New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano, NFL Insider | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At halftime, when the Giants were beginning to show signs of struggle, Ben McAdoo talked to his players about giving a "championship effort" in the second half. His point was to get them to play harder and better.

But they also went out and showed how championship teams are made.

The Giants (6-3) aren't quite at a championship level yet, but for the first time in what seems like forever, they showed everyone they have the ingredients. On display, in their 21-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, was an ability to finish a game that the Giants haven't had since their last championship in 2011. They showed they had an aggressive defense and a strong enough fourth-quarter rushing attack to put the game away.

Don't get crazy yet, though. This team still has some deep flaws and plenty of problems to fix if they really want to make a deep run through January. But right now they have the third-best record in the NFC with games against the battered Bears (2-7) and awful Browns (0-10) upcoming. Yes, they are two games back in the division and the wild-card race is tight, but the Giants are still staring at their best opportunity since 2011.

First things first, though. Here are my five takeaways from their emotional win on Monday night:

1. Steve Spagnuolo has the horses this year. There was a lot of understandable angst about McAdoo's decision to keep Spags around as defensive coordinator after the Giants' historically bad defensive performance a year ago. But as I said (often) last season, he just didn't have the personnel - any personnel, really - to work with. Now you're beginning to see what he can do when he actually has players, and why those players usually love playing for him. He trusts them. He listens to them. And as he again showed in the fourth quarter, he's aggressive by nature and very unafraid.

It makes a huge difference to have a relatively healthy Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon doing his pass rushing while Damon Harrison and a healthy Johnathan Hankins man the middle and he's got a bunch of trustworthy corners and safeties manning the back end. He absolutely had none of that last year, and what he did have got worse in the fourth quarter. They wore down.

Yes, the defense could be better. It's middle-of-the-road (ranked 16th) and ranks only 22nd against the pass. But it was dead last in 2015, so this is a vast improvement. And if the pass rush is really about to kick into gear, then this defense is probably only beginning to hit its stride.

2. The Giants still can't run the ball. I know we're all giddy because they had 122 rushing yards and picked up two big first downs on the ground late in the game and they actually ran out the clock, something I think they last did when I was 11 or 12. But pause for a moment and consider that while Rashad Jennings had a season-high 87 yards, he had just 53 before his final two carries. And McAdoo is still so afraid of his rushing attack that he called nearly twice as many passes (45 passes to 25 runs … and that ratio was actually 45-20 before the final series).

Now, that last series counts. It counts for a lot. But if the Giants can't get a more consistent push from the offensive line, more missed tackles from their running backs and more of anything out of their running game, this will prove to be their Achilles heel in January. This team remains incredibly one-dimensional. That's why it's so shocking that they were actually able to run out the clock. That was awesome, but it sure stands out as an anomaly from the rest of their body of work.

3. Eli Manning wasn't great, but the lack of support for him was alarming. Manning wasn't great, and I won't try to argue otherwise. He was 28 of 44 for 240 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. The last interception was awful, and really, his total of 10 through nine games is too high for a quarterback who is supposed to be elite.

But my goodness, his receivers and tight ends had at least four drops, including big ones by tight end Will Tye and Roger Lewis. Several times it was crystal clear that a young receiver ran a wrong wrote and a couple more times there were balls that maybe, with a little better effort, could have been caught (like one down the sideline where Lewis just stopped running).

And Manning was absolutely battered at times during this game. He was only sacked once and the Bengals were only credited with six quarterback hits, but it sure seemed worse than that. He always had defenders in his face. Bobby Hart, at right tackle, was abused at times by Geno Atkins, and he wasn't alone. I know there are stats out there showing that the Giants' line doesn't give up many pressures, but that's a product of Manning getting the ball out quickly. The pressure is there. A lot. And if it doesn't stop - and his receivers don't start holding onto the football -- this passing attack will never get in gear.

4. The Giants still need Victor Cruz. It was somewhat popular, especially on the internet, to cheer a little when Victor Cruz was declared out Monday night with an injured ankle because it gave the Giants a chance to move on to younger players like Sterling Shepard and Roger Lewis. So how did that work out? Not so well.

Shepard has been consistently good this season (39-426-4), but not great. His 10.9 yards per catch make him seem like a possession receiver when he was expected to be much more than that. With no Cruz to steal targets from him, he caught five of the seven passes thrown his direction for 42 yards. Fine.

