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.

Joe Douglas
Joe Douglas

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The NFL's offseason started in earnest on Monday, as the league descended on the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis to begin preparations for the NFL Draft. When the week-long meat market is over, free agency will only be two weeks away.

The Jets obviously still have plenty of holes despite a strong finish to their 7-9 season. Here's a look at the five areas -- in order of importance -- that rookie GM Joe Douglas will need to address the most over the next few months:

Tags: Bless Austin , Brian Poole, Jamison Crowder, Jonotthon Harrison, Kelvin Beachum, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Trumaine Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Giants GM Dave Gettleman
Giants GM Dave Gettleman

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The NFL's offseason began in earnest on Monday, as the league descended on the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis to begin preparations for the NFL Draft. When the week-long meat market is over, free agency will only be two weeks away.

The Giants obviously still have plenty of holes to fill as they begin to climb from the ashes of their 4-12 season and get the Joe Judge Era off to a good start. Here's a look at the five areas -- in order of importance -- that GM Dave Gettleman will need to address the most over the next few months:

Tags: Alec Ogletree, Jon Halapio, Julian Love, Kevin Zeitler, Mike Remmers, Nate Solder, Sam Beal, Will Hernandez, Ralph Vacchiano
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The NFL put on a good show on Thursday, making it seem like long-term labor peace was at hand. The owners voted on a comprehensive collective bargaining agreement, complete with a 17-game schedule, expanded playoffs, and more money and better benefits for players.

They were hoping for a quick approval. But the players have responded: Not so fast.

The NFL Players Association want to head back to the bargaining table, according to a report from the NFL Network, after the union's executive committee voted 6-5 to not recommend the owners' proposal to their 32 team representatives. It was a stunning reversal, considering that is the committee that negotiated the deal the owners accepted.

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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The NFL put on a good show on Thursday, making it seem like long-term labor peace was at hand. The owners voted on a comprehensive collective bargaining agreement, complete with a 17-game schedule, expanded playoffs, and more money and better benefits for players.

They were hoping for a quick approval. But the players have responded: Not so fast.

The NFL Players Association want to head back to the bargaining table, according to a report from the NFL Network, after the union's executive committee voted 6-5 to not recommend the owners' proposal to their 32 team representatives. It was a stunning reversal, considering that is the committee that negotiated the deal the owners accepted.

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Nov 9, 2019; Madison, WI, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs (74) during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)
Nov 9, 2019; Madison, WI, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs (74) during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants will clearly be on the hunt for offensive line help this offseason. And while there is no guarantee they'll select one in the first round of the NFL draft, there are already a couple of top prospects they seem to really like.

In fact, the Giants already "love" Iowa tackle Tristan Wirfs, according to an NFL source familiar with the Giants thinking, and they have expressed similar interest in Alabama's Jedrick Wills. Both of them are widely considered among the top four offensive line prospects in this year's class, and they will get a good look from the entire league at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis next week.

It is far too early to know whether either of them would interest the Giants enough to draft them with the fourth overall pick. Right now, the NFL consensus seems to have Wirfs and Wills in a four-man group at the top of the offensive line charts, with Georgia's Andrew Thomas and Louisville's Mekhi Becton. Which order they will eventually land in depends, for now, on who is asked.

Tags: Nate Solder, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jan 29, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during a press conference before Super Bowl LIV at Hilton Downtown. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Jan 29, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during a press conference before Super Bowl LIV at Hilton Downtown. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Sometime in the next few days, or maybe weeks, the NFL is going to add a 17th regular season game and two more playoff teams, which in turn will add to the number of teams in playoff contention.

The NFL owners have been steamrolling in this direction for years. And for all the resistance from the players, it's long been obvious that their compliance is for sale.

Tags: Le'Veon Bell, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jan 29, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during a press conference before Super Bowl LIV at Hilton Downtown. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Jan 29, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during a press conference before Super Bowl LIV at Hilton Downtown. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Sometime in the next few days, or maybe weeks, the NFL is going to add a 17th regular season game and two more playoff teams, which in turn will add to the number of teams in playoff contention.

The NFL owners have been steamrolling in this direction for years. And for all the resistance from the players, it's long been obvious that their compliance is for sale.

