Sunday, October 8th 2017 will go down as one of the worst days in the history of the New York Giants franchise. Even the biggest haters of the Giants couldn’t have dreamed of a worse scenario for the team and it’s fans. Not only did the loss to the terrible Los Angeles Chargers put the final nail in the coffin of the Giants playoff hopes with a record of 0-5 but they also lost four wide receivers in the same game, with surgery either already happening or on the horizon for three of them, most notably for Odell Beckham Jr. When a team has a day like that there is definitely going to be some questions and long looks in the mirror but it also can turn into a day that completely changes a franchise’s direction for the future. Hopefully the Giants front office does not panic and start thinking about going into rebuilding mode.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the negativity of what happened this past Sunday. It was sickening as a Giants fan to see Sterling Shepard, Dwayne Harris, Brandon Marshall and Beckham all go down with injuries to their ankle or foot. It was especially brutal to see Beckham on the field, riving in pain from an ankle injury that you could tell he already knew was really bad. The Giants confirmed on Monday that Beckham, Marshall and Harris were all having season ending surgery, which obliterates the selection of weapons at Eli Manning’s disposal. For the rest of the season, the Giants are basically playing for pride and will still likely end up with an embarrassing record, especially for a team that had legit Super Bowl aspirations but fear not, we aren’t far off from regrouping and making a run at the Super Bowl for the 2018 season.
As the G-Men head towards what looks like to be a high pick in the NFL draft, the words “rebuilding” or “clear house” are easy to come to mind but you must fight those thoughts. Let’s look at why the Giants were being looked at as contenders in the first place. First off, there is Eli Manning. A major reason the experts respected the Giants coming into the year was because of the franchise quarterback at the helm, who has been in every situation imaginable and has found a knack for coming up big when the Giants need him the most. Although the offense was pretty putrid in the 2016 season, alot of the hopes for an even better 2017 were because Eli is back there in the pocket. It obviously hasn’t worked out but there are a variety of reasons for that. He is only 36, will be 37 next year and appears to still be in great shape. He is the type of guy who can play well and produce up to age 40, as long as he stays healthy on the field. He is still a quarterback that can lead a team to the postseason and beyond. The Giants used a third round pick on Davis Webb as a possible quarterback of the future and I wouldn’t be surprised if they use another later round draft pick this year or next on another young quarterback but there is still plenty left in Eli’s tank and fans and management should understand that and be confident with him running the show.
Another reason the Giants were favorites this season was the receiving core. Odell Beckham Jr is already arguably the best wideout in the game and at the very least, he is top three. Add him along with Shepard, Marshall and the rookie Evan Engram and the Giants were supposed to have weapons all over the field. The problem with having weapons however is you need the time to use them and get to them and the Giants offensive line has not done their part in helping out the offense. Eli is constantly under pressure and it’s very difficult to go through progressions and find an open man when you are running for your life. The line has been bashed enough this season so I won’t go too hard on them but it’s clear that with some off season improvements there, Eli would have more time to put the weapons to use, which would be a huge problem for defenses around the league. An improved line would also greatly assist in the running game, which has been among the worse the past couple seasons. It’s likely that Dwayne Harris has played his last game as a member of the Giants and I wouldn’t be shocked if Marshall also doesn’t return but even without them, the receiving core is very dangerous, even with Beckham coming off a serious injury.
Just having Beckham on the field is a game changer as defenses are forced to pay attention to him and double team him in most cases. While I expect the passing game to severely suffer for the remainder of this season, it can easily be among the best next year if we just have patience.
No Giants fan, player or front office person should make decisions about the future based on how the rest of this season goes. The defense, which was another reason the Giants were contenders, is still elite. Some folks may question that but when your offense routinely doesn’t give you any help and puts you in bad positions on the field over and over again, eventually you are going to give up some yards and points from being on the field so often. If the offense can get in a rhythm next year and actually score some points, the defense still has the pieces in place and can also be among the best in the league.
So, the question is, where do the Giants go from here? Well, it’s pretty simple actually. Nobody needs to lose their job, so coach Ben McAdoo should be safe, despite some horrific play calling this season. When your offensive line is as bad as it is however, sometimes play calls are going to look worse than what they really are. It’s not time to use a first round pick yet on Eli’s replacement, as he is still more than capable of being elite, given the right circumstances. The Giants first round pick in next years draft must be used on an offensive lineman and if not, then general manager, Jerry Reese, should be let go. He has done a solid job building up the defense, albeit with paying too much for certain guys but he has routinely missed in the draft over the years. He hit a homerun with Beckham and Landon Collins but the success of those two makes some people forget about all the picks he has badly whiffed on. He also had this entire past offseason to do something about the weak offensive line and he instead drafted a tight end in the first round and did nothing in free agency to bolster the line. If another draft and offseason goes by with that same situation, he must be removed from the GM position.
Other than that, the Giants are in good position to contend next year as long as they don’t overthink and do anything drastic after what will wind up being one of the worst seasons ever for the franchise. Odell will be back better than ever, Eli will still be Eli and his weapons will still be there for him. Hopefully an improved line will help guys like Paul Perkins, Wayne Gallman and Orleans Darkwa in the backfield, which will in turn also make Eli’s life easier. I will end this with a one word message to Giants fans. Just have PATIENCE. This season is already over and really can’t get much worse but if you can stick it out and still be loyal, there is a high chance next season will be one of redemption.
Written by Joe Casey
Twitter : @IamJoeSports