Excerpt: "Antrel Rolle considers himself to be a Pro Bowl player, but for the past two years the rest of the NFL did not. He says he is going to change that perception.
“Absolutely, there’s no doubt about it,’’ Rolle said recently.
There is no talk from Rolle about a return to form, a return to health or a return to the lineup. In his three years with the Giants, Rolle always has been there, starting all 52 games (counting the postseason) but his impact seemingly has ebbed and flowed with the rise and fall of the entire Giants defense. He is an every-down player, never coming off the field, but as the point-prevention operation sagged and clunked through a historically bad season last year, Rolle often appeared to blend into the badness.
Rolle never will evaluate his performance by such pedestrian standards.“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.’’
It no longer is a dirty little secret within the Giants defense that Rolle rarely plays his natural position, which is free safety. It is not a sign of decline that Rolle has just five interceptions in his three seasons with the Giants after amassing 10 interceptions in his previous three years with the Cardinals. With the Giants too often a man down at cornerback, Rolle has been asked — actually told — that for the greater good of the defense, he must spend far too much time playing nickel cornerback, perhaps the most demanding spot in the entire secondary. Rolle can do it, but not at the heightened level he reaches when allowed to roam at deep safety." Read more...