SNY NFL Insider

Ralph Vacchiano

Ralph Vacchiano, award-winning sports reporter and columnist, joined SNY in 2016 as its NFL Insider. Vacchiano will cover the Giants and Jets beats for SNY.tv and be a regular contributor to "Daily News Live" and "GEICO SportsNite." Vacchiano comes to SNY following 15 years as the New York Giants beat writer and columnist for the New York Daily News.

 

Born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, Vacchiano graduated from Syracuse University in 1991 and began his professional career covering the Buffalo Bills for the Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and later covered the Giants and Jets for the North Jersey Herald & News in Passaic, N.J.. During his 19 years at the Daily News, he also covered the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils (1997-2001), and in 2008 he wrote his first book, Eli Manning: The Making of a Quarterback (Skyhorse Publishing).

 

Vacchiano lives with his wife, Kara, and his daughter, Alexandra, in West Caldwell, N.J.

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The first impression of Eli Manning was that he wasn't very good at first impressions.

That wasn't just back in 2004, either, when he introduced himself to the NFL by seemingly offending everyone outside of New York because he refused to play for the San Diego Chargers. It wasn't even from his terrible first practices, or his bland first press conferences and what seemed like endless mountains of clichés.

The first time I thought I had a chance to really get to know Eli Manning was in the spring of 2006, at a posh house in North Caldwell, N.J., right across the street from the house The Sopranos used for the mobster, Johnny Sack. Eli and Peyton were there to film a Reebok commercial, the first commercial that would feature the two of them and their father, Archie, together. I somehow got one of the first exclusive interviews with Peyton and Eli together.

Tags: Daniel Jones, Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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It would be easy to say Eli Manning is one of the greatest players in Giants history, simply because he is. But it's also been a long and storied history for the franchise that includes 21 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 42 members of their own Ring of Honor, and four players named to the NFL's 100th anniversary all-time team.

That makes choosing a Top 5 anything but simple. And Manning's position is debatable, to say the least.

It's an incredibly difficult task to limit the greatest to five, and not just because of the number of players to consider, either. It's hard to compare players from different eras, and tough to judge the worthiness of players at different positions. Some selections transcend that, of course -- like Lawrence Taylor, for example -- but a lot of players could take a claim to the other four spots.

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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Eli Manning (Treated Image by SNY)
Eli Manning (Treated Image by SNY)

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This remarkable story began at old Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi, on a freezing-cold day in early November 2003. Ernie Accorsi was given a seat outside in the auxiliary press section. He "almost froze to death," he recalled years later, and practically begged the Sports Information Director to let him come in every few minutes just to warm up.

What happened down on the field, though, got his blood flowing in a way that wouldn't stop for nearly six months, until the next NFL draft. He was there watching a young Eli Manning lose a game to Auburn on an end-zone interception near the end of the game. Manning went 26 of 46 for 286 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.

But Accorsi saw so much more.

Tags: Daniel Jones, Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jan 9, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Introductory press conference of New York Giants new head coach Joe Judge at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports (Danielle Parhizkaran)
Jan 9, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Introductory press conference of New York Giants new head coach Joe Judge at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports (Danielle Parhizkaran)

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Joe Judge's top job at the Senior Bowl this week will be scouting the players who could be part of the Giants' future. But he also still has some work to do in assembling his coaching staff.

Judge is expected to hold several job interviews down in Mobile, Ala., this week as he attempts to fill the final holes on his first staff with the Giants. He has several jobs still to figure out, most seemingly on the defensive side. He also has to choose a coach for the offensive line.

So far, the Giants have only announced Judge's coordinators -- Jason Garrett (offensive), Patrick Graham (defensive) and Thomas McGaughey (special teams). According to multiple sources, Judge has also hired Jerry Schuplinski as quarterbacks coach, Burton Burns as running backs coach and is retaining Tyke Tolbert as receivers coach. McGaughey indicated that Tom Quinn will return as assistant special teams coach, too.

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The Giants bosses thought enough of Jason Garrett that they planned to interview him for their head coaching job last week. They always knew he'd be tough to sell to their fan base, though.

Selling him as their new offensive coordinator is going to be a lot easier. And it makes much more sense.

