When the Giants were in a losing skid last season, one thing they did well was avoid the blame game.
This season, it took one loss for the team to start pointing fingers. After spending much of the week talking generally about the need to step up and play like a team worthy of defending its Super Bowl title, defensive end Justin Tuck has decided to go in a different direction.
He spoke to Mike Garafolo of USA Today about which players are really hurting the team right now. According to Tuck, the younger players are responsible for what went down against the Cowboys.
"Definitely. I think they just don't understand the sense of urgency and professionalism that's needed in this locker room," Tuck said. "And I'm not saying that's a bad thing. They're young and they don't get it yet. They all have the best intentions at heart. But it's going to take little incentives from some of our veteran guys to help them along."
Given the videos we've already seen of the way Giants veterans motivate the younger set, the greener members of the team should probably make sure their wills are in order. And given what we saw from the veteran members of the team against the Cowboys, Tuck just might want to shut his mouth.
Tuck and Osi Umenyiora were completely invisible against a mediocre Cowboys offensive line that could barely go three plays without a false start. David Diehl did his best Wayne Hunter impersonation at right tackle and the rest of the offensive line wasn't too much better.
Corey Webster had jam spread all over him at the end of the game because he was toasted so often by Cowboys receivers, and Victor Cruz dropped three passes because his head was starting to write the appendix to the memoir he decided to write after his first NFL season. The only real mistake by one of the guys who wouldn't know the Giants way that Tuck is preaching was David Wilson's fumble, which was as immaterial to the final score as it was unfortunate.
That's a lot to lay on the shoulders of a group of players that had very little to do with the outcome of the game, and it's a pretty odd way to express leadership from one of the team's captains. If this is something that needs to go on in the locker room or on the practice field, go right ahead and do it.
To make those players public scapegoats for a bad start isn't just being a bad teammate trying to cover up his own flawed performance. It's flat out untrue and lacks the very professionalism Tuck claims other players lack.
Tuck and the rest of the Giants need to shut up about a loss, bad as it was, and just go out on the field and play like a team that can actually threaten the opposition. The Bucs should provide them with that opportunity, but nothing's going to change as long as the team's supposed leaders are overly concerned with putting down others to make themselves look better.