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John Mara talks JPP, Spags, and Giants fans


Leading up to the start of training camp, Giants president and chief executive officer John Mara talked about his organization in a Q&A with Steve Serby of the New York Post.

> Giants training camp schedule
> 30 Questions in 30 Days
> 5 Questions for the Offense
> Training Camp Facts and Figures
> Training Camp Preview: Defense

The columnist asked Mara about everything from Jason Pierre-Paul to the futures of Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning and his message to Giants fans everywhere.

But first, Mara was asked about the famous quote from late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner: "Winning is the most important thing in my life after breathing."

"[Laugh] I would say I agree with George on that," Mara said, adding, "Yes, I am at that point. 2011 was a long time ago."

Mara was referring to the year his franchise won its fourth Super Bowl, but it was also the last time the Giants made the postseason.

"It's tough, you drive in here on game day, and you see people in the parking lots wearing their Giants jerseys and flying their banners, you know how badly they want to win, and you don't want to disappoint them," Mara told Serby. "We ask a lot of our fans here, and they've supported us so loyally for SO many years, you hate to disappoint them. I get frustrated sometimes when they accuse us of being complacent because we haven't turned over the entire staff.

"To me, I've always craved continuity because I think continuity over the long term gives you a better chance at having success than if you're constantly making changes like that, you just lose any opportunity to do that. I can't tell you how many times over the past 10 years people have wanted us to change the head coach, or change the general manager. People wanted Tom gone in any number of years prior to this and we stayed with him, and it's paid off, and I think it'll pay off again this year."

Speaking of the head coach, Mara said with a smile that he thinks Coughlin would "coach until he was 90." Meanwhile, Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP, has been there every step of the way, and Mara explained why he wants the quarterback to be a Giant for life.

"Well, we still believe that he can play at a very high level and win a championship for us," Mara said. "He looked like a new man in the spring, his arm was very live, and he's moving around very well. His play in 2014 was significantly better than it was in 2013, so I think the arrow is still up for him."

On the other side of the ball, the return of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is another reason for optimism after he led the unit to a dominant performance against then-undefeated New England in Super Bowl XLII.

Some interesting facts and figures about the team roster heading into Training Camp

But this is a different time and different roster, which includes uncertainty about defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. After not participating in spring workouts with the team, the sixth-year pro has still not signed his one-year franchise tender and reportedly suffered serious hand injuries during a fireworks accident over the July 4 weekend.

"Well, the first thought and concern we all had was for JPP's well-being," Mara said. "After that, I think I may have used some language that I wouldn't like my grandchildren to hear me use. I could not believe, that here we haven't even gone to training camp yet and we've lost two starters — one [left tackle Will Beatty] in the weight room and one to a fireworks accident. So it was more of a state of disbelief that I was in. I've been around a long time, seen a lot of things … but this one was a shock."

Mara added: "[Pierre-Paul] has told people that he's fine and he's going to be ready to play, but until we see the hand, we're just not sure."

Those questions and many more will start to be answered in the coming days, weeks and months before the Giants open their 91st season on Sept. 13 in Dallas.

Until then, Mara was asked about his message to Giants fans, saying, "We appreciate your support, and please keep coming to the games and giving us that same loyal support because it means a lot to the players on the field and it means a lot to our entire organization, and we're going to do our best to try not to disappoint you."
CLICK HERE For Serby's entire Q&A with Mara

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