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Dec 9, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton (86) runs for a touchdown past Philadelphia Eagles free safety Rodney McLeod (23) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Dec 9, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton (86) runs for a touchdown past Philadelphia Eagles free safety Rodney McLeod (23) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

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Darius Slayton had exactly the same reaction as almost everyone else when he heard the Giants new head coach was going to be Joe Judge.

Who?

"Yeah, I had not heard of him prior to the Giants hiring him," Slayton told SNY in an interview on Thursday. "But you know he's coming from a really good organization. Everybody I've heard speak about him has glowing things to say about him, so I'm sure he'll be a good guy for the job."

Tags: Daniel Jones, Darius Slayton, Evan Engram, Golden Tate, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Odell Beckham Jr. (Mark J. Rebilas)
Odell Beckham Jr. (Mark J. Rebilas)

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Odell Beckham Jr. is already in trouble with LSU and the NCAA for handing out wads of cash to players after the NCAA football championship on Monday night.

Now he's in trouble with police, too.

An arrest warrant was issued for the former Giants receiver on Thursday morning, the New Orleans Police Department confirmed to ESPN, accusing Beckham of simple battery of a police officer. The charge is based on a video that showed him slapping a male officer on the butt in LSU's post-game locker room.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 29, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll before a game against the New England Patriots at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)
Oct 29, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll before a game against the New England Patriots at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)

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Joe Judge seems likely to hire an experienced offensive coordinator, and it might turn out to be Jason Garrett. But the new Giants coach had hoped to talk to Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll about the job first.

The 44-year-old Daboll, who was on the New England Patriots staff with Judge from 2013-16, was high atop Judge's wish list when he was hired by the Giants, multiple sources told SNY. The Giants requested permission for Judge to interview Daboll, the sources said, but that permission was denied by the Bills.

That wasn't surprising, considering it would've been a lateral move for Daboll, who was a big part of why the Bills finished 10-6 this past season and made the playoffs for just the second time in the last 20 years. He's also earned rave reviews for his work with second-year quarterback Josh Allen. Daboll was so highly regarded that he interviewed for the Cleveland Browns head coaching job last week, and was reportedly a "sleeper" candidate before they hired Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski instead.

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A general view of an NFL game between the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Danny Wild)
A general view of an NFL game between the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Danny Wild)

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The man who helped resurrect the Giants franchise and built their first two Super Bowl champions will finally take his long-overdue place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The late George Young, the general manager of the Giants in the 1980s and '90s, was selected to the Hall's special "Centennial Class" of 2020 on Wednesday morning. He was chosen by a "blue ribbon" panel as one of three "contributors" in what will be a monster, 20-person class when he's officially inducted later this year.

"George Young's career is the very definition of a Hall of Famer," said former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi, who was Young's assistant and later his successor. "There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of George or something I learned from him. The only bittersweet part is that he's not here."

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Jason Garrett/Mike Shula
Jason Garrett/Mike Shula

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The Giants have given new head coach Joe Judge the freedom to choose his own assistants, though his bosses have certainly made their preference for an experienced staff clear. John Mara even said publicly that "having experienced people on both sides of the ball is going to be critical," and that an assistant with head coaching experience "would be great," too.

Judge didn't meet that criteria when he hired Patrick Graham as his defensive coordinator. That's why his next big hire -- offensive coordinator -- will be so interesting to watch.

There are many experienced candidates available for the 38-year-old Judge, including a few that sources say he is considering. It's unknown whom he plans to hire, or if he feels any pressure to bring in someone with head coaching experience. But it's expected that his choice will become clear by the end of the week.

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Patrick Graham (Mark Hoffman)
Patrick Graham (Mark Hoffman)

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Patrick Graham isn't just going to be the Giants' defensive coordinator. He's going to be their assistant head coach, too.

The 40-year-old has been given both those titles by new Giants head coach Joe Judge, according to multiple sources. That's not only a sign of the respect Judge has for his new top assistant, but it also explains why he wasn't blocked from leaving his job as defensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins. They couldn't block Graham from leaving for a job that is technically a promotion.

Graham also will likely get a raise over the normal salary for a defensive coordinator, though the terms of his deal with the Giants were not available. It's also unclear what other duties Judge will give his "assistant head coach."

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Now that the Giants have finally conceded they really are rebuilding, new head coach Joe Judge faces what John Mara called "a daunting task." And that's not just because he's a 38-year-old, first-time head coach, either.

