Wednesday was yet another wacky day in this off the rails train wreck of a season for the New York Giants.
There was the ESPN report that an anonymous player said “(Coach Ben) McAdoo has lost this team.” There was an erroneous report from an overzealous young blogger that McAdoo was going to be fired. There was McAdoo, straining to project an optimistic tone, dredging up Frasier the lion again and saying “you may think I’m a little bit out there, but I believe we have a run in us.”
There were players dancing around the question of whether McAdoo’s message is being heeded. Asked about the coach’s message on Wednesday, Eli Apple peered up from his stool and said “what message?” Justin Pugh, asked about that message, didn’t talk about how players felt about the coach. Instead, he said “I think he’s got confidence in us.”
The only player who really came close to issuing a defense of McAdoo was safety Landon Collins.
“He makes a clear message. Makes it very strong messaging. We abide by it. We take it in and we take it to heart because we believe in everything that he says,” Collins said. “We’re not turning our backs towards him.”
Maybe Collins isn’t giving up on the coach, and anonymous quotes from a couple of players given to a friendly media source don’t make an all-out mutiny. It should go without saying, however, that it is brutally obvious there is a divide between the coach and at least a chunk of the locker room.
The performance on the field Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams speaks to that.
Asked for his message to the team, McAdoo was unusually expansive. Referring to prepared notes, he said:
“I talked to the team about getting back to our identity. Sound, smart and tough. Committed to discipline and poise. That’s something I haven’t been talking enough about and we got back to it. Talked to them about we’re disappointed where we are. We’re not discouraged with where we are. Everything is fixable. We have a lot of pride. We have a lot of fight in that room and they responded as well. We talked about doing simple better. We hit that before. We made it an increased emphasis this week. Coaches – asked the coaches to come up with a sound plan this week. Sound plan – doing simple better to teach and demand. Ask the players to study the plan. Prepare. Do a good job studying it. Prepare this week and be ready to go out and perform at a high level. Asked the Frasier’s in the group to lead. If they need me for any reason, I’m available to them. Asked the ‘IF’ players, the young players, to step up. It’s time for them to grow up and be men. You know, Sterling Shepard is a guy that comes to mind. Evan Engram. Dalvin Tomlinson. All played at a high level for us so far this year. Even Avery Moss last week. They’re young players who can step up and help us lead. Talked about let’s begin again. That was really the message for them. Don’t buy into the lies. The lies that your feelings are telling you. This thing is not about feelings. It’s a decision and let’s make the decision to begin again. We talked about, you know, you may think I’m a little bit out there, but I believe we have a run in us. I believe to the core we have a run in us. We have to be hungry. We have to get our football right. We have to be disciplined. Be where we’re supposed to be when we’re supposed to be there. Do it as well as we possibly can and do it all the time and it’s between our ears.”
Your eyes glaze over reading all of that?
I get it. He’s trying to be as upbeat as possible, but watch the video of the press conference and it seemed forced. Why go back to talking about Frasier the lion and the poem “IF,” stuff that went over the heads of his players the first time? If he wants the Giants to be “sound, smart and tough. Committed to discipline and poise,” what does the reality they are none of those things tell us?
McAdoo, trying for a fresh start, asked players to “begin again.”
Beginning Sunday, we will see if McAdoo got through to enough players to make a difference. It may, though, already be too late.