EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Ben McAdoo lied on Monday when he said cornerback Janoris Jenkins was excused from practice for "personal reasons," and there was no way to hide from that after suspending Jenkins for that absence one day later.
McAdoo had a reason for doing that, though. He thought he'd get away with it because he assumed Jenkins would have a good excuse for his absence.
He just assumed wrong.
Until I had all the information, I was going to err on the high side of trusting the player, protecting the player," McAdoo said.
McAdoo said he didn't regret trusting that Jenkins would come through, but that's hard to believe now that the facts have come out. Jenkins, as everyone now knows, not only didn't return from the Giants' bye week on time on Monday, he also never bothered to call the team to explain his absence. Cornerback Eli Apple and running back Paul Perkins both returned late, too, but they both said they called the team to make sure McAdoo knew about their travel problems.
Apple and Perkins were both still given an undisclosed punishment anyway. But neither of them ended up making their head coach look like a man who's lost control.
It wasn't just McAdoo's lie that has led to that perception, either. Jenkins is the second cornerback McAdoo has had to hit with an "indefinite" suspension for violating team rules in the last three weeks - something even most of his players admit is not exactly the norm in the NFL. And in addition to the suspensions handed out to Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, he also benched Apple for one quarter of one game, though he insisted it wasn't a benching even though Apple later confirmed that's exactly what it was.
The public punishments and the mixed message have added to a perception that McAdoo has lost his locker room, which has added to the misery of what is already an unhappy, 1-6 team.
McAdoo just doesn't see that way - or at least so he says. He called the Jenkins and DRC suspensions "isolated incidents," and then said he doesn't care if anyone outside of the organization thinks otherwise.
"I'm not concerned about perception. I'm concerned about reality," McAdoo said. "To turn your cheek to something that needs to be handled for disciplinary reasons because you're worried about perception isn't a smart thing to do. So I'm not concerned about perception."
As proof that perception and reality don't mix, McAdoo pointed to what he said was "a spirited practice" on Wednesday. He also insisted that Jenkins will be out of the doghouse as soon as his "indefinite" suspension is over.
When Janoris gets back, we'll welcome him back with open arms," McAdoo said. "There'll be no grudges and he's one of us."
That, of course, is what he said after DRC returned from his suspension following the Giants' big win in Denver. And then DRC learned he lost his job on defense and sat out most of the game the following week - a fact the corner said he understood to be a continuation of his punishment. So just how open McAdoo's arms will be when Jenkins returns remains to be seen.
For now, McAdoo remained mostly defiant. He said he addressed his players about the Jenkins suspension - something he failed to do for nearly a week after the DRC suspension which was an issue for some of his players. He did not seem to care that his credibility had taken a huge hit with the press and the public for his lie about Jenkins. "Again, until I have all the facts, I need to protect the players," he said.
Of course, he could have said nothing instead of making up facts, but that's something that wouldn't have been nearly as big a deal to most people if his team hadn't done so much losing this season. "I feel that 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.
That's often true. But McAdoo insisted that Jenkins' absence would've been exactly the same deal to him regardless of the Giants' record - and he said he made that very clear to his team.
"The standards are the standards," McAdoo said. "The win-loss record doesn't change it. Your feelings don't change it. Travel plans don't change it. The standards are the standards and they're going to stay high and we're going to hold each other accountable."