A day after two Giants were quoted anonymously in an ESPN report saying that Ben McAdoo had lost the team and that players have quit on him, some of the most prominent names on the roster disputed the idea.
“I don’t understand why anybody would think coach McAdoo has lost the locker room,” defensive tackle Damon Harrison said Thursday. “That’s false.”
Added cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: “I still see guys practicing hard, paying attention, taking notes in meetings. If you lose the locker room, you ain’t gonna do that. I was in a similar situation down in Philly [in 2011]. It was tough times down there. I definitely don’t feel like the locker room is lost.”
Said linebacker and defensive captain Jonathan Casillas: “For something like that to be said is like, I don’t know, it’s like a rat or somebody in the locker room.”
McAdoo usually does not talk to the media on Thursdays, but he broke with his schedule to answer questions related to this latest crisis. He said he did not talk about the report with the team.
“What report? Anonymous quotes?” he asked. “I don’t know who to address it with. There’s no name on the quote, so to me, there’s nothing to address. Let’s get some names on the quotes and I’ll find out who I need to help and then I’ll help him.”
McAdoo stressed that he has an open-door policy and noted that he has had conversations with several players during the last few weeks regarding their dissatisfaction on any number of topics. The Giants are 1-7 and coming off a 51-17 loss at home to the Rams.
That the quotes were anonymous seemed to rankle the players more than their content.
“Whoever said it is a coward,” Harrison said. “Flat out . . . 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.”
“Put your name on your work, man,” offensive lineman Justin Pugh said. “If you’re gonna say something, don’t be scared. If you want to say something, don’t go behind closed doors. That’s how I feel about it. If I’m gonna talk the talk about someone, I’m gonna say it to their face. I’m not gonna go behind back channels and say it.”
The report left some players acting as amateur sleuths.
“We’re all curious to know,” safety Landon Collins said. “The stuff that was said came from the defensive room, so we kind of pinpointed what room it came out of. Just asking the guy to come forward . . . We’ll figure it out sooner or later.”
McAdoo said it could have been anyone.
“Anonymous quotes can come from a lot of different places,” he said. “It may not come from the 53 [man roster]. I’m not doubting [the report]. I’m saying I don’t know who it’s coming from. If I know who it’s coming from, I can address it.”
It clearly came from at least two people. Maybe players who were on the field in the loss to the Rams. Maybe players who will be on the field this week against the 49ers, who are 0-9.
Maybe more feel the same way.
“It’s just two people,” Collins said. “That doesn’t bother us.”
For now, the report seems to have united the majority of the Giants’ locker room rather than shredded it. Sunday against the 49ers will be the big test of that newfound unity.
“You go out there and get embarrassed again, something ain’t right,” Rodgers-Cromartie said of the upcoming game. “Then you start asking questions about where are we here mentally. When something like that happens, man, if we don’t go out and fly around and fight, then there’s something wrong.
“Everybody who is out there on the field with me, the other 10 guys, they have to be all in,” Casillas said. “If one of those guys in this locker room ain’t all in, then I don’t want to play with him.”