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GM Jerry Reese on offseason decisions

Posted Dec 30, 2013

GM Jerry Reese talks to the media about the Giants season and the team's offseason plans


Good afternoon. Obviously 7-9 is not what we set out to do this past season but that’s where we are. You start out 0-6, that makes it a tough road to get back in contention. We scratched and clawed the last part of the season and scratched out seven games, but you start out 0-6, you really don’t give yourself a chance. I really don’t have a lot of answers why we started 0-6, I really don’t. I wish I had some answers to explain that but I would have bet that we would not start out 0-6. But we did, we own it and I think there’s a combination of reasons why we started that way, I guess. I don’t have the answers but obviously, you could start with me. I’ll start with myself. Personnel issues, when you’re 7-9, there are obviously some personnel issues and I think everybody could do their job… midseason I had this presser and I said that everybody could do their jobs better and I started with myself and I’ll start with myself now. We have to have better personnel. We have to have better execution by our players. Our quarterback has to play better. We have to have better coaching. We own it, we win together and we lost together.


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We’ll start the evaluation process pretty quickly here and we’ll get going with our offseason issues. We have 23 unrestricted free agents and I think there are four or five restricted free agents so we have some work to do but there’s work to do but there’s work to do after every season. We win a Super Bowl and there’s a lot of work to do so we’re not afraid of the work, we’ll put our heads together, there are a lot of meetings we’ll have to be in the next few days and iron out a few things that we need to get ironed out. We’ll make some decisions and we’ll learn and grow from this experience. Any questions?

Q: Could you give us an update on the injuries that you have? It looked like Beatty’s was pretty serious. Is that going to have an impact on…?
A: Well it’s still early on in the process. We don’t like to talk about a lot of injuries but we think he’ll be back and he’ll be ready to play next season. We do think that.

Q: Could you say definitely whether or not Tom is coming back?
A: Well, we haven’t had a conversation. Later this week we’ll sit down with Tom, but do I want him to come back? Absolutely, I want him to come back. But I have to sit down, it’s not fair to him, I think he needs to have the chance to sit down and talk with his family and just reflect in the next couple of days and then myself and John Mara, Steve Tisch, we’ll sit down and have a conversation with him and we’ll figure out where we’re going with respect to that as we move forward.

Q: If you say definitively that you want him back, the fact that he has one year to go on his contract and the Giants don’t customarily let their coaches go into the last year of their deal, would you anticipate that he would get an extension?
A: That’s something that we’ll talk about but there’s really nothing to talk about at this point until we have a conversation with the coach and we figure out what we’re going to do moving forward. We’ll have that discussion as we move down the road.

Q: Do you have confidence that your quarterback can return to form?
A: Well I hope so and there have been some really good quarterbacks who have had some rough seasons, had a high interception total, and came back to be really good players. Actually I think his brother has had even more than that (27) in a season before, I think Peyton’s had, I think he had 28 one season. We have a lot of confidence in Eli but he has to play better. We expect him to play better, he expects himself to play better. One of the things that attracted us, we’ve said this many times, one of the things that attracted us to him when he came out of Ole Miss was that he made everybody around him better and obviously there have to be some better personnel around him. But some of the things that happened, he’s got to own it as well.

Q: Your desire to have Tom Coughlin back, does that extend to his entire staff or would you suggest that he make changes?
A: We’ll have that conversation when he decides if he wants to come back. We haven’t even had that conversation yet. He’s got to sit down with myself, John and Steve and we’ll figure out what his status will be and then we’ll start talking about those things.

Q: Would you be OK with the whole staff coming back in tact?
A: I’m not going to answer those questions until we talk to the coach. That’s disrespectful to some people who have been here for a long time and helped us win a lot of football games. Until we talk to the head coach about those things, it’s inappropriate to talk about them right now.

Q: Do you think you need a massive reconstruction of this team? Or do you think enough pieces are in place to turn it around pretty quickly?
A: There is definitely some reconstruction that needs to be done. You’ve seen teams turn it around quickly in this league but we definitely have some personnel issues that we need to resolve as we move into the next season and we’ll work our butts off to resolve those things.