It's because the Giants went 9-23 over the last two years and could look very different by the time they hit the field for the start of next season. They do have a few good, young pieces to build around, but the reality is they still have plenty of holes.

To fill them, both Judge and GM Dave Gettleman swear it'll be a "collaborative" effort -- that they'll work together, and that their philosophy on how to build an "old school" team is already perfectly aligned. That remains to be seen, of course. But in case they need any help in getting started, here's a blueprint for them to quickly make the Giants a contender again:

Tags: Alec Ogletree, B.J. Hill, Dalvin Tomlinson, Dexter Lawrence, Kevin Zeitler, Leonard Williams, Markus Golden, Nate Solder, Ryan Connelly, Will Hernandez, Ralph Vacchiano
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Patrick Graham (Mark Hoffman)
Patrick Graham (Mark Hoffman)

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The most important hire Joe Judge will make for his new Giants coaching staff will be his offensive coordinator, who will be entrusted with the development of franchise quarterback Daniel Jones. Perhaps nobody will end up being more important to the long-term success of the franchise.

His new defensive coordinator, though, could come close.

Patrick Graham, who spent last year as the Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator, will get that job with the Giants, a source confirmed, and will be entrusted with the growth of a very young and incredibly underachieving defense. That unit has been the real Achilles heel of the Giants the last three years, including two ugly seasons under outgoing defensive coordinator James Bettcher.

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Adam Gase
Adam Gase

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Ryan Tannehill, of all quarterbacks, secured a place in the AFC championship game on Saturday, and that has spawned a cottage industry bashing of his former coach, Adam Gase. After all, the theory goes, Tannehill finally became the quarterback everyone thought he could be as soon as Gase was no longer his coach.

It's a nice theory. And for anyone who hates Gase or thinks the Jets made a mistake by hiring him, it fits the narrative.

It just doesn't fit the facts.

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - From the moment Dave Gettleman learned he wasn't fired, he vowed to do whatever his bosses wanted in the best interests of the team. If that meant giving up some of his power or even final say over personnel decisions, he said he'd do it.

In the end, he didn't have to. And it turns out, no one asked.

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Jan 9, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants new head coach Joe Judge poses for photos after his press conference at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports (Danielle Parhizkaran)
Jan 9, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants new head coach Joe Judge poses for photos after his press conference at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports (Danielle Parhizkaran)

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Tom Coughlin had people wanting to run through a wall for him five minutes into his introductory press conference back in 2004. Three years later, he was nearly run out of town, one year before winning a Super Bowl.

Ben McAdoo was mocked for his goofy haircut and ill-fitting suit in 2016, then went 11-5 as a rookie head coach before the walls caved in one year later.

And two years ago, Pat Shurmur looked every bit the "adult" the Giants needed -- a mature, calm, football lifer. Two years later, he was out with a record of 9-23.

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Dec 17, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New England Patriots special teams coordinator Joe Judge reacts on the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Patriots won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Dec 17, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New England Patriots special teams coordinator Joe Judge reacts on the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Patriots won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

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There were only five head coaching jobs available in the NFL this cycle in what even Giants co-owner John Mara called "the deepest group of quality candidates I can recall." There was a Super Bowl winner, a Super Bowl loser, some of the hottest college coaches in the country, and a slew of accomplished, well-respected assistant coaches, too.

That the Giants dipped into that deep pool and ended up with Joe Judge, a 38-year-old, relatively unknown special teams coach who had never interviewed for a top job before, stunned many around the NFL, to say the least. He wasn't in demand. His name wasn't being tossed around the media or inside NFL circles.

To many, it was as if the Giants pulled Judge out of thin air.

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The Giants don't usually force assistant coaches on their head coaches, but they definitely aren't above making suggestions. And surely, when they decided to hire a 38-year-old who had never been a head coach before, they suggested he have some experience on his staff.

Whether it was by suggestion or by his own choice, the expectation around the NFL is that new Giants head coach Joe Judge will do just that -- hire several older, experienced assistants, perhaps including some who have been a head coach before. Just who that will be is still a mystery, but here are a few thoughts on who he could, should, and perhaps will consider:

Offensive coordinator

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The fate of Pat Shurmur had been decided weeks before the end of the Giants' season, and everyone - including Shurmur - seemed to know it. The other open secret was that the Giants had one name clearly atop their short list of Shurmur's potential replacements.

