New York Giants expect major changes after three-win season
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — There are major changes coming to the New York Giants, and it is not going to surprise anyone.
NFL teams make some changes annually.
When a team posts a 3-13 record, sets a single-season franchise record for losses, fires the head coach and general manager in early December, hires a new GM, has player suspensions for violations of team rules, drama in the locker room and major injuries, including one to offensive catalyst Odell Beckham Jr., you know what is going to happen.
The 2018 roster is going to look very different. It might even be one that won’t have two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, who endured the humiliation of being benched and having his streak of starting 210 consecutive games snapped.
“I guess there’s more uncertainty this year than after others,” Manning said Monday as players cleaned out their lockers and prepared to start the offseason.
“But it’s always a disappointing day, that the season’s over, (other than) the two years you win Super Bowls, where it’s not. It’s always tough that it’s coming to an end and another year that didn’t go as we wanted.”
The changes have already started. Dave Gettleman was hired Thursday to replace the fired Jerry Reese as general manager.
The former Carolina Panthers general manager ousted draft guru Marc Ross, the vice president of player evaluation, Saturday and he turned his attention to replacing coach Ben McAdoo, who was fired on Dec. 4 after benching Manning.
Gettleman has already asked Carolina for permission to speak with Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks about the Giants’ coaching job.
Interim coach Steve Spagnuolo, who was 1-3 after taking over for McAdoo, also will get an interview with Gettleman after they discuss player evaluations.
Among the other candidates who might be considered are the Patriots top two assistants, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
Whoever gets the job will be taking over a team that felt it was a Super Bowl contender after making the playoffs with an 11-5 regular-season record in McAdoo’s first season. His second year started with five straight losses and everything fell apart with the injuries and poor play.
“The only way is to go up from here,” said tight end Evan Engram, the first-round pick who led with 64 receptions and six touchdown catches.
Here’s five things to remember:
MANNING: He has been the face of the organization since the draft day trade in 2004 with the Chargers. He led the Giants to Super Bowl wins after the 2007 and ’11 seasons but they have been to the playoffs only once since ’11. He will be 37 on Wednesday. He showed flashes this season, but struggled playing behind a weak offensive line and with young receivers on an injury-riddled unit.
“I feel like I can still play at a high level. I feel like I can make the throws and if you get the right guys around, that I can be very effective and play at an extremely high level.”
FREE AGENCY: Gettleman has a lot of decisions to make regarding his own free agents. Guard-tackle Justin Pugh, center Weston Richburg, guard D.J. Fluker, running backs Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen, cornerback Ross Cockrell, linebackers Devon Kennard and Jonathan Casillas are all unrestricted free agents.
The new general manager also has to decide whether he wants to start contract talks with Beckham, who is under contract through next season and wants to be one of the league’s highest-paid players.
SOUR APPLE: Cornerback Eli Apple, the Giants’ first-round pick in 2016, heads into the offseason needing an attitude adjustment. He was suspended for the final game of the season for violating team rules and that came after he had run-ins with the coaching staff and teammates. Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins had referred to him as a cancer.
During his introductory news conference, Gettleman said you never give up on talent. Apple has to show he is worthy of that faith.
INJURIES: The injury bug really hurt the Giants this season. Beckham, Casillas, Collins, Fluker, Pugh, Richburg, receivers Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris, linebacker B.J. Goodson and cornerback Janoris Jenkins, were among the nearly two dozen players who ended up on injured reserve.
Starting right tackle Bobby Hart was waived-injured last weekend. The injuries on the O-Line were so bad that the starters in the 18-10 win over Washington Sunday were all on the scout team earlier in the season.
INSTANT HELP: Having a 3-13 record does have its benefits. The Giants will have the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. The quarterback class should be very good, especially if Josh Rosen of UCLA and Sam Darnold of Southern Cal enter the draft. Gettleman likes linemen and he might make some moves to get more draft picks. The Giants also don’t know what they have in quarterback Davis Webb. The third-round draft pick did not play a down as a rookie.