Just two games into the season, things may already be turning ugly in the Giants' locker room, with the unhappy Brandon Jacobs in the middle of it.
Jacobs, who Tom Coughlin chewed out after he bounced a second-half run to the outside for a major loss instead of taking it straight through the hole, and then flung his helmet into the stands, was reportedly set to meet with management today and ask for a trade. The report was later amended to Tuesday. But according to starter Ahmad Bradshaw and coach Tom Coughlin, it may never happen at all.
The original story was broken on beat reporter Vinny DiTrani's blog at The Bergen Record, and then refuted by Bradshaw as he told reporters that "something got out that wasn't right," moments after Jacobs declined comment on any subject.
Coughlin, in his traditional day-after press conference, said Jacobs has not spoken to him about a trade. And if Jacobs wants to talk to him about further defining his role on the team, well, Coughlin indicated he said enough about that when Jacobs first broached the subject at the end of training camp.
"His role has been defined," Coughlin said. "The response two weeks ago, when I gave (the media) my position on it and the fact that we had discussed it hopefully solves that answer for you. I mean, there has been no request to come and talk to me about anything. I'd be more than happy to talk to anybody…any individual and their role and that has been expressed and it's expressed by his position coach."
Coughlin reiterated his views of that meeting.
"We felt that, as I've said from day one, it's going to take more than one back to get it done at this level. You saw two backs last night as well, but the fact that we felt that Bradshaw earned that right and it has not changed, but both guys are important and both people have a role to play and we will need both players all the way through the year and they're both very good football players."
Jacobs, representing $13 million of guaranteed money from a four-year, $25 million contract he signed last year, has been unhappy since he lost his starting job to Bradshaw in training camp. And last night's failed run didn't make things any better. In fact, Coughlin publicly scolded Jacobs in a postgame interview.
"Enough of that east-west stuff, you have to head north at sometime," Coughlin said after the game.
On Monday, Coughlin critized Jacobs' helmet heave, calling it a "senseless" act, while adding that the tempermental running back has to find a better way of dealing with frustration.
"The whole incident upsets me," Coughlin said. "Now, if you remember, I was looking…I didn't know anything about this until after the game. It really makes no sense. It's a senseless act. I don't know what you're going to accomplish by that.
Even if it was an accident, the frustration, you've got to learn to deal with it. You've got to have poise, you've got to have some patience, you've got to have some control, and you've got to be able to control those kinds of situations. The only reason that I emphatically say that is God forbid someone would have been hurt.
The fact that Jacobs has in the past considered asking for a trade, only to back off, leaves the issue open to further speculation. And it also begs questions as to whether the Giants would even grant that request, and who would they deal him to. Green Bay could use a featured back after Ryan Grant ended his season with leg and ankle injuries in Week 1. But would the Giants ever trade him for a middle round pick and be satisfied with unproven DJ Ware or re-sign Gartrell Johnson to back up Bradshaw?
Trading him might be possible, considering this is an uncapped season. But teams will be well aware of his fragility, and may want to stay away.
Keeping him, however, could be the worst of the two evils. Jacobs is in full brood mode despite Coughlin's contention that it's a long season where even one injury to Bradshaw could elevate Jacobs to his old job. After taking a 38-14 shellacking against the Colts, the Giants can ill-afford any malcontents now.
But it seems they have one in Jacobs.
In full bloom.
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