Ben McAdoo said Wednesday that he is not concerned about the perception he has lost the team and only “concerned about reality.”
But what this naïve Giants coach doesn’t understand is that perception is most certainly reality in the NFL when a 31-year-old veteran player walks out of the building on a 40-year-old coach and calls his treatment “BS.”
Perception also is reality that McAdoo on Wednesday intentionally omitted and would not clarify that his benching of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie this coming Sunday was the reason why the veteran corner had left the facility and the coach had suspended him.
McAdoo’s incomplete account made it necessary for a leak to clarify some details through a WFAN report and then required Rodgers-Cromartie to stand up for himself through ESPN and explain what had motivated him.
If McAdoo conveyed his displeasure to Rodgers-Cromartie as poorly and tersely as he did in the public announcement of it, it probably was B.S. It is the same tactic McAdoo uses when asked for his reasoning on an unsuccessful play call: he acts defensive, borderline insecure. It comes off terribly.
Even the Giants players who had McAdoo’s back on Wednesday weren’t foolish enough to try and convince anyone this should be interpreted more positively than the disaster it appears to be.
“I could see why it would look like that,” offensive lineman Justin Pugh told the Daily News of the outside perception that McAdoo has lost the team. “But everyone’s gonna look for a way to divide us right now. There’s gotta be some way, someone to point a finger at. So we’ve got to stay tighter than ever in here.”
The point is, though, players talk, more losses will breed more discontent, and this is only going to get worse, if that’s possible after the absolute circus that took place at Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Wednesday.
McAdoo’s bigger issue, too, is that this is far from just perception. The reality is a lot more appeared to happen behind the scenes after Sunday’s loss to the Chargers that we still don’t know about.
Specifically, look at the total debacle that was the Giants secondary off the field that afternoon. The NYPD, as they’ve been called, are more Lawless than Law & Order these days.
Eli Apple, obviously ticked at being scapegoated and benched for the first three series, told reporters after the game: “You lose games and it’s got to be someone else’s problem and they look around think, ‘OK, this is the problem.’ But it’s not just one guy – it’s the whole culture, it’s everything. We’ve got to fix it.”
Janoris Jenkins was seen by NJ.com’s Dan Duggan leaving the field with 40 seconds remaining on the game clock, an incident McAdoo acknowledged and said would be handled internally.
Now the Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie benching, suspension and argument with McAdoo has surfaced and there may be no turning back. A lengthy suspension could lead to Rodgers-Cromartie filing a grievance through the NFLPA.
McAdoo obviously was trying to maintain order by punishing Rodgers-Cromartie for allegedly walking out on a Friday recovery day and for taking out his frustrations on the sideline Sunday. But the coach has two problems here.
First, he would have let Odell Beckham Jr. dance naked in the end zone but he’s benching Rodgers-Cromartie before getting frustrated. Second, Rodgers-Cromartie is a well-respected and revered veteran presence on the Giants’ roster, and veterans are the keys to keeping or losing locker rooms.
Landon Collins stressed vehemently that this incident was not a reflection on the rest of the team souring on the head coach.
“No,” Collins said. “Not because one person left the team or because one person made a decision over what he felt between him and a coach. It’s between those two. It’s not because of the breakdown of the team and what’s gone on between this and an 0-5 start. It has nothing to do with that. It’s between him and Coach McAdoo.”
And yet, the reality is, the perception is what it is.