The New York Giants are in a bad place. Starting the season 0-4 is obviously not a wonderful thing, and tensions are rising in the team's clubhouse.
The annual "fire Tom Coughlin" chants have begun yet again — heck, they were around after the team's Week 2 loss to the Denver Broncos—but defensive end Justin Tuck is having absolutely none of it. In support of his head coach, Tuck proclaimed that anyone who turns on Coughlin risks a "punch in the mouth."
Strong words indeed, but Tuck's defense of Coughlin comes on the heels of Victor Cruz questioning his coach's decision to not go for it on fourth down and short late in the third quarter on their own 30-yard line. At the time, the Kansas City Chiefs and Giants were still playing a relatively close game, and going for it on fourth and short could have created a scoring drive.
Regardless, going for it is a huge risk. Failing is a realistic option for this year's Giants, as the running game as been non-existent. A fourth and one call from offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride would almost certainly be a run play, but Brandon Jacobs, David Wilson and Da'Rel Scott have all been terrible this season.
They have routinely been stopped behind the line for big losses, and giving the Chiefs great field position inside the Giants' 30-yard line would not have been optimal for success.
The Giants ended up losing 31-7 anyway and, even though hindsight is 20-20, going for it still wouldn't have been a good decision. Cruz's willingness to go for it is likely more of an expression of his confidence in Eli Manning rather than his distaste for Coughlin's decision-making, but it's worth noting that Cruz is the first player to publicly critique Coughlin's coaching since the days of Tiki Barber.
Cruz is going to be a Giant for the next several seasons, whereas Coughlin may not have too many seasons left. Their relationship should be fine moving forward. Tempers are flaring in the organization and people could be saying things they don't really mean. No team wants to start a season 0-4, but the Giants have gone 3-9 over their past 12 games dating back to last season.
Struggling is an understatement.
So, go ahead — claim that firing Coughlin is a good decision; insist that he should be canned; adamantly agree that Cruz was right and the team should have gone for it.
Tuck will be waiting at your door, ready to deliver one to the kisser.
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