And as soon as the season was over, many in the organization figured it was only a matter of time before the Giants hired Matt Rhule.

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Joe Judge (Getty Images)
Joe Judge (Getty Images)

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The Giants are a franchise perched atop a cliff with no safety net between them and the rocks below. So this seemed like a moment in their history when taking a risk was exactly the wrong thing to do.

They have a general manager on the hot seat. They've been changing coaches like their players change cleats. They have endured far more losing than winning for most of the last decade. And they have lost all of their credibility with their fans.

So give them credit for this much, at least: When the safe play seemed like the best play to everyone outside their building, when an experienced and winning head coach seemed like a must, the Giants were not afraid to make a dangerous decision.

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Jan 6, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale during an AFC Wild Card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Chargers at M&T Bank Stadium. The Chargers defeated the Ravens 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 6, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale during an AFC Wild Card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Chargers at M&T Bank Stadium. The Chargers defeated the Ravens 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

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For the longest time it seemed like Matt Rhule was on a collision course to be the next head coach of the Giants. Now, for the Giants, it's on to Plan B … or C … or D.

With the shocking news on Tuesday morning that Rhule wouldn't be interviewing with the Giants anymore because he was in negotiations to become the head coach of the Carolina Panthers, the Giants were left to scramble for other options. And the options don't appear to be nearly as good.

So what will the Giants do now? Well, they are staring at a dwindling pool of candidates that probably won't include any of their top three choices. Rhule is now gone, former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is now the head coach of the Cowboys, and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels still seems like a bad fit. That leaves them looking at the second tier of their short list or expanding their search.

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Aug 31, 2019; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears head coach Matt Rhule during the game between the Baylor Bears and the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)
Aug 31, 2019; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears head coach Matt Rhule during the game between the Baylor Bears and the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)

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Matt Rhule might have been the Jets coach last season if they had given him a little more freedom in choosing his own assistant coaches. 

That doesn't figure to be an issue with the Giants.

The Giants' plan to give the 44-year-old Rhule plenty of leeway to assemble his staff, as they usually do with coaches they hire, according to a team source. There will be suggestions made and questions asked, of course, and the Giants want to be sure he has a staff with NFL experience.

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The Giants still have three more interviews to go, but at this point, those should be mere formalities. Matt Rhule, who interviews on Tuesday, remains the favorite to be the Giants' next head coach, just like he has been since before this process even started.

And now, more than ever, the Giants need to get that deal done.

The urgency to land Rhule increased on Monday when former Packers coach Mike McCarthy was hired to be the next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. That wasn't a surprise to the Giants, who interviewed McCarthy on Friday and were interested in bringing him back for a second interview, according to a source. But they obviously weren't willing to make a pre-emptive strike to keep him away from Dallas. 

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As Matt Rhule returns from his vacation to Cabo, he still finds himself in the same power position as he was when he left. He's the hottest coach on the NFL's current carousel.

And he's still the one the Giants want the most.

That will take a step closer to becoming reality on Tuesday, when Giants brass heads to Waco, Texas, for their long-awaited interview with the Baylor head coach. There remains "strong interest" on both sides, according to multiple NFL sources, though his coronation is definitely not a slam dunk.

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Josh McDaniels has become the NFL's perennially hot head coaching candidate. He's seemingly on everybody's shortlist for every opening. The Giants are so intrigued, they've now come calling twice in the last two years.

Last time, the Patriots offensive coordinator even made it to the final three with the Giants.

This time, many are wondering whether he'll even make it to his interview at all.

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Sep 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (26) celebrates with New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) after scoring a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports  (Noah K. Murray)
Sep 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (26) celebrates with New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) after scoring a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

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The Jets' 6-2 finish has given the franchise a renewed sense of hope, even though GM Joe Douglas didn't want to use that word. Hope, he said, is "not a strategy." The only way they can really capitalize on their strong finish is with a plan.

And they'll need a good one, too, because while Douglas is right that "Going 6-2, that's not luck," it's also not the sign of a finished product. The Jets were a disappointing 7-9 overall this season and did not look like a franchise on the verge of a long-awaited breakthrough. They have big, gaping holes throughout their roster.

So there is a lot of work still to do.

