Everything that could have gone wrong this season, has. That how Giants President and CEO John Mara described the impetus for firing head coach Ben McAdoo and longtime general manager Jerry Reese on Monday.
“I met this morning with Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo and relieved both of them of their responsibilities,” Mara told reporters.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will relieve McAdoo as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Assistant GM Kevin Abrams will take over for Reese on an interim basis with an opportunity to interview for the job on a full-time basis.
After leading the Giants to an 11-5 record in his debut 2016 season, the Giants fell flat on their faces under McAdoo this season. They’re now 2-10 and have benched longtime starter Eli Manning for Geno Smith at quarterback. McAdoo leaves New York with a 13-15 combined record.
McAdoo’s controversial decision to bench Manning did not factor into his firing, Mara insisted, adding that he signed off on the initial plan but intended for Manning to continue as the starter through the first half of games. Manning publicly declined to do so strictly in the interest of preserving his consecutive games started streak.
“Coach McAdoo told me I could continue to start while Geno and Davis [Webb] are given an opportunity to play,” Manning said last week. “My feeling is that if you are going to play the other guys, play them. Starting just to keep the streak going and knowing you won’t finish the game and have a chance to win it is pointless to me, and it tarnishes the streak. Like I always have, I will be ready to play if and when I am needed. I will help Geno and Davis prepare to play as well as they possibly can.”
Mara expressed grief about having to part with Reese, a homegrown talent who has been with the organization since 1994, when he began his NFL career as a college scout for the Giants. The Giants have also won two Super Bowls with Reese as GM.
“I just think where we are as a franchise right now, we’re 2-10,” said Mara. “We’ve kind of been spiraling out of control here. I just felt like we needed a complete overhaul.”
The Giants entered 2017 with lofty expectations and will exit this season having met none of them.
“I was very confident about this roster, as I think most of the people in this room were, heading into this season,” said Mara. “I thought it was as talented a roster as we’ve had here in a long time. We were coming off an 11-5 season. Our defense was basically the same. Our offense was supposed to be better. We had added some receivers and a couple of tight ends. We were supposed to be better.”
“We got off to a very poor start on offense, our defense did not play as well as they could have and then everybody got hurt,” he said.
“It’s really been the perfect storm this year,” he added. “Everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong so far this season. And it’s just one of those things you have to live through, and suck it up, and make whatever changes you have to make and go on.”