But without Cruz, the one-dimensional Giants offense became even more predictable - despite McAdoo's attempts at creativity - because no viable third option emerged. Roger Lewis caught one of the four passes thrown his direction for just two yards and he had a huge drop. Tavarres King had one catch for six yards. Lewis might have potential if he can learn to hold onto the ball, but he doesn't have anywhere near Cruz's ability to move and get open.

It's no wonder the offense looked so out of sync after the opening drive, or why Manning threw for only 240 yards on 28 completions. This McAdoo offense is built on a three-receiver base, and even with diminished skills Cruz is a very valuable third receiver. They need him if they're going to have any chance of this offense performing up to expectations.

5. Ben McAdoo can be a fearless leader. I'll admit it. On fourth-and-goal from the 3 I thought McAdoo was crazy for going for it instead of taking the easy field goal and cutting the Giants' deficit to 20-17 (Related link: Fourth down gamble shows McAdoo's aggressive side). I also thought he was nuts for calling a run on 3rd and 6 in the fourth quarter, considering a six-yard run has seemed out of reach pretty much all year.

McAdoo doesn't care. And it would take too long to go back and show all the examples, but he didn't care much when he was Tom Coughlin's offensive coordinator either. He believes in going for the jugular, for touchdowns instead of field goals, for keeping the gas pedal on the floor on both sides of the ball. He believes in believing in his players and he refuses to coach scared, even if that leads to seemingly spectacular failures (Related link: McAdoo's faith in Giants' offense pays off in win over Bengals).

The players sure do appreciate that and everyone else should too. Yes, the difference between stupid and gutsy is simply whether a play works or not. But the fact that he's not afraid to look stupid is something Giants fans should embrace, and maybe even remember when those gusty/stupid choices go wrong.

Tags: Bobby Hart, Damon Harrison, Jason Pierre-Paul, Johnathan Hankins, Olivier Vernon, Rashad Jennings, Sterling Shepard, Victor Cruz, Will Tye, Ralph Vacchiano

As the Giants hold the no. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, many arguments have been made about who the team should select.

A franchise quarterback, such as Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen? Someone to help the offensive line? What about Penn State star RB Saquon Barkley? Well, Barkley himself could already imagine how electric lining up with the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram would be.

"That would be special," Barkley said...

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The linebackers corps for the Giants last season wasn't the scariest bunch at the second tier. Too many missed tackles and blown coverages left this group hopeless throughout the year. 

Defensive captain Jonathan Casillas was supposed to lead the group in 2017, but injuries kept him sidelined for half the season as he racked up just 35 tackles in eight games. B.J. Goodson also had high expectations last season, but he saw one less game than Casillas. 

Tags: B.J. Goodson, Devon Kennard, J.T. Thomas, Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, Scott Thompson
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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

Within a few hours of Odell Beckham Jr. replying to a fan on Twitter with just one character, his name began to populate an innumerable amount of headlines. 

A fan tweeted to Beckham, pleading the star not to take a snap in the preseason. Beckham succinctly responded with just "0". Soon, headlines such as "Giants star Odell Beckham Jr. says he won't play in preseason" and "Odell Beckham Jr. vows he'll play '0' snaps this preseason" were formed...

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.
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A general view of a New York Giants helmet on the turf before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports)
A general view of a New York Giants helmet on the turf before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports)

The Giants were awarded a compensatory fourth-round draft pick for the 2018 NFL Draft. They were one of 15 teams to be given an extra selection in April. 

The compensatory picks are based on a formula that looks at the free agents signed for the 2017 season compared to the 2016 season, and how they performed and cost the teams involved.

So, for the Giants, losing DT Johnathan Hankins, K Robbie Gould, and OT Marshall Newhouse compared to signing TE Rhett Ellison and QB Geno Smith was calculated in the "net loss formula" to give them their pick.

Other than the Giants, teams like the Packers (four picks), Texans (three picks), and Cowboys (two picks) were awarded in this process.

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Daily News Live: NFL Combine 00:03:50
The Daily News Live panel breaks down which quarterbacks have the most to prove at the upcoming NFL Combine.

The Daily News Live panel breaks down which quarterbacks have the most to prove at the upcoming NFL Combine.

Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, and Lamar Jackson are among the top prospects.

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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

Former Giants VP of Player Evaluation Marc Ross has done a lot of scouting for the 2018 NFL Draft, as he was only fired by the team in late December. So when he says that his favorite quarterback in the draft is Baker Mayfield, it means something.  

