New York Giants
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With all eyes searching for signs of improvement by the offense, the winless New York Giants defense believes it made progress between weeks one and two, despite numerical evidence to the contrary.
The biggest improvement, according to safety Antrel Rolle, is that the defensive players were more true to the scheme and didn't wander outside of their specific assignments. Although it is scant consolation after losses of 35-14 to Detroit and 25-14 to Arizona, it is something to build on.
"Yeah, I think we did stay a lot truer to the scheme, and didn't try to do too much," Rolle said. "At the same time, I think we need to play smarter on the defensive side of the ball. A lot of it is instinctive, and instinct is what's going to get you to the right position to carry out your assignment, so we have to do a little bit better with that."
Rolle also said he'd like to see if for his defensive teammates to be a little less apprehensive and be more willing to take chances if they see a chance to make a play that's right there to be made.
"You have to play smart, and you have to take chances. I don't feel like we're taking enough chances as a defense as far as believing what we see," he said. "If you see a play, go get it. If they make a play, then we have to line up and play again.
"You have to take a chance. You can't be a defense that's scared to get beat or second guessing yourself. We're all smart guys. If you see a chance to get something, then go get it."
Head coach Tom Coughlin couldn't help but notice the reaction of the Giants fans on Sunday. A lot of them left the game early in disgust as the contest slipped out of control while others vociferously let their feelings be known about their disappointment of the team's play.
As hard as it might be, though, Coughlin is hoping that the fans consider sticking around and supporting the team because despite the end result not being what everyone was hoping for, the Giants did make progress toward their goal of jelling on both sides of the ball.
"In an ideal world, they would stay and remain as positive and upbeat as they possibly can because of the way they effect the young men that are on the field," Coughlin said.
"They are fans. The circumstances, it wasn't good (Sunday). It was better, but it wasn't the end result everyone was looking for.
"But I would say we need them. We need them to be upbeat."
Coughlin pointed to those who left the game as early as half time when the Cardinals had a 10-7 lead.
"I hope they realize that it was a competitive game until deep in the fourth quarter. The opportunity and the chance were there for us. We didn't get it done. Well, perhaps we can learn something from that. We'll go on and fight and continue to accept the next challenge and be even more hardened as to what needs to be done. To be even closer and bound together as a team and maybe if we come out and play like a team like that, maybe the fans will continue to grow and respond and be energetic about what we're trying to accomplish on the field."
For Coughlin and the Giants to re-gain the confidence of the fans, he understands that his team needs to stop shooting itself in the foot with stupid mistakes such as dropped passes, incorrect routes, and penalties.
"Our task and our goal is to toughen up. Let's go. Come on. Stop beating ourselves. This is professional football. Make the plays necessary to win and do it on a consistent basis. Eliminate these bizarre events which take the heart right out of you."
"I hope (the players) will respond to the fact that I'm counting on them to accept the challenge, to not feel sorry for ourselves and to realize the work that has to be done for us to win. I hope the fans will join in in that exact feeling."