New York Giants: Lack Of Discipline Raises Questions
Robert Deutsch, USATSI

The New York Giants lacked discipline on Sunday afternoon, and it raises questions about the character and coaching staff of the team. 

Two straight wins begun the season, and the New York Giants were flying high heading into a divisional matchup with the Washington Redskins. Eleven penalties, three turnovers, and several crucial dropped passes later, questions about composure and discipline loom.

Head coach Ben McAdoo noted that the Redskins were the more disciplined team after the game. Ya think?

Prior to the game, it was obvious that the spotlight would be on Odell Beckham Jr. and Josh Norman. Both teams understood that penalties were likely to be called for the mildest of offenses. The NFL needs to protect its brand, and the officials weren’t going to let two stars tarnish the game’s reputation.

“With all that was being written and said about the game, we knew the officials wanted to come out and take control of the game,” McAdoo said. “And make sure it didn’t get away from them early. … It’s disappointing, absolutely. We need to be better than that, and we are better than that. We’re going to address it this week, and we’re going to fix it,” noted by NJ.com’s James Kratch.

The Giants have no excuses for their lack of discipline. Clearly, they knew that the officials would have their eyes open more than ever. Weston Richburg‘s two personal foul calls and subsequent ejection exemplified Big Blue’s lack of discipline.

It’s an emotional game. It’s a divisional rivalry. Yet, there’s no room for professionals to lose their composure in tense moments. Some of that blame has to fall on McAdoo’s shoulders, as his team clearly wasn’t prepared for the brigade of yellow flags often found at MetLife Stadium.

Richburg’s offenses were only a small portion of the lack of discipline exhibited on Sunday. Defensive end Olivier Vernon was called for a critical roughing the passer penalty on the Redskins final drive. The hit wasn’t late, but he made contact with Kirk Cousins‘s helmet. Occasionally, the referees will let it go if it’s not malicious. Given the context of Sunday’s affair, that’s going to be called almost every time. Vernon needs to know better. The coaching staff also needs to instill that in their players.

The worst penalty of the game came on special teams. Safety Andrew Adams blatantly fouled an opposing player during a blocked punt in the second half. Adams was nowhere near the play, which resulted in offsetting penalties after a Redskins player committed a penalty of their own. The difference in field position was immense, and it was another example of a Giants player losing their composure in a key situation. The lack of preparedness again falls on the coaching staff, who claimed to know that penalties were likely going to be called often.

Judging by McAdoo’s press conference, he knows that discipline will be key moving forward. He vowed to correct the issues from Sunday’s loss, and still has plenty of time to show that he’s capable of being an NFL head coach.

It’s worth noting that the Giants did not have nearly as troublesome discipline issues in their first two games. They  committed just seven total penalties against Dallas and New Orleans. However, the Norman-Beckham complex, combined with the emotional divisional match-up, resulted in a flag fueled matinee. Although it was ugly, it could be just a one week ordeal.

Like McAdoo said during his postgame press conference, “We’re going to address it this week, and we’re going to fix it.”

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