The Giants hold the no. 2 overall pick in the draft and are expected to draft a quarterback. Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen are the favorites to go in the top two, meaning the Giants are likely to draft whichever the Browns don't take. But if it were up to Ross, Mayfield would be wearing blue next season.

"Baker's my favorite guy of these guys," Ross said...

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Will the Giants draft Saquon? 00:02:26
The Daily News Live crew debates if the Giants should draft running back Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick in the NFL draft.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: As the mock drafts start to come out, and the way-too-early guessing game begins, the Giants are widely believed to have two choices for the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft. Either they draft a quarterback or they draft Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.

If only it were as simple as that.

That choice -- if that even is still the choice they have to make when the draft begins more than two months from now -- will still have more to do with their current quarterback situation than anything else. Yes, it will matter how they evaluate the top of the quarterback class. And yes, it will matter whether they think that Barkley is the best player in the draft...

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Aug 11, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Knile Davis (34) attempts to avoid a tackle from New York Giants linebacker Deontae Skinner (53) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Aug 11, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Knile Davis (34) attempts to avoid a tackle from New York Giants linebacker Deontae Skinner (53) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

The Giants have waived LB Deontae Skinner.

The 27-year-old Skinner, who spent parts of the last two seasons with the Giants, was placed on IR on Nov. 27 due to a hamstring injury.

Skinner, who was a restricted free agent, could be back, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano wrote last week. But he'll have to re-sign for the minimum.

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Daily News Live: Beckham Jr. 00:03:30
Odell Beckham Jr. has the finances to withstand a holdout against the Giants. The crew discusses if Big Blue should pay him or let him walk.

With the Giants picking up Odell Beckham Jr.'s fifth-year option of his rookie deal, the prospect of signing him to a lucrative long-term deal is hanging over their heads every day the new league year gets closer. 

Co-owner John Mara has already said that he wants Beckham to be a Giant for life, and he wants to strike a deal with him sooner than later. But just how long is Mara willing to wait?

Pat Leonard of the NY Daily News pointed out that because Beckham is financially stable enough, he could holdout from the Giants if he feels his deal should be given to him at the moment. The Rams' Aaron Donald did it last season, where he held out the entire preseason before returning to the Rams' facility before Week 1 (the team also waived his $1.5 million in fines he racked up over that span)...

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Giants had only one player on their roster who knew what Pat Shurmur was like as a head coach. And now that player is set to return.

Veteran offensive lineman John Greco, who was with the Cleveland Browns during Shurmur's tenure there in 2011-12, re-signed with the Giants on Wednesday. The soon-to-be-33-year-old journeyman joined the Giants last November, when injuries were ripping apart their offensive line. He never started a game, but he added some much-needed depth.

That's likely why Greco is coming back in 2018, too. His signing won't necessarily help new GM Dave Gettleman achieve his goal of fixing the Giants' offensive line problem, but depth up front can be enormously important. Last season when the injuries started, the Giants' already-thin line was forced to turn to undrafted rookies like Chad Wheeler, players off their practice squad like Jon Halapio, or veterans off the street like Greco. They had to scramble for help, and the help they found wasn't always good...

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 (Matt Kartozian)
(Matt Kartozian)

ESPN insider Mel Kiper is changing his mind for who the Giants will select with their No. 2 overall pick come April.

Instead of going with a quarterback, Kiper has the Giants taking Penn State RB Saquon Barkley with their top pick. He previously had UCLA QB Josh Rosen as his favorite, but he thinks New York can't pass up on bringing in Barkley's talent to work alonside the likes of Odell Beckham Jr. and the rest of the Giants stellar receiving crew. 

READ KIPER'S ANALYSIS BELOW

Tags: Davis Webb, Eli Manning
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Well, there is one positive that came out of the Giants' horrendous season last year. Season ticket prices won't see another increase in 2018, per The Post's Paul Schwartz.

After an 11-5 record two seasons ago, the Giants raised their season tickets by four percent for the 2017 season. But co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch won't be increasing the price again, especially after a 3-13 dud. 

"There is no change in the cost of your season tickets from a year ago," Mara and Tisch wrote in a letter.

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New York Giants offensive guard Justin Pugh (67) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. New York Giants defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 32-18. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants offensive guard Justin Pugh (67) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. New York Giants defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 32-18. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: One year from now, the "franchise tag" could be a source of great drama for the Giants if Odell Beckham Jr. doesn't have his mega-deal by then. If he doesn't, the Giants will surely tag him. And he surely won't be happy about it. He might not even sign it.

