*Kevin Abrams discusses his new role as Interim GM and assesses the 2017 season-to-date: *
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Kevin Abrams has been the Giants' interim general manager for only 10 days, but he has a firm grip on the responsibilities of his new position.
"The job is to support the coach, support the staff, support the players," Abrams said today. "There's not a lot you can do the last four weeks of the season. You do what you can, but it's support. Support all day."
Abrams, 46, received a new title and enhanced duties on Dec. 4, when John Mara and Steve Tisch dismissed general manager Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo. Abrams, the assistant general manager under Ernie Accorsi and Reese for 16 years and a member of the organization for 19, took on the interim G.M. assignment, and Steve Spagnuolo was named interim head coach.
In his first public comments since the changes were made, Abrams talked about the upheaval while treading lightly when discussing the future. He doesn't want to be perceived as lobbying for the job, but he would like to be the Giants' next general manager.
"I think everyone would want this job," Abrams said. In response to another question, he said, "I've been told nothing definitive, and that I'll get an interview before the end of the season."
Like so many people in the Giants' headquarters, Abrams experienced a confluence of emotions when the changes were made last week.
"Initially, it was a shock and surprise and emotional and uncomfortable a little bit," he said. "Now, it's starting to take on more of a business as usual, but the circumstances aren't getting any less unfortunate."
The most tangible difference in the Giants' football operation is that Reese is no longer in the corner office, making all the final decisions.
"I don't think a lot has changed," Abrams said of his role. "I think I'm just a little busier, because of all the things that would stop at Jerry's office now stop in my office. But the subject matter hasn't changed a whole lot. Jerry was always great at involving me as much as possible when appropriate, so I feel like none of the subject matter is new to me. It's not Jerry coming to me, or I don't have Jerry to go to for anything right now. So it's kind of operating without a net a little bit, I guess, would be the one big difference. And more interaction with the owners and more interaction with the head coach. Otherwise, it's not much different."
That includes pro and college scouting, which is as it was when Reese was here.
"Nothing on our scouting side of things has changed," Abrams said. "It's business as usual. Marc (Ross) and his staff are preparing for the draft like they would normally. Our pro department is doing what they do – advance books, following the wire, finding opportunities for us to incrementally get better at the bottom of the roster and preparing for next offseason. So nothing really changes."
Abrams fielded personnel questions of another kind, specifically whether he is experienced enough in that area to be a successful general manager. Before he was named assistant general manager, Abrams' title was salary cap analyst. He has long been the team's primary contract negotiator. He believes he has the personnel background to be G.M., but was reluctant to discuss that with reporters.
"I don't want to interview or campaign for a job today, here and now," he said. "But my role has been more than just doing the cap stuff. I wasn't raised to be a cap guy. It was just the opportunity that was given to me and I was grateful of the opportunity, and the Giants do a great job with everyone – not just me. We're all encouraged to grow professionally and like everyone else, I was getting a lot of opportunities to do that. And I tried to take advantage of them whenever I could, and a lot of that included being involved with our personnel departments."
Abrams also preferred not to deliver a full-blown analysis of the Giants' disappointing season. They are 2-11 as they prepare to host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
"There will be a time to do a full autopsy of 2017, but it's been – like John (Mara) said – it's a bit of a perfect storm," Abrams said. "There's nothing that we can use as excuses, but we've had some areas where we've underachieved. We've had some unfortunate instances. We've had some runs of injuries. We've had a lot of things, and you guys (reporters) were at all of our games. You've seen some of the things that have worked out for us and against us. Sometimes you go .500 on the bounces that go your way, and sometimes they don't. I don't know if we've fallen short of that this year, but it's been a tough year for a lot of different reasons, and there's no one person, position group, individual that's the cause of us being 2-11. We're collectively 2-11. So the short answer is we need to get better in a lot of areas."
In the short-term, Abrams is happy to be working closely with Spagnuolo, who remains the team's defensive coordinator.
"Spags has a really hard job now, and he's doing it really well," Abrams said. "His first 10 days on the job have been exceptional. His message to the team has been fantastic, the changes have been subtle, but they've had impact, and I think the players are buying in. I think we had a bit of a blip coming out of the bye, where maybe it wasn't our best efforts. But I think that otherwise, I know our record doesn't show it, but our guys have played their tails off. Our preparation and efforts on Sunday, I think, have been great. I think they deserve more positive results than they've gotten, but two things I know Spags is doing a lot during the stretch, and there's not a lot you can do, but he's getting everything out of this team he can right now. I know the team's responded well, even before last week, but especially now, they're responding well."