, the way Eli Manning always speaks.
Rolle has not had played like a star this season. His -4.4 Pro Football Focus grade is among the worst on the porous defense. He has taken too many bad angles in run support, leading to big plays. He has had negaitive PFF grades in six of eight games. He does have a quality passer rating against of 64.7, but still scores negatively vs. both the run and the pass.
Pierre-Paul is the best 4-3 defensive end in the league, but the Giants need him to make plays as a pass-rusher and he isn't doing it. He has only 3.5 sacks, and whether it's a matter of technique as Giants coach Tom Coughlin this week, or the fact that 2011 was an aberration and rushing the passer just isn't a Pierre-Paul strength I don't know. He has 11.5 sacks since that 2011 season, so I would lean toward aberration. Pierre-Paul has had two incredible games this season -- vs. the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys. The rest of the time he has been mostly pedestrian.
No matter, really, what the reasons are when it comes to the play of Rolle and Pierre-Paul. What the Giants need from them isn't their biting words -- correct or incorrect. They need both players to lead on the field, to play like stars.
So far, that hasn't happened nearly enough.