EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Giants smell a "rat" or two in their locker room, and they seem determined to flush them out.
That was the general, on-the-record reaction to the two anonymous players who ripped head coach Ben McAdoo and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo in a published report on Wednesday. Several Giants players called their anonymous teammates "cowards".
And they absolutely want to find out who the leakers are.
"It sucks that something like that was said," said linebacker Jonathan Casillas. "Everything is supposed to be in-house and for something like that to be said is … I don't know, it's like a rat in the locker room. I feel like we've got a close-knit group, and I don't know how something like that could've been said. It's cowardly to do something like that."
"I'm curious who it is," added safety Landon Collins. "As a team, we know we still are behind Coach McAdoo and still are giving our full effort. For a guy to say that … We just want him to come forward and be a man. That's all."
Asked if he knew who it was, Collins said "We'll figure it out sooner or later."
There were actually a few clues to the players' identities in the ESPN report on Wednesday. Even Collins said they knew the complaints came from defensive players -- presumably based on the specific gripes about defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and his scheme. And one of the anonymous players talked about how different things were under Tom Coughlin, meaning he had to have been with the Giants since 2015.
Just how active the Giants' witch hunt will be remains to be seen. But every player who spoke on Thursday made it clear they were angry that a teammate would air their issues publicly and wouldn't even be brave enough to let the reporter use their name.
"Whoever was anonymous, whoever said it is a coward, flat out," said defensive tackle Damon Harrison. "I mean, if you're not man enough to put your name behind something that you feel because that hasn't been echoed to anybody in this locker room … I mean, we could have talked it out if you feel that way. It could have went differently.
"But point blank, whoever said that is a coward."
"All I'm going to say about the whole situation is: Put your name on your work," said offensive lineman Justin Pugh. "If you're going to say something, be a man. Put your name on it."
Aside from being angry that teammates lashed out publicly, the Giants players also took issue with many of the anonymous players' complaints. One big one they rejected was the idea that McAdoo has already lost control of his team.
"I mean, I don't understand why anybody would think that," Harrison said. "That's false."
Players also wondered why the anonymous Giants would complain about McAdoo's Saturday practice schedule and his penchant for fining players for violating rules - two things that nobody complained about (at least not publicly) when the Giants were going 11-5 last year.
"We had the same coach, same practice schedule, same everything last year," Pugh said. "It wasn't bothering anybody last year. It's just tough when you're not winning games. Everyone's got to point to something.
"In this business it's tough. When you're losing and things aren't going the way you want to, and maybe you personally aren't having the season you want, guys look for excuses. … So I could see where someone might be frustrated and wanting to say some things. But that's a losers' mentality, talking behind someone's back."
Clearly, the Giants players aren't going to stand for that happening again. And even though McAdoo said he won't be addressing this with the players, it seems the team leaders in his locker room will.
"That's something we're going to handle with the team itself," Pugh said. "Yes, we're going to fix it."