1. Giants, JPP in talks.
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is set to hit the market on March 10 when free agency opens up and the new league year begins. Speaking Saturday morning at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Giants general manager Jerry Reese said there are ongoing discussions but left it at that.
"We are talking, but that is all I am going to say about that," Reese said. "It really is not appropriate to talk about where we are with respect to that, but we are talking."
Reese had similar responses when asked by reporters about the contract of quarterback Eli Manning and whether he receives any calls from teams about his backup, Ryan Nassib.
2. Big Blue heading in right direction with salary cap.
February for front offices is as much about preparing for the draft as it is positioning for free agency. So far, the Giants have re-signed wide receiver Kevin Ogletree (unrestricted) and offensive linemen Dallas Reynolds (restricted) before they became free agents. The Giants also added CFL star offensive lineman Brett Jones.
"I think we are in pretty good health," Reese said. "We are headed in the right direction with respect to the cap."
3. Odell had "arrogant hands" at last year's NFL Scouting Combine.
At this time last year, the Giants were in the middle of an evaluation process that eventually landed LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. with the 12th overall draft pick a few months later. Reese was asked right off the bat today about what his staff saw in the future AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
"There are a lot of holes until you do the Combine, Pro Days and the interviews," Reese said from the East Club Lounge of Lucas Oil Stadium. "We talked about him a little bit. We were just pre-combine.
"He was fast and he caught the ball. He really caught the ball nice. We call it 'arrogant hands.' He had that. That caught our attention and he was really fast."
4. There is work to be done on the offensive line.
Speaking on Thursday in Indianapolis, coach Tom Coughlin announced that Weston Richburg will have every
opportunity to compete for the job at center, where he played in college before starting 15 games at left guard last year as an NFL rookie.
"We are going to continue to build our offensive line just like we are going to do every position," Reese said. "I think we still have some work to do there. We are going to continue to try and build our offensive line."
On Richburg, the general manager added, "He played center in college. We had some injuries early on so we put him in there at guard. He really didn't get a chance to compete for the job. He will get a chance to compete for the center job."**
- Cruz is progressing, but you can't put "all your eggs in his basket."**
Coughlin also said earlier in the week that wide receiver Victor Cruz, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last October, is doing well and about to start running again very shortly. Reese talked about Cruz's return.
"When a guy has a big injury like Victor had you can't put all your eggs in his basket," Reese said. "Our doctors said he looks good. I see him down in the training room working out with our trainers and doctors and he looks good. Until you get out there – his game is quickness. Until you get out there and move around you never know how he is going to recover from that. We are hoping and praying that he comes back 100 percent and be the Victor Cruz that we know, but you can't put 100 percent in that basket."6. Reese: Spread offenses work in NFL.
Much of the focus at the combine is on the quarterback position, including reigning Heisman Trophy winner
Marcus Mariota from Oregon's hyper offense. Reese was asked about the difficulty of evaluating quarterbacks who didn't play in a traditional pro-style offense in college.
"I think it depends, if you have a run-spread, you have seen in this league that the spread offense works," Reese responded. "If you are going to run that then I think you draft those types of guys. If you draft a spread, read-option quarterback and ask him to drop back and read defense, I think it would be difficult for him. He would have to – it would be a big learning curve I think. "**
- Reese evaluates everyone as a prospect, including Mariota.
**Reese was later asked a follow-up about Mariota in regards to looking at him as a potential opponent wherever he is drafted. However, true to his credo, Reese is looking at him as a prospect and potentially the best player available when the Giants select at No. 9.
"We are evaluating him if he is there when we pick at nine," Reese said. "We are evaluating him for that, not necessarily if he is going to be in our division or something like that. We are evaluating him as a prospect right now."**
- Giants have "crafty" questions for combine interviews.**
While the NFL Scouting Combine grew exponentially over the last decade, prospects are as polished as ever when it comes to the on-field drills as well as the interviews with NFL teams. So how do scouts judge the sincerity?
"They are really good," Reese said of prospects being prepared for the combine process. "We had interviews the last couple of nights. They are well-versed in what they want to say. It is a little tougher right now. We have some crafty questions that we can get the right answers."**
- Is Beason still the Giants' middle linebacker?**
Starting middle linebacker Jon Beason dealt with injuries for most of the 2014 season, and Reese was asked Saturday if he will be moving forward.
All Reese would say is, "Jon is under contract. We will see where that goes, but he is under contract."**
- Nassib could win some games.**
Two years ago the Giants selected Nassib in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He has since served as a backup to Manning.
"I think Ryan has done a nice job," Reese said. "I think if Eli got dinged up in some kind of way during the season I think he could jump in there and help us win games. I think he has done a nice job. He prepares himself as if he is going to play, so he has done a nice job."