The first preseason game is here for the 2018 New York Giants. They open up against another team racked by futility in the Cleveland Browns. The two clubs finished Nos. 31 and 32 at the bottom of the NFL pile last year.
The Giants will be coming in with a truckload of new faces, as well as a new coaching staff, headed by Pat Shurmur, whose underscored pragmatic approach appears to have quelled the panic left over after the club bottomed out last season.
The Browns have won just four games over the last three seasons and only 38 in the last 10 years. They are looking for anything and any way to reverse that trend. Of the first-round picks selected by the Browns between 2010-16, none are currently on their roster. That stings.
The number of combined victories for the Browns and Giants in 2017. The winless Browns actually managed to do worse than their 1-15 campaign in 2016. The Giants went 11-5 in 2016, so the 3-13 finish last year led to massive wholesale changes throughout the organization. The Browns will continue on with Hue Jackson as head coach, but dumped their “moneyball” front office model and hired an experienced general manager in John Dorsey.
The lousy seasons resulted in the Browns having the first and fourth overall selections in the draft (quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner out of Oklahoma and cornerback Denzel Ward of Ohio State). With the second overall pick, the Giants took Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, bypassing the tempting quarterback class and doubling down on 37-year-old Eli Manning to lead the offense.