Getty All-Pro New York Giants defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence was criticized for “unfavorable comments” following his loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10.
There aren’t many places to hide after the 49-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but New York Giants defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence II was in no mood to talk after the Week 10 game.
The All-Pro’s decision to “decline comment” didn’t sit well with NorthJersey.com’s Art Stapleton. He accused Lawrence of failing to set the right “example” and show “accountability.”
Stapleton says if Lawrence doesn’t understand why he had to speak up as a senior player after a humiliating loss, “someone on the team needs to make sure he understands.”
Dexter Lawrence needs to understand why declining to comment after a game like this (and a time like this for #NYGiants) is not the way to go.
If not, someone on the team needs to make sure they understand.
Franchise has allocated a lot of money for him, and he has…
— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) November 13, 2023
This is difficult territory as frustration appears to be mounting among several members of the Giants roster. That includes wide receiver Darius Slayton, who had to explain an apparent dispute between fellow wideout Sterling Shepard and receivers coach Mike Groh.
Lawrence may not have had much to say after being defeated by an NFC East rival. Standard platitudes probably wouldn’t have found many sympathetic listeners after the Giants plummeted to a 2-8 record without much resistance.
However, Stapleton’s point still has merit. Especially when Lawrence has a leadership role as one of the most talented and highest paid players on a struggling team.
The importance of this role is underscored by the contrast between Lawrence’s silence and the fact that a lesser-known Giants starter is still appearing in front of the press.
Dexter Lawrence’s Silence Shamed from Undrafted Rookie
Lawrence didn’t want to talk to reporters, but undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito did. DeVito, who was forced into the starting quarterback role because of injuries to Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor, is clearly overwhelmed.
That didn’t stop the former Syracuse and Illinois passer from asking questions. DeVito’s transparency resonated with Stapleton, who also highlighted how the signal-caller’s presence further dwarfed Lawrence’s non-appearance: “But does Tommy DeVito represent the direction of the franchise? No he does not. Dexter Lawrence does. It is important for the future. He cares about the future.”
Tommy DeVito, an undrafted rookie, had to stand at the podium and answer questions after the game today. He only had to do this because we expect it from the quarterback.
But does Tommy DeVito represent the direction of the franchise? No he does not.
Dexter Lawrence does. He…
— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) November 13, 2023
This is an important distinction as DeVito is obviously a stopgap while the Giants are experiencing some difficult circumstances at football’s most important position. No one expects DeVito to be a starter next season, but Lawrence will remain the cornerstone of the defensive front seven.
In return, the Giants paid him $87.5 million for the next four years. Any player making that much money has to be an ambassador for the franchise.
Lawrence has lived up to that standard on the field, making plays like this 4th down stop against the Cowboys, highlighted by the Talkin’ Giants.
According to Pro Football Reference, the 26-year-old has three sacks and 10 pressures on a below-average defense. There’s nothing wrong with Lawrence’s performances, but being one of the faces of the franchise means being available to the media, and arguably never more so than after a loss.
No player likes to lose, but other members of the Giants were willing to make their frustrations public.
Dissatisfaction becomes a common theme for giants
According to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, Slayton didn’t mind expressing his “deep desire to win” and how unsettling it feels to be on the losing side so often.
I’ve never seen Darius Slayton so frustrated. He is calm, quiet, reserved. But this #Giants defeat is getting to him. Here is one of his answers that explains his feelings. By the way, I appreciate that Slayton is so honest and open. pic.twitter.com/21kkHBADuh
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) November 13, 2023
The receiver’s frustration reflects the growing sentiment emanating from the Giants players. Safety Xavier McKinney called out the coaches for leadership and communication issues before Week 10, while running back Saquon Barkley vented his own anger during the game at AT&T Stadium.
According to Dan Duggan of The Athletic, Barkley made just seven throws before halftime, noting that “Fox sideline reporter Tom Rinaldi said Saquon had a ‘spirited discussion'” with head coach Brian Daboll after the Giants faced a 4th down -The attempt was thrown incompletely.
Saquon had 7 runs for 1 yard in the first half. Fox sideline reporter Tom Rinaldi said Saquon had a “lively discussion” with Daboll after the turnover on Downs.
— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) November 12, 2023
The tension is palpable among players and coaches. The more obvious the divide becomes, the greater the risk Daboll faces of losing the locker room, although more losses are sure to follow.
It’s up to senior figures like Barkley and Lawrence to speak up both behind the scenes and in front of the cameras and continue to spread the message of recovery this season.
James Dudko covers the New York Giants, New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens for Heavy.com. He has covered the NFL and world soccer since 2011, with bylines at FanSided, Prime Time Sports Talk and Bleacher Report, before moving to Heavy in 2021. More about James Dudko
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