EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- From the outside, it sure appears that coach Ben McAdoo has lost the New York Giants' locker room. There aren’t any other teams that have suspended two key veterans in three weeks for insubordination. There aren't any other teams struggling to win games and follow simple rules, such as showing up to work when it's expected.
McAdoo suspended cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie before a Week 6 victory over the Denver Broncos. He suspended cornerback Janoris Jenkins for not returning to the team on time following the bye week and failing to inform the team on why he missed Monday’s practice.
It’s all a poor reflection on the coach, who said he never expected to have to suspend two players and admitted earlier in the week that “everything falls on my shoulders.” These two situations undoubtedly fall into that category.
The Giants still publicly insist he hasn’t lost the locker room. They remained adamant Wednesday that players still respect McAdoo despite Rodgers-Cromartie and Jenkins showing disrespect to their coach and his program by a) walking out of a team meeting; and b) not showing up for practice.
Here’s why the players maintain the respect is still there:
Long snapper Zak DeOssie (team captain):
“That might be the perception outside of the locker room [that there is a lack of respect for McAdoo], but it’s not inside here.
“If a guy doesn’t show up for work for whatever reason, those are the rules. Coach is doing his job to coach the team to the best of his ability. When guys don’t show up, you take on that risk. Unfortunately he’s not here. He’s a grown man and he has his reasons. We’ll miss him this week. At the same time, it is what it is.”
So why is all this happening under McAdoo? Would it be occurring under, say, former Giants coach Tom Coughlin?
“It has happened before. [Former Giants wide receiver] Plaxico [Burress] had his issues back in the day. We were rolling in 2008 and Coach Coughlin had to make the hard decision of suspending Plaxico, so yeah, it’s all about consistency here. That is what [McAdoo] is trying to do.
“Those are the rules.”
QB Eli Manning (team captain)
“Guys understand there are rules. You have to follow them and we have to handle our business.
"No. I don’t think that’s the case [that there is a lack of respect for McAdoo]. I don’t think it’s a deal on purpose trying to break rules or trying to do anything. I think it’s just some unfortunate events."
LB Jonathan Casillas (team captain)
“That’s taking it personal [to think it’s a lack of respect toward McAdoo]. He did a business decision. I don’t think it was a personal decision for him. I don’t think he took it personal.”
But why is it happening to McAdoo? You don’t see players failing to showing up for practice in New England with Bill Belichick as coach.
“You just don’t hear about it. That’s the difference," Casillas said. "I played in New England. There are guys late. Marquee guys late. I was late one time. It doesn’t get out. Here, something happens like this, “Oh my god. What is going on with Jackrabbit [Jenkins]? Is it a crisis? Do they respect him? Do the players in the locker room get along?’
“It’s really not that big a deal. Everybody in here is getting along. DRC is back. We’re happy that he’s back. Jackrabbit will be back next week. Hopefully there is no spillover in emotions coming from him or Coach McAdoo next week and we’ll be fine. Hopefully we get another win.”
“Nah, he hasn’t lost the team. We all still respect Coach McAdoo. The suspensions are two different things.
“Guys are still coming to meetings on time. They’re still understanding his message towards the team and what he’s trying to do. I would say he still has the respect. When you see guys not wearing team stuff properly or not being where they are supposed to be, then that is being disrespectful. That is when you lost the team. Guys are not doing that.”
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
“Nah. You can’t say that. If that were the case it would be haywire, a lot of chaos. I think guys show up to work every day with the same energy with the same mindset to come out and compete. It’s definitely not a lack of respect.”
“I don’t think that is true at all [that there is a lack of respect for McAdoo]. I don’t feel that is the case. If guys do something wrong, it doesn’t mean it’s because they don’t respect McAdoo. It’s on them. It’s not a vibe or a culture that we don’t respect the head coach, the guys above him or anything like that.”