While last year was the first time Antrel Rolle faced the 49ers in a Giants uniform, the safety knew plenty about the team by the Bay. Rolle saw them twice a year in his five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before leaving the NFC West to come to the Giants in 2010.
And based off his current team’s two bouts with the 49ers last season, Rolle has seen firsthand the improvements made under second-year head coach Jim Harbaugh.
“As we know, we’re definitely going to expect a game,” Rolle said Tuesday on WFAN. “I think those guys are playing great football on both sides of the ball – offensively and defensively. And they’re getting better week in and week out. They’re playing with a chip on their shoulder. Under Jim Harbaugh, I think he has that team with a different mentality. He has that team with a different mentality, and they go out there and they play very, very technique-sound football and it wins games for them.”
Bested in their regular season matchup, Rolle and the Giants evened the score against the 49ers in an NFC Championship for the ages. Rolle was asked what he remembers from the 20-17 overtime win in Candlestick Park last January.
“Just saying to myself ‘Thank God it’s over,’” he recalled. “That was one of the hardest fought games I have probably been in, in my career. It just seemed like it was a defensive war and neither defense was going to back down. It just came down to crucial turnovers, and thank God for our special teams that were able to get that because that defense of theirs wasn’t going to back down anytime soon. And we knew we weren’t going to back down no matter how many overtimes that we were going to go into.”
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