On Monday, former New York Giants linebacker Carl Banks spoke out against his old squad on WFAN New York. While he expressed the obvious point that the game was “truly a disaster”, his thoughts on the Giants’ lack of emotion are intriguing.
When asked how the Giants could not show emotion in a game that could decide their season, Banks told WFAN, “Well they don’t like themselves. They don’t like each other. That’s what it really comes down to … They’re not willing to fight for each other.” Based on the body language and the lack of effort by the Giants, Banks might be right.
After Cam Newton threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to give his team a 17-0 lead with 12 seconds left in the first half, the Giants started the third quarter looking as if they had been punched in the mouth. The pressure continued to mount on Eli Manning, which forced him to throw an interception on the Giants’ first possession of the second half.
The Giants’ defense was nowhere to be seen after they did their best to keep their team in the game through the first two quarters. Yet, some of the most disturbing moments of the game relates directly to what Banks was suggesting during his interview. No one on the Giants bench was trying to rally the troops. With the exception of Manning talking to Kevin Gilbride, none of the players on offense were seen in a huddle attempting to solve the problems.
At certain points of the second half, the defensive unit for the Giants appeared to not even be able to look at each other. Even when the Giants made a rare good play, there were no congratulatory remarks between the players on the field.
While Banks and the rest of us could have witnessed a team that was just emotionally drained due to the beat down they were receiving from the Panthers, the Giants’ postgame reactions also suggests that there are tensions within the locker room.
After the nightmare concluded for the Giants, Hakeem Nicks, who was only targeted once by Manning, said to a reporter “I can’t throw it to myself.” When Justin Tuck was asked what was going on with his team, he said, “I’m looking for answers. I know for one thing, we aren’t playing together.” After Mondays practice, Manning said “the only way we are going to win is if we come together as a team and play well as a team.”
Based on these comments, it’s apparent that both the leaders and role players are not on the same page.
Finally, since Banks is also the color commentator for the Giants’ radio network he should be keeping his opinions to himself. As a former sports broadcaster, I know from personal experience that it’s not wise to publicly criticize your own team. Yet, the fact that he shouldn’t have said anything doesn’t make him wrong. Though it seems unlikely that the Giants hate each other, there is definitely tension within the locker room.
It appears that it might take some inspiring words from Tom Coughlin to force the Giants to rise above their personal issues and start playing the game the right way.