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Locker Room Dissent

The Giants have a chance, although slim, to advance to face the Eagles for a third time.  While that would seem to be the story, this blog has been going down a path all week for different angles on the state of the Giants franchise.  All four authors here at this site see a glaring need for change.  On the surface, it would seem like more of the same to continue discussing the issue of coaching, yet here we are with Garafolo and Vacchiano reporting of whispers of dissent and finality in the locker room.     

We have heard all week of the media supporting the status quo from Lupica, King, Garafolo, Vaccaro, Prisco, Rhodes, Vacchiano, Valentine over at BBV and even Tiki Barber on Yahoo Sports.  Why are there so few voices questioning the underachievement and the status quo as unacceptable?

1) Where is the fight?  Antrel Rolle questioned his teammates when he reflected back on the Green Bay game with, “I felt like our attitude wasn’t the same.”  Rolle goes on to state “I’veseen us play dominant, tough football against many opponents this season, but it seems like when it was on the line against Philadelphia, we had that motivation, we had that drive for 3½ quarters.” But “in Green Bay, I didn’t see it at all. When you have opportunities to close a game out as we did and it seems like you come out flat, that’s just something you have to question.”  Didn’t we hear this after the Indy game when the team wasn’t playing with that “dog mentality“? Per his quotes from his interview with Joe and Evan after Indy,  “Things have to change.. if you want a winning team.  If you want a team that has a competitive attitude and to have that dog mentality, sometimes you have to let that team be a dog.”

2) Former Giants see the trouble.  Guys who we watched who play the game and whom we respected, openly questioned the heart of this team and where they are headed.  The great Harry Carson sees a team unable to get back up after ‘Twas the nightmare before Christmas.’  Carson states, “It’s very eerie. … It’s like they’ve fallen and they can’t get up.”  After watching the 45 point no contest Carson saw “Some guys who want it and some guys who didn’t want it quite as much.”  Roman Oben relates how he “has wondered out loud if Coughlin’s willingness to show a kinder side at owner John Mara’s urging after a near-player revolt in 2006 has perhaps started to backfire over time and removed the fear factor or edge the team is missing.”

3) Deja Blue 40 Part II.  Here we are in 2011 looking back at similarities to the the team in 2009 that clearly quit.  We witnessed multiple games where they gave up 40+ games in the 2009 season and recently this past Sunday in Green Bay.  Fewell questioned why his unit has lacked physicality.  Fewell wondered why his unit wasn’t “as physical as (he) thought it should be.” But per Berman of NJ.com “he does not have an answer for why the desired toughness disappeared.” 

4) LOCKER ROOM DISSENT. Both Garafolo and Vachianno hinted in their Friday posts of whispers of dissent within the locker room.  Garafolo provides this:

Still, I can’t help but read into what’s going on in that locker room this week. And it hasn’t just been what I’ve been sensing but also what I’ve been hearing. Some of the statements I’ve heard both on and off the record have been spoken with a kind of finality I didn’t expect. It’s not everyone, of course, but enough for me to wonder if a discouraged team needing help for the postseason will beat a Redskins team that’s playing fast, free and loose right now.

goes on to add his take with the temperature of the NYG locker room:

The room felt and sounded like what I’d expect on the day after the season. Too much talk of impending changes. Too much talk in the past tense. They sounded depressed, like they had already accepted their fate, like the season was already over. It was … sad. That’s probably the best way to describe it. Now, it’s a dangerous game to try and read the team’s psyche from short interview sessions.  And Tom Coughlin insisted they practiced well this week and with energy. But I can only tell you what I saw, and that wasn’t good. They looked like a Dead Team Walking. It felt exactly like it felt before their disastrous finish in Minnesota last year.
Does this sound like a team playing for their playoff lives and for their leader in Coughlin?

We have to remember that the reporters mentioned above need access to the organization as part of their livelihood.  They have to tread upon boundaries that shall not be crossed in order not to jeopardize their access to the “locker room,” coaches and the owners.  Garafolo, after admitting the above, goes on to state:

And while I doubt very much at this point there will be, or should be, a coaching change (you know my stance on the issue by now), I can’t help but wonder what a blowout loss would mean for the front office’s confidence in Coughlin. Not to mention for the players moving forward. It’s the job of a coach to get his players believing in the darkest of times. Coughlin’s team laid down in Minnesota last year; at least this time they have some hope. There’s no excuse to fall over again. 

Again, maybe I’m wrong in what I’m perceiving. And perhaps the tune will change in the locker room today. But, if I was in charge, I’d be livid at the tone right now and would be doing everything I could to change it.

It is somewhat amazing to watch as these beat reporters are obviously compromised between their access and their job.  They seemingly are talking out of both sides of their mouth.   Haven’t we seen these signs before?…like, last year?!

By the way, Vacchiano, with all his comments, picked the Giants.