- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Safety Antrel Rolle on Thursday warned the Cincinnati Bengals' A.J. Green to "duck" in Sunday's game, after the receiver said in a radio interview that there were "a lot of holes" in the New York Giants' defense.
"I'll talk with my pads come Sunday. That's how I approach the game. That's how we always approach the game," Rolle said. "If he sees me, he better duck. That's it."
Green seemed to irritate the Giants safety after saying on WFAN on Thursday morning, "I feel like they've got a lot of holes in their defense." While Green's comment could be seen to include the team's entire defense, the receiver praised the Giants' front four, implying that he sees holes in the back end of the defense.
"Honestly, I don't give a flying f--- about what he says, man," Rolle said. "That's just the reality of it. I could really care less. It don't matter to me."
Green, a second-year receiver who is tied for the league lead in touchdowns with eight, had some merits with his comments. The Giants are ranked 25th in the NFL in total yards per game allowed, and 26th in passing yards allowed per game. The Giants are tied for second in most plays allowed of 20-plus yards with 38, and are tied for third in most plays allowed of 40-plus yards with seven.
They've also allowed eight touchdowns passes of at least 26 yards, including a 51-yard score in last week's 24-20 loss to Pittsburgh.
"Have we given up plays? Yeah, we've given up plays. So I can definitely see why he says that," Rolle said. "At the same time, we're winning games. We're doing whatever it takes to win games around here. We're creating turnovers. ... I don't worry too much about what is said."
Overall, the Giants didn't seem to take too much umbrage with the comment, with some saying they didn't really care as well as acknowledging that every defense will have holes. While the Giants are giving up massive yardage per game, they are 10th in the league in points allowed, showing they've been a bend-but-don't-break unit.
"I think every defense has holes in it. If our defense has holes in it, he shouldn't have a problem, you know, exploiting it," Rolle said. "The game has to be played on Sunday. The game's gonna be played on Sunday, and we'll just try and make sure we take our best approach out there come Sunday and go into our bye 7-3."
As Green took his shot at the Giants' defense, New York's secondary didn't return any barbs about Green as a receiver. Green has 51 catches for 735 yards and eight touchdowns, proving himself to be among the league's best wide receivers.
The Giants, who have allowed a 100-yard receiver in three games this season, all complimented Green, with Rolle saying he's Cincinnati's best offensive player and Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell calling Green a "topflight receiver."
"He's flawless, he's a big receiver, he can go up and get the ball and he's a deep-ball threat," Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara said. "We see a lot of plays on film where he has over 30 yards catching the ball, and he's just an all-around receiver. They move him in the slot, so they have plays for him there. (He's) just an all-around good receiver."
Although the back end of the Giants' defense has struggled in preventing big plays, the secondary is confident in its ability to get the job done. The Giants are second in the NFL with 26 takeaways, trailing only the Bears, and are tied for the league lead in interceptions. The defensive backs will face an offense this weekend that ranks 17th in yards and is tied for 14th in points per contest.
"Any team in the NFL we can match up with them and we're going to do our best job," Rolle said of the secondary. "I never feel like we can't match up against anyone. We're a good group and we're a growing group, and we get better week in and week out."
Both teams head into this game needing a win. The Bengals have lost four in a row after starting the season 3-1, and the Giants are looking to avoid losing two straight going into the bye. Amukamara acknowledged that the Giants would like to make Green eat his words about their defense.
Said the cornerback: "That's always the goal."
6hOhm Youngmisuk and Rich Cimini