New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin has preached that his team stay together and not point fingers during their depressing, winless start to the season. That's going to be more difficult to accomplish as the losses pile up.
Following Sunday's 31-7 loss to Kansas City, wide receiver Victor Cruz questioned Coughlin's decision to punt on fourth-and-inches from the Giants' 30-yard line late in the third quarter. The score was 10-7 at the time. Chiefs return man Dexter McCluster returned the ensuing punt for a touchdown to help break the game open.
"I thought we should have gone for it on that fourth down," Cruz said, per the New York Daily News. "It's coach's call at the end of the day. ... We had the momentum. 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."
Going for it there would have been out of character for Coughlin. It would have been an aggressive, out-of-the-box decision. Perhaps that's what the Giants need, but it would have shown faith in an offensive line that hasn't earned it.
"It was fourth and miniscule," Coughlin said. "If it hadn't been on the 30-yard line, I would have gone for it on fourth down. But if I had gone for it on fourth down and didn't make it, at that point in the game, that would have been a foolish error."
Cruz's comments are the kind of thing that defensive end Justin Tuck wants to avoid.
"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."
We wouldn't say that Cruz turned on Coughlin. But he questioned him, and that probably will result in a conversation Monday between Coughlin and Cruz.
Ultimately, the Giants' togetherness is an overrated topic. They have been outscored by 85 points in four games. They struggle in every phase of the game. No amount of team chemistry can solve that. They just aren't very good.