Tags: Avery Williamson, Brian Poole, Brian Winters, Jordan Jenkins, Kelvin Beachum, Robby Anderson, Ralph Vacchiano
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May 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants owner John Mara (left) and general manager Dave Gettleman on the field during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Friday. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY SPORTS (Danielle Parhizkaran)
May 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants owner John Mara (left) and general manager Dave Gettleman on the field during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Friday. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY SPORTS (Danielle Parhizkaran)

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The Giants' search for a new head coach began long before they fired Pat Shurmur. They had a list of candidates ready long before that move was official. And in the two days since, they've reached out in some way to everyone on their list.

Here's a look at those candidates, what we know about the Giants' interest in each of them (and vice versa), when they are scheduled to interview, who the competition might be and how likely they are to become the Giants' next head coach.

It's still very early in the process, but they are ranked in the order I believe they are ranked by the Giants, starting with the favorite:

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Nov 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive end Leonard Williams (99) warms up before a game against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive end Leonard Williams (99) warms up before a game against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It took two months for Giants GM Dave Gettleman to publicly defend his inexplicable trade for Leonard Williams.

Now that he has, it makes even less sense than it did before.

Not that Gettleman was swayed, of course. He stood strongly behind what so far is, unfortunately, his signature deal. Even with hindsight, he had no issue with sending two draft picks to the Jets for a two-month rental of a free-agent-to-be in the midst of a 4-12 season.

Tags: Leonard Williams, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dave Gettleman
Dave Gettleman

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Dave Gettleman was well aware of how angry fans were as the walls of the Giants franchise collapsed around him this season. He knew the outside world questioned his decisions. He could feel the heat in his office.

Yet he still refused to come out.

"I was feeling guilty about it," Gettleman said on Tuesday in his first press conference in more than five months. "I felt guilty that Pat (Shurmur) was up there taking the bullets."

Tags: Daniel Jones, Eli Manning, Leonard Williams, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 15, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches during the first half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports (David Kohl)
Dec 15, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches during the first half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports (David Kohl)

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Consider this the rumor that just won't die: Bill Belichick walking away from an increasingly rocky situation in New England and returning to save the Giants, his first true love.

It's an intriguing scenario. And the Giants surely wouldn't say no if the greatest coach of this generation wanted to return home. In many ways, it would be a dream outcome.

But alas, it's just a dream.

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May 3, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 3, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur essentially arrived together two years ago to help rebuild the Giants. But only one of them is getting a chance to see that rebuilding project through.

While Shurmur was fired by the Giants on Monday morning, Gettleman will not suffer the same fate. Despite rampant speculation that he would be fired or step down, the 68-year-old general manager will remain in his position, the Giants announced, and as SNY reported on Sunday.

"Dave Gettleman is our general manager in 2020 and hopefully for many years after that," Giants co-owner John Mara said in a statement. "We believe he is the right person to lead us going forward."

Tags: Daniel Jones, Leonard Williams, Nate Solder, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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May 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants owner John Mara (left) and general manager Dave Gettleman on the field during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Friday. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY SPORTS (Danielle Parhizkaran)
May 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants owner John Mara (left) and general manager Dave Gettleman on the field during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Friday. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY SPORTS (Danielle Parhizkaran)

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Pat Shurmur's fate has been sealed. Not long ago it was unthinkable that the Giants would go into 2020 with their fourth head coach in six seasons, but here we are.

Who will that be? That's a tough question. There's no obvious successor on Shurmur's staff, and really none from the recent staffs of Ben McAdoo or Tom Coughlin either. The field of available candidates is generally the same as it was two years ago when they decided to hire Shurmur -- and that field wasn't considered great.

Given the need for "an adult in the room," as GM Dave Gettleman once called Shurmur, it seems unlikely they'd take a chance on a hot, young, unproven assistant. Head coaching experience mattered in the end last time, and it likely will be a preference again, since this franchise has no time for on-the-job training. NFL experience always matters to the Giants. And they'll need someone who has shown to have a thick skin to handle the New York heat -- something they really haven't had since Coughlin was pushed out.

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The No. 1 name on the Giants' list to be their next head coach is the same man who was very nearly hired to be the Jets coach last year.

Matt Rhule, the 44-year-old head coach at Baylor, is the early favorite to replace the now fired Pat Shurmur, according to multiple team and league sources. The Giants owners "like him a lot," said one league source, and have been enamored of him since his one year as a Giants assistant back in 2012.

