What The Hell Are The New York Giants Going To Do To Fix This Mess?
The general consensus in New York is that Jets have the most work to do this offseason. That is simply not true. The Giants have some incredibly difficult decisions to make across the board, each one contingent on the next. The Jets know they need to start over. The Giants have to figure out if they should start over. That shit's hard.
In North Jersey terms construction terms, the Jets have to knock down an old derelict factory building to build a new condo complex, while the Giants have to decide whether to demolish a historical landmark or retrofit it with apartments -- knowing full well they may have to demolish it halfway through construction because of fundamental structural flaws.
Here are four potential scenarios for the G-Men in 2015.
The Giants keep Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin.
Maintaining the status quo after missing the playoffs for three consecutive seasons sounds like a terrible idea, but there's no denying that the duo of Coughlin and Eli still has potential to be dominant again. After all, they've lost more starters to injury than any other team in football this season, which has made it increasingly difficult to win football games. Moreover, Eli and Coughlin are in no way responsible for GM Jerry Reese's incredible track record of drafting only two Pro Bowlers out the 53 picks he's made in the last eight years. Plain and simple, this scenario will require a monster offseason -- both from a free agency and player development standpoint -- to pan out. Keeping the current head coach and quarterback for the final seasons of their respective contracts implies that the 2015 Giants QB-HC combo would be in a do-or-die, make-it-to-the-NFC-Championship-or-bust-type situation. Judging by the current roster's inability to close out games (or just playing well past the second quarter), and the relative strength of the resurgent NFC East, the possibility of winning 10 or more games seems unlikely at best. Once again, an A+ personnel remodeling job on both offensive and defensive lines will be in order. Because of this, Jerry Reese's job would be on the line in this scenario, as well.
UPSIDE: A clear next step if one last season together doesn't work out.
DOWNSIDE: The Giants miss out on the Jameis Winston/Marcus Mariota draft class, could still suck because this current offensive line does not appear to be up to the task of protecting the least mobile quarterback in football.
KEY DEPARTURES: Jason Pierre-Paul, Will Beatty, D-Coordinator Perry Fewell
KEY ACQUISITIONS: Veteran offensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh, Antrel Rolle, whatever offensive lineman slips to their draft spot, a genius D-Coordinator/potential successor to Coughlin, a unmitigated excuse to finally fire Coughlin and move on from Eli
The Giants move away from Eli Manning and keep Tom Coughlin.
Having Coughlin steer the rebuilding effort isn't the worst idea, because he still has the locker room's hearts and ears, and the obvious fact he's a Hall of Fame coach who's coached two teams to improbably Super Bowl runs. Miracles can be worked by ol' red face. But questions abound in this scenario. At 68 years old, will he be able to ride out the tumultuous process of starting over in New York? Will the Giants land a high enough pick to get one of the two coveted quarterbacks in this draft? Is anyone ok with putting Jameis Winston in New York? How do you use your top pick on a quarterback and still find a quality offensive lineman to pair with him? Can Jerry Reese be trusted to oversee the rebuilding process after giving Coughlin (almost) nothing to work with for the last few years?
KEY DEPARTURES: Jason Pierre-Paul, Will Beatty, Eli Manning, Perry Fewell
KEY ACQUISITIONS: Marcus Mariota/Jameis Winston, Texas A&M Cedric Ogbuhei, Louisville DE/OLB Lorenzo Mauldin, re-sign Antrel Rolle, D-Coordinator
The Giants keep Tom Coughlin and move on from Eli.
By most objective measures, Eli Manning hasn't changed very much since he last won Super Bowl MVP in 2011. Sure, he coughed the ball up twice against the Jags on Sunday -- both times leading to scores -- but it's not necessarily his fault he was under so much pressure. It's also not his fault that Preston Parker dropped an easy touchdown catch that would've sealed the game. He's a slow-footed passer who takes chances, is capable of making big throws, plays in the moment, and has cut down on his interceptions after an epically turnover-prone 2013. Bottom-line: If Eli is your quarterback, you need a Pro Bowl offensive line -- which means you need to find a new GM who can assemble one of those. By moving away from Coughlin, you make Eli a lame duck quarterback in a new regime that may not have the patience for his various signature follies.
UPSIDE: Eli gets to use Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. at the same time over the course of an entire training camp, Eli gets a second year to work out the kinks with new O-Coordinator Bob McAdoo, Giants can trade down to fill more holes on their offensive and defensive lines, full accountability for Eli Manning.
DOWNSIDE: Mixing an old quarterback with a new coach can be a nightmare, limits the coaching search to "guys who don't mind coaching Eli Manning," runs the risk of going 7-9 and missing out on key building block players at the very top of the draft, still have to figure out whether to re-sign him or not.
KEY DEPARTURES: Jason Pierre-Paul, Will Beatty, Antrel Rolle, Perry Fewell, Jerry Reese, Tom Coughlin
KEY ACQUISITIONS: Ndamukong Suh, Stanford OT Andrus Peat, Louisville DE/OLB Lorenzo Mauldin, D-Coordinator, John Gruden/Bill Cowher, a GM who would be willing to rubber stamp anything Cowher/Gruden wanted
The Giants move away from Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin.
By moving on from both Coughlin and Manning, the Giants have the freedom to rebuild in a more controlled manner, without having to cope with the high expectations that loom over the two-time Super Bowl winning combo. They'd be able to trade up for Mariota -- because the need to fix everything at once would no longer be there -- and could find any number of eager head coaching candidates who've been waiting in the wings for the opportunity to lead a franchise with well-respected management, develop a uniquely talented, top-flight young quarterback, and start fresh. It'd be a complete overhaul.
UPSIDE: The Giants can develop a team while the Eagles and Cowboys duke it out for the next three years atop the division, can accumulate top draft picks, get to rebuild the proper way.
DOWNSIDE: The Giants could be the worst team in football for a bit, Eli could spend the next four years winning Super Bowls in Houston or something horrible like that.
KEY DEPARTURES: Jason Pierre-Paul, Will Beatty, Antrel Rolle, Eli Manning, Perry Fewell, Jerry Reese, Tom Coughlin
KEY ACQUISITIONS: Marcus Mariota/Jameis Winston, second-round OT (preferably Cedric Ogbuhei from Texas A&M if he drops), Louisville DE/OLB Lorenzo Mauldin, D-Coordinator, John Gruden/Bill Cowher, a GM who would be willing to rubber stamp anything Cowher/Gruden wanted, hope
Photo via Getty
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