A cynical view of the Giants’ season-ending 18-10 victory over Washington at a frigid MetLife Stadium Sunday is that it was little more than window dressing. The Giants ended their 16-game schedule 3-13, the second worst record in the NFL, to the horrendous 0-16 Cleveland Browns, winning one game in the months of October, November and December respectively after an empty September.
An optimistic interpretation is the Giants showed fight and didn’t quit in the face of simply playing for their dignity. In reality, many players were auditioning for new general manager Dave Gettleman, who is certain to reconstruct the roster that was an abject disappointment after collectively beginning the season as a Super Bowl contender.
“We are all pros, it was more than just pride,” said Giants defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul.
“It was just a team win. You can’t justify the season off one win. Obviously we lost all the others. To me, it’s one win, I’m not satisfied with the season, but I’m happy we got this win. We worked hard for it. It was a team win and I’m happy.”
The 66-year-old Gettleman, the former Carolina Panthers GM who last Friday was named as the replacement for the fired Jerry Reese, sent a resounding message throughout the organization only one full day on the job by jettisoning Marc Ross, who was the vice president of player evaluation and member of the Giants for 11 years, in addition to cutting starting right tackle Bobby Hart.
Reese, who was the Giants’ general manager for two Super Bowl titles, had been highly criticized for failing to upgrade an offensive line that struggled to both pass protect and run block over the past three seasons. Drastically improving the unit will be a priority for Gettleman, who held various titles with the Giants from 1998 to 2012 before moving on to the Panthers.
Perhaps his most significant decision will be determining who is under center for the Giants next season. They have the second overall pick in April’s draft and could select a quarterback at that slot and install him as the starter beginning next season. However, following the Giants’ win against Washington Sunday, Eli Manning, who has been the franchise’s starter since midway through his rookie season in 2004, says he wants to maintain his long-held position.
“This is where I want to play,” Manning said “This is like my family, the New York Giants has been. Hopefully they feel the same way, and we can make that work out.” Nevertheless, Gettleman, at his introductory news conference, was non-committal. “Listen, Eli has won a lot of games,” he said. “He’s a great competitor; he’s very intelligent. He and I are going to talk. And if what I saw in Philadelphia was not a mirage, and I don’t believe it was, then we’ll keep moving.” Gettleman was referring to the 37-year-old Manning’s Week 15 performance versus the Eagles when he threw for 434 yards and three touchdowns.
Time will tell if the Giants’ quarterback situation will remain status quo, but it is a certainty that much of the roster will be overhauled this offseason