With the 2015 season coming to a close, we're happy to revisit NFL.com's Exit Interview series, checking out some of the worst teams of 2015 that could make the biggest noise this offseason.
2015 in a nutshell:
Horrible, close losses. Heartbreaking, maddening final-minute walk-off losses that stringed together like a depressing set of half-broken Christmas lights. In that it is likely Tom Coughlin's final act, he had his chance for a Clint Eastwood moment. He had a bad team on the verge of winning some big games and, in a mix of untimely defense and cringe-worthy clock management, almost all of his chances at locking down a signature victory evaporated. This is not to say that Coughlin is without blame. His calls in the Dallas game and the Jets game in particular will be questioned for quite some time. But for a coach that had a good run, one that lasted more than a decade, it is tough to see him go out like this.
What went right
Ben McAdoo's offensive system is getting the most out of its two best players -- Eli Manning and Odell Beckham. How many offenses in the league struggle to say that right now? A coaching change could include a way to keep McAdoo on board for Manning's sake, or it might be a give-and-take with the new man in charge to keep some of the assistants around. The Giants are a family-first organization and the thought of completely cleaning house is probably painful to owner John Mara. Can he let go of the one bright spot from this season?
What went wrong
The defense. And while this defense could end up being historically bad, it's difficult to separate the scheme from the talent at hand. This has been the theme of the last month for Giants fans: Lamenting, but understanding the ouster of the coaching staff while angrily demanding that the executive staff get fired, too. That likely won't happen. Jerry Reese has never gotten the chance to pick his own head coach and maybe ownership feels he deserves that. Simply stating this does not endorse a personnel group that was highlighted by the play of Robert Ayers, Jason Pierre-Paul, Devon Kennard and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Outside of Pierre-Paul, there was no truly exceptional talent. The team at times used their fullback as a situational pass rusher. They hinged their hopes on a wing-and-prayer group of safeties that did not pan out, either.
Offseason Crystal Ball
Coughlin will go, and probably without the fanfare he deserves. Giants fans are hopefully smart enough to cheer him off the field on Sunday but who knows? This is a what-have-you-done lately business and the Giants have not had a winning record in almost half a decade. On the personnel side, the Giants know they need to rebuild their infrastructure on defense and decide what they are willing to spend on Pierre-Paul. Pierre-Paul's contract was only a stopgap, carefully re-written after his offseason fireworks incident in July.
Team needs and draft
The Giants need help at safety and offensive line and wide receiver, depending on whether or not they re-sign Rueben Randle. They need to get younger at defensive tackle and linebacker and they need cornerback depth and a starting-caliber safety. Can this all be done in one offseason? Probably not. However, the Giants have a treasure trove of salary-cap space coming, and the free-agent market is shaping up to be fairly enticing. Eric Weddle, Eric Berry, Leon Hall, Sean Smith, Lamar Miller, Bruce Irvin, Olivier Vernon, Alshon Jeffery, Mike Adams and Tahir Whitehead (among others) could all hit the market. Reese was not shy about doling out over $100 million in new contracts a few seasons ago, and maybe we'll see him do it again.