The Giants admitted the truth Thursday — first with words, then with actions.
They will be a very bad team in 2022.
In fact, if these were not the classy and storied Football Giants, we might even be using the T-word that rhymes with “bank.” Which, to be far, is not the expletive so many people treat it as. The Giants are not actively trying to lose a bunch of games. They are just assembling a group — for myriad reasons — that will naturally do that.
“It’s the hand we were dealt, and we’re going to do the best we can with what we have,” general manager Joe Schoen told reporters Thursday. “We’re going to continue to try to compete and do the best we can.”
Schoen was speaking specifically to the salary cap disaster Dave Gettleman left for him before “retiring” to Cape Cod. But the sentiments also apply to this season. Translation: They’re going to stink. And then Schoen went and cut linebacker Blake Martinez a few hours later.
There are relatively valid explanations to spin that roster move. Martinez is 28, he’s coming off a bad knee injury and he doesn’t fit Wink Martindale’s scheme. All good. But this is a pattern now. Schoen has jettisoned James Bradberry, Logan Ryan and Martinez this offseason. Three productive veteran players out the door with no assets acquired, modest cap space saved outside of Bradberry and — most importantly — no one of note in place to replace them.
To be clear: The Giants need to be awful this fall. That’s the only way they can ever climb back to relevancy. They should have undergone a teardown in 2018, but owner John Mara went out and got Gettleman to tell him what he wanted to hear — that they could slap it together to make one more run with Eli Manning. And we have seen how that worked out.
Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll have no other viable choice but to take their post-Gettleman medicine this year. Then the rebuild starts in earnest in the spring. It’s a good sign they realize this. It means they are competent, which is a bar the Giants have struggled to clear of late. They are finally on the right path.
That said, there are still two critical issues Daboll and Schoen must grapple with.
The Giants can say all the right things as much as they want. But Daniel Jones is doomed here. The Giants will be looking for a new quarterback after this season. Daboll’s coaching and schematic brilliance will not turn Jones into Josh Allen. Certainly not with the shambolic receiving corps he is surrounded with. Even if the offensive line takes a big step forward (we are skeptical) and Saquon Barkley backs up all his brash talk (ditto), Jones is still going to struggle. Not to mention his significant injury history.
Jones isn’t a bad quarterback, per se. He turns the ball over way too much, but so did Manning. Jones has the ability to be a middle-of-the-pack guy who can win games. But he’s never had much of a chance here given what has been around him. And that won’t change.
But the real elephant in the room is Mara and his patience. All is well now. But he and co-owner Steve Tisch are on their fifth head coach and third general manager in eight years. And the last three coaches got fired after two seasons (or less). While Schoen should feel relatively confident he will get a fair amount of time — they gave Gettleman one year too many and Jerry Reese two too many — Daboll has to keep his guard up.
Ben McAdoo, Pat Shurmur and Joe Judge all earned their pink slips. No argument there. But there was an argument to giving all three a third season. McAdoo made a playoff appearance and had a post-Manning vision. Shurmur did good work with Jones as a rookie and was competitive down the stretch in 2019. Judge had a solid first season and was hindered by Gettleman’s ineptitude (and a pandemic). Yet Mara disregarded all defenses and still dropped the axe. Who’s to say the same couldn’t happen to Daboll until it doesn’t?
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