The New York Giants have entered depressingly familiar territory as they enter their week 11 bye.
Mid-season bye weeks are the normal and natural dividing line of an NFL season. They’re the time when we can take a step back, take stock of the first half of the season and look ahead to the second half. Though the Giants’ bye week is a bit later than normal and doesn’t divide the season into roughly equal halves, it’s still a useful framework.
But if there is a particular feeling of deja vu, there’s a good reason: The Giants were in almost this exact position exactly two years ago. Week 11 of 2017, after the Giants fell to 1-8 on the season with a disappointing loss to the San Francisco 49ers, John Mara and Steve Tisch released a joint statement effectively giving Ben McAdoo the rest of the season to turn things around.
They released their statement on Nov.r 13th, exactly two years ago today. The similarity gets even stronger when we peek ahead a week in their schedule and see that the team was 2-8 after their 10th game (they had their bye in week 8 that year).
The Giants finished that season 3-13 with a fired coach and general manager. Looking ahead at the rest of the second half of the Giants’ season, its difficult to say that another 3-13 (or worse) finish isn’t once again on the table.
Ben Baldwin of The Athletic charts the offensive and defensive EPA (expected points added) per play of every NFL team and uses the results to divide the league into tiers. This is how the league stands after week 10:
Week 10 NFL Tiers!— new-age analytical (@benbbaldwin) November 12, 2019
The Baltimore Ravens just might be the best team in football. pic.twitter.com/P4Epc2auSf
We have already heard from head coach Pat Shurmur twice since the loss, the first time immediately after the game and he spoke again to reporters early this week. Saquon Barkley spoke to the media at the start of the bye week, as did rookie quarterback Daniel Jones.
The people we haven’t yet heard from are John Mara, Steve Tisch, and Dave Gettleman.
And we have to wonder if we will.
Granted, the current situation doesn’t precisely parallel what we saw back in 2017. That year the locker room was a fractured mess. This year, while veterans are understandably weary from the constant losing, if there is any dissent in the locker room, it hasn’t made its way to the public.
We know that the Giants’ ownership is frustrated. John Mara, in particular, does not take losing or embarrassment well. Reporters noted after the game that he was visibly upset and would not stop to offer a single comment. But the fact that, so far, the locker room appears to be pulling in the same direction might be enough to stay Mara and Tisch’s hands in releasing the same kind of statement as we saw in 2017.
The other man we haven’t heard from is general manager Dave Gettleman.
Bye week press conferences were an annual tradition under former GM Jerry Reese. While he would routinely give cliched non-answers, we could count on something from him. So far we haven’t heard a peep from the general manager’s office, which has become the new norm for the Giants.
But with the team floundering, showing few signs of direction or progress, and his coaching staff under fire, perhaps it is time for Gettleman to speak up.
And make no mistake, this is Dave Gettleman’s team.
For better or for worse, the roster has been almost completely turned over in the two years since John Mara and Steve Tisch released their statement. Only eight players (Eli Manning, Zak DeOssie, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, Wayne Gallman, Janoris Jenkins, Dalvin Tomlison, Aldrick Rosas) and three coaches (Lunda Wells, Craig Johnson, and Tom Quinn) remain from that 2017 team. All told, the roster has been 85 percent replaced over the last two off-seasons.
Gettleman did a spot with Giants.com at the beginning of November, but the Giants haven’t made their GM available to the media at large since July 26th.
Gettleman might not feel he owes us any explanations for his decisions, but it sure would be nice to hear something along those lines. Even if we get the cliched non-answers, the GM speaking could help take some heat off of an embattled coaching coaching staff and a (largely) young roster under intense pressure to perform.
We probably already know the answer to the question, but we still have to ask: Will we hear from any of the Giants’ brass over their bye week?