He left a big impression then, one team source said, and they were certain the native New Yorker would be a successful head coach when he left after that one season as the assistant offensive line coach under Tom Coughlin to take over the football program at Temple.

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Pat Shurmur
Pat Shurmur

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Less than two years ago, the Giants gave Pat Shurmur the keys to a dysfunctional mess of a locker room because they believed he was the "adult" who could clean it up. And in many ways he did. The room is far more professional than it was back then.

But that didn't matter as much as maybe it should have in this bottom line business. Shurmur went 9-23 in his two seasons with the Giants, including 4-11 with a franchise-record-tying nine-game losing streak this year.

In the end, the 54-year-old Shurmur never had a chance.

Tags: Daniel Jones, Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Golden Tate, Jabril Peppers, Janoris Jenkins, Jason Pierre-Paul, Landon Collins, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

There is no reason to believe that Pat Shurmur's fate at all hung in the balance on Sunday afternoon, that the game against the Eagles would be enough to sway his bosses in one way or the other. But if it was the last chance for Shurmur to make his case, or one last advertisement for him to stick around another season, it hardly was convincing.

Instead, the 34-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was an advertisement for everything that plagued Shurmur's Giants over the last two years.

Pick your poison: An anemic offense, questionable play calling, a stunning under useof Saquon Barkley for most of the game. There was also some bad offensive line play, a complete lack of a pass rush, terrible tackling throughout the defense and miscommunications in the secondary.

Tags: Daniel Jones, Darius Slayton, Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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May 21, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants general Manager Dave Gettleman and New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur during OTA practice at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 21, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants general Manager Dave Gettleman and New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur during OTA practice at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The final game of this miserable Giants season will very likely be the final game of the Pat Shurmur Era. But most likely, the Dave Gettleman Era will go on.

That appears to be the way things are headed with the Giants based on conversations with multiple sources around the NFL. Shurmur is widely expected to be fired by Monday morning, barring a late stay from co-owners John Mara or Steve Tisch. But Gettleman is expected to survive any purge for now.

That certainly could change, especially after Mara and Tisch have what Tisch promised would be a "very honest" conversation about the state of the franchise. It is believed they will meet early Monday morning to finalize any plans.
 

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Sep 30, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants chairman Steve Tisch talks to New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton , left, and New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur before their game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)
Sep 30, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants chairman Steve Tisch talks to New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton , left, and New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur before their game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Change never comes easy to the Giants organization and big changes are historically rare.

But is one of the Giants owners ready to try and force some?

That's what some around the NFL seem to believe. In fact, multiple NFL sources have told SNY that they believe Steve Tisch, the co-owner of the Giants, is "very frustrated" with the current direction of his organization and will push for sweeping changes when he meets with co-owner John Mara after the season finale on Sunday. However, others believe Tisch has just been "venting" privately in the wake of a 
third straight miserable season and will defer to Mara in the end.

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Jets GM Joe Douglas
Jets GM Joe Douglas

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jets GM Joe Douglas has a lot of work to do this offseason as he begins to reshape the roster the way he wants it to be. And he'll start with the Jets' 23 unrestricted free agents -- most of whom will likely be gone when he's done.

Here's a look at those players -- and whether Douglas should keep them or not -- plus the lone restricted free agent, and a few other players who could be, and perhaps should be, offseason salary cap cuts:

Tags: Bilal Powell, Brandon Copeland, Brent Qvale, Brian Poole, Brian Winters, Jordan Jenkins, Josh Bellamy, Kelvin Beachum, Lachlan Edwards, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Trumaine Johnson, Ty Montgomery , Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants will have a ton of salary cap space this offseason to continue rebuilding their roster, but probably not many of their own players to spend it on. They are currently holding 15 players scheduled to be unrestricted free agents in March. Most of them aren't worth keeping.

Here's a look at those players, plus the Giants' three restricted free agents, and a few other players who could be - and perhaps should be - offseason salary cap cuts:

Tags: Aldrick Rosas, Antoine Bethea, Cody Latimer, Corey Coleman, Eli Manning, Eli Penny, Golden Tate, Leonard Williams, Markus Golden, Michael Thomas, Mike Remmers, Russell Shepard, Scott Simonson, Zak DeOssie, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 15, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur coaches against the Miami Dolphins during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 15, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur coaches against the Miami Dolphins during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The general expectation throughout the NFL is that the Giants will make a coaching change, at the very least, on Monday morning. There are those inside the Giants organization that expect that too, though they aren't nearly as sure. Some inside Giants headquarters admit they would not be shocked at all if Pat Shurmur's key card still works after ownership meets on Monday.