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Robby Anderson
Robby Anderson

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After Jets general manager Joe Douglas spoke to Robby Anderson at the end of last season, he said "He knows how valued he is here."

But the problem for the Jets is Anderson likely knows how valued he might be everywhere else, too.

The 26-year-old Anderson is set to hit the free agent market in March as one of the top receivers available -- and possibly the top target, according to some NFL sources, depending on which receivers actually shake free. That could mean a huge contract for Anderson, who may already be priced out of the Jets' range.

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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Le'Veon Bell's future with the Jets remains as uncertain as it was at the end of last season, when GM Joe Douglas said he'd listen if teams called about his star running back. A trade remains "unlikely" according to a source familiar with the Jets' plans, but they'd consider it for the right offer.

It's just complicated because of Bell's contract. And it all depends on how eager the Jets are to get rid of Bell -- if they're even eager at all.

It's the contract that makes it "unlikely," though. Bell, who turned 28 on Tuesday, is entering the second year of a four-year, $52.5 million contract that includes $13 million in guarantees for 2020, which would be the responsibility of his new team. The Jets would almost certainly have to eat some of that money, as they did when they traded defensive lineman Leonard Williams to the Giants for a third- and fifth-round pick back in October.

Tags: Le'Veon Bell, Ralph Vacchiano
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Kevin Gilbride
Kevin Gilbride

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When Kevin Gilbride retired after the 2013 season, he didn't spend much time looking back. He was happy to put a 40-year coaching career behind him and focus on his grandchildren instead.

That's why when Oliver Luck, the commissioner of the new XFL called to see if he was interested in coaching again, Gilbride said no. But it didn't take the 68-year-old former Giants offensive coordinator long to change his mind.

Now, after 25 years in the NFL, 10 years with the Giants and two Super Bowl championships, Gilbride is back on the sidelines as the head coach and general manager of the XFL's New York Guardians, who won their debut game, 23-3 over the Tampa Bay Vipers at the Meadowlands on Sunday.

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 (SNY)
(SNY)

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A former Patriots quarterback-turned radio host believes Tom Brady could be the next quarterback of the Giants. Or at least Scott Zolak said on Boston's 98.5 The Sports Hub he was told by a "very connected" source not to "fall asleep" on the possibility.

But at the very least, you can probably hit the snooze button once or twice.

Really, though, at this point who knows what Brady's future plans entail? As he drags out what is fast becoming the most painfully overhyped, overanalyzed decision since LeBron James went on TV to announce he was taking his talents to South Beach, Brady is either riding the slippery slide toward free agency on March 18, or he's not. He's either heading to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Nashville, East Rutherford, or staying put in Foxboro, Mass.

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Leonard Williams (Brad Penner)
Leonard Williams (Brad Penner)

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Dave Gettleman has steadfastly stood by the most controversial trade of his reign, insisting that sending two draft picks to the Jets for a two-month rental of Leonard Williams was smart because "the juice was worth the squeeze."

The truth, though, is that it remains to be seen just how good the juice actually was. And it all really depends on what happens over the next five weeks. Maybe the juice was worth it for the Giants if they re-sign the 25-year-old Williams to a reasonable contract between now and the start of free agency.

Tags: Leonard Williams, Ralph Vacchiano
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Kevin Gilbride
Kevin Gilbride

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When Kevin Gilbride retired after the 2013 season, he didn't spend much time looking back. He was happy to put a 40-year coaching career behind him and focus on his grandchildren instead.

That's why when Oliver Luck, the commissioner of the new XFL, called to see if he was interested in coaching again, Gilbride said no. But it didn't take the 68-year-old former Giants offensive coordinator long to change his mind.

Now, after 25 years in the NFL, 10 years with the Giants and two Super Bowl championships, Gilbride is back on the sidelines as the head coach and general manager of the XFL's New York Guardians, who won their debut game, 23-3, over the Tampa Bay Vipers at the Meadowlands on Sunday.

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Giants GM Dave Gettleman
Giants GM Dave Gettleman

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Dave Gettleman has presided over seven NFL drafts with two different franchises, and he still has never done it. Many other teams have, from the first round to the last, in an attempt to acquire extra draft picks.

