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In a swift and final move on Monday, the New York Giants cut ties with head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will take over on an interim basis. A tumultuous 2-10 start to the season, capped off by a total disrespect of the greatest quarterback (I surely did say greatest) in their franchise’s history was seemingly the last straw. It obviously goes deeper than that for everybody involved.
An offensive coordinator who’s team can’t score? The Giants have averaged 17.8 points per game since McAdoo took over last season. Only the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns have scored less points in that span. The Giants have averaged only 314.7 total yards of offense since the beginning of the 2016 season. We could blame injuries or the lack of talent at certain positions (I’ll get to that), but the coaching wasn’t spectacular. There’s no adjustments I can think of that he’s made after losing players. No adjustments on his offensive line even after the terrible start. Play calling that seemed like he didn’t have a grasp on which game or what team he was playing. Unless Odell Beckham Jr. was playing he didn’t seem to call plays that would highlight his best available players. McAdoo was trying too hard to fill Tom Coughlin’s shoes without knowing the foot size.
A New York head coach has to be tough with the media too. Maybe he thought he was being clever in some of his responses, but a lot of them sounded defensive. Others sounded like he was lost and had no real response. Earlier this year he gave up play calling duties to coordinator Mike Sullivan. Here was his reasoning: “It’s more than just today. I need to do what is best for the team, just like we ask the players and just like we ask the coaches,” he said. “I thought the team needed me, and the whole locker room needed me this week”. What kind of answer is that? I’m pretty sure the whole team needed him every week, but maybe that’s just me. His answer to reporters when asked about the benching of Manning, “I have a lot of confidence in Eli as a player, as a quarterback. At this point it’s my responsibility for the organization to make sure we take a look at Geno and at Davis”. Huh? He wanted to take a look at Geno Smith, the former New York Jets signal caller? The guy who lost his job after missing six weeks for breaking his jaw on a teammate’s fist? I guess more realistically the guy who played terrible when he got the chance to start? The other option he was referring to was Davis Webb, the 87th overall pick this season. Neither one of these guys was a viable option to improve the Giants this season. Neither one will be a real option next season either. It was just a slap in the face of the franchise quarterback.
This has been brewing for a few years since Tom Coughlin got the axe and Reese survived the cutting board. Forget hindsight, that was a ridiculous move when it happened. Why fire Coughlin when a lot of his problems were personnel driven? The general manager’s job is to find players for his coach that fit the system, or find the best talent available in certain situations. How many times has Reese signed (or drafted) a square piece for a round hole? The Giants have a less than desirable offensive line and almost no running game to speak of. Guess what? The Giants have had these problems for years.
Check out their last six season ending ranks in rushing: 29th, 18th, 23rd, 29th, 14th, 32nd. That last one was their last Super Bowl season. How about hiring a former offensive coordinator and then running out and acquiring as much talent as you can … on defense? The offensive guys he’s actually picked up almost never pan out either. Furthermore why not move on from on Eli Manning at the same time you got rid of Coughlin? Why go through the foolishness of a new coach with an old quarterback, when you know the new guy usually wants his own handpicked signal caller? There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to his moves, and when the moves actually make sense they just don’t work. Bad luck perhaps. There’s no growth for the Giants. Only one of their draft picks from the 2011 draft still plays in the NFL (Prince Amukamara). No players drafted in the 11 and 12 drafts remain on the roster and most of them are not even in the league.
The Giants have been a class organization for decades. They would’ve much rather waited until the end of the season to make these moves. The backlash was too great to overcome, enduring a terrible season amplified by terrible roster moves and a lack of respect for the franchises’ history. It will only get better at season’s end when the question of the (now disrespected) aging quarterback comes up again. The new head coach and general manager will surely want to start from scratch with a fresh face. It won’t be too bad. At least they can’t botch it up anymore than the last week of events.