Thursday, August 11, 2011
Jerry Reese defends and kids himself
By Dan Graziano
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- All right. One more from New York Giants camp today before I go home to watch these Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys games. Remember when I said before that Giants GM Jerry Reese hadn't made himself available for interviews? Well, guess who held a news conference after the Giants finished practice this afternoon! That's right. Jerry Reese!!
Ohm Youngmisuk will have all the details on ESPNNewYork.com, but I was there as well and so I'll give you my impressions of what Reese said and what it all means. Basically, I think the guy has been getting his rear end kicked this offseason and is in denial about it. It's one thing to say you don't feel the need to play big on the free-agent market the way some other teams are doing. It's fine to say you like your team the way it is. But if you're going to do that, step two of the plan is to keep your own players. And Reese has let two important parts of his passing game -- Steve Smith and Kevin Boss-- walk out the door without replacing them.
"It seems like people are in a little bit of a panic over the perception that we're not dong a lot," Reese said.
Yeah, it seems that way to me and my Twitter feed too, Jerry.
Reese said all the right things about Smith signing with the Eagles -- wisely declining to get into the he said/she said back-and-forth about who promised what and counter-offers and all of that. But his general message was that, while other teams (he didn't say which but the presumption is that he was thinking of a team whose name rhymes with "Shmiladelphia Shmeagles") were making all the "sexy" moves, his team was staying the course, and confident in that course.
"We were 10-6 last year and we expect to build off of that," Reese said. "If we make a couple of plays, we would've been in playoffs. We'll make the plays this time, we'll get in the playoffs and we'll make a run."
And he could be right. As I pointed out in Breakfast Links this morning, the Giants' front-line players look very good, and if they stay healthy there's no reason to think this isn't a playoff team. But letting Smith and Boss go and hoping Victor Cruz, Domenik Hixon and Travis Beckum are ready to take over has left the Giants thin at some critical spots.
My question to Reese was this: Part of this "game plan" he discussed was obviously an effort to sign a receiver and a tight end, since they tried on Plaxico Burress, Smith and Boss. They didn't get any of those guys, nor did they sign anyone else who may have constituted a backup plan at either position. So doesn't that indicate that things didn't go according to plan?
His answer indicated was no, the Giants didn't think they needed a receiver and a tight end, but rather that they wanted to try and sign those particular players, knowing all along that their backup plans were guys who were already on the roster.
"Kevin Boss caught 35 balls for us last year," he said. "Travis Beckum is certainly a guy we expect could catch 35 balls for us this year."
Sounds like sour grapes to me. But most Giants fans seem to believe in Reese and be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. He could prove us all wrong and go out and win the division with this team that made no big moves while the Eagles were signing everyone in sight. There's enough talent on the Giants' roster to pull something like that off, assuming they get really, really, really lucky with injuries. I believe that.
But I also believe Reese was far less prepared for some of the things that have happened to him and the Giants since the offseason began, and that the way some of these situations broke have left him exposed in key spots. He'll look good if all of the backups who got promoted perform the way he hopes they will. It's just that, from here, that looks like a lot more of an "if" than his brave face is making it out to be.