I’m not a big fan of interim coaches, at all, unless a team shows good reasons why making such a change makes sense. In the Giants’ case, I do think it makes sense to fire Ben McAdoo on Monday—Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reported it could happen, in the wake of the Giants’ falling to 2-10 Sunday in Oakland—for four reasons:
1. Three of the Giants’ last four games, starting Sunday with Dallas coming to the Meadowlands, are home games. The last thing the Giants want in this disaster of a season is any sort of organized demonstration against a bad team that just benched its star. These fans hate McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese enough that something like a tailgate ticket-burning Sunday, with mass no-shows, is certainly possible. I also heard Sunday that a group of disaffected Giants fans has raised “significant” money to fly a plane over the Meadowlands if need be, or to buy more billboards in New Jersey, to be sure that Giants CEO John Mara gets the message: clean house.
2. McAdoo cannot survive. His offense was totally unproductive even when the starting cast was healthy. He’s going to get cleared out anyway; no reason not to do it now, even if it may disrupt the development of Davis Webb, the rookie quarterback the Giants need to see by the first round of the draft on April 26, 2018.
3. Mara can look back and wretch about how the removal of Manning went down, but it was time to try something new in a lost season. However McAdoo did it is not really the point; there is no way this could have been done to the satisfaction of those who love Manning—and many do, and all should. He’s a prince of a guy, and he’s done unforgettable things as the quarterback of the team. But it’s time to see what’s behind Manning, and time to seriously consider whether the first pick in a quarterback-available draft should be a quarterback.
4. This is the most minor of reasons, but in New York, I believe, it means something. McAdoo is painfully inept most often in news conferences; he’s just an introverted guy in public who wasn’t made to stand up and face the music against the blaring tabloids. His GM, Jerry Reese, hates doing press and so just does not do it, except for twice a year. That should not be tolerated by Mara. Reese has constructed two Super Bowl-winning teams in 11 years, and that has bought him plenty of time. When you win, you can do anything, and you can act however you want around the media. Ask Bill Belichick. But it’s dumb to think in this day and age that, in the biggest media market in America, you should meet the press twice a year. Reese should not be able to get away with that. And if Mara changes GMs, whoever the new one is—former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf, or someone else—can’t be allowed to get away with that.
I do realize these will be unpopular numbers to show to Giants’ fans, who do not want to see Manning getting trashed. It’s not a trashing. It’s a realistic view of the fact that the New York offense has been off-track since McAdoo took over—even when the receivers were healthy. There’s a predictability to the offense that defenses playing the Giants have talked about, and McAdoo being married to the West Coast way even when it’s not working.
But here are the numbers you should keep in mind while thinking about the decline of a once-proud offense. What follows is a look at the worst three teams in the NFL since opening day 2016, and their average points per game since then. Compare that to Eli Manning’s numbers over that same stretch, and you’ll see a very good reason why the Giants will have to change head coaches after the season:
Points Per Game
3. San Francisco
Even With Beckham, No Explosiveness
The Giants have beaten New England in the Super Bowl twice in the past decade, and Tom Brady and Eli Manning remain quarterbacks on the two rosters. This stat should not reflect exclusively on McAdoo, nor exclusively on Manning, nor on the GM nor the injuries the Giants have suffered. It’s a team thing. But the coach and the quarterback are very big here:
• Times since the start of 2016 that New England, with Brady, has scored 30 points or more in a game: 17.
• Times since the start of 2016 that New York, with Manning, has scored 30 points or more in a game: 0.
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