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GLENDALE, Ariz. — The New York Giants appear to be sticking with quarterback Eli Manning even in the final week of the season against the Washington Redskins.

“Eli will start, and then we’ll probably take it bit by bit,” interim coach Steve Spagnuolo said after Sunday’s 23-0 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. “We just take it and see how it goes. Eli is the starter.”

Manning started Sunday, and the Giants lost tight end Evan Engram (rib) and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (neck) by the end of the game. He threw a pair of interceptions and lost a fumble that was returned for a score. He also played from start to finish despite the lopsided result.

Rookie Davis Webb wasn’t even an option. He was inactive for the contest, the 15th time in as many games the third-round pick failed to dress. There’s a chance Webb will be active next Sunday after he took some first-team snaps at practice last week.
But since Spagnuolo was named interim coach in place of the fired Ben McAdoo earlier this month, he has insisted that the Giants are prioritizing winning and that Manning gives them the best chance to win.

The Giants still scored 10 points or fewer for the sixth time this season Sunday and lost their fourth straight game.

Spagnuolo didn’t contemplate taking Manning out for backup Geno Smith at any point.

“No. I really didn’t,” Spagnuolo said.

Smith started a game earlier this month in Oakland to end Manning’s streak of 210 consecutive starts. McAdoo was fired less than 24 hours after the game, and the Giants reversed course with their plan, which was to eventually get to Webb.

Co-owner John Mara said he wanted to see the young quarterback play, and by play he didn’t mean come in late to close out a game.
Manning went 27-of-45 passing for 263 yards against the Cardinals.

“Hey, we didn’t score any points, so I didn’t play well enough,” he said.

Neither did his supporting cast. The Giants fell to 2-13 this season and are in position to potentially land the No. 2 overall pick in next year’s draft.

That could put them in position to draft Manning’s potential successor, namely UCLA’s Josh Rosen or USC’s Sam Darnold. But Manning wasn’t ready to discuss his future after the latest loss Sunday.

“I’ll figure out next week and go from there,” he said.

Manning turns 37 next week.

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The New York Giants cleaned house on Monday, firing coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese in the midst of a 2-10 season.

McAdoo told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen in a text message Monday morning that he was out after two seasons on the job. Giants co-owner John Mara confirmed the changes in a news conference Monday afternoon.

Mara and co-owner Steve Tisch met after Sunday’s 24-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders and again in the morning. They decided they couldn’t wait any longer.

“We agreed that wholesale changes needed to be made in this organization to get us back to the team that we expect to be,” Mara said.
Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will be the interim head coach, while assistant GM Kevin Abrams will be the Giants’ interim general manager, Mara announced. A search for Reese’s full-time replacement will begin immediately, and it will be led by former Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi, Mara said. Abrams and Spagnuolo will be candidates.

Mara said he and Tisch “agreed it was pointless to wait any longer to make these changes.”

“This has been the perfect storm this season,” Mara said. “Everything that could have gone wrong this season has gone wrong.”

The breaking point appears to have been the benching of franchise quarterback Eli Manning. Geno Smith started for the Giants on Sunday, but a source told ESPN on Monday that the team is going back to Manning.

Mara would not confirm that Manning will return as starter on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. He said the decision will be up to Spagnuolo.

He denied that the Manning situation had anything to do a reorganization of the team’s brass.

“Had no effect whatsoever. 2-10 is 2-10,” Mara said. “Public reaction to that was not pleasant but didn’t really have any effect on our decision.”

He later added: “You ought to stop blaming Ben and Jerry on that. If you want to blame anyone on that, blame me. I certainly had the power to overrule it if I wanted to. I chose not to do it.”

The Giants host the Cowboys on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. McAdoo and a quarterback other than Manning would have been met with resistance.

There has been talk about former Giants showing up to the game and standing on the sideline in No. 10 jerseys in a show of solidarity to Manning.

“I was certainly cognizant of what the fan reaction was likely to be over the last four weeks, but that wasn’t the final determining factor,” Mara said. “We had reached the point where we felt, ‘You know what, we’re going to be making these changes probably at the end of the season, so what was the point in prolonging this any further?”

Reese has been with the Giants in various roles since 1994, serving as general manager since 2007. He won two Super Bowls with the team but has been criticized in recent seasons for failing to address problems on the Giants’ offensive line.

