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Ross on the Bench


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gintsa.jpg RISING ROOKIE: Aaron Ross responded from his first-half benching by...

paulschwartz.jpg October 10, 2007 -- IT would have been interesting to examine the fallout left behind from Tom Coughlin's decision to bench rookie cornerback Aaron Ross for the first half of the Giants' 35-24 victory over the Jets if the dramatic second-half turnaround had not transpired.


Ross was punished because he violated team rules - likely arriving late to a meeting or to the team hotel Saturday night - then went wild after halftime with his first two career interceptions and his first touchdown return.


There's always a debate when a coach opts to teach a lesson in this manner. After all, who does a benching hurt more, the offending player or everyone around him? Is it fair to rob the team of an important talent in order to make a point?


Playing time is one of the few hammers a coach is able to wield and, if a benching makes teammates grumble, so much the better, as long as those teammates direct that anger at the guilty player and not the head coach. Peer pressure is the best pressure and, while they are supportive of Ross, older Giants no doubt also whispered in his ear that such behavior is not acceptable.


"I wouldn't trade him for the world," cornerback Sam Madison, an 11-year veteran, said of Ross. "We've just got to get him where he is supposed to be."


Winning also allowed Coughlin to escape from what would have been heavy criticism for giving Eli Manning the green light with the Giants backed up on their own 21-yard line, 28 seconds before halftime, trailing 14-7. There were two timeouts to work with, but the obvious and prudent move was to take a knee and regroup in the locker room, or perhaps call an inside handoff and see if Derrick Ward or Brandon Jacobs could break a long run to ignite a quick-strike drive.


A pass was out of the question for this very reason: Manning threw into coverage for Amani Toomer, linebacker Jonathan Vilma came away with the interception and one play later Mike Nugent kicked a 47-yard field goal for a 17-7 Giants deficit.




t was a blatant coaching blunder. In the past, Coughlin would have doggedly defended his decision and bristled at anyone who suggested otherwise. He doesn't make the play-calls - offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride does - but Coughlin gets to sign off on whether to attack or not. This time, he didn't shoot the messenger for his own mistake. "I take responsibility for the play call," Coughlin said.


Perhaps an "I messed up" mea culpa would have been more humanizing and one hopes Coughlin realizes he was wrong and not merely fortunate that his club bailed him out with a scintillating second half. Other Giants-sized dealings:


* Twelve sacks one week, one the next? Not really shocking. Did you think the Jets, after watching that carnage vs. the Eagles, were going to pull an Andy Reid and make no adjustments whatsoever?


The Falcons (1-4) had better study up or else whoever starts at quarterback, Joey Harrington or Byron Leftwich, will get mauled. Atlanta has allowed 18 sacks - only the Lions and Eagles have given up more - and now they'll be without their veteran left tackle, Wayne Gandy, who last Sunday went down and out for the season with a torn left ACL. The task of containing Umenyiora - the NFL sack leader with seven - now falls to Renardo Foster, an undrafted rookie who played for first-year Falcons coach Bobby Petrino at Louisville. Foster, at 6-foot-7 and 338 pounds, is huge, lacks experience and will not be able to deal with the speed Umenyiora brings to the battle.


* Interesting choice by Michael Strahan. Asked yesterday on the Dan Patrick syndicated radio show if he could attain only one, a Super Bowl triumph or selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Strahan said "At this point, after 15 years, I would pick the Hall of Fame. If I win the Super Bowl, that's great, it would be a great thing, but I don't think you can take anything away from the Hall of Fame."


* The Giants yesterday released G Matt Lentz from their practice squad and removed DB Michael Stone from the reserve/injured list.

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What the fuck is Sam Madison talking about? Get him where he's supposed to be!? He's leaps and bounds above Madison!


I feel like a good upside of Ross is ability NOT to get burned...something Madison gets every game.

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What the fuck is Sam Madison talking about? Get him where he's supposed to be!? He's leaps and bounds above Madison!


I feel like a good upside of Ross is ability NOT to get burned...something Madison gets every game.


Uhhh, you must be talking about a different S Madison because our S MAdison has been playong quite well this season. And overall in his career, he is one of the better CB's in the league. At one time, he was the best.

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