Major change is coming to the future of the Giants, one way or another, now that Daniel Jones’ season is likely over as he awaits confirmation of a torn ACL.
The only unacceptable reaction to Sunday’s 30-6 loss to the hapless Raiders is to say that Jones, head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen were robbed of a chance to turn around this season (2-7) and the Giants should run it back as is because last season’s playoff berth was legitimate and this year is the aberration.
If you want to argue that the best thing now for the franchise — and, thus, for the fans — is to lose the next eight games and hope the Panthers, Cardinals, Bears and other bottom-feeders win enough to bump the Giants into the No. 1 or No. 2 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, so be it.
Maybe the opportunity to draft either USC’s Caleb Williams or North Carolina’s Drake Maye is the fix to 11 years of missteps, no matter what kind of awkward arrangement it might set up with Jones.
But good luck convincing Daboll and Schoen to buy into that plan. Foolish as it sounds, their jobs might depend on the difference between 2-15 and 4-13.
So, let’s state it loud and clear: No matter how ugly it gets from Monday through the rest of the season — and, speaking from experience, first downs are going to be an endangered species — the Giants should not fire Daboll and Schoen.
End the cycle of starting over every two years. Allow them a swing at a turnaround. Put them on the hot seat entering 2024 with the quarterback of their choosing (even if it is Jones).
Why is this even a question? How can a coach and general manager be fired for failing with second-string and third-string quarterbacks?
Perhaps you need a refresher on recent Giants history.
The Giants beat the Eagles on Nov. 28, 2021, to improve to 4-7 after a third win in five games. There was not one call for head coach Joe Judge’s job at the time, nor in the ensuing days when it became clear the Giants were headed nowhere because of the uncertainty of Jones’ first neck injury.
Within seven weeks, however, failed four-year general manager Dave Gettleman “retired” and Judge was fired because the offense devolved into averaging 9.6 points per game (many of which came in garbage time) behind the limitations of Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm.
What happened to the vow that John Mara made on the day that Judge was hired, only two years earlier, to afford him the patience that predecessors Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur did not receive? Never underestimate the reaction of an angry and embarrassed sports team owner.
And, so, stop denying the unshakable déjà vu that hangs over the rest of this cursed season.
Wait … did I hear an objection? Comparing Daboll and Judge is apples and oranges, you say, because Judge’s firing was sealed by a rambling pass-the-buck post-game press conference and losing the faith of some of the leaders in the locker room?
Watch the way Daboll reacts to mistakes on the sideline and ask yourself whether he is incapable of blowing a gasket as the losses mount? Do you think his defensive players are averse to making noticeable “business decisions” in the effort department when they see that the offense is hopeless?
Yes, Daboll restored Giants pride with a 10-7 record, playoff appearance and NFL Coach of the Year award in his first season at the helm. That’s a key difference.
Allow me to reintroduce McAdoo, who did much of the same as Tom Coughlin’s successor in 2016, but didn’t make it through his second season as players began quitting amid gut-wrenching losses. Not better supporting McAdoo is one of Mara’s regrets, though it didn’t stop the ax from subsequently dropping on Shurmur and Judge.
If Mara and co-owner Steve Tisch feel compelled to end the speculation and offer a vote of confidence for Daboll and Schoen — who needed only nine games to burn up their equity from last season — remember McAdoo was fired just 47 days after he received ownership’s full support.
It’s time for Mara and Tisch to try something new: Year 3.
That stance does not absolve Schoen and Daboll of their hand in this mess. The Giants were a punch-less underachiever long before Sunday and, frankly, before the three previous games Jones missed with a second neck injury.
It is nothing more than excuse-making to say Schoen and Daboll — who helped draft and develop, respectively, Josh Allen in Buffalo — haven’t had “their guy” at quarterback.
It was not required to give Jones a four-year, $160 million extension just for learning ball security and achieving durability last season.
On the contrary, when Jones’ camp began asking for a multi-year contract worth $48 million per year, it was Schoen and Daboll who chose to negotiate rather than taking the viable option of a $35 million one-year franchise tag (and a prove-it-again message) while re-signing Saquon Barkley to a more reasonable deal. It was Schoen and Daboll who didn’t realize — or chose to ignore — that Barkley and the defense were the driving forces behind a string of upset victories.
Many of the other glorified offseason moves — trading for Darren Waller, signing Parris Campbell, revamping the offensive line and extending injury-prone players — have turned disastrous, too.
Perhaps the best thing Schoen and Daboll have going for them is each other. They are tied together in a way that Jerry Reese and McAdoo, Gettleman and Shurmur, and Gettleman and Judge were not, and keeping one without the other would make any Giants vacancy less viable.
So, take your brown paper bag cut-outs to MetLife Stadium. Sell your tickets for pennies on the dollar. Root for losses, if you’re so inclined.
But remember that no matter how many three-and-outs you see, Daboll and Schoen should be brought back. It’s time to choose stability, even if it means their future rides on Williams or Maye succeeding as a rookie while the NFL’s highest-paid backup quarterback recovers and regroups.
Schoen believes you can win and build at the same time. Let’s see it.
