Ben McAdoo clearly is going to go down swinging.
If McAdoo’s head coaching career goes up in flames in the second half of this already disastrous season, he is clearly going to get fired his way — by sticking stubbornly to how he is operating the 1-6 Giants, by insisting that all is well when it is not, and by remaining arrogant and unapologetic about misleading the media and public.
The intent behind McAdoo’s Monday fib about Janoris Jenkins’ absence from practice was understandable. A coach needs to have his players’ backs first, especially when player support of that coach is in question.
“Until I had all the information, I was going to err on the high side of trusting the player, protecting the player,” McAdoo said Wednesday.
McAdoo, however, can’t be so removed from reality not to understand that there was a better way to handle that situation than lying that Jenkins was “excused for personal reasons,” when he in fact hadn’t even spoken with the man. And McAdoo also has to understand that when he stands there on Wednesday and makes no apology for his premeditated mistake, it is implicit that he most certainly would do it again.
And that strains trust in the coach and the credibility he desperately needs in just year two of his head coaching career at age 40.
Of course, McAdoo hopes he won’t have to repeat this song and dance, but then again, he admitted suspending two players in three weeks was “not something that going into the season I’d ever thought I’d have to do,” so who knows? Bad things usually hit in threes, anyway, right?
And McAdoo alluded to the fact that he is still not confident he controls the narrative of his team, as much as he desperately tries. When asked if he would discipline Eli Apple and Paul Perkins — who also missed Monday’s practice due to travel reasons but had called, unlike Jenkins, to alert the coach — McAdoo answered:
Giants coach Ben McAdoo still doesn’t seem confident he can control the narrative of his 1-6 team.
(Al Bello/Getty Images)
“We’ll handle all of those in-house unless we can’t.”
Sure enough, Apple later was asked if he was being disciplined and said: “Something like that.”
Now, say this for McAdoo’s indefinite suspension of Jenkins, which defensive captain Jonathan Casillas said is expected to only last one week: Whatever Jenkins did to earn it, it was bad enough that not a single Giants teammate came anywhere close to defending him on Wednesday.
Some actually went as far as using Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, suspended in Week 6 for walking out of the facility, as an example of a much less severe transgression than whatever Jenkins did. Casillas actually said “hopefully there’s no spill-over in emotions coming from (Jenkins) or Coach McAdoo next week” when the corner returns, so it sounds like there could have been a heated confrontation or exchange, even if by phone.
“He did break a team rule,” Casillas said of Jenkins. It ain’t like he didn’t do anything, or it ain’t like he was late. It was kind of, like, inexcusable.”
Strong safety Landon Collins defended McAdoo and flat-out said the head coach hasn’t lost the team and agreed with the coach’s comment that DRC and Jenkins are “isolated incidents.”
“We have not lost respect for him,” Collins said of McAdoo. “We continue growing with him and trying to be a great team and stay(ing) together, because our back is against the wall right now. We can’t fight against each other. If we fight against each other, things are definitely going to go bad.”
Casillas was more lukewarm but still supportive of Jenkins receiving consequences for his actions.
“Whether I support Ben McAdoo or not, he’s the head coach and I think he’s doing what he thinks is best for the team,” Casillas said. “And I want Jackrabbit to be here, everybody does, but he violated the team rule and coach had the call.”
McAdoo continued to find ways on Wednesday, though, to confound with contradictory or unintelligible rationalizations, including his argument for why he feels he hasn’t lost the defensive backs room: “We had a good day of practice,” he said.
Ben McAdoo and Eli Manning
(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
The coach then apparently forgot that his lack of in-game discipline for players like Ereck Flowers and Odell Beckham Jr. this past two years, contradicted with his harshness on the DBs, is a major reason why players have been acting out.
McAdoo actually said “when you have discipline that needs to be taken care of, you have to handle it” and “if you don’t handle it, that’s a poor reflection.” But when he was asked if he regretted not punishing other players last year and early this fall — and only instituting this disciplinary system in the middle of a spiraling season — he tersely responded: “No.”
Well he should regret it, because he helped create the mess he now is trying to clean up.
McAdoo still has on his side that a lot of the Giants’ roster is young and not established enough to mutiny. The players have played hard for him in this terrible year. And they all want and need their next win as badly as their coach (A 2- or 3- win season would look almost as bad on their resumes as it would on his).
But the first-place Rams (5-2) are coming, the Giants still have tons of starters injured, and their week-long story isn’t about hope for a victory coming off a bye but about their latest in-house dysfunction.
It is a reflection, first and foremost, on their leader.