After starting 0-6 last season and 0-2 this season, the New York Giants could have easily stumbled their way through another dark, awful year. Instead, they’ve won two straight games – by a combined 44 points – to fight back to .500.
What’s been the difference, you ask? One word.
“That’s it,” Giants cornerback Antrel Rolle said on The MoJo Show. “Guys that just believe in themselves, believe in the schemes, believe in our talent – that’s what it all boils down to. It’s a game of confidence. If you go out into the game and you’re hoping to win, you’re never going to win. But when you go out and you’re expecting to dominate, you’re expecting to beat them on special teams, you’re expecting to just play excellent, that’s what you’re going to get. The mind is a powerful thing. That’s something we’ve just been trying to instill in the guys more and more every week.”
The Giants reportedly had a players-only meeting earlier this season, during which Rolle did what he always does: he stepped up and became the team’s vocal leader.
“I’m sure there’s a lot of guys like myself (in the NFL),” Rolle said. “I’m sure there’s outstanding leaders on each and every team, but I’m very comfortable in that role. I have no problem (saying) exactly what I see. That’s something that I pay very close attention to. I pay more attention to my teammates than I do myself. We need all 53. We don’t just need need myself or Eli (Manning) or (Victor) Cruz. We need all 53 men.
“Just go in there and expect to win the game,” Rolle continued. “We’ve had a rough start and I felt like history repeats itself all over again, so I just wanted to make sure we didn’t get back into that slump, get back into that (frame of mind). Just understand it all starts with the mind. You got to believe in us as a team and everything else will take care of itself from that point.”
But isn’t that hard to believe at 0-2?
“It’s not something that’s easy – although it should be because we’re professionals,” Rolle said. “But we’re human beings. Last year was an awful start. This season, the first game was horrible (losing 35-14 at Detroit). The second game I felt like we gave away (25-14 against Arizona). So it just felt like history repeats itself again. My message wasn’t about hooting and hollering. It wasn’t a loud message. It was very calm: ‘Understand what’s in front of us. There’s 14 games left. (There’s) a lot of football left. I’m not worried. I’m fully confident in this team.”
Rolle said that even thought the Giants lost to Arizona in Week 2, he saw a change in his team. He saw a bit more fight that day, a bit more attitude – which is something the Giants have lacked in recent years.
“That’s what it’s about,” Rolle said. “Everyone has talent. All teams are talented. But it’s about that team that’s going to play beyond X’s and O’s and it all starts with believing – going out there and believing you can dominate. And that’s what we’re doing right now.”