Different offseason ahead for Giants

Jan 2, 2018 - 12:27 AM EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants packed up their belongings and bid each other goodbye, not really knowing what the immediate future holds for the team that is coming off a disappointing 3-13 season and which is still very much in a state of flux.

Quarterback Eli Manning, who is the longest tenured player on the roster and who has seen it all since joining the team in 2004, admitted that this coming offseason has a noticeably different vibe to it.

"Yeah, I guess there's more uncertainty this year than after others," he said, referencing the team's disappointing record, its in-season discipline issues that led to three players being suspended, his benching and the in-season firings of both general manager Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo.

"But it's always a disappointing day, that the season's over, (other than) the two years you win Super Bowls, where it's not. It's always tough that it's coming to an end and another year that didn't go as we wanted. You just try to learn from each game, each year, each situation and try to be better for it."

How the Giants will get better from a season that went horribly wrong is still to be determined as new general manager Dave Gettleman has a busy few weeks ahead of him that will include meeting with the current coaching staff to conduct player evaluations, getting a new head coach in place, mapping out free agency and getting a better idea of what they will do with the No. 2 overall draft pick this spring.

But the overall feeling on a bittersweet day for the Giants is that despite how bad things might have been on the outside, the franchise isn't that far off from being fixed and restored to the unit that won 11 games in 2016.

"Easily, definitely," said cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie when asked if it was possible for the team to get things turned around quickly in one offseason. "I know the guys that are in the locker room, the guys that were hurt, I know they are eager to get back and get started, and I can tell you that no man wants this taste in their mouth this whole offseason."

Still, it's hard to imagine Gettleman accepting the status quo. Certainly, some players will move on via free agency; the Giants' biggest pending free agents include offensive linemen Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg, and linebacker Devon Kennard.

Then there is a decision to be made by Gettleman regarding the team's last two first-round draft picks, tackle Ereck Flowers and cornerback Eli Apple, both of whom have had their respective attitudes called into question.

"I don't know how much change there's going to be," Pugh said. "I know this is -- despite our record -- we got some really good players in this room. No matter what you're going to say, we're going to have an elite defense next year and those guys are unbelievable.

"On offense, we're going to be healthy and go back at it. Obviously, things are going to change. We know that. You've heard the GM talk. We'll see what happens with the coaching situation, but that's the NFL."

--The Giants have requested permission from the Patriots to interview both their coordinators, Josh McDaniels on the offensive side and Matt Patricia on the defensive side.

McDaniels has prior head coaching experience, with the Broncos, where he was the head coach from 2009-2010. During his tenure, McDaniels went 8-8 in his first season and then 3-9 in is second, failing to make it through all 16 games. He spent the 2011 season as the offensive coordinator with the Rams under Steve Spagnuolo, the Giants' interim head coach. McDaniels then returned to the Patriots for his second tour of duty as the team's offensive coordinator -- his first was 2006-2008 -- in 2012.

Patricia doesn't have prior head coaching experience, but he does offer an intriguing NFL coaching background that spans both sides of the ball. He began his pro coaching career with the Patriots as an offensive assistant in 2004 and then the assistant offensive line coach in 2005.

Patricia then switched to the defensive side of the ball in 2006, when he became the Patriots linebackers coach through the 2010 season. He coached the safeties in 2011 and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2012, his current post.

The Giants are also reportedly set to interview Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who, like McDaniels and Patricia, has a bye week this week and would be eligible to interview through the conclusion of the wild-card games.

Barring a change in plans, Spagnuolo is also reportedly going to interview for the permanent job at some point either this week or next week.

"None of that has even been talked about," Spagnuolo said Monday after he met with the players for the final time this year. "Dave and I have been just kind of focusing on getting to this year-end meeting and that's what we did."

Spagnuolo said that he and the assistant coaches will spend the next several days assisting Gettleman with evaluating the football program.

"I'm here to help Dave right now and we'll work through the rest of it," he said. "But, the coaches are doing the same thing. We're going to get together with (pro personnel director) Ken Sternfeld and (assistant pro personnel director) Matt (Shauger) and try to get all those evaluations going forward right now."

--New Giants general manager Dave Gettleman vowed to hit the ground running and that's exactly what he's done.

Gettleman began shaping the front-office staff by relieving Marc Ross, the team's vice president of player evaluation, of his duties over the weekend. Ross, who has been with the Giants since 2007, was one of four candidates who interviewed for the Giants' general manager position.

"I worked with Marc when I was with the organization before," Gettleman said in a team-issued statement. "I have great respect for him and high regard for his work. Clearly, we're going in a different direction, but that doesn't make these kinds of decisions any easier."

Ross was instrumental in the Giants' drafting of cornerstone players such as receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Hakeem Nicks; safety Landon Collins; defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, offensive linemen Weston Richburg and Justin Pugh, and linebacker Devon Kennard.

Ross came to the Giants from the Buffalo Bills, for whom he spent three seasons as a national college scout. His tenure with the Giants was actually a second go-round as he served as a training camp public relations intern in 1995.

According to a report by the New York Daily News, Gettleman does not plan to replace Ross this year and will, in fact, run the draft himself.

NOTES: WR Roger Lewis will undergo ankle surgery to have a bone spur removed. ... OL Bobby Hart was waived/injured with an ankle ailment. Hart also apparently ran afoul of the new team management after he reportedly declined to practice Friday despite being medically cleared to do so regardless of an ankle injury. ... LT Ereck Flowers was reportedly benched by the coaching staff after reportedly refusing to practice Friday despite being having his groin strain checked out and cleared by the medical staff. However, both interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo and Flowers himself denied that report, with both men saying that it was a medical decision behind Flowers' benching. ... RB Orleans Darkwa picked up a $200,000 incentive bonus thanks to his 154 rushing yards Sunday that put him over the incentive level by one yard. Darkwa, who finished the season with 751 yards on 151 carries, will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

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