But that's a problem for 2019. Right now, the 15-day "franchise tag" period - which officially opened in the NFL on Tuesday - figures to be completely drama-free. The Giants seem to have only one player worthy of the "franchise tag" - guard Justin Pugh. And they aren't expected to use it, even on him.

Tags: Justin Pugh, Odell Beckham Jr., Weston Richburg, Ralph Vacchiano
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Giants may not draft a QB 00:02:41
The Daily News Live crew discusses Dave Gettleman's comment that the Giants may not select a quarterback with their first-round pick.

Giants GM Dave Gettleman has certainly been preparing for what he wants to do with the No. 2 overall pick in this year's NFL Draft, and many believe taking a quarterback for the team's future is the right move to make. But what if he's leaning toward another option? 

There are two other options he can decide to choose other than taking a quarterback: Draft a different player at No. 2, or trade down to acquire more picks. And, according to SI's Peter King, that is exactly what some think he will do. 

King has the Giants looking at Wyoming QB Josh Allen, but there are other needs for next season. If Eli Manning is the guy for now, King doesn't doubt Gettleman skipping out on this top-heavy quarterback class. 

Tags: Davis Webb, Eli Manning
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Giants may not draft a QB 00:02:41
The Daily News Live crew discusses Dave Gettleman's comment that the Giants may not select a quarterback with their first-round pick.

Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |

"The Giants need a run game this season" is a phrase that is definitely easier said than done, and one that has been said for a few years now. 

The ground game has consistently slacked for a few years now, and the Giants would like that streak to end. Just think: Ahmad Bradshaw was the last 1,000-yard rusher for this team back in 2010...

Tags: Orleans Darkwa, Paul Perkins, Wayne Gallman, Scott Thompson
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Dave Gettleman, New York Giants general manager, speaks after being introduced during a news conference on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)  (Adam Hunger/AP)
Dave Gettleman, New York Giants general manager, speaks after being introduced during a news conference on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger) (Adam Hunger/AP)

The Giants' head into the offseason unsure of what they really are. Two years ago they were an 11-5 playoff team. Last year they were a 3-13 mess with largely the same personnel.

Chances are the reality of the Giants is somewhere in between, which makes them a team like many others in the league: Talented, but flawed.

How they fix those flaws will determine how they fare in 2018 under first-year head coach Pat Shurmur. And as they get ready to begin their offseason overhaul, here's a look at their biggest needs:

Offensive line - This is everything for the Giants and the primary reason for their problems over the last six years. They need a total rebuild, especially with Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg headed to free agency...

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Pat Shurmur holds a helmet after being introduced as head coach of the New York Giants during an NFL football news conference, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, in East Rutherford , N.J. Shurmur, the former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator, was announced as the new coach less than 24 hours after he and the Vikings were beaten by the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC title game. The 52-year-old Shurmur replaces Ben McAdoo, who was fired in early December. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
Pat Shurmur holds a helmet after being introduced as head coach of the New York Giants during an NFL football news conference, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, in East Rutherford , N.J. Shurmur, the former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator, was announced as the new coach less than 24 hours after he and the Vikings were beaten by the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC title game. The 52-year-old Shurmur replaces Ben McAdoo, who was fired in early December. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | ArchivePat Shurmur wasted no time at all assembling his coaching staff with the Giants, and on Thursday he made it all official when he announced the hiring of 16 assistants, including six that were holdovers from Ben McAdoo's staff.

The big names, of course, were offensive coordinator Mike Shula, who came from the Carolina Panthers, and defensive coordinator James Bettcher, who came from the Arizona Cardinals. Shula was the last coach to be added, and he'll not only help with the game planning -- as Shurmur calls his own plays -- but Shula will be the Giants' quarterbacks coach, too.

"He'll assume all the roles that any offensive coordinator would have," Shurmur said in a press release from the team. "And he'd obviously be in positon to call (plays), if need be."

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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

"Broadway Baker" has a nice ring to top prospect QB Baker Mayfield

The 2017 Heisman Trophy Award winner sat down with The Post's Steve Serby to talk about the prospect of playing in the Big Apple, and if he has what it takes to succeed in a market that isn't friendly to anyone. 

Simply put: Mayfield loves the spotlight. 

