Landon Collins said he would have one question if he saw another squad in the NFL that had suspended two Pro Bowl players inside a month for violating team rules and whose season was essentially over before it reached the halfway point with a 1-6 record.
“That’s all you would ask: What’s going on?” the third-year safety said on Wednesday. “You’d be like: Something wild is going on or some people just have a lack of respect for the coach.”
So it is fair that the outside perception of the Giants right now — a team that finds itself in the sordid reality of the above hypothetical — is that of a franchise in disarray. A team in which the coach has lost control, the players have tuned him out and anarchy is the rule of the day. Collins, though, despite admitting to what his presumption would be from the outside, was one of many players inside the Giants’ locker room who insisted that is not the case.
“It’s not that,” Collins said. “It’s just bad luck right now, I would say.”
A day after Ben McAdoo suspended cornerback Janoris Jenkins for not only missing Monday’s practice when the team returned from its bye week but failing to communicate with the coaching staff regarding it, the Giants had to deal with the fallout from those two decisions.
Jenkins was called out by defensive captain Jonathan Casillas both on a phone call and through the media on Wednesday.
“You have to let someone know,” he said. “You have to have enough responsibility to let people know when you’re not going to be there. I think he could have handled it better and it would have been a better turnout.”
It was for two other Giants players who also missed Monday’s practice because of flight delays caused by weather. Eli Apple and Paul Perkins were not suspended for not reporting because, McAdoo said, they communicated with the team. Those two players were disciplined, but they will available to play on Sunday against the Rams.
Which leads to McAdoo’s decision to suspend Jenkins.
“It’s my responsibility to take action and when you have discipline that needs to be taken care of, you have to handle it,” he said. “If you don’t handle it, that’s a poor reflection. I think for the best of the program, the decision had to be made.”
This is the second time in a month that McAdoo has had to do that. In early October he suspended Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for one game after the cornerback left the facility after a discussion with him.
“That’s not something that going into the season I ever thought I’d have to do,” McAdoo said of the two suspensions. “But the decision was made and it had to be done.”
No one could condemn McAdoo for suspending Jenkins for going AWOL. Even Rodgers-Cromartie seemed to understand that.
“The people who got suspended need to take ownership,” he said. “There are consequences to everything you do. Whether you feel like you’re right or wrong, there are certain ways to handle things and if you do it the wrong way, you’ve got to pay for it.”
It was McAdoo who, on Monday, said that Jenkins (with Apple and Perkins) was excused for “personal reasons” even though no one in the organization had heard from him at that point. On Wednesday, McAdoo chalked that up to giving Jenkins the benefit of the doubt.
“Until I had all the information, I was going to err on the high side of trusting the player, protecting the player,” he said, adding that he did not regret doing so even though he eventually was burned by it.
That reaction left McAdoo with a credibility problem.
McAdoo’s problem stems not from his disciplining players, but from having to. Two accomplished veteran players so far have shown so little respect for him that they either left the team or didn’t bother to let him know when they would be late coming back to it.
McAdoo said he does not feel he has lost the respect of the team or the defensive backs. He called the suspensions “isolated incidents” and pointed to a “spirited” practice on Wednesday as evidence of the team remaining functional.
“When things aren’t going the way you want them to from a record standpoint, things get blown out of proportion at times,” he said.
On the record, the players stood behind McAdoo.
“He’s got my respect, everybody’s respect,” Apple said.
“He’s still the guy,” linebacker B.J. Goodson added.
Even Rodgers-Cromartie, in a strange way, insisted that the players support McAdoo. If they didn’t, he said, “it would be haywire, a lot of chaos.”
As opposed to whatever is happening to the Giants right now, apparently.