The ‘bunch of B.S.’ risk of Giants’ players-only meeting

The ‘bunch of B.S.’ risk of Giants’ players-only meeting

The Giants kept private the details of their players-only meeting last week.

But the real measure of whether it was a success or a bust will be very public, on display for a “Monday Night Football” audience to see against Cowboys.

Booger McFarland, who will be an analyst on ESPN’s broadcast, was part of players-only meetings during a nine-year career that included Super Bowl wins with the Colts and Buccaneers.

The Giants (2-6) called the meeting last Sunday, in the immediate locker-room aftermath of a fourth straight loss featuring too many of the same themes: Slow start, turnovers from the offense and chunk yardage allowed by the defense.

“Usually when you have those nobody is passing out roses in them,” McFarland said. “They come on the heels of a losing streak or something bad has happened. Now players want to get together without the coaches around and be really, really honest.”

Co-captain Alec Ogletree said the Giants “accomplished what we wanted to get done” Monday morning and quarterback Daniel Jones said the team recognizes the urgency of its position, but “we’re going to keep that in-house.”

For all the talk of leadership around the Giants – courtesy of general manager Dave Gettleman’s theory that culture trumps talent – this will be a way to judge if the message got across to a young team.

Giants rookies have played 2,907 snaps this season, according to ESPN. That’s nearly 500 more than the next-closest team (Jaguars with 2,418) through Week 8. The Giants ranked in the top 10 in rookie snap counts each of the previous two seasons, too.

So, are they listening?

“If you have a team that can get in the room and the leaders can stand up and be really, really honest and everybody can take criticisms, then they can be very constructive,” McFarland said.

“If you have a team that no one respects the leaders and it’s going to be a bunch of B.S., then players-only meetings can be a detriment.”

The Giants have lost five straight meetings and 10 of 13 against the Cowboys.

McFarland was with the Buccaneers when they were 0-21 in franchise history in games played outdoors with temperatures below 40 degrees. It was a streak that pre-dated his birth, let alone his career.

“That sounds good and that’s a great statistic, but you know what actually matters of those [21] games when the temperature was below 40 we lost? None of them,” McFarland said.

“It’s not as if the [Giants] players are going to step on the field and be like, ‘I don’t know if we can play tonight because we lost five in a row [to the Cowboys].’ Do coaches use that as a rallying cry, like, we haven’t beaten this team in forever? Sure. But they know just like we know that it really doesn’t matter.”

It is unclear if any of the Giants or Cowboys will be mic’d up on Monday Night Football.

Giants coach Pat Shurmur said he would prefer his players are not and quarterback Daniel Jones is on board. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett sounds more open to it – and tight end Jason Witten is a strong candidate considering he was part of ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast booth last season.

The Dolphins and Steelers both declined to participate last week, after Sam Darnold was embarrassed two weeks ago. The Jets quarterback was caught saying he was “seeing ghosts” in response to the Patriots’ aggressive blitz packages.

NFL Films is supposed to review sound clips and clear them for ESPN with an understanding that nothing damaging to a player’s reputation will be aired.

“I remember when I was a fan of the game kind of sitting at home … any time you can take the fans behind the scenes and give them information they can’t otherwise normally get, I think that’s pretty cool,” McFarland said. “I think it adds that element to the broadcast.”



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