The Giants don't like change. They prefer stability and patience. They prefer to give their plans a chance to work.
But they also really don't like chaos. And that's the one thing that will truly test their patience with Ben McAdoo and could end up pushing the coach straight out the door.
That may seem crazy just 17 games into his head coaching career, but McAdoo is suddenly on very shaky ground just one year after he led the Giants back to the postseason and to an 11-5 record. His job should be in no jeopardy at all just one-third of the way through Year 2, even though the Giants are 0-5 and headed towards at least 0-7.
But it's an ugly 0-5 with subtle signs of unhappiness among his players, plenty of signs of dysfunction, and now a full-blown crisis that resulted in the suspension of cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. And there are still 11 games left for an increasingly cranky McAdoo to endure with a dangerously disappointed group of players who may soon be going through the motions.
It's a mess already, with the potential to get exponentially worse. And that could absolutely lead to Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch making the fastest coaching change the organization has had since Ray Handley was fired after just two seasons in 1992.
Forget the awful on-field product for a moment, and the complete disintegration of what was once a vaunted offense (before all of the Giants receivers got hurt). And forget for a second that this team truly believed it was a Super Bowl contender, and many on the outside agreed. Mara and Tisch weren't going to fire McAdoo for a bad season, not so soon after a wildly successful one.
But they will have to consider it when the perception is that they have an organization in chaos. They'll have to consider it because of all this:
- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie apparently left the field in the second half of the Giants' loss to the Chargers on Sunday, apparently upset with how (and possibly how often) he was being used in the game, according to multiple sources. McAdoo was upset enough with that, that on Tuesday he told DRC that he would not play this Sunday night in Denver, which then caused DRC to abruptly leave the Giants' facility on Wednesday morning - hence his suspension. The fact that three days later McAdoo still couldn't calm DRC down and smooth the situation over is really damning.
- On Wednesday, after McAdoo refused to say almost anything about the DRC suspension, safety Landon Collins gave the media a virtual play-by-play. Details on things like this are usually hard to come by, especially if a coach wants to keep them quiet. Collins clearly didn't care and preferred to stand by his teammate instead.
- In that same game, second-year CB Eli Apple was benched for the first three series and he didn't seem to know why. He said the message he got from the coaching staff was "weird" and he admitted he wasn't happy being scapegoated for the Giants problems. He also wasn't shy about saying that. "You lose games and it's got to be someone else's problem, so they look around and think, 'OK, this is the problem,'" Apple said. "But it's not just one guy, it's the whole culture." Wow.
- McAdoo was already under fire for an offense that has become predictable and lackluster as he stubbornly refused to give up the play-calling duties. But then Odell Beckham, Jr. threw him under the bus when he revealed that Tampa Bay Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves said the Bucs defense knew what routes the Giants receivers were running.
- All season long, McAdoo has done his best to avoid directly criticizing his players -- most of them, anyway. He has gone hard after franchise quarterback Eli Manning at times, including his infamous post-game press conference after the Week 2 loss to the Lions when he blamed "sloppy quarterback play" for a key delay of game penalty. McAdoo only later admitted he could've sent the play in faster. Meanwhile, he has rarely singled out struggling players -- like left tackle Ereck Flowers -- by name.
- After the loss in Tampa two weeks ago, several Giants players -- Jason Pierre-Paul, B.J. Goodson, even punter Brad Wing and kicker Aldrick Rosas -- refused to speak to the media, showing a startling lack of accountability and leadership. The Giants post-game locker room clears out fast, and will only get worse as the losses mount. That's something the coach could definitely stop.
Throw in McAdoo's own crankiness with the media and his stubborn refusal to answer even some of the most basic questions, and it all paints a picture that the owners are not going to like.
Things weren't always smooth last season -- McAdoo was just as cranky at times, the Josh Brown mess hovered over the first part of the season, and there was that ill-timed party-boat trip to Miami right before the playoffs began. But in the NFL, bosses are willing to endure a lot when they're in the playoffs and basking in the glow of 11-5.
But at 0-5 and fading fast? It's going to be hard for Mara and Tisch to be patient, especially if the ride downhill gets even bumpier. And remember, the bigger context is that they know they likely have only two more years left with Manning as their franchise quarterback. They are trying to make one more championship run before he's done.
If they sense that the chaos will ruin their chances to do that, they will have to consider making a change. And honestly, at this point, it probably is already being considered. They will wait, because they always do. They don't believe in making coaching changes during the season.
But at the end of the season? McAdoo better get control of this team quickly, otherwise he'll learn that his bosses can only be pushed so far.