And that begs this question: After two miserable, double-digit loss seasons, how could ownership keeping Shurmur around?

Maybe, in the end, they can't. Or maybe doing that is easier than anyone thinks, because there are definitely things working in Shurmur's favor and those factors will all get a long look from John Mara and Steve Tisch early next week. Here's a look at some of the things in the "pro-Shurmur" column which inevitably could keep him employed by the Giants for (at least) one more year:

Tags: Daniel Jones, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 7, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Chase Young (2) reacts against the Wisconsin Badgers during the fourth quarter in the 2019 Big Ten Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 7, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Chase Young (2) reacts against the Wisconsin Badgers during the fourth quarter in the 2019 Big Ten Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

A few weeks ago, when talking about the future of the Giants, a team executive was asked to name the one thing this current group was so desperately missing. The answer came quickly: "Michael Strahan," he said.

"We don't have a Strahan who can put pressure on the quarterback," he said, before adding "Yet."

The implication was pretty clear. Finding a premiere pass rusher was going to be the Giants' most important offseason task.

Tags: Daniel Jones, Markus Golden, Olivier Vernon, Ralph Vacchiano
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

It took until the end of a dismal and disappointing season, but Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley reminded everyone why the Giants' future is bright.

Both players looked as good as they ever have as they put on dazzling displays in the Giants' wild, 41-35 overtime win over the Washington Redskins. Jones, the rookie quarterback who missed the last two games with a sprained ankle, completed 28-of-42 passes for a career-high 352 yards and a career-best five touchdowns. And Barkley, in by far the finest game of his young career, rushed 22 times for 189 yards and caught four passes for 90 yards and scored twice, too.

For Jones, it was his third game of the season with at least four touchdown passes and fourth game with at least four touchdowns overall. And Barkley set his career best with 279 total yards.

Tags: Cody Latimer, Corey Ballentine, Daniel Jones, Darius Slayton, Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Leonard Williams, Lorenzo Carter, Rhett Ellison, Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jul 24, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah during Pac-12 football media day at Hollywood & Highland. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jul 24, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah during Pac-12 football media day at Hollywood & Highland. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

If the Giants fire Dave Gettleman - and it's still a big if - it's impossible to guess which direction the franchise will turn for a new general manager. Because if there's one thing consistent about the last two times they changed GMs, it's that they prefer to keep it all in the family.

This time, if they make a change, that's almost certainly something they won't do.

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Dave Gettleman
Dave Gettleman

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Giants had never really fired a general manager before Dec. 4, 2017, when Jerry Reese was told to clean out his office. The closest they came was in 1978, when Andy Robustelli left on his own, saving the Maras from pushing him out the door.

From 1979 through 2017, the Giants had three general managers with an average tenure of 13 seasons.

There's a reason for that kind of front office stability -- a very good reason. And no matter how frustrated John Mara and Steve Tisch may be with the last two miserable seasons, they shouldn't ignore that and change their philosophy with Dave Gettleman now.

Tags: Alec Ogletree, Daniel Jones, DeAndre Baker, Dexter Lawrence, Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Julian Love, Nate Solder, Saquon Barkley, Will Hernandez, Ralph Vacchiano
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants have taken a lot away from Eli Manning in recent years, from his consecutive games streak to most of his final season. Their mismanagement, it can be argued, even stole the late prime of his career.

At a time when he should've been hearing cheers, he was too often relentlessly booed. When he should've been trying to make one last Super Bowl run, he instead endured almost nothing but losing. He wasn't blameless, of course, but he was often saddled with a terrible surrounding cast and unfortunate circumstances.

It wasn't fair that one of the greatest careers ever by a Giant was headed towards such an unhappy ending.

Tags: Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - If this really was the end for Eli Manning, at least it was a fitting finale.

And if this wasn't the end ... well, maybe it should be.