But Gettleman, the Giants GM, has still never traded down.

This, though, could be the year he breaks that streak -- and possibly very early. He "seems more open to the idea" of trading back this year -- even in the first round, according to a source familiar with the Giants thinking. And a team source, while saying it's all wildly premature and there have been no actual trade discussions, acknowledged a rare trade back in the first round can't be ruled out.

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 (Tim Fuller)
(Tim Fuller)

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Free agency hasn't worked out well for the Jets. They spent a lot of money under former GM Mike Maccagnan and very few of those contracts have turned out to be worth the money. Some of them, in fact, now look like the worst deals the Jets have ever made.

So it's with that knowledge and a sense of great caution that the Jets head into their first offseason under new GM Joe Douglas. He's armed with about $50 million in salary cap space to spend, and likely a lot more coming when he's finished with his cuts. And he will spend, because he has to on a team filled with far too many holes.

Tags: Brian Winters, Le'Veon Bell, Sam Darnold, Trumaine Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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December 8, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Jack Conklin (78) during the first quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
December 8, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Jack Conklin (78) during the first quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The last time the Giants had money to burn in free agency, they burned it at an unprecedented clip. They even managed to essentially buy their way into the playoffs, though that 2016 team was famously one-and-done.

The lesson, Giants co-owner John Mara said in a recent interview on WFAN, was "You can fix some holes pretty quickly (with free agency), but long-term I'm not sure that it really works."

In other words, don't expect the Giants to be big spenders when free agency opens on March 18, even though they'll have more than $60 million in salary cap space to spend. With Mara's endorsement, GM Dave Gettleman has taken a draft-centered approach to rebuilding the Giants (mostly). They'll dip into the free agent pool, to be sure, but it won't be a cannonball-type splash.

Tags: Alec Ogletree, DeAndre Baker, Jabril Peppers, Jon Halapio, Julian Love, Leonard Williams, Markus Golden, Sam Beal, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Brett Davis)
(Brett Davis)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets will head into the first free-agent signing period under new GM Joe Douglas with a ton of money to spend for the third straight year. This time they'll start with at least $50 million, and probably a whole lot more.

The question, though, is whether he'll spend it any better - or smarter - than former GM Mike Maccagnan did.

That remains to be seen, of course, but Douglas will have to begin this offseason erasing some of Maccagnan's mistakes. There are plenty of players on the roster with huge salaries who aren't exactly living up to the numbers. Douglas will have the opportunity to clear a few of them out.

Tags: Avery Williamson, Brian Winters, Quincy Enunwa, Steven McLendon, Trumaine Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Alec Ogletree/Antoine Bethea
Alec Ogletree/Antoine Bethea

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants are already projected to have about $60 million in salary cap space to spend in free agency, and the truth is they may not need it all. Giants co-owner John Mara seemed to indicate as much in a radio interview last month when he called free agency "a double-edged sword."

"If you think free agency is going to fix all your problems, you are going to be sadly disappointed," he said on WFAN. "We are not going to be hog wild in there and spend it all."

Given that, there doesn't seem to be a need for the Giants to add even more cap room over the next few months by cutting some of their more expensive, veteran players. There will undoubtedly be a few cap casualties, especially with a new coach taking over, but with no financial need for downsizing, a few of the players on the brink might be spared.

Tags: Alec Ogletree, Antoine Bethea, Golden Tate, Kareem Martin, Nate Solder, Rhett Ellison, Ralph Vacchiano
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Giants GM Dave Gettleman
Giants GM Dave Gettleman

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There are still nearly three months to go until the NFL draft, and teams are a long ways away from having their draft meetings and finalizing their boards. It's too early to know anything, really, especially with the scouting combine still three weeks away.

But it's never too early to take a look, so here's a projection of how the first 11 picks of the 2020 NFL draft will go, including the picks for the Giants (at 4) and Jets (at 11). Their needs are easy to figure out, even it's still too difficult to zero in on the players:

1. Cincinnati Bengals - LSU QB Joe Burrow

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Joe Douglas
Joe Douglas

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

There are still nearly three months to go until the NFL Draft, and teams are a long ways away from having their draft meetings and finalizing their boards. It's too early to know anything, really, especially with the scouting combine still three weeks away.

