Justin Tuck pledges to punch anyone in the mouth who turns on Tom Coughlin
It's getting a bit feisty around the New York Giants. They are 0-4, and this talented but flawed team is starting to grasp for answers — and apparently are ready to resort to violence to prevent a mutiny.
Justin Tuck, who has been a vocal leader on the team for years and who has had his ups and downs with head coach Tom Coughlin, is fully in his coach's corner right now.
Tuck told the told the New York Daily News that he is ready to come out swinging if anyone goes against Coughlin now, with the Giants off to their worst, non-strike-season start since 1979.
“If anyone turns on our coach, I would be the first one to punch him in the mouth,” Tuck said. “And put that in print. It better not happen, I know that."
Now ... would Victor Cruz's comments qualify as turning on Coughlin? You be the judge. Cruz openly questioned Coughlin's decision to punt on fourth-and-short with the Giants trailing 10-7 against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. It was late in the third quarter, and the Giants were at their own 30-yard line.
“I thought we should have gone for it on that fourth down,” Cruz said. “It’s coach’s call at the end of the day.”
The Giants punted. Dexter McCluster ran the ensuing punt back for a tide-changing touchdown. Cruz felt that was a coaching error, even so deep in their own zone. He'd have gone for it.
“If it was me? Yes. Because we had the momentum,” Cruz said. “I felt it was a yard, not even a yard, half a yard, we’ve got to take a risk at some point and make something happen.”
When asked if they should have gone for it, Tuck had a different opinion — no, he said, adding that Cruz was "an idiot" for thinking so. An idiot?
“When it comes to coaching, yeah,” Tuck said.
First things first: Coughlin won't be fired in season. With two Super Bowls and a franchise revival on his watch, he has earned enough cred to, good grief, make it through the entirety of 2013.
Second: The Giants are currently two games back in the NFC East, and no division team is above .500. The Redskins were 3-6 entering Week 11 last season, three games behind the Giants in the win column, and still won the East. The Giants winning the division this season would not be an impossible feat, given the circumstances.
Oh sure, the offense is out of sync and the defense has yet to play four quality quarters to date. But if the Giants can avoid second-guessing and punching each other while they right the ship, they might not be in the world of hurt everyone thinks they're in.