The Giants' icon got to go out a winner, and once again heard the cheers from the crowd, in what might easily was the best performance of his final season in New York. The 38-year-old quarterback completed 20 of his 28 passes for 283 yards and threw two touchdowns. Sure, he also threw three interceptions. But his performance was enough to snap the Giants' franchise-record-tying nine-game losing streak and to beat the Miami Dolphins 36-20.

Tags: Antoine Bethea, Cody Latimer, Corey Ballentine, Dalvin Tomlinson, Daniel Jones, Darius Slayton, DeAndre Baker, Dexter Lawrence, Eli Manning, Golden Tate, Julian Love, Sam Beal, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Janoris Jenkins
Janoris Jenkins

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

It was only a few weeks ago that the Giants were hailing Janoris Jenkins as a leader and a good influence on the young players in their secondary. And maybe at the time it was true.

But with one vile Tweet, one hideous slur, and one remarkable, on-camera non-apology, he became a terrible influence and a disgraceful example for everyone. So the Giants did the only thing they could do on Friday morning. They cut him -- a swift and absolutely correct move.

Maybe it seems like a harsh penalty to some, but it was awfully harsh word that Jenkins chose to use when he called a fan a "retard" on Twitter. And he didn't help his cause by blowing his chance at a sincere apology 24 hours later. For a franchise that often speaks about "culture," that talks about bringing in good players who are also good people, and that values high character, they couldn't let this go.

Tags: Janoris Jenkins, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Evan Habeeb)
(Evan Habeeb)

BALTIMORE - Gregg Williams' defense never had a chance.

Facing the powerful Ravens and the dangerous Lamar Jackson without a bunch of their best players went exactly as expected for the Jets on Sunday night. The Ravens' MVP candidate threw for five touchdowns and ran for 86 yards as the Jets were blown out by the Ravens, 42-21

And what else would anyone expect with the Jets playing with no Jamal Adams, no Quinnen Williams, no Brian Poole, and the usual patchwork cast at linebacker and cornerback. They played hard and were actually much better in the second half, but all that was just way too much to overcome. Jackson, taken 29 spots after the Jets took Sam Darnold in the 2018 draft, was everything he was advertised to be. He completed 15 of 23 passes for 212 yards and averaged nearly 11 yards per rush. When he took off with the ball, either to run or throw, the Jets had no one that could keep up.

That's not really surprising considering that Adams, Poole and Williams are three of the best athletes on the Jets' defense. Had they had a full complement of players, Gregg Williams could have used Adams as a spy. That at least might have slowed Jackson down a little bit and minimized the damage, if nothing else.

Tags: Jamal Adams, Jamison Crowder, Neville Hewitt, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Matt Rhule, Mike McCarthy and Ron Rivera (Treated Image by SNY)
Matt Rhule, Mike McCarthy and Ron Rivera (Treated Image by SNY)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

More and more, Pat Shurmur sounds like he knows what's coming, and understands it's not likely to be good. He desperately needed to show something to his bosses down the stretch of this miserable season. Instead, he's riding a franchise record-tying, nine-game losing streak that may still get worse.

That's one reason why the consensus around the league seems to be that Shurmur will become the third head coach fired by the Giants in the last four years, shortly after the Giants' season ends on Dec. 29 (fourth if you count interim coach Steve Spagnuolo). But there's also another reason so many seem to believe that Shurmur's days are numbered:

The list of potential replacements is impressive. In fact, this pool of available coaches is one of the best and most experienced groups the NFL has seen in years. And especially for the Giants, Ron Rivera, the 57-year-old former Carolina Panthers head coach, might be too good to pass up.

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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Daniel Jones may have returned to practice on Wednesday, but it still looks like Eli Manning will be the Giants starting quarterback on Sunday afternoon.

A team official said it is "likely" that the 38-year-old Manning will get the nod to make what could be the final home start of his iconic Giants career, this Sunday at the Meadowlands against the Miami Dolphins. Jones was "limited" at practice on Wednesday, as he attempts to recover from a high ankle sprain. And though he didn't appear to be bothered at all by his injury and said he felt fine, the source said the team will likely take a cautious approach.

And while there is definitely some sentiment in the organization to find a way to get Manning one more home start anyway -- especially since they know there are few other reasons for fans to actually show up -- it doesn't appear that will play a part in the decision. The source said it will be a medical decision and, inevitably, Pat Shurmur's call.

Tags: Daniel Jones, Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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