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Giants vs. Cowboys Storylines: What to watch for

Posted Dec 6, 2017

Five storylines to follow as the Giants prep for Week 14 against the Cowboys: 


1. McADOO, REESE DISMISSED

Less than 24 hours after the Giants fell to 2-10 on the season with a 24-17 loss to the Raiders in Oakland, Giants president John Mara and chairman Steve Tisch announced the dismissals of head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese. Mara held a press conference Monday afternoon in the auditorium of the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

“To be honest with you, it became more and more apparent that we were going to have to do something at the end of the season, so we talked after the game and again this morning about why prolong it any longer?” Mara said. “Why not just get it done now? I’m very conscious of the fact that three of our last four games are at home. I’m conscious, having lived through it before, of what the reaction was going to be. Also, gives us somewhat of a tactical advantage, allowing us to start looking at general managers right now rather than waiting until the end of the season.”

2. SPAGS, ABRAMS TAKE OVER

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will be the interim head coach for the remainder of the season, while Kevin Abrams, who has been the assistant general manager for 16 years, will be the interim G.M. Spagnuolo, who is in the third year of his second stint with the Giants, has previous head coaching experience. The architect of the Super Bowl XLII-winning defense that upset the undefeated Patriots left in 2009 to become the head coach in St. Louis, where he served for three seasons.


3. ELI’S STATUS UP TO SPAGS

Playing without Eli Manning for the first time since November 14, 2004, the Giants started Geno Smith Sunday in Oakland, while Davis Webb, the rookie third-round draft choice, has yet to dress for a regular-season game. Spagnuolo will discuss the quarterback position and other topics when he speaks to the media for the first time as interim head coach following practice this afternoon.

“I’ve spoken to Steve and he’s still trying to come to grips with this whole thing,” Mara said Monday afternoon. “He wants to talk to his offensive staff and he’s going to talk to Kevin and myself. Ultimately, it’s going to be his decision as to who to play at quarterback.”

4. SEARCH BEGINS

Following Monday’s dismissals, the general manager search began right away. Mara has asked former Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi to serve as a consultant in the process, and the 2016 Ring of Honor inductee agreed. Ideally, Mara would like the general manager to be in place before the head coach, and the new G.M. could be hired before the end of the season.

“If the right candidate comes along, that’s possible,” said Mara, who added that he does have names in mind but did not divulge them. “Obviously if we want to talk to somebody who’s currently employed, we would have to wait.”

5. MARA WON’T PUT UP WITH TANK TALK

The Giants play three of their final four games at home against each of their NFC East rivals, beginning with a visit from the 6-6 Dallas Cowboys in Week 14. At 2-10, the Giants are on track for a top-three draft choice, but there’s one word Mara will not tolerate in the final month: tanking. He met with the assistant coaches on Monday and told them just that.

“[I] told them that my expectation is for them to continue to work hard to get these players ready to play in these last four games,” Mara said. “I told them I would not put up with any talk in this building about tanking or anything else and I expected us to go out and try to win these games. I expected their best efforts to try to get us to do that.”