The New York Giants fired coach Ben McAdoo on Monday after his team fell to 2-10 on the season.
Appearing Tuesday on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, former Giants receiver Victor Cruz said the firing should have happened sooner.
“I think it was long overdue,” Cruz said. “I think it was a couple of weeks already too late. Once you see guys in that locker room start to give these anonymous reports about how he’s handling them and practice on (Saturday), that’s how you know he’s completely lost the locker room and completely lost the players.”
Along with the distress within the Giants’ locker room, where Cruz spent seven seasons, the ex-Big Blue receiver pointed to the handling of Eli Manning as a key reason McAdoo needed to go.
“Benching Eli was probably one of the most disrespectful things I’ve seen in a very long time,” Cruz said. “I think what he’s done for that organization, what he’s done for the city of New York. Especially this season where essentially you have nothing to play for, and you’re going to bench a guy that’s been your most consistent piece in 13, 14 years in that organization to assess your talent in the last four games of the season? I didn’t understand that. Especially a guy like Eli, you want him to go out and finish the year strong, finish the year how he wants. He’s earned the right to finish the year how he wants to finish the year. Not being benched. And then don’t slap him in the face and say, ‘Hey, we’ll start you for a half just to keep the keep the streak alive.’ That’s not Eli’s swagger, that’s not how he is. He wants to be out there, and he wants to perform and win.”
While co-owner John Mara said Monday the media should blame him, not McAdoo or ex-GM Jerry Reese, for the handling of the Manning situation, it’s clear most still place the fault at the former coach’s feet.
Cruz said the storm of controversy surrounding the Giants this season — from Odell Beckham’s early-season antics, to the rash of in-house suspensions, to the Manning situation — wouldn’t have happened under former coach Tom Coughlin’s reign.
“No shot,” Cruz said. “I think Coughlin had such a command. You had such a respect for him that you never wanted to let him down, you never wanted to disrespect him, you never wanted to just walk away when he’s speaking to you. He had such a command over his players, and we loved him. Obviously, he was stern, and he wanted it his way, and things like that, but you knew what came with that. And you knew the level of respect that you had for coach Coughlin because of those things that he brought to the table.”