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 (Brace Hemmelgarn)
(Brace Hemmelgarn)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | ArchiveBobby Hart, the tackle who was cut by the Giants in late-December after refusing to practice and play in the season finale, has found a "fresh start" in Cincinnati. And he's hoping the Bengals can help him reshape a tattered reputation he believes is unfair.

The 23-year-old Hart, in quotes released by his new team, didn't deny that he refused to take the field with the Giants in the final week of their miserable 3-13 season. Instead, according to the release, he said he believed "some" in the Giants organization agreed that he shouldn't play because he was still bothered by a nagging ankle injury.

Hart didn't say who agreed with him, but it clearly wasn't new GM Dave Gettleman, who green-lighted Hart's release on Dec. 30 -- just one day after Gettleman officially started his new job...

Tags: Bobby Hart, Ralph Vacchiano
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GEICO SportsNite: Jennings 00:01:39
Former Giants running back Rashad Jennings handed out roses to lucky ladies in Times Square on Valentine's Day.

Nine of the Top 10 rushing teams in the NFL made the playoffs last season. All but one of the 12 playoff teams finished in the Top 15. And the playoffs were littered with star running backs, too, like Todd Gurley, Leonard Fournette, Le'Veon Bell, LeSean McCoy, and super-rookies like Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara.

If only the Giants had a running back like that.

Then again, maybe they do.

Tags: Orleans Darkwa, Paul Perkins, Rashad Jennings, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) is pressured by Georgia Bulldogs linebacker David Marshall (51) in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) is pressured by Georgia Bulldogs linebacker David Marshall (51) in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield would be a suitable option for the New York Giants in the upcoming NFL draft, Bucky Brooks of NFL.com wrote on Tuesday.

Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |: I've been on the Baker Bandwagon all season long. This kid is something special in my eyes, and it isn't just the numbers as Brooks points out. It's the heart, intensity, and drive that he has every time he steps between the hashes.

And that is why Baker Mayfield is the only quarterback I would want the Giants to draft with their first-round selection. 

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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 23-0. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) (Rick Scuteri/AP)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 23-0. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) (Rick Scuteri/AP)

The Giants counsel have asked to delay Eli Manning's memorabilia lawsuit until June 11, per Newsday's Jim Baumbach.

The team asked the New Jersey court for this request as their lead attorney, Michael Kelly, is undergonig treatment for a sickness and has another trial set for March. Manning's trial is currently set for March 26.

Tags: Eli Manning
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Dec 31, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Dec 31, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Pat Shurmur hasn't announced his coaching staff yet, but less than a month after being hired as the new head coach of the Giants he has completely filled it, according to multiple sources and reports.

Here's a look at who will be joining Shurmur in New York (though keep in mind, no official announcements have been made yet):

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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants are projected to have somewhere around $22-23 million in salary cap space when the free-agent signing period opens on March 14. That's "healthy" as assistant GM Kevin Abrams back in December.

And during the next month, the Giants could become even healthier than that...

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Dwayne Harris, Eli Apple, Janoris Jenkins, John Jerry, Ralph Vacchiano
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Did Giants settle for Shula? 00:02:50
The DNL panel discusses the Giants' hiring of Mike Shula from the Carolina Panthers to coordinate Big Blue's offense with Pat Shurmur.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Pat Shurmur was unable to land his top choice - and possibly choices - for offensive coordinator. Instead, he has turned to one of Dave Gettleman's guys.

Shurmur has hired former Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula as his offensive coordinator, SNY confirmed. The 52-year-old Shula will also serve as the Giants quarterbacks coach, a source told SNY.

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 (Mike Carter)
(Mike Carter)

Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |: There are more pressing positions to address in the Draft this year, but with the pass game being so important in today's NFL, there can never be too many threats on the outside.

The Giants seem to be set at the wide receiver position with Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Brandon Marshall stacked on the outside. It also helps that TE Evan Engram has rare speed and agility at his position, and proved it last season as one of Eli Manning's favorite targets.

However, the 2017 season wasn't generous to this group. Beckham and Marshall underwent season-ending surgeries after both Pro Bowlers sustained injuries in the same week. Shepard was on and off the field as well, playing in 11 games this season.

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Odell Beckham Jr., Roger Lewis, Sterling Shepard, Tavarres King, Scott Thompson
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New York Giants offensive guard Justin Pugh during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants offensive guard Justin Pugh during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

One good thing about the Giants' miserable season and their recent run of (mostly) futility: They don't have a lot of free agents on their roster that they absolutely must sign.

