No one associated with the Giants will be eager to compile a 2017 yearbook, that’s for sure.
But it’s New Year’s Eve, Dave Gettleman already is on board as the new GM, and that means it’s finally time for Big Blue to put the blues of a forgettable year behind the franchise and hope for better days ahead in 2018.
It’s popular to commit to better fitness or financial savings each New Year, but the 2017 Giants aren’t the average person or NFL team, so their list doesn’t look like yours and mine.
And that’s why the Daily News is excited to bring you an exclusive first look at the list of New Year’s resolutions that John Mara, Steve Tisch, Odell Beckham Jr. and Co. have compiled with an eye on putting 2017 in the rear-view and kicking off 2018 with a bang.
1. Get Better At Hiring Head Coaches
John Mara sunk Ben McAdoo’s battleship Friday when asked about the qualities he wants in his next head coach: “You’re looking for someone who has intelligence but leadership qualities, too — somebody that’s going to be able to command the room when he stands up there in front of that team.” Ouch. Only problem is McAdoo obviously controlled the room to Mara’s satisfaction in his January 2016 interview for Mara to hire him as head coach. The good news is Mara appears to have learned from that enormous mistake, as he said “ideally” the next head coach “will be somebody with previous head coaching experience.” That’s a good place to start for Mara after hiring McAdoo, who hadn’t been a head coach at any level prior to getting the Giants job. Interviews are expected to start this week.
2. Discard All Phones Before Boarding Boats
Beckham and Giants players and executives will need some tropical time off to unwind from the rigors of this regular season, this time without a playoff game six days away. And the lesson has been learned: we all occasionally have the urge to fly to Miami for an all-night club-and-boat party trip, but it’s important to make sure you collect everyone’s cell phones before boarding. One click of a camera is enough to make even the most well-intentioned pre-postseason bash look ill-advised and create a distraction that contributes to a 25-point playoff loss. Even without a playoff game upcoming, it’s critical that in 2018, the Giants party smart.
3. Trim The Fat
This isn’t about getting back in the gym; it’s about ridding the Giants’ roster of the bad influences, marginal players or guys who just don’t get it. And Gettleman didn’t waste any time beginning to “kick a–,” as he said he would on Friday, releasing right tackle Bobby Hart on Saturday. Hart, 23, famously said in September that he felt he was the best right tackle in the league. He proceeded to buoy Cowboys end DeMarcus Lawrence’s Pro Bowl resume in Week 1, got hurt and never recovered to play well. Hart also was one of the chuckleheads yucking it up while Eli Manning cried at his locker after being benched on Nov. 28. Then, according to ex-Giants lineman Geoff Schwartz on Twitter, Hart “came into the facility this week and told the staff he wasn’t playing this week. Nice try.” Nice try, indeed. The potty-mouthed Eli Apple falls in this category. So too does left tackle Ereck Flowers, who also told the Giants he wasn’t playing in Week 17, per ESPN. And so do others, perhaps Janoris Jenkins, with no guaranteed money left on his deal.
4. Take Bathroom Breaks In Privacy
Beckham lifted his leg and pretended to pee like a dog at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field in Week 3. Apple told the media “I gotta take a s—” Wednesday in the locker room. Let 2018 be the year that the Giants take their business back behind closed doors and only let it go in public if it’s an absolute emergency.
5. Go .500 — Baby Steps
Mara said he expects the Giants “to be a good team” in 2018 but how about not embarrassing themselves first? Mara, Reese and McAdoo made enough catastrophic mistakes to bury Big Blue into oblivion, and the lack of depth on the roster Reese assembled especially will make an immediate turnaround near-impossible. The Giant company line is that they’ve had a lot of bad breaks and that they’ve lost a lot of close games. The reality is they weren’t competitive for a solid percentage of the season, including a Rams riot in Week 9 at MetLife Stadium and a thumping by the previously-winless 49ers in Santa Clara the next week. Respectability first.
6. Do Not Screw Up The No. 2 Pick
That means losing Sunday on the final day of 2017 to avoid falling to the No. 3 pick in April’s draft. And that may mean taking the best player available and one who can contribute immediately, or it could mean trading down and acquiring assets and still snagging a first-rounder who makes the 2018 Giants better. Not all of the variables are known yet. USC QB Sam Darnold’s Cotton Bowl disaster on Friday night certainly muddied the picture. But the point is Gettleman and the Giants face a huge, franchise-altering decision at this year’s draft, and they have to hit.
7. Get On The Same Page Before Benching Eli Manning (Again)
If Manning and the Giants offense struggle, or if the organization feels that Davis Webb or a rookie QB is ready, Mara, Gettleman and the new head coach might have to have the same conversation that Mara, Reese and McAdoo had this November. Let’s just make sure in 2018 that no one throws anyone under the bus when the plan goes awry. In fact, making sure all three decision-makers are actually in the building when the Giants bench their franchise quarterback would be a good start.
8. Bring Back The Best Beckham
Something tells me Beckham and Gettleman, who quoted Archie Bunker on Friday, aren’t exactly like minds. I also don’t believe Beckham’s contract negotiations on a mega-extension will go smoothly with a no-nonsense GM like Gettleman running the Giants. “(Players) don’t want to hear the value you put on them because it hurts their feelings,” Gettleman said Friday of his soured negotiations with some of Carolina’s veterans a couple years ago. “They’re sad. This is a big boy league. You got to put your big boy pants on now. Nobody feels sorry for you. Nobody cares about your injuries. Nobody cares what you make, what you don’t make. So, I’ve learned that you have to be consistent. You got to be fair and if the player is upset, so be it. So be it.” But for the Giants to be the most talented version of themselves in 2018, a deal needs to get done. I’d be shocked if Beckham played without a new contract otherwise, and if it came to that, would that mean a trade? Hey, at least the Giants’ 2018 yearbook won’t be boring, either.
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