The Giants smell a rat. Two rats, at that.
Ben McAdoo’s players were ticked off Thursday about anonymous quotes from two separate Giants players who trashed both their head coach and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo the day prior. And they are narrowing their suspect search to corner the pests.
“The stuff that was said came out of the defensive side of the room,” strong safety Landon Collins said. “We just want him to come forward and be a man.”
Defensive captain Jonathan Casillas said he views the “cowardly” comments in an ESPN report as “lashing out against everybody” on the Giants, not just McAdoo, adding: “I don’t wanna play with” a player who isn’t “all in.”
The anonymous criticisms, amid paragraphs of quotes attributed to two different players, included that “McAdoo has lost this team,” that the coach is not a “leader,” and that players “are giving up on the season.”
“It sucks that something like that was said,” Casillas said. “Everything’s supposed to be in-house, and for something like that to be said is like, I don’t know, it’s like a rat or somebody in the locker room … I feel like we got a close-knit group and I don’t know how something like that could have been said, basically.”
“It wasn’t me,” Casillas added, raising his hand.
Even Damon Harrison, characteristically reluctant to discuss the story of the day, called out the players.
“Whoever said it, whoever was anonymous is a coward. Flat out,” Harrison said. “If you’re not man enough to put your name behind something that you feel because that hasn’t been echoed to anybody in this locker room. I mean, we could have talked it out if you feel that way. It could have went differently, but point blank, whoever said that is a coward.”
Spagnuolo, meanwhile, was taken aback when asked about one player quote that “Coach Spags has really just been panicking in the game” and making poor calls. He actually went as far to make the startling accusation that ESPN reporter Josina Anderson had manufactured the quotes.
“We don’t know — anonymous — we don’t know if it was made up,” Spagnuolo said. “We don’t know if it was actually said. Would that be true? So I’m not going to comment on it. Move on. Any football questions.”
Ben McAdoo says if players have problems, he has an open door policy.
(Al Bello/Getty Images)
Virtually every player approached in the locker room on Thursday defended McAdoo and expressed frustration with the anonymous quotes. The only unique situation was Eli Apple.
Apple was asked for his reaction to the anonymous quotes and he answered: “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about. We keep everything in house.” But then, when asked if players ripping McAdoo anonymously upset him, a public relations employee cut off the interview and said Apple no longer would be talking to the media.
Apple, when asked to confirm that, answered: “I’m not talking today. Rabbit got all my answers,” jokingly referring to teammate Janoris Jenkins. Apple had spoken to the media on Wednesday but that was before the ESPN report had been publicized widely, and there is no once-a-week policy for NFL players.
McAdoo also broke from his Thursday policy of answering questions through a team employee and met the media face-to-face and said he was not offended personally and didn’t know how to proceed until he found out who the players are that have these complaints.
“Well first things first, I have an open door policy,” McAdoo said. “So any player that has anything to say is welcome to come in the front door and talk. I had a couple conversations over the last couple weeks and I welcome those conversations. And the next thing is it’s pretty simple, it’s hard to help a player when they don’t put their name on a quote. So if they need some help, come see me, I’m the guy that can help ‘em.”
McAdoo understands that players will naturally feel the urge to “bitch” from time to time, but said there is a difference between complaining and bitching.
“Nobody one wants to be around a constant complainer,” McAdoo said. “That doesn’t help the team, that doesn’t help the chemistry, that doesn’t help anything get any better. But each player maybe you have a bitch. And if you’ve got a bitch, I can understand that, because if you don’t, I’m not doing it right.”
While the players in the locker room look continue to sniff out the rat, McAdoo acknowledged it could be from someone who is no longer on the active roster.
“Anonymous quotes can come from a lot of different places,” he said. “It may not come from the 53 (-man roster).”