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Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Giants boss less cross these days

By Ohm Youngmisuk
ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- John Mara may not be seething anymore, but the New York Giants president and CEO is still upset about last season's 8-8 debacle.

His mood, however, does seem to be improving.

Four months after he unloaded on his team, saying he was "unhappy at everybody" in the organization, Mara said he is encouraged with the team's offseason moves.

"I'm very happy with where we are right now," Mara said while standing on the field at the New Meadowlands Stadium after a news conference for New York's 2014 Super Bowl bid. "We have a couple of question marks which hopefully get ironed out in training camp, but going into this season we should be a better team than we were last year. We better be."

John Mara, Eli Manning and Steve Tisch
John Mara, quarterback Eli Manning and team chairman Steve Tisch are pushing for a Super Bowl at New Meadowlands Stadium in 2014.

After winning the first five games in 2009, the Giants collapsed and folded like a broken beach chair. They lost eight of their last 11 games. Decimated by injuries, the Giants' defense appeared to quit down the stretch, surrendering 41 or more points in three of its last four defeats, an act that left Mara sick to his stomach.

The classy Mara shredded the team at the end of the season, saying he was as disappointed as he has ever been with the Giants -- and that something needed to be done.

General manager Jerry Reese spent his offseason addressing the defense and adding depth. He signed safety Antrel Rolle to a five-year, $37 million deal. Reese also signed safety Deon Grant and used five of his seven draft picks on defensive players, highlighted by first-round selection Jason Pierre-Paul.

"I think we have improved ourselves, particularly on defense," Mara said. "And [new defensive coordinator] Perry Fewell will help us. I expect us to be a better team this year. I think our fans expect to see a better team this year. We have enough talent on the field to compete for a championship and that is what I expect us to do."

The Giants still need to find a starting middle linebacker to lead the revamped defense. Mara said he is fine with the candidates the team has on the roster to fill Antonio Pierce's cleats.

"We got a bunch of guys here that are going to compete for the job," Mara said. "And hopefully one of them will step up and win it."

Mara may have had a smile on his face most of the day as the Giants and Jets revealed their bid to host the Super Bowl. But he made it clear that the foul taste from last year's fiasco remains.

"If we are playing in the Super Bowl next year, it will be out of my mouth," Mara said.

And he hopes everyone in the organization understands that.

"Well I hope so, because I was not very happy about [2009]," Mara said as he walked off the field. "And I'm still not very happy about it. That was last season and we are looking forward to the 2010 season."

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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