Giants' McKenzie contrite after penalties, benching vs. Titans

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- One day after being benched, New York Giants offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie described his behavior during a loss to the Tennessee Titans as "despicable."

A solemn, contrite McKenzie stood in front of his locker at the Giants' training facility Monday and spoke frankly about his two personal-foul penalties. McKenzie met with Giants coach Tom Coughlin in the morning to discuss being called for the penalties during Sunday's sloppy 29-10 loss.

"I spoke with him, and it was a conversation that needed to be had," said McKenzie, a 10-year veteran. "I have to exercise better judgment.

"The behavior I displayed was despicable and deserved that action. I have to learn from this experience and move on. I expressed myself in a manner that in no way, shape or form helped this team. I was not really thinking properly. That's the basis of it."

McKenzie didn't offer any excuses for being flagged for the two key penalties, the second one earning him a spot on the bench for the remainder of the game.

"Football is a game of aggression," McKenzie said. "You're trying to impose your will and then you lose your cool. It's just not right. It was a mistake. I can learn from it. I looked outside the ultimate goal, which is the team. I got caught up in all that was going on around me, and I did not exercise good judgment. I will get better from this."

Coughlin wouldn't elaborate on what was said in the discussion with McKenzie, but the coach said he wasn't planning any changes to his starting offensive line.

"Kareem is a very sincere and intelligent young man," Coughlin said. "He recognizes the errors of his ways. He flat out got too upset and lost his poise. You can't get to that point. He knows he hurt us."

McKenzie wasn't the only Giant flagged Sunday. There were 11 penalties called against the team, five of which were 15-yard personal fouls. The Giants also turned over the ball in key situations, dropped a handful of passes in the open field and had a difficult time on special teams.

"Disappointing is the best word I can use," Coughlin said. "Our frustration level was high. We were able to take it up and down the field, but couldn't get in the end zone and couldn't score points. The opportunities certainly were there. We played hard. We just didn't play smart. The penalties were a shock for all of us, and that has to be corrected.

"Too many times, they had the ball at midfield. It's unacceptable. We had our meeting this morning, and we're obviously very humble. We're all down, but we'll be back up. We'll move on and learn from this."

The Giants, who host the Chicago Bears on Sunday night, are stunned at their 1-2 record.

"We just feel like we beat ourselves," quarterback Eli Manning said. "We made too many self-inflicted mistakes. We had some other mistakes that were not mental. We can't have turnovers and penalties like that. The personal fouls were unheard of. I don't even have an answer for that. A lot of things were not going right for us, but they're correctable and we have to fix them."

Guard Chris Snee believes the Giants have to look at themselves.

"We just have to do a better job of controlling ourselves," Snee said. "We can't play the way they wanted us to play with all the dirty stuff going on. It was pretty obvious watching the tape what they (the Titans) were doing. It's not the way the game is supposed to be played, but if you want to play it that way, that's fine, but we can't get caught up in it."

Coughlin is hopeful his team has put the dumb mistakes behind it.

"Everyone says that we have talent, but we have to come together as a team and prove it," Coughlin said.

McKenzie is sure the bad play is history.

"That was yesterday," McKenzie said. "Today is a brand new day."

Note:Giants center Shaun O'Hara was still wearing a protective boot on his right foot and is expected to see a specialist about the injury Tuesday. He didn't play in the loss to the Titans.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.