Believe it or not, there are seven games left in the New York Giants’ season. With that much time and ownership’s desire to evaluate the future of the franchise at the conclusion of the season rather than midstream, coach Ben McAdoo was granted a temporary stay on his potential firing Monday. He will be the coach for the remainder of the season, if not longer.
If you listen to pretty much anyone right now, it is all but a foregone conclusion McAdoo isn’t long for the Giants (1-8), who are in disarray and among the league’s worst teams. McAdoo seemingly has lost his team, something a coach rarely survives.
We’ve seen this before, but there are seven weeks remaining in the season, and a lot can happen in seven weeks. Just think, seven weeks ago it was almost inconceivable that McAdoo would be on the hot seat, considering he was coming off an 11-5 first season as a head coach. The Giants were 0-2 seven weeks ago, but nobody thought this — last place in the NFC East, eight losses in nine games and a constant state of disarray — would unfold.
Let’s take a look at some of the potential scenarios for McAdoo, including how he can save his job.
Where it stands now …
The general perception is McAdoo is all but gone. He has lost the team. They’ve quit on him (at least on the defensive side of the ball) the past two weeks in embarrassing losses to the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers. The rumors and heat hit such great heights Monday that ownership decided to release a statement putting off any decision until after the season.
The final line read: “It is our responsibility to determine the reasons for our poor performance, and at the end of the year, we will evaluate the 2017 season in its entirety and make a determination on how we move forward.”
In other words, everything is at a stand-still right now, but McAdoo appears to be a lame-duck coach for the final seven weeks.
What gets him fired …
More losses. More dysfunction. Really, everything that has put the Giants and McAdoo in this situation. They have played poorly offensively — averaging little more than 16 points per game — quit defensively in recent weeks and had more off-field drama than a proud organization can handle.
Status quo would seemingly put McAdoo out of a job come Jan. 1. He isn’t going to be able to overcome more poor performances, empty seats and the ones filled by Eagles and Cowboys fans. That never sits well with ownership.
McAdoo isn’t helping himself by looking awkward and lost on the sideline and at the podium.
How he can save his job …
Somehow McAdoo is going to have to rally the troops. He’s going to need some victories (winning three of seven might do it), and he’s going to need his team to show improved effort. The healthy Giants are at a talent deficit most weeks down the stretch, given their problems at wide receiver and linebacker. As such, they aren’t really expected to win many games — they’ll probably be underdogs in the final seven games — but if they at least show that they’re willing to fight for McAdoo, he could make a case for himself.
His case: In the big picture, he had a good first season and a terrible second year. The second season was mostly without Odell Beckham Jr., who played two games from start to finish this season. McAdoo was also saddled with a flawed roster (see: offensive line) provided by general manager Jerry Reese. As long as McAdoo can say he didn’t lose the team, he has a chance to reach Year 3, especially given the Giants’ history of patience and loyalty. Only one Giants coach in the past 86 years (Ray Handley) hasn’t made it to a third season.
• 2017 schedule, results
Playing his wild card …
If things continue to go in the current direction, McAdoo’s last-ditch effort to keep his job could come in the form of a player who hasn’t been active for a single game this season. He would have to replace the best quarterback in franchise history.
Third-round pick Davis Webb is McAdoo’s guy. McAdoo pushed for him in just about every round of the draft until he got his wish. If all seems lost, McAdoo could throw Webb into the lineup the final few weeks and hope he turns into Deshaun Watson early in his career. Then McAdoo could sell that he deserves the opportunity to develop his quarterback, a younger player who can move a little bit in the pocket.
Of course, this is all a long shot. There is a good chance that McAdoo would alienate and embarrass Eli Manning, a two-time Super Bowl winner and consummate professional. Ownership doesn’t want to see that happen. Neither do Giants fans.
Where the GM situation factors in …
McAdoo isn’t the only one on the hot seat right now. Reese’s job also appears to be in jeopardy, with the Giants on the verge of missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six years. McAdoo hasn’t been around for six years, and since Tom Coughlin was pushed out several years back, Reese appears next in line to absorb the blame for the lack of success in a results-oriented business.
This could affect McAdoo. If the Giants fire Reese, it would have to be the perfect storm for McAdoo to remain. It rarely seems to work well when a new GM gets saddled with a holdover coach. For better or worse, Reese and McAdoo might be a package deal. Getting rid of one means getting rid of both, unless the Giants hire someone with a strong pre-existing relationship with McAdoo (i.e. someone from the Green Bay Packers front office).