Q: You brought up personnel issues a couple times. Are you going to look at the way you draft, scout, is that going to be a big part of the evaluation?
A: Well, when you win Super Bowls, I remember our first draft in 2007 when I became GM, everyone said, “Well that’s the greatest draft ever,” because we won the Super Bowl, but if you win seven games your draft isn’t very good. It comes with the territory. We have really good personnel people in our building and we’ve drafted well enough to win a couple Super Bowls, but if we had drafted better, maybe we could have won four Super Bowls, who knows? That’s out goal and that’s what we’ll continue to do. I don’t think anything’s wrong with our system, how we draft players but obviously we’ll evaluate that as well and we’ll continue to learn and grow from these experiences and try to put a better product out there next year.

Q: Back in the summer when you spoke to us, you mentioned how missing the playoffs in three of the last four years was not acceptable and not the standard around here and everyone was on notice. Now that it’s four of five years, do you see this as a trend and what do you mean by everyone is on notice?
A: Well, when I say everybody is on notice, we want to take notice that we haven’t made the playoffs in the last three or four years and we don’t want that to be our trend, as you just said. We don’t want that to be a trend for us. We want to be a team that goes in every year and has a chance to make it to the tournament. The last couple of years we haven’t been able to do that. That bothers me, I’m sure it bothers our ownership as well. Our standards are high around here and we won’t back off that.

Q: It’s a little bit of a trend at this point, just by the numbers. Because of that, do you feel any pressure to make some changes or can you come back with the same staff, your staff, Tom’s staff?
A: Well, again, there are always changes, regardless. Whether you win Super Bowls or you go 7-9, there’s always changes, so I anticipate that there will be changes like always, every season. Every offseason there are changes.

Q: This building now has sort of turned into a Super Bowl building, is that hard to swallow at this point?
A: Well, you know, 7-9 sucks. Yeah, it’s hard to swallow. It sucks being 7-9, we don’t want to be 7-9, we want to continue to play but again, you start out 0-6, you don’t give yourself a chance. You really don’t give yourself much of a chance. You have to admire how coach Coughlin kept the team together. They fought the second half of the season to be respectable. We don’t come here to be respectable, we want to come in and get in the tournament and have a chance to win a championship. That’s really what our goals are. Really, nothing less of that.

Q: Do you feel at all that the Super Bowl countdown clock you put in was any kind of distraction?
A: No, I don’t think that was a distraction. If we were still in the tournament, everyone would say, “Man, that was a great idea.” You’re not in the tournament – it was a bad idea. I don’t think that had much to do with anything.

Q: Is there one part of this team that is going to be a priority to fix?
A: Everything, we need some help in a lot of areas. Everything is a priority. We’ll start the evaluation process and we’ll look at some places where we went wrong. We have a lot of things we want to fix and we will fix it.

Q: The offensive numbers kind of speak for themselves, 28th in total offense, 29th in the run and I think 19th in the pass. What do you attribute to that and how disappointing was that for you, especially with the expectations you had for the offense coming in?
A: Well, everybody is disappointed. Everybody is disappointed and nobody is more disappointed probably than our players and our coaches that our offense didn’t play as well as we expect our offense to play. We turned the ball over at an alarming rate, it’s hard to win in this league when you turn the ball over like we turned it over. That’s something that we have to address and we have to fix.

Q: Could you talk about the self-evaluation that goes on now? Do you do any of that, in your own mind, as the season goes along? Do you think to yourself, “That’s something I did wrong, that’s something that could have been better,” or…?
A: Of course. You always think about things that don’t work out exactly the way you wanted to work out. What we missed right there or we did something, we should rethink how we approach this situation the next time. You always learn. Every year you learn something new and this job is not something that is a template, it’s something new you learn every year and you try to grow and you get better and try not to make the same mistakes as you move forward.

Q: Was there a specific area of the team that you point to this year and say, “I’m surprised at how…”
A: I’m surprised we started out 0-6, I can say that.

