A pair of New York Giants defensive player who went unused in Sunday’s 20-20 tie with the Washington Commanders went to social media in the hours after the game to express their displeasure.
Crowder, a third-year linebacker who played all of his 26 snaps on special teams, tweeted “Free Me” almost immediately after the game.
Williams, a second-year cornerback tweeted “Ima jus sleep this off Bcus this can’t be real rn’’, adding a broken heart emoji. He followed that by tweeting in response to sympathetic fans “I’m trying stay afloat it’s hard no lie I jus swallowed the hardest pill of my life!’’
Head coach Brian Daboll said Monday that he would keep any discussions with those players private.
Let’s talk a little bit about both players.
Williams, finally recovered from a 2021 torn ACL, made his season debut Week 11 against the Detroit Lions. He played 50 snaps against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day in place of the injured Fabian Moreau, and was productive. Williams had an interception and a pair of passes defensed in 50 defensive snaps. He did not give up any completions while officially being targeted twice.
With Moreau back in the lineup, the Giants preferring Nick McCloud on the outside, Williams did not see the field against the Commanders. Williams was apparently not considered an option in the slot, where undrafted rookie Zyon Gilbert debuted and played 56 snaps.
“Each week, we sit down, we talk – the defensive guys and I, and we figure out who we think we want in there for that particular week,” Daboll said. “The guys that were in there this week were the guys we wanted in there.”
I am a bit surprised Williams did not see at least some action. Still, in my view he is a second-year player with little to gripe about. The sixth-round pick did not play well in five games as a rookie last year, and he had one productive game after not practicing for a new coaching staff for half the season.
Going public to complain was not, in my view, a smart move.
As for Crowder, his complaint falls on deaf ears.
Crowder is a good guy and has played more than he should have for 2½ years as the final player selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. He has tried hard and done the best he can do, but in truth he really has not played all that well. He has been playing so much, six starts as a rookie, all 17 games last year and eight games this year — because the Giants really haven’t had a better option.
If rookie sixth-round pick Darrian Beavers had not torn an ACL in training camp, Crowder’s playing time likely would have dwindled sooner. Fact is, while it still isn’t great, the Giants like the play of Jaylon Smith and Micah McFadden better.
Crowder has had a 2½-year opportunity. He has proven in that time that he should not be a starting linebacker in the NFL.
He no longer is. That’s the nature of the profession.