This can happen when the head coach starts kicking ass and taking names.
Brian Daboll has done nothing wrong from a football standpoint with Kenny Golladay. He has done everything right. Golladay has been a colossal flop with the Giants. The ridiculous contract he was given by the team’s clueless former general manager is the only reason he remains in town. Distributing his snaps to Richie James and David Sills is logical given they have been the better receivers this season.
But here’s the thing: Golladay is still here, the Giants cannot cut him and almost assuredly cannot trade him. Daboll is welcome to keep taking this stand. But that does not mean it will come without consequence. And in this case, it looks like the Giants’ first-year coach may now have a disgruntled veteran in his locker room.
“I should be playing regardless,” Golladay told reporters Wednesday. “That’s a fact.”
“I didn’t like the decision whatsoever,” Golladay added. “Even people on the team really were kind of like, ‘What’s going on?'”
Golladay was referring to playing only two snaps in last Sunday’s win over the Panthers. Daboll said Golladay was informed of his reduced role in the game plan during the week and handled it professionally. The wideout blew out of MetLife Stadium before the locker room opened to reporters, so that was all anyone had to go on in the moment. But now we know how he truly feels. And he has no problem letting the world know. Even after — according to Golladay — further pow-wows with Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen.
Golladay told reporters he “came here to play.” He evasive when asked if he would try to force a change of scenery if his role does not return to what it was in Week 1 (he played 46 of 60 snaps in the win over the Titans). He also said the lack of snaps confused him given he receives consistently positive feedback from Daboll and Schoen, among others.
If Daboll was trying to send a message to Golladay about his practice habits or light a fire under him to elevate his performance, it does not seem to have worked. If he just thinks Sills and James (and Darius Slayton and whoever) are better players, Golladay will not accept that. And, if you take what he said at face value, others in the building don’t buy it either.
Again: They can’t cut him, can’t trade him. Kudos to Dave Gettleman for that. And now Golladay is the main story surrounding the gutty, gritty, 2-0 Giants. And it will be a daily headache for Daboll and Schoen indefinitely.
If they stick to their guns, there is a good chance things will get worse. If they capitulate and start playing Golladay again, they risk creating a new set of potential locker room complications. Especially if he continues to be the touchdown-less wonder he has been so far during his Giants career. They could always throw him on some exempt list and send him home. But that’s a tricky precedent to set, making yourself a nuisance to get paid to do nothing.
There is no good or obvious answer here. From a football standpoint, Daboll is correct. From a financial one, he is screwed — at least until this season ends and the Giants mercifully part ways with their $72 million man. So in the meantime, Daboll has to identify the best bad option and minimize the damage. That won’t necessarily be easy. But not everything is when the culture changer starts making change.
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