NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS: Eliminated From The Playoffs, Jerry Reese's Off-Season Decisions Must Be As Cold, And Cut Throat As Ever.
After rooting-on the New York Giants for over 35 years, I think I understand how cycles make their rounds. No, the Giants couldn't do it for the Duke - not this time, not this season. In fact, this still unfinished schedule was part of a greater trend. Last week's elimination from the playoffs was not unexpected, but it did hit home.
The challenge facing the Giants this afternoon is simple. For today at least, they can either lay down like dogs, or keep biting at the ankles of opponents. Even in defeat, it is still important to finish like professionals and maintain self-respect. Admittedly, today's match-up against the Seahawks could get ugly. But, we should not place any more emphasis on this game, than any other - not in a lost season such as this one. Instead, let's end this nightmare with civil tongues, and figure a way to best get the Giants righted in the correct direction again. The challenge facing them over the next few years, is harder than just facing the Seahawks today. This game still serves a major purpose though. We'll see, note, and measure the major disparity between good and bad football. Call it - reverse clarity.
I was chock-full-of answers after SBXLII. After we attended our second Super Bowl parade together, my son asked me - now what? I told him, I didn't know. History didn't teach me THAT much. The last time, Bill Parcells walked away and I thought we would suck forever. Then Ray Handley happened. I do not think we are headed down that road again. Tom Coughlin's retirement will be somewhat different. He won't leave here and go coach elsewhere like Parcells did. But I told my son this - that in Jerry Reese I trust.
The GM has considerable work to do. He entered the season with the most free agent acquisitions of his tenure. Most of them were stopgap acquisitions, not to mention cheap, and cap conscious. To me, that signals the end of useful careers, and the appropriate way to end one era, and inaugurate another.
Offensively, he has no tight end, Hakeem Nicks looks like a goner, the offensive line is woefully in flux, the backfield is still a questionable situation, and Eli Manning needs to reconcile his very poor season.
Defensively, JPP should be shut down. Justin Tuck will be a free agent. Jerry Reese needs to revisit Jon Beason's future with the club, and re-address linebacker as a whole. The secondary is thinning again. Terrell Thomas is a free agent, Corey Webster and Aaron Ross were nowhere to be found this season.
The problems go beyond that, but with three games left, I'm only scratching the surface.
There is no doubt the Giants roster will undergo an tremendous amount of upheaval, and change this coming off-season. The Giants salary cap situation will not make things any more easier on Jerry Reese. A main priority however, should be to get substantially younger, and to reinvest themselves in the draft, and play more rookies. Signing older veterans is fine, when you still have the ability to realistically compete. The Giants are beyond that now, and must alter their thinking accordingly.
Perhaps a shellacking at the hands of the Seahawks today will hasten and reinforce a new set of priorities. In fact, I expect nothing less. The Seahawks are young, have grown together for a few years, and are arguably the most physical team in the league. Thinking the Giants can possibly compete with Seattle, Carolina, New Orleans or even San Francisco any more, at this stage of the game, is emotional folly.
Over the next three games, the GM needs a critical eye, and start leaning towards some very tough courses of action. To the players, they need to feel like they're on notice, and in jeopardy of not returning next season. If there are players who would like to remain Giants next season, they have the next three games to prove it.
The futures of Tom Coughlin, Kevin Gilbride and Perry Fewell, are an entirely different matter.
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The career of Brandon Jacobs has ended...again. He will have surgery on his left knee, which should end the 31-year old running back's career. Before his season ended, he added four more rushing touchdowns to his Giants record. Big Buddy now has 60 rushing TD's in his Big Blue career.