ARLINGTON, Texas — From the minute new Giants general manager Dave Gettleman turned off the tape and decided he wanted Eli Manning to be his 37-year-old quarterback, and new coach Pat Shurmur agreed, the Giants became a win-now team.
So on March 7, Gettleman swung a trade for inside linebacker Alec Ogletree.
Then on March 14, he made left tackle Nate Solder (four years, $62 million) the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL.
Right guard Patrick Omameh arrived hours later.
Then Gettleman used the second-overall pick on running back Saquon Barkley instead of Sam Darnold, and cared not one bit that Darnold fell into the laps of the crosstown rival Jets.
The final piece of the puzzle: $95 million for Odell Beckham Jr.
And worry about your next franchise quarterback later.
While you are still in the midst of paying Janoris “Jackrabbit” Jenkins and Damon “Snacks” Harrison and Olivier Vernon a combined $193.5 million.
The win-now New York Football Giants will be 0-1 when they march into Jerry World on Sunday night against the 0-1 Cowboys.
Don’t leave 0-2.
Not with this schedule.
In four of the past five years, the Giants have started 0-2. Not once did they reach the playoffs. Most 0-2 teams do not. You could look it up.
And leave the Cowboys embroiled in a crisis of self-confidence.
And prove to yourself that you are who you believe you are.
And nip any and all mushrooming self-doubt in the bud.
Gettleman went shopping for the groceries.
It is up to Manning and Shurmur, more than anyone, to cook them right, to prove him right. Shurmur’s challenge is getting an overhauled roster with so many new faces up to speed in a hurry.
Then he has to figure out a way to keep right tackle Ereck Flowers from sabotaging an offense that has enough firepower to average at least 24 points per game in case new defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s defense needs assistance, especially while Vernon is sidelined.
If a win-now team doesn’t hit the ground running in Week 1, it better win-now in Week 2.
A win-now team gets the lead and forces Dak Prescott rather than Ezekiel Elliott to beat it.
Manning has to justify the organization’s faith in him. Gettleman has called him a freak. Shurmur has told us he believes Manning has “years left.”
If there weren’t four dropped passes against the Jaguars, Manning would have completed 27 of his 37 passes. Shurmur volunteered afterward how lucky the Giants are to have him as their quarterback. And Manning can still sling it all over the lot. And he has never had a back as dynamic as Barkley. Nor has he had a grownup Beckham. Nor has he had a playcaller like Shurmur.
But no one is certain whether Manning’s remodeled offensive line will prove cohesive enough so as not to compromise him. He isn’t Russell Wilson. Or even Darnold.
The last years of his prime have been wasted. He is too good a soldier to admit it, of course. He has more playmakers around him than he has ever had. He needs to get his team in the end zone. He needs to connect with Beckham in the end zone.
In a conference filled with heavyweights such as the Eagles, Vikings, Rams, Packers, Falcons and Saints, he needs to win-now.
A win-now team doesn’t just talk about how dangerous its offense can be, a win-now team goes out and scores 30 points for the first time since Tom Coughlin’s 2015 regular-season finale.
A win-now team doesn’t accept playing tough but losing to the Jaguars. A win-now team finds a way to win its winnable home opener.
A win-now team has no excuses.
A win-now quarterback, with all these weapons, has no excuses. Don’t leave 0-2.
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