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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese still believes his team, despite a 2-6 record, can make the playoffs and compete for a berth in Super Bowl XLVIII.
"[Being] 2-6 is not what we expected at the beginning of the season, but that's where we are right now," Reese said Tuesday. "We're gonna make the best of it. Things could be worse than they are. Our division has been kind of slow to get started, so that's good fortune in respect to that. We're still in it."
The passion that he brings to the table, all of our players can see that, our owners can see that and that's never wavered with him. For him to keep this team together, I think that shows how much respect that the players have for him.” -- Giants GM Jerry Reese
on Tom Coughlin
Reese spoke to reporters for nearly 30 minutes at the Giants' practice facility, with the team's bye week falling at the midway point of the season.
It was Reese's first session with the media since training camp -- meaning it was the first time he had fielded questions since the Giants' disastrous 0-6 start, their worst since 1976.
"Obviously we can play better, we expect to play better and we'll have to play better if we want to continue to right the ship. But we still have a chance," Reese said. "I still believe we can get it turned around."
The Giants rebounded to win two games in a row leading into their bye week -- albeit against two struggling teams, the Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles. When asked how his team was able to stick together through such a brutal start to the season, Reese gave a two-word answer.
"Tom Coughlin," he said.
The coach has naturally taken some heat, but Reese made it clear Coughlin isn't in danger of losing his job.
"The passion that he brings to the table, all of our players can see that, our owners can see that and that's never wavered with him," Reese said. "For him to keep this team together, I think that shows how much respect that the players have for him and what he does for this organization."
As for the players, Reese refused to pin blame on any one person or position group.
"Everybody can do their job better," Reese said. "I can do my job better, the coaches can do their job better, the players can do their job better. We win as a team, we lose as a team."
Reese was repeatedly questioned about his personnel decisions, about everything from going with a young, unproven group of linebackers to relying on an aged, injury-riddled offensive line.
"Everybody's got a lot of opinions about what went wrong. And as far as I'm concerned, everybody's right," Reese said. "Because when you're 0-6, anything you say went wrong, you're probably right about it.
"You have to take some chances sometimes. Sometimes you make some decisions that work out, sometimes you make some decisions that don't work out as well. Just part of the business."
But when asked whether he thinks this team is in need of major rebuilding, Reese said no.
"Major rebuilding? There's always rebuilding. Even when you win Super Bowls, your roster changes every year," Reese said. "You say major rebuilding -- I think you're always gonna have good core players that you can build around as you move forward. But major rebuilding? I don't know if we can frame it like a major rebuilding."
Despite being 2-6, the Giants are just two games behind the first-place Dallas Cowboys (4-4) in the NFC East. And following their bye, the Giants play three consecutive home games, against the Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers and Cowboys.
The Giants began the season with the highest of aspirations, aiming to become the first team to play at home in a Super Bowl. In fact, they had a Super Bowl countdown calendar installed in their locker room. That might seem silly now, but Reese says he has no regrets about it -- and it's not being taken down.
"It has even more emphasis for me now," Reese said. "That should put us on notice even more that time is running out. We don't have time to have any hiccups down the stretch."