There’s a new sheriff in East Rutherford these days, a new man in charge of the New York Giants. But five games in, the new sheriff doesn’t seem like much of a sheriff at all.
Welcome to Ben McAdoo’s Giants, and welcome to what’s shaping up to be a lawless, wild chapter of Big Blue football. Because five weeks in, McAdoo, who talked such a good game back in January when he promised to have “a value system in place,” has shown that he values a chance to win far more than a need for even the slightest shred of discipline.
Five weeks in, McAdoo, in his first-ever stint as a head coach at any level, has let two of his finest young players embarrass the franchise, and the man who promised a team “committed to discipline and poise” back in January hasn’t done a single thing to make sure either player truly understood how to exercise discipline and self-control.
Instead, Ben McAdoo has enabled superstar receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and franchise left tackle Ereck Flowers, and in doing so, he’s sent a message to his entire team. The new coach has implicitly told these Giants that accountability and “Coughlin Time” are relics of a bygone era, that, on this team, winning is all that truly matters.
The era of the Giants as some “model franchise” with perfect decorum is gone. And we should have seen this coming back in training camp, when McAdoo, who had talked of not tolerating domestic violence after his hiring, was nothing but tolerant of troubled kicker Josh Brown when Brown’s domestic violence arrest from a year earlier came to light. Brown is still kicking for the Giants, and for Sheriff McAdoo, who speaks loudly of discipline but carries no heart to deliver it.
Even if McAdoo means otherwise, this is the lesson learned when he lets the ever-volatile Beckham stage a two-week three-ring circus, attacking a sideline kicking net in one ring, fighting Vikings corner Xavier Rhodes in the next and capping it all off with the whiniest of me-first postgame speeches about how the entire world is against him.
Sure, McAdoo initially labeled Beckham a “distraction,” but the words seemed meaningless since he defended the receiver just days later and left it to Roger Goodell to administer discipline via league fine. McAdoo, meanwhile, practically rewarded Beckham for his childishness, giving him a 60-minute pacifier of an Odell-centric game plan Sunday.
And just in case the rest of the Giants weren’t paying attention to McAdoo rocking big baby Beckham to bed, they’re now watching Flowers escape an even more dangerous loss of control with no tangible consequences.
On Sunday, Flowers shoved an ESPN reporter in the postgame locker room. Now, Flowers very likely just lost his temper slightly and didn’t mean any harm; he’s a good, quiet kid with no history of issues. But he still made physical contact with somebody away from the field of play.
Odell Beckham Jr. was practically awarded for his childishness.
Not that McAdoo seems to notice. Monday brought his usual tough talk, as he labeled Flowers’ behavior “unacceptable,” then said any discipline of Flowers would take place “behind closed doors.” He showed us all just how little those words meant Wednesday, when he answered a question about whether Flowers might be benched on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens by pointing out that the second-year man was still starting at left tackle in practice.
This is all McAdoo’s first impression as a head coach, and it’s an image of a substitute teacher with an entire class watching as he undoes the discipline
of the real teacher because he can’t (or doesn’t know how) to make or enforce rules.
McAdoo may not intend to project this image, because he learned from Tom Coughlin, that old disciplinarian who only softened in his final year, when he couldn’t yank Beckham from a game because his job was on the line. You can see the Coughlin influence on McAdoo, too, in how he takes responsibility for everything, how he tried to place the onus on himself for not getting Beckham the ball more after the Week 4 loss in Minnesota.
But McAdoo somehow doesn’t understand how to teach his stars to take responsibility for their own actions, and he’s swiftly emerging as a tough-talking enabler of players who lack self-control. Right now, he’s failed twice to take advantage of his opportunities to teach his team discipline and consequences, so it’s no wonder the Giants have committed an abominable 25 penalties in the last three weeks.
And it’s no wonder McAdoo’s talk of “strong leadership” back in January seems like nothing more than words.
He’s the new sheriff in East Rutherford. It’s time he started laying down his law.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News