Giants back from bye looking for ways to salvage season
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — After telling his players to forget about a dreadful first seven games of the season, New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo is heeding his own advice and ignoring comments by general manager Jerry Reese that his team got caught up in the preseason hype and hasn’t played hungry.
McAdoo refused on Monday to get drawn into a tiff with Reese as the team returned from its bye week and faced the final nine games of the season with a 1-6 record.
While accepting the blame for the team’s performance, Reese also had shared the blame with his second-year coach last week.
It’s the coach’s job to have the team ready to play and Reese said the record shows they were not ready despite having a shot at winning almost every game.
“Everything falls on my shoulders,” McAdoo said after putting the team through a short workout to start preparations for Sunday’s game at home against the Los Angeles Rams (5-2).
McAdoo said that it just wasn’t one problem that was responsible for the start. There was an injury to star receiver Odell Beckham Jr., struggles on the offense line and a defense that didn’t close out games as it did in leading the team to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth.
“In this business, it’s tough to win,” McAdoo said. “But, it’s also tough to be in a situation we’re in and one thing doesn’t point to winning and losing games.
“Just like each and every game, there are a variety of things that happen in a game that puts you on a path to either winning or losing the ballgame and the same can be said for a season.”
McAdoo said that he talks to Reese every day, the two have a great relationship and they are 100 percent on the same page.
Still, the 40-year-old McAdoo knows he is on the hot seat, along with Reese.
“Each and every day in this business, you have to prove yourself and when I come in, I come to work. I’m blessed to be here,” McAdoo said.
“It’s a great opportunity. I don’t think that way. I’m doing everything I can to help these players put a winning product on the field on Sunday.”
McAdoo told his players “to flush” the first seven games and focus on the next nine games one at a time.
Right tackle Justin Pugh, who has been battling a balky back in recent games, hopes the team can rebound.
“We’re going to find out,” Pugh said. “We’re going to find out what the character of the men in this room is made of and it’s going to start this Sunday.”
Linebacker and defensive captain Jonathan Casillas used the bye week to rest his neck and go to the barber. He feels better and he hopes the defense can be more consistent in the second half of the season.
“I don’t think a good team can sit there and say almost halfway through the season they have one win,” Casillas said.
“We do have a lot of games left and that’s always a positive thing when the ship didn’t start the way you wanted to go, you can always correct it and I feel like we still have a chance to do that.”
The Giants should get some reinforcements next week. Casillas, wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle) and backup linebacker Calvin Munson (leg) should play this weekend.
Defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle) and center Weston Richburg (concussion) are a little more uncertain, but they are getting closer to playing.
Besides getting players back, the Giants need to make a few more big plays when the game is on the line.
“If we could tell you, we wouldn’t be in the position right now,” Vernon said of the lack of big plays.
“It was just, I guess, lack of communication and it’s on us as a defense to get that right. We’ve just been trying to work on it, getting better as far as communicating where guys need to be at and it’s just a process. We’ve got to keep progressing each and every day and each and every week.”
Running back Shane Vereen blamed the start on the team failing to play to its ability and the mindset of the team not being where it should have been.
“I don’t think it was in a negative place and it wasn’t in a bad place,” Vereen said. “The effort has never left this locker room. I still think that everyone is striving, still trying to get back and still working.”
NOTES: CB Eli Apple, CB Janoris Jenkins and RB Paul Perkins were excused from Monday’s workout. They are expected to practice Wednesday. ... The NFL trading deadline is Tuesday. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who was suspended for the Denver game on Nov. 15, doesn’t expect to be traded. Neither does Casillas, despite hints that the Patriots are interested in reacquiring him.