Excerpt: "Tom Coughlin started the Giants' week on Monday by describing his defense as "soft."
Two days later, the coach's four-letter word – worse than a curse word to the defense – still stings. And the Giants (6-3) certainly don't want to hear it again as they look to rebound Sunday against the Bengals (3-5) in Cincinnati after their 24-20 loss to the Steelers.
"I mean, that game is over," safety Antrel Rolle said Wednesday. "We're not talking about the Steelers. That's over and done with. We didn't stop the run and we didn't close out a game when we should have. Obviously, we're not happy with that performance and we must get better from it."
The Steelers rallied for two fourth-quarter touchdowns – one on a 51-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace on a short slant – as reserve running back Isaac Redman set career highs with 147 yards on 26 carries. His day included a 1-yard run for the winning score with 4:02 left in the fourth quarter.
But like the Steelers, the Bengals have a potent passing attack with an inconsistent rushing game. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who missed Wednesday's practice due to illness and does not have a 100-yard game this season, leads the Bengals with 487 yards and three touchdowns on 142 attempts (3.4 yards per carry).
Still, the Giants have concerns, especially with their defense ranked 25th in the NFL in allowing opponents 382.3 total yards per game. The Giants are ranked 19th against the run as they've allowed 118 yards per game.
On Monday, Coughlin specifically spoke about the middle of the defense when he said, "It was soft, no question. It was soft early."
But Coughlin also is wary of overcompensating for last week's deficiencies.
"You've got to be balanced," Coughlin said. "You've got to fight pressure. You've got to get off the blocks. You've got to fit properly. Sometimes the linebackers, if you extend the formations, have a couple of different things they're responsible for. So, yeah, there are things you can do. But you're rolling the dice when you do it."
Mostly, Coughlin is hoping a healthier front seven will harden the Giants' defense." Read more...