Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC East [Print without images]

Sunday, November 9, 2008
Checking in with Giants GM Jerry Reese

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Unlike most NFL bigwigs, Giants co-owner John Mara and general manager Jerry Reese sit in the press box with the ink-stained wretches. As I type this blog entry, Mara and Reese are peering over my shoulder, which makes things a bit awkward.

Over a cup of coffee earlier, I spoke with Reese about politics and football. For now, let's focus on the football portion of our discussion. Reese talked about how smart a player defensive end Justin Tuck was, and laughed at how he's replaced Michael Strahan as one of the best quotes in the locker room.

"He'll tell you exactly what he's thinking," Reese said. "He's an honest guy, and that usually goes over pretty well."

Reese brought up linebacker Gerris Wilkinson, who continues to struggle with injuries. Bryan Kehl and Chase Blackburn have stepped in and played really well lately, but Reese says he isn't finished with Wilkinson.

"I haven't given up on him," Reese said. "I think he could really help us."

He handled the Plaxico Burress situation as expected. He just smiled and changed the subject. We talked about rookie safety Kenny Phillips, who will replace injured starter James Butler tonight.

"We think he's going to be a star," Reese said of Phillips.

Reese said he thinks having a "backloaded" schedule could actually benefit the Giants. Heading into the weekend, the Giants had the toughest schedule in football in terms of opponents' winning percentage.

"Playing in this division can be an advantage," he said. "You have to be up every week and it puts you in the right type of rhythm."

Asked about Eli Manning, Reese said, "No. 10's the smartest guy on the team."

OK, we're moments away from kickoff.