In what has become an all-too-common theme for the 2023 New York Giants, infighting and sideline tantrums stole the show on Sunday afternoon in Arlington.
While the Giants were being demolished, 49-17, on the field, all eyes were on what was happening away from the field. That’s where head coach Brian Daboll continued to dress down his players while they fought with each other.
There was the usual Daboll meltdown, this time aimed at quarterback Tommy DeVito and defensive coordinator Wink Martindale — the latter of which continued through halftime.
Brian Daboll saying something to Tommy Devito post interception pic.twitter.com/Kmk0BBq47F
— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinner_) November 12, 2023
Tom Rinaldi reporting on @NFLonFOX that Brian Daboll and Wink Martindale had a long conversation on the sideline at the end of the half and the convo was continuing when they came out of the locker room for the 2nd half
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) November 12, 2023
After the game, Daboll downplayed his heated conversation with Martindale.
“We talk a lot throughout the game. Probably going into half, kind of some things we wanted to get worked on, things we want to do, but I have conversations with all those guys,” Daboll told reporters. “Normal stuff during a game.”
Normal for these Giants, sure.
But Daboll’s interactions with DeVito and Martindale aside, FOX cameras also caught a very heated exchange between wide receivers Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard, which apparently began with wide receivers coach Mike Groh.
The wheels are coming off.
Giants WRs Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton having a heated discussion on the sideline now. 👀👇 pic.twitter.com/YwhnANv3Bl
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RalphVacchiano) November 12, 2023
“Slaton and Shep, they weren’t getting into it. Little stuff during the game. Not a big deal,” Daboll said, suggesting that you should not trust your lying eyes.
“I don’t know what the cameras caught, I’m sure it probably looked combative to me and him but it wasn’t in the moment,” Slayton said of his tiff with Groh, via the New York Post. “I was just already worked up so I was talking emotionally. At that point we weren’t arguing back and forth, we were talking about the same thing, spiritedly.
“I just have to manage my emotions a little bit better in those scenarios.”
That “spirited” conversation then spilled over onto the aforementioned Shepard.
“Just trying to motivate him to keep on going,” Shepard said. “It’s frustrating, obviously, you look at the scoreboard and how the game went down. I was just trying to motivate him to keep on going and fighting.
“Listen, that is like my brother, like my mother’s kids. It was straight me motivating him to go out there, that’s the honest truth.”
Slayton expressed love and appreciation for Shepard, reminding reporters that the two are close friends off the field. But then there was also running back Saquon Barkley, who appeared to have a few choice words for Daboll toward the end of the first half.
Again, like the others, Barkley attempted to sweep that under the rug.
“There was no argument, nothing like that,” Barkley said. “It happens. It’s football.”
So, there you have it. All of that unusual and clearly not normal screaming and arguing on the sideline is common for every team. Had FOX cameras shown the Cowboys sideline, it would have been exactly the same, right? The Giants aren’t crumbling, they’ll tell you — it’s just an incorrect outside perception.
And since that’s the case in their minds, surely their other players would have no problems discussing it after the game, right?
Well, not so much. McKinney declined to speak with reporters a week removed from wanting to say a whole lot, but he wasn’t the only one. Defensive tackle and team captain, Dexter Lawrence, also refused to speak with the media. As did veteran defensive lineman Jihad Ward, although he promised a little venting in the near future.
“I’m going to talk to you, just not today. I’m going to speak my mind. I’ll let you know,” Ward said, via the New York Post.
That should be fun.
The Giants can say whatever they want but it’s clear to everyone watching that this group has crumbled. The plane is off the runway and the sideline exchanges are becoming more and more intense by the week. The team is infected with a losing mentality and since they can’t beat anyone on the field, they’ve resorted to beating each other off of it.