The second-guessing may have started in the New York Giants locker room — a disheartening indication that the team's season could be slowly slipping away and the first sign of discord under Tom Coughlin's reign since the Tiki Barber years.
“Right now, we are as low as you can get,” defensive end Justin Tuck said after a lifeless 31-7 loss to the Chiefs Sunday.
The Giants’ first 0-4 start in a non-strike year since 1979 is not entirely Coughlin’s fault. He was given an aging roster with little depth by general manager Jerry Reese and the Giants have endured a debilitating number of injuries. Reese is as much to blame as Coughlin —maybe more.
And, outside of Victor Cruz publicly questioning Coughlin's fourth-down call against the Chiefs, the team has not turned on Coughlin outright — yet.
One Giant who says speaking up against Coughlin is akin to fighting words is Tuck
“If anyone turns on our coach, I would be the first one to punch him in the mouth,” Justin Tuck told the N.Y. Daily News. “And put that in print. It better not happen, I know that.”
The play in question was a third-and-17 from the Giants 14. Eli Manning connected with Cruz for what initially was ruled a first down. Andy Reid challenged the spot and after the review the officials placed the ball at the 30-and-a-half yard line. Cruz needed to get to the 31. Coughlin made the right decision punting down by just three deep in his own end. Imagine the second-guessing if he had gone for it and missed and the Chiefs quickly traveled the short field for a touchdown.
Tuck admitted on the sideline, “Every defensive player wanted him to go for it. That is why we probably will never be coaches. That would have been a stupid move. Even if you get it, it would still be a stupid move.”
Cruz, who had scored on a 69-yard TD pass from Manning in the second quarter, claims he wasn't second-guessing Coughlin's call — only saying he wanted to stay on the field.
“I thought we should have gone for it on that fourth down,” Cruz said. “It’s coach’s call at the end of the day.”
From their own 30 down three?
“If it was me? Yes. Because we had the momentum,” Cruz said. “I felt it was a yard, not even a yard, half a yard, we’ve got to take a risk at some point and make something happen.”
If the Giants lose against the Eagles Sunday, some thing is bound to happen.