When Antonio Pierce got hurt last season, many pundits believed the emotional leadership void he left behind contributed to the team's collapse down the stretch. Based on his interview with Bob Glauber of Newsday, Pierce doesn't think anyone has stepped up to fill it this season either.
"I'm concerned, because I just don't see the energy," said Pierce. "You don't see that swagger that we always talked about, that me-against-the-world attitude. They can sit there and say all the right things, but you know that's not a confident group right now. I see a team just going about their business. They're going out there like, 'I did my job, coach.' But they need more."
Harsh words, especially the ones about the Giants being more about talk than action in the last couple of years. It took them forever to admit there was a problem last season and there's not much to give the impression that they are willing to look into the mirror this time around.
Pierce pointed to a pair of sacks by Justin Tuck against the Ravens as a prime example of what's missing. There was no swarm of bodies celebrating the plays and nobody using it as a springboard for a shift in momentum during an otherwise dreary 24-10 loss.
A lot of the time the need for chemistry/passion/what have you is overrated because it ignores the need that talent almost always winds up winning out in the end. Pierce has a bit more credibility on this front because of how close he is to the team, but also because it is something that everyone from Tom Coughlin on down has been saying since the sixth week of last season. The Giants have a problem summoning up the necessary energy on a weekly basis and there's no sign things are about to change.
Unless, of course, this is all just a way of Pierce to reassert his role as the most important voice in the Giants locker room. Glauber asked him who he thought was going to win the NFC East this season and Pierce threw down the gauntlet.
"I like the Redskins."
If that doesn't fire up the Giants, nothing will.