Giants regroup, vow to avoid collapse

Updated: November 22, 2011, 12:10 PM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A day after being taunted by DeSean Jackson and manhandled by the Eagles, who took what the Giants felt was a cheap shot at Eli Manning, Big Blue players were still seething and insisting that things must change if they want to make the playoffs.

"There were a lot of things in this game that irritated me," safety Antrel Rolle said. "I think you all know me as a player. Sometimes I definitely have to calm myself down because I let my emotions get the better part of me at times. But there were a lot of things that rubbed me the wrong way and I don't like the way we responded to it.

"At the end of the day, you play within the lines, you play within the rules," Rolle said. "But you don't take [stuff] from nobody at the end of the day. That's my attitude. You don't take [stuff] from anybody. Last night, I felt like we took a little bit. I don't know what's going to change and I don't know how it's going to change, but in order for us to go where we want to go, things are definitely about to change."

After losing a 17-10 NFC East divisional game to the rival Eagles, the Giants find themselves at a critical point in their season. They are on a two-game losing streak and are bracing for a three-game stretch that starts with a Monday night game at New Orleans before facing the Packers and Cowboys.

The team met with Tom Coughlin and the coaching staff on Monday to go over corrections and relive their disappointing performance after the Giants' offense looked putrid at times and the defense allowed Vince Young to orchestrate an 18-play game-winning drive in the fourth quarter.

"My blood pressure is [still] out of sight," Coughlin said.

After meeting with the coaches, the defensive players met amongst themselves as is their Monday routine. And several players hashed things out.

"I am going to refrain from saying what I want to say," defensive captain Justin Tuck said. "But the players in this locker room have heard where a lot of us stand in that situation."

An emotional Chris Canty said the Giants needed to blow off some steam.

"We were very candid," Canty said. "We addressed what needed to be addressed, man-to-man. It needed to happen. We needed to be honest. We needed to vocalize to one another what we felt. Obviously feeling angry and upset doesn't do much on Mondays.

"[But] I think -- to be quite frank with you  there's enough talking," he said. "There's enough talking. There needs to be more doing. Show me."

Rolle, perhaps the brashest Giant, vowed to no longer take a conservative approach. Intent on making sure the Giants (6-4) turn things around, Rolle said he will voice his opinion and inject his never-back-down attitude when he thinks the team needs it like he did last year when he criticized the team's lack of leadership and said Coughlin could loosen up a bit after a 38-14 loss to Indianapolis in Week 2.

That led to sit-downs with Coughlin and Tuck.

"We're too calm," Rolle said. "We're too calm out there and football is not a game for you to be calm. This is a game of attitude, of passion and emotion.

"I'm not going to say we played soft," he said. "Guys were out there flying around and we played extremely hard. I don't think we played with as much toughness as I know we can play. I didn't see that same intensity as when we went out there and we played the Patriots. I didn't see a lot of things."

Following the loss, Coughlin called out his team for not playing with more intensity and not rallying and fighting more after Philly's Trevor Laws and Trent Cole sandwiched Manning after a play was over following a first-quarter interception.

The Eagles and Giants were flagged for unnecessary roughness penalties as right guard Chris Snee was penalized for retaliating for the Manning hit. But Canty said the Giants' lack of response after that in their performance was "embarrassing."

"That hit on Eli ... it took everything in me to stay on the sideline," Rolle said. "Just know that."

Jackson later flipped the ball to defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and brushed off his jersey, taunting the Giants following a 50-yard reception that was eventually nullified due to offsetting penalties.

The Giants never retaliated on the field with their play and now they are in danger of suffering yet another serious second-half collapse. They are tied with Dallas for the lead in the division but their running game is nowhere to be found and the defense has been unable to stop opponents in the fourth quarter over the past three games.

Considering that their next two games are against the Saints and Packers, the Giants could potentially go into a huge NFC East game at Dallas with a .500 record. And they were 6-2 and coming off a win over Tom Brady in New England just a few weeks ago.

"I hope it is in our heads," Tuck said of another meltdown. "I hope it is fresh in our heads knowing that we can't allow ourselves to do it. We have to go to New Orleans for a Monday night game, we don't have any time to be down on ourselves or wonder what is happening here.

"We got to figure this thing out right and fight this thing out now," he said. "You talk about second-half collapses, if we get down to the Saints, it could be a historical second-half collapse."

Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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