NFL Team Report - New York Giants - INSIDE SLANT

If any member of the current New York Giants team has his finger squarely on the pulse of the team, it is safety Antrel Rolle.

Rolle, a defensive co-captain and a member of head coach Tom Coughlin's team leadership council, recognized after the Giants' first two games that his teammates were too wound up.

"I felt like we weren't playing relaxed," Rolle said in calling the players-only meeting last week. "I felt like we were just trying to do too much as a team.

"This week was just about relaxing. Just taking your mind away from the game a little bit. We know how to do this. We have been doing this for a long time. Just go out there and play relaxed. Play your assignment, play your technique and get the win at all costs. That's basically what it was about," he added.

So Rolle, who called a players-only meeting last week, took the players feedback to Coughlin regarding ways to help lessen some of the tension.

Coughlin listened and yielded, if just slightly. One of the changes made by Coughlin was to allow an eclectic selection of music to be played during the team's pre-practice warmups last Friday.

"I think it was great," Rolle said. "It was something that definitely lifted the team's spirits a little bit," Rolle said.

"Sometimes change is always good. It was good. Hopefully we have some more music on Friday because it seemed to work."

Coughlin, who did something similar during the 2007 season, the year the Giants won their first Super Bowl under his watch, has always been regimented in how he conducts practices.

"When you're in a position that we were in with two losses and the world around our neck, I want to demonstrate always that we're all in it together and we do stick together regardless of the circumstances, we are about team, we are about being there for each other, and I want that message to be there very strongly," the coach said.

That's why he agreed to allow music to be played during a part of Friday's practice.

"It was meant to send a signal to them that I still believed in them and I wanted them to focus on what had to be corrected and accomplish rather than something else," he said.

"Keeping it positive was very important, keeping it in terms of we wanted outstanding work, we wanted guys to relax and show us the kind of football players they really were, to demonstrate their ability to play together as one, to perform with the athleticism they had but we hadn't seen a lot of."

His faith in his players worked, as they put together their best showing to date this season in Sunday's 30-17 win over the Texans.

"I saw a huge difference (Sunday)," Rolle said of his teammates' play. "I think it all started in practice. I think we grew closer as a team this week. The coaching staff and Coach Coughlin did a great job of keeping us together doing little things that will get us over the top. So we definitely have to thank him for that.

"That was my message to the team. If coach takes care of you and he throws you a bone, you make sure you go out and you play your butt off for him."


NFL Team Report - New York Giants - NOTES, QUOTES