They do have 25 players approaching free agency, though, and a little more than a month to make some decisions. Here's a look at all their free agents-to-be, and their prospects of returning or finding potential riches somewhere else around the league:

Tags: Brett Jones, Devon Kennard, D.J. Fluker, Geno Smith, Jay Bromley, Jonathan Casillas, Justin Pugh, Keenan Robinson, Kerry Wynn, Mark Herzlich, Nat Berhe, Orleans Darkwa, Shane Vereen, Tavarres King, Weston Richburg, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jan 1, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) is sacked by New York Giants defensive tackle Damon Harrison (98) during the first half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Jan 1, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) is sacked by New York Giants defensive tackle Damon Harrison (98) during the first half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

Giants DT Damon "Snacks" Harrison and S Landon Collins made it to Pro Football Focus' top 101 players for the 2017 NFL season. 

Harrison, who has made the list four times now, was named PFF's best run defender in 2017 after hitting 40 run stops for the third time in his career. Snacks may not have made the Pro Bowl, but PFF recognizes him as one of -- if not the most -- valuable run stopper in the game. 

"There is no greater run-stuffing force in the NFL than Damon Harrison, the Giants defensive tackle," PFF writes. "Harrison won PFF's best run defender award again this season, and has made run stops and run-stop percentage a statistic owned by him alone. Harrison again topped 40 run stops this season, third time in his career, or two more times than the rest of the league's interior defenders have managed since 2006. The run game has never been less important in the NFL, but Harrison is good enough to be an exception to that rule."

Tags: Damon Harrison, Landon Collins
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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning speaks to the media in the press room after being named the co-winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year during the 6th Annual NFL Honors at Wortham Theater. (Kirby Lee)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning speaks to the media in the press room after being named the co-winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year during the 6th Annual NFL Honors at Wortham Theater. (Kirby Lee)

Giants co-owner John Mara's deposition in the Eli Manning memorabilia fraud case could show that the team turned a blind eye to the situation back in 2008.

The lawyer of Eric Inselberg -- the memorabilia dealer who is suing the Giants and Steiner Sports -- asked Mara what he did after seeing an email from equipment manager Joe Skiba about the game-used helmets. Mara claimed he didn't recall if he spoke with Skiba in-person about it. Mara also didn't go to Manning about it as well. 

Inselberg's lawyer then says it is "willful blindness" for the Giants to neglect investigating the situation.

Tags: Eli Manning
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Oct 8, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Kenjon Barner (38) and running back coach Duce Staley against the Arizona Cardinals at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Oct 8, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Kenjon Barner (38) and running back coach Duce Staley against the Arizona Cardinals at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants' search for an offensive coordinator isn't over yet.

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New York Giants Helmet and ball in the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Miami Dolphins defeat the New York Giants 27-10. (William Hauser)
New York Giants Helmet and ball in the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Miami Dolphins defeat the New York Giants 27-10. (William Hauser)

The Vikings have denied the Giants' request to interview QB coach Kevin Stefanski for their vacant offensive coordinator position, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Stefanski was a top choice for the Giants, who could turn their attention to Eagles RB coach Duce Staley or former Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, though he has been pursued by the Indianapolis Colts, according to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

The Vikings hired Eagles' QB coach John DeFilippo for their OC job on Thursday. Stafanski was up for that job and it was assumed the Giants would be able to interview and possibly hire him, but the Vikings rejected the interview request. Stefanski has spent the last 11 years in various jobs on the Vikings' coaching staff.

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Stanford, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) (Sergio Estrada)
Stanford, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) (Sergio Estrada)

Dan Duggan of NJ.com took a stab at a seven-round mock draft for the Giants that will leave fans excited if it comes to fruition. He has the Giants selecting UCLA QB Josh Rosen no. 2 overall and Georgia RB Sony Michel in the third round. 

Rosen, 21, threw for career highs in yards (3,717), touchdowns (26), and completion percentage (62.5) this season. Outside of his raw talent, though, there have been questions of his "coachability" according to ESPN's Todd McShay. 

Many fans have been well read on the franchise quarterbacks at the top of the draft, like Rosen, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield, but there still will be talent to find after the first round. Duggan tried to show just that with the Giants taking Michel in the third round...

