Eli Manning should have been benched. Ben McAdoo should have been fired. Both can be true — conveniently, they are.
With the team 2-9, a rebuild imminent and the locker room reportedly lost by the head coach, the right move was to evaluate Davis Webb, lose as many games as they could, and be in a position to move forward with Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold or someone else following a lost season.
Ben McAdoo couldn’t be the one to make the decision about Manning playing.
It had to come from the general manager and — more importantly — from ownership.
We needed a press conference with Eli seated next to Jerry Reese, McAdoo, and as many members of the Mara family as they could wrangle.
The Giants handled that as poorly as it could have been handled.
Their admission of guilt was firing McAdoo, which they should have done regardless of the situation at quarterback.
If they’d been smart about this, Jon Mara would have come out with a press release announcing the firing of McAdoo and Reese with an edict that everyone is on notice and under evaluation.
The next day, he should have held a press conference saying that in order to evaluate this team for the future, the Giants were going to sit Eli — who they’ll state is still their quarterback for the near term — with the intent of evaluating Geno Smith and Davis Webb.
All that works.
They got the “what” right but the “how” wrong.
That could have been the end of the story… but they couldn’t leave well enough alone.
After firing McAdoo and Reese — again, the right move for the team given the circumstances — the Giants announced Manning would be back as the starter.
Nope, sorry. Can’t do that. You can’t humiliate your star quarterback, the most revered Giant since Lawrence Taylor, and expect everyone is cool when you bring Manning back.
Plus, Manning should sit. Webb needs to play. They need to know if he can actually be an NFL quarterback.
Going back to Manning only underscores the notion that no one seems to be at the controls in East Rutherford. What’s the vision for the future? Is there one?
Eli could have remained the quarterback in 2018, a financially sound move given his contract situation even if the Giants drafted a quarterback. Is that relationship damaged beyond repair?
Does a quarterback who stood at his locker in tears answering questions before the media really want to be the face of a franchise that just humiliated him like this?
Tom Coughlin may burn up their phone lines (you know Coughlin is a landline guy) making offers for Manning, and the Giants would be wise to take them.
Their cap situation is a disaster; clearing space for what is evidently, at this point, a rebuild makes sense for them.
But with no one in charge, or at least no one with a clue, how can Giant fans trust the right decisions will be made?
Maybe the Giants can lure Nick Cesario and Josh McDaniels away from the Patriots, draft Josh Rosen, and be really good again in a year or two, but what recent evidence do we have to suggest that’s at all likely?
Bungling this situation so badly would only justify Eli in wanting out. It likely scares potential executive and coaching candidates away — what about the Giants’ organization at this point looks appealing?
They have a moody superstar who expects to get the biggest contract in NFL history. The money they spent on defense that looked so good last year looks flimsy in 2017. There’s no infrastructure on offense with a leaky offensive line and no running game.
Who looks at this job beyond the appeal of New York — and the Giants play and practice in New Jersey — and says “Yeah, that’s a great job”?
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
The Giants made their bed. Now they have to E-lie in it.