Aug 3, 2014; Canton, OH, USA; Buffalo Bills receiver T.J. Graham (11) is defended by New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara (20) in the 2014 Hall of Fame game at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Giants 2014: Can Prince Amukamara Rise to the Occasion?

The Prince of New York

If you were sitting there wondering, “gee, I wonder what the punter thinks about Prince Amukamara, don’t worry — GMEN HQ has you covered.

Our own @AdamGaneles transcribed a few quotes from some WFAN interviews, and fortunate for us, Steve Weatherford‘s words were among the ones provided. With that in mind, how does Steve feel about the Prince of New York?

“Prince Amukamara I think has had the best offseason of anybody on our team. He has gone from being a talented player to a leader on our defense. And I think that was needed with the departure of Justin Tuck.”

While Steve is a popular figure in Giants Nation and a talented player himself, on the overall many don’t pay much service to the opinions of special teams stars. Men like Chris Kluwe see to that, or even guys like Mike Vanderjagt (side note: it’s been 11 years since Eli’s brother called him an “idiot kicker”). As a result — justified or not — players like Steve Weatherford have a tough road to climb when it comes to having a credible opinion towards players on defense.

With that in mind, how about a player like Antrel Rolle: 3X Pro Bowler, Super Bowl Champion, former top-10 pick; someone who boasts a name that lends some credence to NFL defensive evaluation. So tell us, Antrel… what’s the scoop on the Prince of New York, and please, how about some real talk about what he can improve on:

“I think Prince has the tools and the capability to become whoever he wants to be between those white lines, but it’s up to Prince to determine that. I think Prince has great coverage a lot of times, and I don’t feel like he goes up and attacks the ball at its highest point. And that’s something we’ve addressed here at practice.”

Antrel, what is the Prince of New York missing out on by not being more aggressive as a ball hawk:

“As a veteran, that’s something I’m going to stay on Prince about, because I told him, ‘every time you miss an opportunity, you’re missing millions’. You’re a CB. They want to see you make plays, not just be in the right position.”

GMEN HQ paraphrased for your pleasure

It’s extremely interesting to read those thoughts from Antrel Rolle, a player with over 700 NFL tackles on his resume. A lot of NFL players avoid answering questions that may call out another player. In this instance, Rolle is being a role model, it’s said in a motivational spirit and tone.

Not in the cut-throat, you suck at life and the game of football, TMZ style way that some will interpret that statement. The fact is that Prince Amukamara is a talented football player. He was a star at the University of Nebraska and now he’s attempting to be a star in a star-studded New York Giants secondary. The idea that the Prince of New York, Antrel Rolle and DRC (who apparently is “wowing” in camp) in the same unit is pretty special.

Is a GIANT idea

Of course, players on a team are generally going to be supportive of each other in the media, it’s just something that they do. With the Giants defense however, there is some real paper talent out there. In a FanSided.com feature recently, Bills receiver Sammy Watkins made this statement that they ran as a headline with this title, Sammy Watkins ‘can’t wait until I catch a ball and get hit’. Now, the reason Sammy can’t wait until he catches the ball… is because the Prince of New York would allow no such shenanigans in the Hall of Fame Game:

“I can’t wait until I catch a ball and get hit,” Watkins added.

He certainly seems to have the mentality of an NFL receiver, even if he doesn’t have an NFL reception yet. Watkins was targeted three times by quarterback EJ Manuel, but was unable to get to any of the passes. “Going against a great corner (Prince Amukamara), he kind of widened me,” Watkins said. “I’ve got to get a better release.”

So it’s not only defensive players giving Prince lip service, it’s the fourth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft saying basically, “I gotta get better, these guys are really good.”

More of that paraphrasing everyone loves, but the point is the New York Football Giants may have something special brewing in their secondary. While Prince Amukamara alone might not be the best CB in the NFL, the Jints are certainly attempting to feature a platoon of athletes in their defensive backfield that can make the best of the best from college potential insinuate his skills aren’t enough. That’s special.

This season, can Prince Amukamara rise to the occasion? An impossible question to answer looking into the future, but the Prince of New York is definitely in position to  have his best season on the gridiron. But like Antrel Rolle suggests:

It’s all up to Prince.

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Tags: Antrel Rolle Interview New York Giants Prince Amukamara

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