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New York Giants offensive tackle Bobby Hart on the sideline during the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants offensive tackle Bobby Hart on the sideline during the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)

The Giants have officially waived T Bobby Hart from the IR, meaning his time with Big Blue is over

Hart has started 21 games in the past three seasons. This year, he's started seven times at right tackle among a much-maligned Giants offensive line.

New GM Dave Gettleman spoke at his introductory press conference about his plans for the offensive line...

Tags: Bobby Hart
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 (Matt Cashore)
(Matt Cashore)

Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |

With the NFL season officially over, all attention turns to the top-rated prospects coming out of college to pursue their professional dreams. 

For the Giants, their No. 2 overall pick is their top priority at the moment as they figure out what to do with the selection. Other than that top pick, though, there seems to be a consensus on what position the Giants should be addressing in this year's draft: the offensive line. 

Tags: Bobby Hart, Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Scott Thompson
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Pat Shurmur holds a helmet after being introduced as head coach of the New York Giants during an NFL football news conference, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, in East Rutherford , N.J. Shurmur, the former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator, was announced as the new coach less than 24 hours after he and the Vikings were beaten by the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC title game. The 52-year-old Shurmur replaces Ben McAdoo, who was fired in early December. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
Pat Shurmur holds a helmet after being introduced as head coach of the New York Giants during an NFL football news conference, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, in East Rutherford , N.J. Shurmur, the former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator, was announced as the new coach less than 24 hours after he and the Vikings were beaten by the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC title game. The 52-year-old Shurmur replaces Ben McAdoo, who was fired in early December. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

The first domino has fallen in the Giants' search for an offensive coordinator, and that could mean new Giants coach Pat Shurmur could have his top choice - and his completed staff -- in place in a few days.

Kevin Stefanski, the Vikings quarterbacks coach and the man believed to be Shurmur's top choice for offensive coordinator with the Giants, could now be free to join his old boss in New York after he was passed over by the Vikings for their offensive coordinator job. The Vikings filled that job on Thursday night when they hired Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, according to ESPN....

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Aug 31, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Carter (86) catches a pass in the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)
Aug 31, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Carter (86) catches a pass in the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)

The Giants have claimed former Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Carter off waivers, it was announced Thursday.

The move was first reported on Jan. 23, shortly after the Giants officially hired Carter's former coach, Pat Shurmur, to be the head coach. 

Carter was activated from the Vikings' practice squad in December and was cut during the playoffs when the team needed to make room for QB Sam Bradford.

 

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 (Brace Hemmelgarn)
(Brace Hemmelgarn)

Cardinals star CB Patrick Peterson is the latest player to say great things about his former defensive coordinator, James Bettcher. 

The 39-year-old Bettcher was called "one of the best young coordinators in the league" by former Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, and Peterson thinks the exact same way. 

"He's a great young defensive coordinator," Peterson told NJ.com's Dan Duggan. "He brings a lot to the table. He's extremely smart. He understands how to adjust to whatever his players know how to do. The thing that I was most impressed with Coach Bettcher was the way he was able to relate to his players. I wish him nothing but the best of luck out there in NYC."

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Dec 29, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman addresses the media at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Dec 29, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman addresses the media at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Giants general manager Dave Gettleman is bringing in former Panthers personnel executive Mark Koncz into the fold as a consultant to assist in the scouting process, the NY Post reports. 

Koncz was with the Panthers from 1994 until this past summer, when he was fired from his position as director of player personnel. He became the team's pro scouting director in 2000. Gettleman promoted Koncz to director of player personnel last May, but he was fired soon after Gettleman was relieved of his duties last summer.

The Giants finished 2017 with a 3-13 record, establishing a club-record for losses in a single season. New York will pick second in the upcoming NFL Draft where they are expected to select a QB.

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 (Scott Galvin)
(Scott Galvin)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl champions, but the world hasn't yet spun off its axis. So for now, at least, Super Bowl LIII is still scheduled to be played next year.

The Eagles, who were the worst team in the NFC East just one year ago, are clearly among the favorites to get back to the Super Bowl again. But is there any chance the Giants can pull off their worst-to-first trick, too?

Tags: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Janoris Jenkins, Jason Pierre-Paul, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 4, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) before their game against the Los Angeles Rams at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports (Winslow Townson)
Dec 4, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) before their game against the Los Angeles Rams at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports (Winslow Townson)

Patriots OC Josh McDaniels has opted to remain in his current role after initially agreeing to become the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | ArchiveJosh McDaniels was very high on the Giants' list of head coaching candidates - definitely in the final three, and at least one source put him in the final two. Even as they seemed to be zeroing in on Pat Shurmur, there were some in the organization who wanted them to place one last call to McDaniels, just to make sure he really preferred the Colts.

