The on-field product for the New York Giants has been poor this season. That’s not even debatable. They were out of playoff contention before the start of November. As if that wasn't enough, they’re becoming equally embarrassing with the drama off the field.
The Giants have suspended two cornerbacks in the past three weeks. That’s more suspensions in October than the Dallas Cowboys, who seemed to dominate the market from March to September.
Janoris Jenkins’ tardiness following the bye week is the latest stain on the Giants franchise. He was suspended indefinitely Tuesday for a violation of team rules after a no-show for Monday's practice without informing any of the team’s coaches. Just three weeks earlier, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was also suspended for a violation of teams rules.
“As a member of this team, there are standards and we have responsibilities and obligations,” coach Ben McAdoo said in a statement on Tuesday. “When we don’t fulfill those obligations, there are consequences. As I have said before, we do not like to handle our team discipline publicly. There are times when it is unavoidable, and this is one of those times.”
The Giants (1-6) under McAdoo are spiraling out of control. Their discipline is continually coming into question. They may be playing hard when they’re on the field, but there seems to be too much going on off of it for them to be a winning football team. It's creating an impression that nobody respects or listens to McAdoo.
Players who spoke to ESPN about the situation have offered up explanations ranging from some players not caring anymore now that the season is lost to a lack of overall respect for McAdoo and some of his coaching staff, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
McAdoo, meanwhile, is trying to rectify the situation, but it may be too late. He has suddenly turned into a disciplinarian midway through his second season. The damage may already have been done.
It’s all coming up messes for the Giants this year. Their coach can’t be happy this is happening on his watch. Their star player, Odell Beckham Jr., is injured and unhappy without a long-term contract. Ownership has to be uncomfortable that the fan base is vocally discouraged and irate.
The messes keep surfacing, and they are not new. They were there last year with Josh Brown, the walkie-talkie incident, Victor Cruz’s unhappiness and the boat trip. But the Giants were mostly able to camouflage them with victories. They won 11 games and ended a five-year playoff drought.
Not this time around. The season is lost and the fans are drifting. Eleven wins isn’t even mathematically possible and there seems to be a general lack of institutional control. That is the most concerning part of all. These are all red flags that will only irk the Maras and Tisches, and could ultimately cost general manager Jerry Reese and McAdoo their jobs.
Reese delivered a convoluted message (it’s my fault, but it’s also everyone else’s fault) to the fan base last week. McAdoo stood at the podium Monday and said the absences of Jenkins, running back Paul Perkins and cornerback Eli Apple were for personal reasons. They were all excused from practice.
But McAdoo hadn’t heard from Jenkins up to that point. He was caught in an awkward situation but ultimately didn’t tell the truth. Jenkins was not excused from practice.
This situation is just the latest example of the Giants’ overall dysfunction. They’ve already been offensively inept for much of the past two seasons and it was only several weeks back that McAdoo made a strange comment that people thought special teams weren’t important to the locker room. That thought never crossed the minds of anyone on the outside, but it made it to McAdoo’s public message. The problems may be deeper than originally thought.
At this point, the players don’t appear to be buying into the program. It is McAdoo’s job to get them all on board, and he has nine weeks to make it happen. It's Reese’s job to assemble the pieces in the locker room. Some of the questionable characters may be showing their true colors.
“One hundred percent we’re on the same page,” McAdoo said earlier in the week of his relationship with Reese. “We’re tied at the hip.”
Fine. They’re both responsible for this current mess.