The New York Giants were coming off the first season under new head coach Bob McAdoo. They had gone 11-5, taking second in the NFC East and making the playoffs as a wild card only to lose to the Green Bay Packers 38-13. Going into 2017, the team had every reason to believe things were going to get better. It would be everyone’s second year with the new regime, they would better know the system. They brought in a few big name free agents like wide receiver Brandon Marshall and offensive lineman D.J. Fluker, and the draft included taking Davis Webb, a quarterback from Cal. There was no way he was going to unseat starter Eli Manning, but he would compete for the back up spot with recently signed Geno Smith. 2017 looked bright for the Giants.
Everything that could go wrong, short of a player spontaneously combusting during an end-around, happened to this team. They lost a majority of their wide receivers to injuries during the year, including their top player Odell Beckham Jr. and Marshall. They lost their first five games, going one and six before the bye week. And the week off didn’t help at all. They would get only two more wins, one a 12-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in over time, ending the season 3-13.
But the biggest moment of the year had to be when McAdoo announced that he was going to bench Manning in favor of playing Smith and Webb. Manning was sitting on the longest active consecutive start streak in the NFL and was told he could start the game, but then would be swapped out. Manning didn’t want to tarnish the record like that, so he accepted the benching. But the fans of New York were extremely upset… and so was the owner. McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese were both fired after the game Smith started. Steve Spagnuolo was the interim head coach and immediately put Manning back in the starting lineup. Smith lost the game he started. Webb never got to play.
The team hired Dave Gettleman as their new general manager. Gettleman came up in the Giants system, but was GM for the Carolina Panthers for a few years before being fired prior to the start of the 2017 season. He’s known for loving his linemen and making tough decisions, but isn’t very good with people and left a lot of former Panthers player disgruntled. For head coach they got Pat Schurmur, the offensive coordinator for the Vikings, and he grabbed James Bettcher from Arizona for his defensive coordinator. Since Schurmur will be calling his own plays; the choice of OC needed to be someone who could work well with quarterbacks, so they went to recently fired Carolina OC Mike Shula, who helped develop Cam Newton.
But the team has big questions left to answer… like what to do at quarterback. They are likely to stick with Manning for the short term, but they need to decide if Webb is their future or if they should use the 2nd pick in this years draft to get their next signal caller. Then they have to seriously look at the wide receiving corps to see what they have there and whether Schurmur can keep OBJ in check. The player can be a bit hot-headed at times, and he’s asking for a new deal. Gettleman had a similar type player in Carolina, corner Josh Norman who he put the franchise tag on… and then rescinded it and let the player go. Gettleman’s not afraid to cut a fan favorite if he thinks it’s better for the long-term health of the team.