Q: The quarterback walked out of the building on crutches the other day. The offensive line, the passing efficiency, lack of run production, do you look at that and say either you and your personnel people failed in giving them the right players or was it injuries or coaching? What do you look at that in that specific area?
A: Well, it’s a combination of all of that, if you like. You could say we didn’t have enough depth, we try to pride ourselves on having depth, though we did have some injuries, so that contributed to it. You can say coaching contributed to it, you can say whatever. Like I said at the midseason press conference, you’ll be right about it because everything contributes to 7-9. Everybody owns what their role is. The players own their role, the coaches own their role, I own my role in our front office. We win together and we lose together. We went 7-9 together.

Q: It seems like half of the roster are going to be unrestricted free agents.  Do you have enough money to get it all done?  Bring back who you need back plus go out and get some depth at some positions?
A: We sure hope so.  I think we will.  Again, everybody isn’t going to be back, so that’s going to free up some money in different areas.  We’ll evaluate everybody and I think we’ll be able to free up some spots that we need to fix.  

Q: Is renegotiating the quarterback’s contract, or looking at his contract, something that you need to do in order to make that happen?
A: Not necessarily, I don’t think, but we’ll look at everything we have to do to get where we need to go.

Q: Justin Tuck was telling us that he has meetings today scheduled with you and John Mara and some other people.  Would you like to see him back if the price is right?
A: I’ll leave that up to Justin.  Justin had a terrific year and we’ll talk about it as we move forward, but I’m happy for Justin that he finally got healthy and he played like the Justin Tuck that we like to see.  He had a great year, regardless of how the season ended.  He played well.  I was happy to see him healthy and playing like the old Justin Tuck.

Q: Hakeem Nicks said his representative is scheduled to meet with you in the next week or so.  Is that just to get a feel for his price?
A: We’ll meet with any of our free agents as we move forward.  They can call me anytime they want to have some conversation.

Q: You said you wanted to give Tom some time before you talk.  How important is it for you to wait just a little bit and let things cool off before you make any decisions?
A: That’s our way.  We try not to be hasty about anything.  We try to calm down and see what happened and give guys a chance to exhale and decompress a little bit and evaluate where they are.  It’s only fair for the head coach, for the contributions he’s made to the New York Giants, to give him a couple of days to think about what he wants to do and think about his future.  A couple of days is not too long for us to wait to sit down and have a conversation with him.

Q: Maybe you go right into the offseason thinking, planning something, and then after your evaluation, you have a different view.
A: Well sure, things could always change.  After you sit down and have evaluations with your coaching staff, what’d they think about players and personnel staff, what we think of our players and so on, everything’s been evaluated then your mind can definitely change sometimes.  

Q: With a multitude of areas needing improvement, where do you start?
A: I’m not sure where you start.  You can start where you want to start, it all has to be fixed, so it doesn’t really matter where you start.  It all has to be fixed, so wherever we start, we’re going to make a great effort to fix it all so we can put a better product out there next fall and have a chance to be in the tournament.  You look at older teams and it’s part of the National Football League’s system.  There are 19 teams that don’t have a winning record in the National Football league.  That’s the way the league is, so you have to win the close games.  You can’t put yourself behind the eight ball and start 0-6.  You have to get out of the gate and finish strong.  There’s a lot of teams, 8-8, 7-9 and less than that.  Like I said, 19 teams don’t even have winning records.  

Q: Is it fair to say that this is the biggest challenge for you personally?
A: I don’t know if that’s fair to say that.  I’m not up there playing patty cake.  There’s always challenges.  You win Super Bowls, you try to maintain that kind of roster, you have a flat salary cap, there’s challenges that come with those things.  There are always challenges.  We’re up for the challenge.

Q: You talk about your quarterback and how he can play better. What do you think are some of the reasons why it wasn’t the year you were hoping for from Eli?
A: I don’t know, that’s part of the evaluation process.  I just know that it seems like he wasn’t in rhythm from the opening game.  There was times where he flashed some of the things that make him a two-time Super Bowl MVP.  For whatever reason, you can point to personnel, you can point to coaching, you can point to his execution in itself, you’d probably be right about all of it.  It’s a culmination of things.  Eli knows that.  He knows we have to fix these things in the offseason and we expect to do that.

