Question Session with Aaron Rouse

The Giants claimed Aaron Rouse off waivers from Green Bay in Week 3, when Kenny Phillips went on injured reserve with patellofemoral arthritis in his left knee. After C.C. Brown struggled, especially defending the deep ball, the Giants replaced him in the starting lineup with Rouse in Week 9. Since then, Rouse has proved to be a vital plug at the position.

Coming off his best performance with the Giants, a 12-tackle outing against the Cowboys which included his first career sack, we caught up with Rouse to talk about his progression and his fresh start here in New Jersey.

Q: When you watched the game film from the Dallas game, how pleased were you with your performance?
A: I had a good game, but that's behind me. I want to build off of it and have a huge game this weekend. So my focus is on this week

Q: Can you take us through your first-quarter sack of Tony Romo?
A: Coach does a great job of building up nice pressures for us, and I got the opportunity out there, so I just had to hit home. I knew I was going to come free from practicing all week and just made the play.

Q: You also teamed up with DT Barry Cofield to stop Marion Barber for a loss of five yards. Is that a play that's fun to make?
A: Any play you make out there is fun to make. Playing this game, playing football for the Giants, in a city like this – what else could you ask for? I'm falling in love with this city, this team, and I'm trying to make the best of this opportunity that I have.

Q: Do you chalk up your experience this season – being waived by the Packers and claimed by the Giants – to the ups and downs of an NFL season?
A: I'm a young player; this is my third year in the league. Any time you go from a different team, you obviously try to think about things that have happened. But my main focus was to be optimistic. I know I'm a good player; I know I'm going to be a great player one day. When things happen, you just keep your head up and go forward.

Q: How comfortable are you in the defense now?
A: Obviously my play really shows how I started to get comfortable around here. You come into a team like this – a team with great leaders, a team that surrounds and plays hard for each other – I knew it was just a matter of time before I got on the same page with these guys. And I think my play has shown that.

Q: How long did it take you to get on the same page?
A: When you first get out there, you're obviously going to be doing a lot of thinking. But these last three weeks, you can see how comfortable I've been, and I think my play shows it. To me it's just about transitioning to a team that runs different schemes and different techniques. I just feel comfortable now, more comfortable in this defense. I realize the plays I'm supposed to make, and I make them.

Q: Are you able to play faster?
A: That's most definitely it. I think any time you're not thinking, it allows you to move your feet. Then you go out there and you're playing, you're playing off things you practiced all week, and you're not really thinking about the defense. It comes natural because you're used to it now.

Q: Do you keep up with what Green Bay is doing at all?
A: Not at all. My focus is here with the Giants; my focus is helping this team make it to the playoffs.

Q: With an Aaron Rouse and an Aaron Ross on the team, does it get confusing?
A: All the time. One guy thought I was Aaron Ross. I said, "No, I'm Rouse," and vice versa. They get us mixed up all the time. Ross came to me and said, "Hey this guy thought I was you." I was like "No, I'm 6-4." Even (safeties) Coach (David) Merritt, he gets tongue-tied sometimes. A lot of times coaches have been like "Aaron," and we'll both turn around. It gets confusing.

Q: You haven't seemed to have a lot of balls thrown your way. Coach Tom Coughlin said it's about being in the right spot. Is that how you see it?
A: I just think it's about respect. I normally don't have a lot of balls thrown my way. I don't know what it is; I just think it's a respect thing. Quarterbacks see a tall, athletic guy back there; they're not going to tend to throw that way. They tend to throw away from a 6-4 guy that can run and make plays on the ball.

Q: Why do you think you have fared well in pass coverage?
A: My ability to play the ball gives me an advantage there. I'm chasing the ball; I'm always chasing it.

Q: Was it a hard time for you personally when you were waived by the Packers?
A: As a young player, I had never experienced it. Going from Green Bay to the Giants in the middle of season, that was hard. At the same time, I have a great support system. My Mom, my Godfather, were there. And basically I just knew, being the good player I am, I was optimistic about everything. I was waiting for the opportunity to play for another team, and Mr. Reese brought me here.

Q: Did you worry you might not land with another team?
A: I just knew it was a matter of time. I knew I was going to be claimed; I knew I was too good of a player not to be claimed by a team. I was just waiting for my next opportunity, my next adventure, somewhere I can call home.

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