While Giants safety Antrel Rolle has talked in back-to-back weeks about wanting to be a ball hawk and not being able to play the role that he envisioned himself playing with the team, Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is saying to not point the finger at him.
"I'm not restricting what he can do," Fewell said on Wednesday. "I would be more than happy for him to get a lot of interceptions. I think I said that last week. Hopefully Saturday he can get a lot of interceptions for us."
In the last two weeks, Rolle has made it clear that he wants to be able to play a more traditional free safety role with the Giants and get back to trying to be a ball hawk. With injuries to the Giants, he's play more in the slot this season and has not been playing the deep ball as much.
"Personally I am extremely frustrated being that I am not able to do what I came here to do which is go get the ball," Rolle told WFAN on Monday.
Rolle signed a five-year, $37-million deal with the Giants before the 2010 season. In his five seasons with Arizona, Rolle had 12 interceptions, including four in his final year with Arizona. With the Giants, Rolle has just two interceptions in 30 games, with one interception in each of his two years. The safety envisions himself being more of a threat to opposing quarterbacks than he's being right now.
"I'm a ball hawk, man," Rolle said on Dec. 14. "That is what I do, that is what I love to do. This is my second year in this defense and I understand it like the back of my hand. Unfortunately, with injuries [to teammates] and things of that nature, I haven't been able to do what I want to do. And even when I am back there [in coverage], I don't get the opportunities that a lot of other safeties get for whatever reason."
Though Fewell is deflecting the blame for Rolle's frustration the defensive coordinator said that looking back on it, he could have helped out rookie Prince Amukamara more during Sunday's loss to Washington. The Redskins picked on the rookie in the game, victimizing him for a touchdown and two other big plays.
Fewell called it a tough coverage, advanced coverage and a rookie mistake for Amukamara on Sunday when talking of his problems.
"We could have helped him a little bit more. Hindsight is 20/20," Fewell said. "So you're asking me from my hindsight. Did we work on the coverage? Yeah, we worked on the coverage. He knew how to execute the coverage and knew what to expect within the coverage. Would I do it to him again? Hindsight is 20/20. Yeah, I would try to get him into a different coverage obviously."
There will be no rollover effect from Sunday's benching in the second half for the rookie.
"Well play him," Fewell said. "He'll play this week. No doubt. I think he's up to the challenge."