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Giants fire McAdoo, their GM

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Photographs by AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Ben McAdoo

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants went out of character by making two major in-season moves, firing Coach Ben McAdoo and General Manager Jerry Reese.

With the team reeling at 2-10, co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch reached the decision Monday morning. It came less than a day after the Giants lost in Oakland, with quarterback Eli Manning benched and the offense performing poorly again.

"We agreed that wholesale changes to this organization needed to be made to get us back to the team we expect it to be," Mara said at a news conference. "We also agreed it was pointless to wait any longer to make these changes."

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will take over as interim coach for the final four games. He coached the St. Louis Rams from 2009-2011.

Mara did not know whether Manning will return as the starter this weekend against Dallas, saying the decision will be made by Spagnuolo.

In a radio interview on WFAN, Manning said he told Spagnuolo that he wants to start the last four games.

"I want to be out there and help us go win these four games," Manning said. "I hope I'm out there on Sunday playing against the Cowboys."

Mara said neither McAdoo nor Reese was surprised by the decision, saying they were both professionals. He said his meeting with Reese was more emotional because the two had worked together since 1994.

"I don't think there was any one final straw," Mara said. "I just think that where we are as a franchise right now, you know, we're 2-10. We've kind of been spiraling out of control. I just felt like we needed a complete overhaul. I don't think there was any one event or one final act to precipitate that."

Many felt the benching earlier last week of the well-liked Manning, the face of the franchise and a two-time Super Bowl MVP, was the deciding factor.

The moves come less than a year after the 40-year-old McAdoo ended a four-year Giants playoff drought in his first season, going 11-5. That record was aided in large part by Reese's work in the free agent market to rebuild the defense.

While the 2016 season ended in a loss to Green Bay in the wild-card game, this year was supposed to be better.

The offense was bolstered by signing free agent wide receiver Brandon Marshall and drafting tight end Evan Engram in the first round. The defense was back with the exception of defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.

It fizzled from the start. The Giants lost their first five games. The line was inept. The defense underperformed, then the injury bug decimated the roster.

"This has been the perfect storm this season," Mara said. "Everything that could have gone wrong this season has gone wrong."

Assistant general manager Kevin Abrams will take over on an interim basis for Reese, who became GM in 2007 and had two Super Bowl victories on his resume. But the Giants missed the playoffs four times in the past five years, and his failure to address those offensive line problems this past offseason played a major role in a horrible season.

Mara said Abrams and Spagnuolo will be offered the chance to continue in their interim jobs. Former general manager Ernie Accorsi will be a consultant in hiring a new GM, whom Mara wants in place before a coach.

Mara has candidates in mind for general manager and said it's possible a new GM could be in place before the season ends.

McAdoo benched Manning last week, and Mara was forced to address the matter the next day and said he wished the decision had been handled better.

McAdoo had a 13-16 record, and his firing is the first midseason head coaching move by the Giants since Bill Arnsparger was replaced seven games into the 1976 season by John McVay. The 2-10 mark is the Giants' worst since they were 2-10 in 1976, and their worst since the advent of the 16-game schedule in 1978.

With the losses, word started to emerge that McAdoo was losing the team. His one-game suspensions of popular cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins heightened the problem.

The Giants hired McAdoo away from Green Bay in 2014 to serve as Tom Coughlin's offensive coordinator. He was elevated to head coach Jan. 14, 2016, less than two weeks after Coughlin was forced out after missing the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.

Jerry Reese

Sports on 12/05/2017

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