By Ernie Palladino
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As far as organizations go, the Giants may be the most reluctant in the NFL when it comes to blowing things up.
They just don’t like to do it, which is why all this talk about bidding adieu to general manager Jerry Reese and coach Ben McAdoo after this horrible season may be, in the end, quite misguided.
That’s not to suggest that anything that has happened in the recent past wouldn’t cost any number of people jobs elsewhere. Historic losses like the 51-17 ostrich egg McAdoo’s emotionless squad laid against the Rams at MetLife Stadium on Sunday do tend to make current coaches former ones and shorten the shelf lives of even long-tenured general managers.
Throw in a couple Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie/Janoris Jenkins locker room problems, and it’s no wonder the local media has commenced with the traditional parade of successors.
But a couple of factors work into the Giants’ picture that might save both coach and GM despite the horrors of this 1-7 season. Just for now, put former Patriots personnel wizard Scott Pioli and Tom Brady whisperer Josh McDaniels on hold. Let Nick Saban continue his kingly reign at Alabama in peace. John Mara might not be ready to hit the detonate button, even if this all ends up at 2-14.
First, don’t downplay the injury angle. It isn’t every day a team loses its two top receiving options and its kick returner in one game. And when it does happen, those offenses never recover. Tired of seeing those scores in the high teens and low 20s? Just remember the game-breaking ability of Odell Beckham Jr. accompanied him when he exited 2017 with a broken ankle against the Chargers, minutes after Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris ended theirs.
The Giants have had other injuries since. Center Weston Richburg went on IR with a concussion. Guard Justin Pugh was out with a back injury last week. Not that the offensive line was doing anything special before then — actually, it stunk — but the shuffling might go as a mitigating factor to former offensive coordinator McAdoo’s failure to repeat the offense of 2015 that put up 30 or more points seven times.
That “former offensive coordinator” phrase is key, too. The late Wellington Mara cherished organizational continuity, as does son John. And that history goes back a long way.
Bill Parcells coordinated Ray Perkins’ defense before ascending to head coach in 1983. Parcells’ running backs coach, Ray Handley, got the job after the Tuna stepped down in May of ’91, but only because preferred choices Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin had already departed for the Browns and Boston College, respectively.
Handley’s two-year reign was so hapless that Wellington Mara couldn’t help but go outside the organization for Dan Reeves, but came back four years later for Handley’s offensive coordinator, Jim Fassel. And then it was Parcells’ old wide receivers coach, Coughlin.
It was no surprise then that John Mara tabbed Coughlin’s offensive coordinator, McAdoo.
And for those wanting to compare the two, surreal years the Giants suffered under Handley with McAdoo’s reign, be careful. Handley never had an 11-5 playoff season to fall back on. McAdoo projects arrogance and may indeed be losing his players’ hearts and minds, but he’s far from a Ray Handley.
The owners have shown equal loyalty to their general managers. George Young served Wellington for 19 years. Ernie Accorsi went for nine years. Both retired.
This is Reese’s 11th year. When it came to a choice between a clean sweep or keeping either Reese or Coughlin after 2015, John Mara kept Reese for one last shot at rebuilding the defense.
He could stick with him again, with the proviso that he fix the offensive line he so obviously neglected last offseason.
One can never really predict how any ownership will react to a lost season, especially one that was supposed to end in the Super Bowl. Mara could indeed opt for the clean sweep — blow it up and start fresh with a pair of total outsiders.
But that’s not a lock.
So don’t start planning the bon voyage parties just yet.
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