Mara called Monday’s dismissal of Reese “as difficult a meeting as I’ve ever had.” He thinks it will not take long for him to land a similar job with another franchise.

McAdoo took over for Tom Coughlin after the 2015 season. His first year as Giants coach was encouraging. They had an 11-5 record and ended a five-year playoff drought.

Year 2 didn’t quite go as planned, with the Giants struggling from the start. They lost their first five games and were officially eliminated from playoff contention before December.

“Our offense was supposed to be better, and we added some receivers and a couple tight ends. We were supposed to be better,” Mara said. “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.”

McAdoo had to suspend two players (veteran cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) for a violation of team rules, and the controversies persisted throughout the season. They also lost star wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall to injuries in the same Week 5 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

It reached a point where Giants ownership felt a need to release a statement after an embarrassing 31-21 loss to the previously winless San Francisco 49ers that McAdoo would not be fired before the end of the season. The statement noted a desire to evaluate the season as a whole.

Several weeks later, after Manning was benched, Mara wouldn’t guarantee McAdoo’s safety through even the end of the season. It set the stage for McAdoo’s ouster during a season that began with Super Bowl expectations but crashed and burned early.
“There’s no guarantees in life,” Mara said at the time. “[We] made [our] statement on that a couple of weeks ago, but there’s no guarantees in life.”

McAdoo joined the Giants from the Green Bay Packers before the 2014 season. He served as the team’s offensive coordinator for two seasons under Coughlin before being promoted to head coach. The Giants’ offense under McAdoo showed improvement during those first two years. Manning was coming off an awful 2013 season and managed to thrive working with his new offensive coordinator.

The Giants averaged 25 points per game in McAdoo’s first two seasons with the team. They averaged 19.4 points per game last season and 15.6 this year with him as the head coach.

McAdoo also wasn’t especially well-received by fans as the public face of the franchise, beginning with the oversized suit on the day he was hired to his appearance on the sideline and at news conferences. Fans had been calling for his firing for weeks.

NFL insiders debate the best of the 25 players, the first year of the coach, more

With the release of Football Outsiders’ list of top 25 breakout prospects and under-25 talent team rankings, we decided to poll our NFL Insiders on the league’s youth movement. Who’s the best under-25 offensive and defensive player? Which under-25 quarterback would you pick to start your franchise? Our crew of Insiders has all the answers.

Who’s the NFL’s best under-25 offensive player?

Dan Graziano, national NFL writer: Odell Beckham Jr. Too much of the wrong stuff about the New York Giants star gets too much of the attention. Call up his stats page and look at what he has delivered on the field in his first three years. Elite production. Electric performance. Superstar.

Mike Sando, senior NFL writer: Good luck finding an offensive lineman or tight end to compete with 25-and-under stars from other positions. I’ll give Beckham the edge based on three years of sensational production. He turns 25 during the 2017 season, however, so if you’re looking for someone younger, consider Ezekiel Elliott, Mike Evans or Dak Prescott.

The Giants have two of the league's emerging stars in Odell Beckham Jr. and Landon Collins.

The Giants have two of the league’s emerging stars in Odell Beckham Jr. and Landon Collins.

Scott Kacsmar, assistant editor of Football Outsiders: While Beckham has been great for three years, I have to go with Prescott after arguably the greatest rookie season in NFL history by a quarterback. As a rookie he sustained the type of efficiency that we have seen only from the group of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees in this era. I think he’ll be more like Russell Wilson than Robert Griffin III when it comes to parlaying rookie success into sophomore success for the Dallas Cowboys.

Kevin Seifert, national NFL writer: Elliott is the first name that came to my head and I’m sticking to it. It’s true that Beckham is electric and a threat to score every time he touches the ball, which as a receiver has meant about seven times per game. Elliott is also a potential game-breaker whenever he gets the ball. That was about 24 times per game last season. Those who over-credit the Cowboys’ strong offensive line for Elliott’s success are missing a runner of exceptional instincts and open-field skills.
Field Yates, NFL Insider: It’s Beckham. He’s sizzling with the football in his hands and nearly impossible to defend in man coverage. He looks like he has been shot out of a cannon when he catches a slant pattern, with the ability to turn the routine into six points on a moment’s notice.

OK, what about under-25 defender?

Graziano: It’s Joey Bosa, who held out of training camp as a rookie, missed four games to start the season, and still finished with 10.5 sacks. The Los Angeles Chargers pass-rusher is a monster difference-maker at a premium defensive position. I’d build a defense around him. A rookie with double-digit sacks isn’t something you see every year.

