It is OK if you are disappointed today that Ben McAdoo is still head coach of the New York Giants, but no one should really be surprised. Giants fans should know by now that the team’s ownership likes continuity, is loyal to its people and doesn’t like to make quick, emotional decisions.
That doesn’t mean the Giants won’t eventually make sweeping changes. It just means they will do so with 16 games worth of information, not nine. As their Monday statement said, ownership “will evaluate the 2017 season in its entirety.”
So, for now we turn our attention to other matters.
About that “desire to finish”
McAdoo on Tuesday said the “desire to finish wasn’t consistent” when it came to making tackles. He was specifically asked about Janoris Jenkins and said “he was a part of it.”
Jenkins, one of the most physical and best-tackling corners in the league when he wants to be, had two obvious plays Sunday vs. the San Francisco 49ers when he simply chose not to make more than a token effort to tackle. There was also the awful sight of Eli Apple running himself out of bounds and away from the play instead of toward C.J. Beathard on the QB’s 11-yard touchdown run on Sunday, the second week in a row Apple has shown questionable “desire to finish.”
So, now what does the coach do about it?
On Monday, I wrote that Jenkins “should never play another down for the Giants.” In a perfect world, I still believe that. In a world ruled by talent and money, though, that probably isn’t realistic. Jenkins has a lot of the former and is still owed a lot of the latter on his five-year, $62.5 million contract. Jenkins carries a $13 million cap number next season, and the Giants would take a $6 million hit if they cut him.
McAdoo said Monday that “the players who are going to go out and do it the way we ask them to do it and do it on a consistent basis, they’re going to get a chance to play.”
If those are more than just words, and if McAdoo is serious about having any chance to keep his job past these final seven games, neither Jenkins nor Apple should be in the starting lineup on Sunday. It wouldn’t even bother me to see Jenkins inactive.
Let Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Ross Cockrell and Donte Deayon — the guys who do give effort consistently — play.
Searching for Jason Pierre-Paul
Jason Pierre-Paul hasn’t obviously refused to make plays he could have made the way Jenkins and Apple have. He just plain hasn’t made very many plays so far this season, and hasn’t given the Giants anything close to what they paid for when they handed him a four-year, $62 million contract with $40 million guaranteed this past offseason.
Pierre-Paul has had one dominant game and eight invisible ones thus far.
That’s not good enough. Maybe JPP needs to be sent a message, too. Perhaps standing on the sideline and watching young Avery Moss fly around the field would be a wake-up call.
Justin Pugh’s next contract
The Giants have offseason decisions to make on offensive linemen Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg. It’s unlikely that the Giants can find cap space to retain both. Because of the presence of Brett Jones as a cheaper option at center, combined with Pugh’s versatility I have advocated prioritizing the re-signing of Pugh.
Pugh’s back injury, though, has to give the Giants pause.
McAdoo said Monday that Pugh, in and out of the lineup in recent weeks because of his back, is “probably going to have to sit out a little bit.”
Pugh is a good player, not a great one. The fact that he can play guard or tackle, and is willing to move back-and-forth without complaint, is a huge asset. So is his locker room presence, where he is a stand-up guy, well-spoken and well-respected.
Before you give him big money, though, you have to seriously consider his injury history. Pugh, 27, has only played one full season — his rookie year of 2013. He missed two games in 2014 with a quad injury, two in 2015 with a concussion and five last season with a knee injury. Now, his back woes.
I would still like to see the Giants bring Pugh back, but the length, amount and structure of his contract have to reflect the games he continues to miss. Pat Traina of Inside Football suggested a per-game roster bonus. I would also be careful about the number of years in the deal. The Giants should at least structure the guaranteed money so they can get out of a deal sooner rather than later if Pugh’s injuries continue to mount.