The New York Giants play the Cincinnati Bengals tomorrow and it just got super heated. Antrel Rolle has a message for Bengals receiver A.J. Green: Duck. Read more after the jump.
On what had been a usual quiet week for the Giants, Rolle turned up the trash talk Thursday after hearing that Green had said Big Blue’s secondary had “a lot of holes.”
That’s all it took to set Rolle off.
“I’ll talk with my pads come Sunday,” Rolle said.“That’s how I approach the game. If he sees me, he better duck. That’s it.
“If I get a chance,” he added, “I’m coming across.”
The warning was sent. The always-spirited Rolle will be hunting for Green on Sunday in Cincinnati, looking to make a statement for the entire Giants ‘D’.
It’s a statement the defense failed to make in Week 4, when Big Blue couldn’t shut down Browns tailback Trent Richardson, who had yapped that he would find running room, then backed it up with 128 total yards and a score.
Green was already expected to be a marked man on Sunday; the Bengals’ receiver, who leads the NFL with eight TD catches, is easily Cincinnati’s most dangerous weapon. The Giants praised the second-year man throughout the week, and Rolle called him “a great receiver” and “definitely their best player on the offensive side of the ball.”
But Green drew the Giants’ ire early Thursday morning. In an interview on WFAN, the wideout praised the Giants’ defensive line, calling it “one of the best front fours in the game.” Then, he ripped the Giants’ beleaguered secondary.
“I feel like they’ve got a lot of holes in their defense,” Green said.
Little else was needed to irritate Rolle and a proud Giants secondary that knows that it has struggled. The Giants allow 264 passing yards per game, seventh-worst in the league, and they’ve been unable to shut down big plays. Last week, Pittsburgh’s Mike Wallace turned a short slant into a 51-yard touchdown. And a week earlier, a 55-yard Dez Bryant catch helped spark the Cowboys’ near-comeback.
Rolle and his teammates were aware of these deficiencies long before Green opened his mouth. They just didn’t care to hear about them from him. And while offenses have taken advantage of the Giants, Big Blue’s defense has been effective, making 17 interceptions, tied with the Bears for tops in the league.
“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.”
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell did care just a bit. Truth is, Green’s little rip was hardly a revelation; every defense has weaknesses. But the Bengal wideout gave Fewell just a little more ammo to push his group to play tighter.
“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.”
And the Giants defense must do that, if only to silence Green and anyone else in the league. The Giants’ beleaguered “D’ is tired of being ripped.
“Just go play the game, man,” Rolle said. “You can’t worry about what one guy says. He just needs to go play his game, and we need to play ours. If he sees holes, then hopefully, he’ll find ’em.”
And if Rolle has his way, he’ll find A.J. Green, too.