Sando: Bosa made an immediate impact as a rookie despite a contract dispute that kept him away from the team for an extended period. He’s in position to pull away from the field of under-25 defenders now that he is fully ramped up heading into a season. It’s notable, however, that the Giants could make a case for having such outstanding under-25 guys on both sides of the ball (Beckham and Landon Collins).
Kacsmar: Collins and Vic Beasley Jr. were All-Pros last season, but Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters has been a ball-hawking corner for two years now. Interception rates are lower than ever, and individual defenders often have a hard time of sustaining this success, but Peters has 17 takeaways in two seasons. His coverage metrics are also impressive.

Seifert: Since the start of his career in 2015, Peters has disrupted more dropbacks (41) than any single defender in the NFL. His disrupted dropback percentage (3.1) is second-best to J.J. Watt. This ranking includes interceptions, sacks, batted passes and passes defensed, and it provides a wide-ranging and weighted look at how many “plays” a defender makes. Peters is already among the NFL’s best, under 25 or otherwise.

Yates: Factoring in positional value, football confidence and playmaking skills, I’ll take Peters. A top-shelf cornerback not only requires unique physical tools, but also the ability to play with a short memory. Peters has limitless confidence that allows him to get his hands on so many footballs, while also seemingly never living one play behind. The most important play — regardless of what happened positively or negatively on the last one — is the next one. Peters has the mindset of an elite player.

Which under-25 QB would you pick to start your franchise?

Graziano: Give me Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Yeah, I know, turnovers, but this guy has proven himself as a leader and a winner at the college level and has already won more more than anyone expected him to at the pro level. He’s 23, and his teammates revere him.

Sando: Dak Prescott would be my choice over Winston, but if you chose one, I’d happily take the other. Injury concerns prevent Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota from factoring into the equation. Prescott’s ability and/or willingness to protect the football gives him the edge over Winston. Both are special in their own ways.

Landon Collins: Giants DBs decided not to go on boat trip

All-Pro safety Landon Collins said Wednesday on SportsCenter that the New York Giants’ defensive backs were invited on the now infamous Miami boat trip but declined the offer.

Wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Sterling Shepard and Roger Lewis flew to Florida late the night of Jan. 1 after the regular-season finale and partied into the morning. Pictures of them surfaced in a club with Justin Bieber and partying shirtless on a yacht.

“We actually were invited. We decided not to go,” Collins said. “Just we wanted — there’s a receivers group and there is [defensive backs] group — so it was like I’m going to go with my DBs. And we decided to do something different.”

What that was Collins wouldn’t say.

“I can’t say out loud,” he said with a smile and a chuckle.

Whatever it was, it wasn’t quite as crazy as the wide receivers’ party, which led to some criticism of the players’ playoff preparation. Meanwhile, cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Trevin Wade were in the weight room at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center early that Monday morning before the receivers had even gone to sleep.

The Giants began preparations for their wild-card playoff game that Tuesday. They lost to the Green Bay Packers 38-13 on Jan. 8, and several of their wide receivers put in subpar performances.

Coach Ben McAdoo said firmly throughout the week that he wasn’t going to pass public judgment on what his wide receivers did on their off day.

“The players are off,” McAdoo said. “They’re not working.”

Collins thought McAdoo would have a meeting on the subject when the players returned that week. He touched on it lightly, Collins said, but the focus was on the Packers.

Giants players didn’t have any problems with their teammates’ decision to travel to Miami six days before their playoff game, even if it did shine the spotlight brighter in their direction, he said.

“We didn’t mind it at all. That was our off day,” Collins said. “You have every right to do whatever you want on our off day. They decided to do that.”

The Giants were adamant after their poor performance against the Packers that the drama had nothing to do with the result. But quarterback Eli Manning thought Beckham might have put too much pressure on himself in his first playoff game. The Pro Bowl receiver had two drops and couldn’t reel in some other potential catches.

McAdoo didn’t rule out the possibility that the pressure of the playoffs might have gotten to his guys.

“I think there may be some signs of some guys pressing in the ballgame,” he said. “You go through it, you learn and next time you have that opportunity, you have to cash in on it.”

It wasn’t just the wide receivers. The Giants defense also had its struggles in Green Bay, allowing 24 points in the second half alone. They allowed just 17.8 points per game during the regular season.