Consider that a bullet dodged...

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 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Pat Shurmur has finalized most of his Giants coaching staff already, but one significant piece is still missing. And it's possible his search for an offensive coordinator will last into next week.

That's because Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski is believed to be one of Shurmur's top targets, but he's also a candidate to get Shurmur's old job as Vikings offensive coordinator, too. Meanwhile, the Vikings are still interviewing candidates, and they appear to be interested in Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo.

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Todd McShay has UCLA QB Josh Rosen still going to the Giants with the second overall selection in his latest mock draft

The ESPN analyst understands new head coach Pat Shurmur and GM Dave Gettleman backed Eli Manning as the starter for next season, but that doesn't mean they pass up on Rosen's talent.

CLICK BELOW TO SEE MCSHAY'S ANALYSIS

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr.
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Former Giants QB Phil Simms remembers being in the midst of a regime change in New York, and has some advice for Pat Shurmur to insure success in his first season. 

After Bill Parcells left the Giants, Ray Handley was put in charge, and New York didn't seem to be the same team. Handley coached just two seasons, posting a 14-18 record before being ousted in 1992. In Simms' last season before retirement, the Giants decided to make Dan Reeves their newest head coach in 1993.

Simms immediately saw a change in the locker room when Reeves met with the team for the first time, and he just knew Giants football was back. 

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Manning, Beckham star in ad 00:01:42
Eli Manning found a way to steal the show from Tom Brady again by appearing alongside Odell Beckham Jr. in an entertaining Super Bowl ad.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | ArchiveIn the closing moments one of the best Super Bowl commercials in years, Odell Beckham, Jr. comes running into Eli Manning's arms and the Giants quarterback lifts his star (and injured) receiver high above his head. It was a near-perfect replica of Patrick Swayze lifting Jennifer Grey in the big finale of the 1987 movie "Dirty Dancing."

But was it real?
 

The short answer is: It was real enough...

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Eli Manning and Odell Beckham during preseason play Saturday. (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)
Eli Manning and Odell Beckham during preseason play Saturday. (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)

Leave it to Eli Manning to steal the spotlight from Tom Brady in a Super Bowl again -- this time without even being there.

While Brady and the New England Patriots were losing Super Bowl LII to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night, Manning and Odell Beckham, Jr. starred in one of the most popular and best Super Bowl commercials which aired during the game on NBC. It featured Manning and Beckham doing a choreographed touchdown celebration to the "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" from the "Dirty Dancing" soundtrack, complete with some of that movie's most famous moves.

Manning did most of the wildest dancing, including a head-spinning and startlingly accurate homage to Patrick Swayze's dancing in the movie's final scene. He was also joined by some of his offensive linemen. Giants safety Landon Collins made a cameo appearance in the commercial for the NFL, too...

Tags: Brett Jones, D.J. Fluker, Eli Manning, John Jerry, Landon Collins, Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Brace Hemmelgarn)
(Brace Hemmelgarn)

Odell Beckham Jr. is known to be a good dancer, but even he couldn't help but to chuckle at his Super Bowl commercial with Eli Manning.

The Giants' star wideout and franchise quarterback were the talk of commercials Sunday night after they showcased their best "Dirty Dancing" moves for the millions watching.

Immediately after the airing of the commercial, Beckham posted to his Instagram story laughing with the rest of the world who just watched it.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.
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Manning, Beckham star in ad 00:01:42
Eli Manning found a way to steal the show from Tom Brady again by appearing alongside Odell Beckham Jr. in an entertaining Super Bowl ad.

The Giants may have missed the playoffs, but quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. won the Super Bowl by showing off their dance moves.

With a little inspiration from "Dirty Dancing," Manning and Beckham showed off their moves in a commercial highlighting the NFL's touchdown celebrations.

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr.
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GEICO SportsNite: Super Bowl 00:06:46
Nick Foles and the Eagles upset Tom Brady and the Patriots for the first Super Bowl win in Philadelphia's franchise history.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) As their delirious fans sang their theme song and their owner lifted the Lombardi Trophy, the Philadelphia Eagles finally could breathe freely.

Tags: New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles
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