For a guy who doesn't like getting booed by the home crowd, Antrel Rolle sure has a funny way of making Giants fans fall in love with him.
While those fans are licking their playoff-less wounds for the second straight season, Rolle, along with fellow starting safety Kenny Phillips, poured some salt in them on Monday by openly swooning over the Jets and Rex Ryan. That's not going to go over very well for Giants fans who have seen the entire football order of New York overturned in the last two years thanks to Ryan's arrival and it probably won't go over too well with Coughlin either.
Rolle kicked things off during a radio interview by saying that the Giants are a better team than the Jets, a wonderful delusion popularized in our area by Patrick Ewing. Despite that, the Jets are more successful because they have better chemistry and that chemistry is due to Ryan. What about the Giants coach?
"When you're talking about the coaching side of things, do I feel like things are a little too uptight? Yeah, I do. If he just loosened up just a little bit, run the ship the way you want to run it, run the program the way you want to run it but let us have a little fun, because at the end of the day that's what it's all about. He has to understand we have a great team, we don't have guys with discipline problems. We're going to pretty much handle our own outside of football. When it comes to football we're going to take care of our business on the field. Just let us have a little fun a little bit, man. I like the coach, I understand what he's trying to do but he has to understand it's 2011, man, things have changed."
Amazing how quickly things change. It seems like it was just 2008 when Coughlin's style worked well enough to win a Super Bowl. That can't possibly have anything to do with the players, could it?
Phillips didn't go so far with anti-Coughlin ranting, although it doesn't take a doctorate in reading between the lines to see what he thinks of his head coach.
"I would love to play for a guy like Rex," Phillips said. "He goes to bat for his players. He'll take the blame, he allows you to be you. He's not asking you to hide. If you're a guy who likes to talk, go out and talk, as long as you back it up. His guys are playing for him and I'd love to be a part of that."
That sound you hear is Tiki Barber rushing to the nearest microphone to get in on the Coughlin bashing. Or it could be the collective Giants fan base giving themselves face palms as they realize that they will now have to listen to another round of people wondering if Coughlin has lost his team. That's counterproductive to the goal of the Giants reaching any of their goals, no matter how pleased Coughlin was with missing the playoffs this year, since the last two years have shown that the Giants don't handle such innuendo particularly well.
Unfortunately for those face palming fans, that leads us back to the Jets. They do handle adversity well and they do find their best efforts when the whole world thinks they are dead in the water. Ryan has something to do with that, just as Coughlin bears some of the blame for his teams consistently falling apart when pressure mounts against them.
That sounds an awful lot like the way we used to describe a different New York football team around these parts, back when it was unthinkable to hear a Giants player openly wishing he played for the Jets.