Giants‘ nightmare season mercifully ends; now real work begins

The ended the season with a 18-10 win over the on Sunday. Here‘s a recap of the season and what‘s next:

Season grade: Below average, and that‘s generous. Putrid. Abysmal. Pathetic. All would have been more appropriate. The Giants were supposed to at least be a playoff contender and instead set a franchise record for losses in a season. They lost their first five games, their general manager and coach were fired, and their two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback was benched for . And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Season in review: The Giants couldn‘t stop anybody (32nd in total defense), couldn‘t score points (31st) and struggled on special teams. Quick recap: They stunk everywhere. It was a disaster of a season for the Giants. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. They started 0-5, lost three wide receivers — including star Odell Beckham Jr. — for the season in the same game, had to suspend three cornerbacks at different points for their behavior, and fired coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese after their flawed plan to move on from was met with public outrage.

The Giants will be in position to draft a franchise quarterback for the first time since 2004, but Eli Manning might still have something to offer. Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey via USA TODAY Sports

Biggest play of season (good or bad): ‘s 61-yard field goal with no time remaining as the beat the Giants in Week 3. This was crushing as the Giants were trying to avoid 0-3 with Beckham finally getting healthy after a preseason injury. It took an awful string of events (consecutive penalties, a poor punt and cornerbacks and running into each other in the final seconds) for the field goal to happen.

He said it: “Our team isn‘t good enough, it‘s obviously not good enough. We are 2-10.” — Giants co-owner John Mara, after firing McAdoo and Reese

Key offseason questions

Biggest draft need: Franchise quarterback. The opportunity to draft a top quarterback doesn‘t come around often. The Giants haven‘t picked this high since 2004, when they landed Manning. This would be a prime opportunity to find his successor since nobody seems to know if is that guy. As general manager Dave Gettleman said at his introductory news conference, you can never have too many good players at one position.

Free-agency targets: Offensive linemen, offensive linemen, offensive linemen. The Giants need at least one veteran tackle and the ‘ is at least a competent left tackle. That‘s a start to rebuilding their line. Re-signing , one of the top free-agent linemen on the market, and D.J. Fluker would also be nice. Gettleman is big on his “hog mollies,” and has already prioritized the offensive line.

What‘s with Eli? This will be one of the first decisions Gettleman and the new coach will have to make. They must decide if Manning returns next season. He will be 37, hasn‘t played well the past two years and won‘t have the supporting cast around him the next year or two to be able to win something significant. But he did help the Giants win two Super Bowls, would be a quality mentor and has two years remaining on his contract, which includes a no-trade clause and seems to have the support of Gettleman for at least one more year. Does he even want to return?. Does he even want to return? Lots to take into consideration.

Dealing with Odell: Beckham is looking for a new deal and is unlikely to step on the field before he‘s paid. The situation is complicated by the broken ankle he suffered earlier this season. The new coach and general manager will have to make an immediate decision on his future upon their arrival. Beckham is a transcendent talent but also an enigmatic personality. Gettleman is aware and seems to be on board with keeping his top player. “Don’t quit on talent,” he said.

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