New York Giants: Similarites to Last Year's Team Continue to Pile Up

By Jeff Shull
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants like to make things difficult on themselves. Every season, like clockwork, the team falters down the stretch. Under Tom Coughlin, the Giants have never finished worse than 5-3 in the first eight games of the season, and he’s an astonishing 1-8 in the ninth game of the season.

This loss typically starts a tailspin that they’ve recovered from twice. They made miraculous playoff runs in 2007 and 2011. Can they flip the switch and make the playoffs this year? We all know what they can do once they get in, but in the three seasons between the Super Bowls, getting in the playoffs turned out to be the problem.

Last year, a loss to the Washington Redskins and some changes to the game plan sparked a six-game winning streak that led to playoff glory. Can the same thing happen this season?

I’m starting to get the feeling of deja vu. The Giants played a poor game against the Redskins on Monday night. It has sparked some familiar comments from two vocal defensive players.

After the loss to the Redskins last year, Antrel Rolle called out his teammates for not practicing with enough intensity, and called some out for not practicing at all. After their loss Monday, Rolle says he needs to see the “dog” in the defense.

“All dogs bite,” Rolle said. “All dogs bite. Just need to go out there and play ball. That’s it. Save the hugs and kisses for after the game.”

Rolle was reacting to Giants players who continue to throw praise at their opponents. Several of the Giants players were singing Robert Griffin III’s praises prior to the game, and Rolle thinks they are going too far.

“Give credit when credit is due,” he added. “You’re asked a question about your opponent, you handle it in a professional manner, which we always do as the Giants organization. But I don’t think we need to go beyond that point.”

Jason Pierre-Paul, who’s also not been afraid to talk to the media, agreed with Rolle.

“I’m behind Rolle 100 percent,” Pierre-Paul said. “We’ve been playing like we haven’t [had that dog mentality]. I think we’re a little soft, but I think we’ll get there. We haven’t played our best game this year, and I know that for a fact, that we haven’t played it.”

Can a loss to the Redskins and teammates calling each other out get this team to focus and do what it takes to make the playoffs?

 Jeff is an NFL Featured Columnist for Like Jeff’s Facebook Page here. Follow him on Twitter @Jeff_Shull

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