Big Blue Morning: Rolle's come a long way

September, 6, 2013
9/06/13
8:00
AM ET
Your daily morning check-in on news and notes about and of interest to the New York Giants:

The news of the day: There was a time when you had to wonder whether Antrel Rolle would last in New York, as his relationship with Tom Coughlin had some rocky times early. That Rolle was voted one of five team captains Thursday, Coughlin said, speaks volumes about what he's come to mean to the Giants as a player and one of their defensive leaders. Rolle's an interesting guy, sometimes prone to saying over-the-top and kind-of-silly things on his radio appearances or in group media interviews. But he's got that kind of easy confidence about him that rings genuine to teammates. He's shown versatility and a willingness to move in and out of different roles as the team has required. And when he talks, teammates listen. My sense is he drew a good bit from veteran Deon Grant when Grant was with the team in 2010 and 2011. Grant was the kind of guy who wasn't scared to say what was on his mind when he felt something needed to be said, and he was the kind of guy teammates took seriously.

Behind enemy lines: Sounds like a broken record, but the fact is the Dallas Cowboys just keep getting thinner on the defensive front. With starting defensive tackle Jay Ratliff already out and starting defensive end Anthony Spencer's chances of playing looking slimmer by the missed practice, reserve defensive tackle Ben Bass got hurt in practice Thursday. That could leave the Cowboys with only three defensive tackles, total, for the game. At a position where rotating players is vital, that's not enough. The Giants would do well to consider running the ball up the middle and wear down the few defensive tackles the Cowboys have.

Around the division: If you were wondering when Riley Cooper was going to get into a fight with a teammate in practice, the answer turned out to be Sept. 5. Cooper, who made headlines last month when he was caught on tape using an angry racial slur, scuffled with known hothead cornerback Cary Williams. Cooper says it was nothing, but to me it says more that Williams didn't want to talk about it. I think the Eagles are going to be a mess, but I thought that before this happened.

Around the league: Eli Manning's big brother threw for 462 yards and a league-record-tying seven touchdown passes Thursday night in the NFL's season opener against the team that had the No. 17 pass defense in the league last year and won the Super Bowl. The Giants had the No. 28 pass defense in the league last year and did not qualify for the playoffs. Peyton Manning and the Broncos will be at MetLife Stadium nine days from now to face the Giants. I'm not saying, I'm just saying.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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