By Lenn Robbins
If nothing else, the Giants acted swiftly and decisively, firing coach Pat Shurmur even before the Cowboys and Jason Garrett parted ways and less than 24 hours after the Browns made the easiest coaching change since Ray Handley.
Once one of the most well-run, classiest operations in all of sports can now be found at your local toy store in the form of a Big Blue piñata.
No NFL team has lost more games since 2017 than the Giants, who have had four coaches in the last six years. Only White Island has been more unstable.
Despite this Mess at the Meadowlands, the Giants predicament is not nearly as bad as it could be. The NFC East has been the perfect home for any franchise hoping to win the division at 9-7, as the Eagles just did.
But that’s about to change.
The Redskins, under racist, one-tenth-of-one-percent owner Dan Snyder, have taken a giant step forward with the firing of president of suits Bruce Allen and the imminent hiring of former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera. Rivera is as respected as it gets.
It’s still unknown if the Redskins have a quarterback. Dwayne Haskins played worse than most rookie QBs do and Alex Smith’s leg remains a question mark. But the Skins have some talent and they’ll get more with the No.2 pick (Chase Young) in the upcoming draft.
The Cowboys have the most talented roster in the division but Garrett, a truly standup guy, was never able to get them to a Super Bowl. For the first time ever the Cowboys have gone two decades without an NFC Championship game appearance.
Jerry Jones, for whatever you think, certainly gave Garrett the time and resources. If the Cowboys get it right and score a touchdown with their hire (Urban Meyer? Matt Rhule?) the Giants will face a more dangerous Dallas team in 2020.
Philadelphia won the division almost by default. The Eagles were the Yankees of the NFL this season, parading injured players to the treatment room and back. But Philly has a proven coach in Doug Pederson and quarterback Carson Wentz played almost every snap of every game.
It’s a safe expectation that the Eagles won’t go through a second season of injury plague and if they shore up their secondary, Philly also will start 2020 ahead of the Giants.
Never has it been more crucial for the Giants to get it right than now.
The other three teams in the division are about to improve significantly. The Giants can’t be searching for another coach in two or three years. Saquon Barkley, the exquisite running back, might be battered into mediocrity by then. The rest of the division might be too far ahead.
No, the Giants have to get it right now.
Rhule is an intriguing proposition and he might choose the Giants over the Cowboys because he has New York roots and was an assistant line coach with Big Blue for a cup of coffee. But objectively, which roster would you rather inherit – New York or Dallas? ‘Nuf said.
There’s also been call for the Giants to cut ties with GM Dave Gettleman. More coaches want a greater say in the draft process and roster building. Gettleman inherited a depleted roster and an inflated salary cap – the one-two knockout punch of NFL GMs.
Whether by luck or skill or both, he’s given the Giants Barkley, Daniel Jones, Will Hernandez, Dexter Lawrence, etc. There are 32 head coaching jobs in the NFL and if Gettleman’s presence pushes away a candidate, so be it.
Gettleman faces the decision of his professional career. He can’t get this wrong. The Giants are battered and wobbly but they’re not out of their weight class.
If the Giants don’t get this hire right, they could be the Bengals, or, well, the Bengals. The Giants could find themselves buried so deeply that they’ll have to turn to a 76ers-like rebuild.
When has New York ever turned to Philly for anything other than a cheesesteak for the road?