Today’s back page
Be ready for anything
Here’s a viewer’s tip for watching “Monday Night Football” this week: Don’t try to extend commercial breaks by assuming you can heat your nachos or run to the bathroom when the Jets defense forces a fourth down.
That’s because Chargers head coach Brandon Staley is a total wild card.
If you wondered whether the winner of the overtime coin toss in the Jets-Giants slog last weekend might choose to buck convention and kick off, you underestimated the damage to a head coach’s reputation of being labeled the next Marty Mornhinweg. The former Lions head coach’s name is still synonymous with kicking off at the start of an overtime game in 2002, which blew up in his face when the Bears scored the game’s first points driving into the wind and the Lions never touched the ball.
But there is one NFL head coach who might have made the decision Daboll did not for the Giants (and the Jets’ Robert Saleh likely would not).
Staley is the decision-maker who bypassed a punt and went for a fourth-and-1 from the Chargers’ 24-yard line in Week 3 with a four-point lead against the Vikings and less than two minutes remaining. When it failed — but the Chargers defense held for the win — Staley faced a mountain of criticism, but he didn’t shy away from making an almost identical decision (failed again) against the Raiders the very next week.
“We were trying to go win the game,” Staley said in September. “I make no apologies for that.”
Why would those two failures change Staley’s nature when a similar decision that ended up costing the Chargers a playoff spot in a winner-take-all game at the end of the 2021 season didn’t alter his thinking? If Staley is in danger of being the next NFL head coach to be fired, you can bet he is going to go down swinging and true to his beliefs.
Call him aggressive. Or unpredictable. Or an analytics robot.
But beware that the Jets (4-3) have to expect the unexpected when facing the Chargers (3-4).
Shouldn’t be so Hard
Knicks star Julius Randle is struggling and the criticism is mounting.
What else is new? Wasn’t this the story of his 2021-22 season, leading up to him telling fans to “shut the f— up” with a hand gesture? And parts of other seasons throughout his enigmatic career?
Rinse and repeat. Or is something more worrisome brewing?
With the Clippers coming to town Monday, it’s hard not to think about what can happen in the NBA when these situations really go off the rails. The Knicks haven’t seen anything yet.
Call it “The James Harden Effect.”
One week after he forced a trade for the third time in the last 1,020 days by refusing to practice for the 76ers, Harden is expected to make his season and Clippers debut at Madison Square Garden.
The other pages in “The Harden Guide to Sabotage” include allowing himself to get out of playing shape (as he did with the Rockets), jumping ship as soon as things start to get rocky (as he did with the Nets) and publicly calling the general manager in charge of his future a “liar” (as he did with 76ers general manager Daryl Morey). Extended “injury” absences is another favorite chapter.
So far, the durable Randle hasn’t entered any of that territory.
Randle is averaging just 13.7 points on 27.1 percent shooting — down from 45.9 percent as an All-Star last season — during the Knicks’ 2-4 start. As is often the case when his offense goes into a slump, he has been seen loafing back on defense.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau, who mostly has handled Randle with kid gloves during his three-plus seasons, seemed to slightly amp up the criticism after Friday’s loss to the Bucks in which Randle shot 5-of-20 but oddly took just two attempts during an 18-plus-minute stretch of game time in the third and fourth quarters. A firmer approach sounds worth trying at this point.
But if Randle can’t handle it? Are the Knicks ready to brace for a Harden-esque situation? If not, the only solution might be to let Randle shoot himself out of a slump … if he’s still willing to try.
Welcome to a season of hope.
MLB season was a total flop in New York. NFL season is halfway there — with the Jets’ defense and the hope of a miracle Aaron Rodgers return to health providing the only life support. The NBA in-season tournament couldn’t matter less (or be more confusing).
But college basketball gets underway today with two intra-New Jersey matchups on the men’s side (Seton Hall-Saint Peter’s and Rutgers-Princeton) and Iona-College of Charleston to whet the appetite for the much-anticipated St. John’s head coaching debut of Rick Pitino against Stony Brook on Tuesday.
Compared to the marathons of the NBA and NHL seasons, college basketball is a relative sprint to the important games in January through March.
In case you missed it, The Post published its comprehensive season preview with inside looks at several local teams, bold predictions for the season, picks for the Final Four and All-Americans and much more.
What we’re reading 👀
🏈 Jets defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson opened up to The Post’s Steve Serby about his ongoing battle for sobriety.
⚾ The Mets’ manager decision could come as soon as Monday, reports The Post’s Jon Heyman, who says with the way the search has unfolded, the teams needs to land Craig Counsell.
⚾ Anthony Volpe made Yankees history in winning the AL Gold Glove at shortstop.
⚽ Gotham FC advanced to the NWSL final on a stunning goal in extra time. Saturday night’s match for title also will be the final game for Gotham’s Ali Krieger and OL Reign’s Megan Rapinoe.
⚽ A coup for the U.S. women’s national team, which is set to land Emma Hayes as its next head coach.
🏈 C.J. Stroud, have a day. Have a season.
🏒 Don’t look away from the shame of the Blackhawks.
🎾 Jessica Pegula can complete the tournament of her life on Monday in the final of the year-end WTA Finals.