Ben McAdoo has officially lost the New York Giants, a sign perhaps that the head coach is out of his element and is not or ever was the best fit for this team.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie left the team’s facility on Wednesday after reportedly speaking with the coaching staff, the team indefinitely suspended him following this action. That a veteran like Rodgers-Cromartie, far from a malcontent, is willing to walk away midseason is certainly a terrible sign for the Giants and a head coach who is clearly in over his head.
Whether McAdoo is unwilling or unable to connect in the locker room is open for debate but not everyone is meant to be a head coach. Some, like McAdoo, are cut from the cloth that makes them ideal coordinators. They love the minutiae that are managing an offense or a defense or special teams. They can grind down and focus on game plan installs and schemes. They are film wonks.
But what they aren’t, well, they aren’t leaders of men.
They have to be willing to inspire and yes, to be able to lead. They also have to be willing to listen and adapt as the situation dictates.
McAdoo with his stoic, staccato demeanor and dour frumpish look doesn’t resonate in today’s modern NFL locker room. Can he coach? Yes. Can he be a coordinator? Yes.
But he doesn’t have that special charisma needed in a league today that is changing by the moment.
It isn’t enough just to be a good coach to get by in the NFL these days. The skillset needed is more diverse than it ever was before. A head coach has to be inspiring and get his team ready to run through a proverbial or literal wall. He must also be a mentor and a father-figure, a friend and likable.
There is a reason why there are more Pete Carroll’s running around the league these days than Bill Parcells. The days of the strict disciplinarian are gone, it just doesn’t jive with today’s player.
That isn’t to say that there isn’t a need for some tough love, but in a league increasingly run more and more by the players, there will be far fewer Bill Belichick protégé’s running around. Instead, as evidenced by a crop of college coaches barely able to shave, the league and its coaching staffs are getting younger. Hipper. Cooler.
They chest bump players on the sidelines. They prank their locker room. In many ways, they are indistinguishable from the players.
McAdoo neither comes across as likable enough or personable for this new breed along the sidelines. Some have the gravitas of a Tom Coughlin for this role, but many simply don’t blend together all these elements to be relevant in the locker room.
That Rodgers-Cromartie couldn’t stand things as they stood with the Giants and simply was walking away from the contract money still left on the table points to McAdoo’s struggles on this front. He’s a man made for a different time, trying to have himself heard in a locker room with just too many voices yelling above his.
Voices that now seem to be rising up to officially drown him out. Voices that show a man who has lost the locker room if he ever truly had its pulse.