New York Giants: Antrel Rolle Must be Their Defensive Leader
New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle was elected as one of the team’s five captains yesterday. Rolle, who is entering his fourth year with the Giants, has developed into a player who leads both vocally and by example out on the gridiron.
“I was extremely honored,” Rolle told ESPN New York’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “As a young kid, you always dream about certain things. You dream about playing in the NFL, you dream about making Pro Bowls. I know being named captain of the New York Football Giants is a huge accomplishment. It’s something I never, ever even imagined would take place. I’m definitely excited for it and I thank my teammates for even having that trust in me and the accountability in me to even name me a captain.”
This season, the Giants defense will be forced to rely even more heavily on Rolle after Stevie Brown tore his ACL in the preseason. Brown, who was going to start at the safety spot opposite Rolle, pulled down eight interceptions a season ago, the second-highest in the NFL.
Ryan Mundy, a relatively unproven offseason acquisition, will step into Brown’s spot. Mundy spent four years with the Pittsburgh Steelers where he played mostly in a reserved role behind starters Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu.
Last season, breakdowns in the secondary were almost as common as Mark Sanchez turnovers. Cornerback Corey Webster is another seasoned veteran in the secondary but he is coming off a disastrous year. Rolle is going to have to assume a primary leadership title on defense for the Giants to make a run at another Super Bowl.
Justin Tuck is the team’s other defensive captain but he is an aging player who has not performed up to his initial standards after battling several injuries. Jason Pierre-Paul is another Giants standout but his status for Sunday’s opener is uncertain after undergoing back surgery in the offseason. Also, the linebacker unit is comprised of mostly young and unproven players who are hoping to make their mark this year.
All signs point to Mr. Rolle. He is going to have to play at a high level, anchoring, not only the secondary, but the entire Giants defense.
Daniel Brennan covers the New York Giants for Rant Sports. He lives in Westchester, New York and is a graduate of Quinnipiac University.