Q: When you look at him with your scout’s eye does he still have the same skill set?
A: I think so because you look at him and see some of the things and it’s like, ‘wow, that’s the guy that we know and love’ and then sometimes it’s not exactly that.  Eli’s a smart guy.  I’m sure if he comes up here and stands in front of you guys, he’ll own up to everything that happened this past season and we own it.  We’re 7-9 together.

Q: You still totally see him as your quarterback of the future, a guy who can (…)?
A: Everybody gets evaluated.  I get evaluated, the coaches get evaluated, our players get evaluated.  Everybody gets evaluated.  Nobody skips the evaluation process.  Everybody gets evaluated.  

Q: Where are you moving forward with David Wilson?  We haven’t got an update on him in awhile?
A: Those neck things, you have to wait around.  I’m not a doctor so I don’t want to stand up here and talk some doctor mumbo jumbo to you.  Those discs they have, sometimes they can shrink and it takes time for them to shrink.  They did that and we’re waiting. At the beginning of the year, we’ll have another consultation with him, to see if surgery would be a possibility for him.  That could be a possibility and if he has the surgery, I think the prognosis is that he’ll be ready to play next fall, if he has his surgery.

Q: There was a fear that this might be career threatening. Is that still a possibility?
A: When you talk about necks, there’s always a possibility.  We’re hopeful and the earlier reports that I’ve gotten, doctors do think they can fix this and he’ll be able to play.  

Q: So do you go forward to next year thinking David Wilson will be back as your No. 1 running back?
A: It’s hard to say that.  If a guy is having a possible surgery that could end his career, it’s hard to say that.  I think we’ll have to have some contingency plans at the running back position.  I don’t think you go into the next season saying David Wilson’s going to be our number one, starting running back.  I don’t think you can do that.  The guy is coming off of a neck surgery, if he decides to have it.  

Q: The limited practice time and offseason program due to the new CBA, do you go back and look at that as a factor at all in the 0-6 start?
A: I don’t know.  Everyone was in the same boat.  I don’t think I could make an excuse for us to start off 0-6.  Everybody has the same parameters for the offseason.  For us to start off 0-6 is a little bit of a mystery and I’m very disappointed that we started like that.  If we do anything the first half of the season, in those first six games, we have a chance to have been playing for something yesterday.  It didn’t happen.  Again, we own it, we’ll learn from it, and we’ll get better from it.  

Q: Are you pleased with the way that Jon Beason played?  Does the fact that you traded a draft pick for him factor into the equation of whether or not you bring him back next year?
A: It’s part of the evaluation process.  Jon came in and I think he stabilized our defense.  He came in, he had a voice right away and he fit in very quickly with the players.  He did a good job for us.  We think it was a good trade at the time and we still think it was a good trade.  We’ll evaluate Jon as we move into the offseason and we’ll see where that goes.  

Q: Jerry, what is your hope for Chris Snee, in terms of looking at next year?
A: He’s coming off a significant injury, a season ending injury.  That’s part of the evaluation process too.  We’ll get with our doctors and trainers and see what the prognosis is with him and what his future looks like, if he still wants to play.  He’s got to decide if he still wants to play as well.   

Q: Speaking of contingencies, do you have one at left tackle or is Will Beatty going to be back in?
A: From early reviews, we think Will will be back.  We think he will be back and hopefully he will be back and he can get going and have a good offseason as well.  He didn’t play as well as we hoped he’d play.  I think he’d own that as well.  Hopefully he can get back, get healthy and go on and have a great off-season and be a good left tackle.  

Q: Is there any concern that JPP might not get back to the level he has played at in the past?
A: There’s always concern.  We sure hope that he will get over this shoulder thing that he has going on right now and come back and be a dynamic playmaker for us.  Those kinds of guys, you expect your big time players to be there to help you win games.  The Victor Cruzes and the Jason Pierre-Pauls, those kinds of guys, Eli Manning, you expect those guys to be your guys that make plays for you in the big spot and hopefully he’ll be able to come back and be stronger than ever.  

Q: You saw the same explosion from JPP the few times when he was healthy?
A: The few times he flashed, but they were few and far between.  Hopefully the offseason will give him a little bit more time to heal up, but obviously the shoulder is a concern, as I mentioned.  Hopefully he can come back and be a game-changing type of player for us.