Since signing with the New York Giants back in March of 2010, Antrel Rolle has been a very steady player in the New York Giants secondary at free safety. At times, he's even been very good. The league, however, didn't consider him to be a Pro Bowl caliber safety though.
That's something the 30-year-old Rolle is looking to change in the upcoming 2013 season, and in an interview with Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, he wasn't short of confidence on his abilities to excel.
“Last year I just didn’t have the numbers as far as interceptions and things of that nature,’’ Rolle said, “but as far as just being a football player and going out there and playing the position I need to play and being that role player for my team … I’ve been All-Pro. But that’s not what you get measured at within this league. Teams notice you. I’m sure the offensive coordinator on the other team knows where Antrel is going to be at any point in time.’’
Those numbers Rolle was referring to last season; 93 total tackles; 71 of which were solo, two interceptions, five pass deflections and one forced fumble. All good numbers for the player who has started in every single game in his three-year stint for the Giants (52, which includes the postseason.) During that time, Rolle has also had to play nickel corner for the Giants because of injuries and certain situations on the defense. That kind of role on the defense is something he has had to accept going forward with the team.
“We always shoot for that each and every year. We always shoot for me to play the safety role and stay at the safety role but it’s never happened, unfortunately,’’ Rolle said. “At one point in time I would get frustrated. … It’s a part of growing up, a part of being professional and most important a part of just being a team player and doing whatever you have to do in order for this team to be successful.’’
The Giants cornerback position was very thin in 2012 due to the injury of Terrell Thomas,, the departure of Aaron Ross in free agency and the inexperience of Prince Amukamara and Jayron Hosley, plus the inconsistency of Corey Webster, all factors that lead to Rolle playing corner at times during the season. Rolle is hoping that the corners will improve their play so that he can play his natural position of safety.
“Safety is easier than other positions I’ve been required to play,’’ Rolle said, smiling. “Yeah, the level of expectation for myself is going to be through the roof. I understand that once I’m asked to play certain roles maybe my interceptions won’t be as high. Honestly, at this point in time it really doesn’t matter to me. As long as I get the credit from myself, as long as I get the credit from my team, as long as the credit from my coaches, that’s all that really matters to me. I really don’t care what outsiders say.’’
At the end of the day, Rolle was one of the few consistent players in a rather lousy Giants defense which ranked 31st overall in the league last season. The team has been able to get the most out of him since he signed the five-year, $37 million deal with the team. He is set to make $7 million in 2013 and again in 2014, but as long as he continues to provide quality play for the Giants, he shouldn't have to worry about getting cut in the future.
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