But it's never too early to take a look, so here's a projection of how the first 11 picks of the draft will go, including the picks for the Giants (at 4) and Jets (at 11). Their needs are easy to figure out, even if it's still too difficult to zero in on the players:

1. Cincinnati Bengals - LSU QB Joe Burrow

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Eli Manning
Eli Manning

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Eli Manning said he spent his 16 years being himself, showing everyone "pure, unadulterated Eli." And for the most part, that was true. He never changed who he was just because others demanded it, or because some thought he didn't fit the mold of what a Giants quarterback should be.

The result, though, was that he was also careful to make sure that the public version of "pure, unadulterated Eli" was the version he wanted everyone to see. That wasn't the same version that others saw in private. And he rarely let outsiders see what friends, family and teammates saw behind the scenes.

Still, there were moments. ... So SNY reached out to several members of the media who covered him over the years to see if they had any good, behind-the-scenes stories about the Giants icon. They were all asked to describe their "Eli moment," something that epitomized the "pure, unadulterated Eli" they came to know over the years.

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jan 27, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; NFC head coach Jason Garrett smiles prior to the game in the NFL Pro Bowl football game at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Jan 27, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; NFC head coach Jason Garrett smiles prior to the game in the NFL Pro Bowl football game at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants were not happy with Pat Shurmur's coaching staff, especially as the losses mounted in his second season. They had issues with how they struggled to develop young players, according to multiple sources, and they questioned if that staff put the team in the best position to win.

So far, though, there are no such complaints or worries about the coaching staff new head coach Joe Judge has assembled. The early returns are positive from both inside and outside of the organization, both with the quality of his choices and the willingness of the 38-year-old first-time head coach to add experienced voices to his staff.

His full staff hasn't officially been revealed yet -- only the coordinators have been announced -- but multiple sources have confirmed most of the names. Judge has dipped deep into his past, bringing coaches he's known from his days in New England, and from as far back as from when he was a graduate assistant at Mississippi State. He also has quite a few who came from the Nick Saban coaching tree.

Tags: Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Three months after the Jets seriously considered trading Jamal Adams and angered him along the way, it looks like the two sides have rebuilt the bridge between them. A new contract could even be coming soon.

The 24-year old Adams said as much on Wednesday when speaking to reporters in Miami, site of Super Bowl LIV. He said his agent and the Jets have had preliminary discussions and added, "I'd be lying if I said I don't expect to be extended." He did say, though, that the talks have included "no numbers yet," though they've surely discussed some parameters.

The numbers, of course, are everything if the Jets and Adams are going to strike a deal.

Tags: Jamal Adams, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dave Gettleman
Dave Gettleman

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There is a collective groan every time Giants GM Dave Gettleman mentions running the ball or "old school" football. It makes him seem out of touch to a generation dazzled by analytics and some dizzying passing statistics.

But building a team around running the ball and stopping the run remains Gettleman's philosophy, and it appears to be one he shares with new Giants head coach Joe Judge. They are convinced that they can still win in today's NFL by playing the old-fashioned way.

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Jan 27, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; NFC head coach Jason Garrett smiles prior to the game in the NFL Pro Bowl football game at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Jan 27, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; NFC head coach Jason Garrett smiles prior to the game in the NFL Pro Bowl football game at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants were not happy with Pat Shurmur's coaching staff, especially as the losses mounted in his second season. They had issues with how they struggled to develop young players, according to multiple sources, and they questioned if that staff put the team in the best position to win.

So far, though, there are no such complaints or worries about the coaching staff new head coach Joe Judge has assembled. The early returns are positive from both inside and outside of the organization, both with the quality of his choices and the willingness of the 38-year-old first-time head coach to add experienced voices to his staff.

His full staff hasn't been revealed yet, and only the coordinators have been announced, but multiple sources have confirmed most of the names (The only mystery appears to be the identity of the defensive line coach, which was supposed to be Freddie Roach until he got a promotion to remain at Ole Miss). Judge has dipped deep into his past, bringing coaches he's known from his days in New England, and from as far back as from when he was a graduate assistant at Mississippi State. He also has quite a few who came from the Nick Saban coaching tree.

Tags: Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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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