General Manager Jerry Reese**
Good morning. Obviously, 2-6 is not what we expected at the beginning of the season, but that's where we are right now and we're going to make the best of it. Things could be worse than they are. Our division has been slow to get started, so that's good fortune in respect to that. We're still in it. We're happy about that, to be in this position at this point, all things considered. Obviously, we didn't want to start out 0-6. It gives you a new perspective of how tough it is to win in this league. I think there are only 13 teams with a winning record right here at this point, so all across the league there are people disappointed about how their season has started, including us. We're obviously disappointed, but I still believe we have a chance to right the ship after the 0-6 start. Tom and I talk every Monday and we talk about everything: the good, the bad and the ugly and I try to put a positive spin on everything that happens. The best thing I could come up with after the 0-6 start is, 'Coach, we've got a 10-game season left. Let's start now.' We've been able to scratch out a couple of wins and 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. We still have a chance and we have a lot of pride in this building. Our players have a lot of pride and our coaches have a lot of pride and, of course, our head coach has a lot of pride. I still believe we can get it turned around, but we don't have a lot of margin for error. We're coming out of the bye week with three home games and we're going to go one game at a time, like we try to do every week. That's where we are right now. It is what it is. Anything you can say about why we're here right now at 2-6 or why we started out 0-6… Anything you can say that's wrong… There's been a lot of talk that's been chronicled about what went wrong and everybody has a lot of opinions about what went wrong. As far as I'm concerned, everybody is right because when you're 0-6, anything you say went wrong, you're probably right about it. We still have a chance. I believe in our coaches. I believe in our players and I expect us to continue to battle and get back in this race. You can't count anybody out in our division right now halfway through the season. I think everybody is still in the race and we're happy to be in it and fortunate to be in it and we'll definitely continue to work hard and battle through this thing and make the best of it. Everybody can do their job better. 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 and that's where we are. I'll take any questions, if anybody would like to ask it.
Q: What do you feel that you can do better at with your job?
A: Everything. Whatever my job entails, I can do better. Any question you've got about my job… There's a lot of people who know how to do my job, but I can do a lot of things better and I will do things better, just like our coaches can do things better, and I believe they will do things better. Our players can do things better, and I believe they will do things better.
Q: Do you think in hindsight you miscalculated at the linebacker position?
A: You can say you miscalculated at quarterback or you can say you miscalculated at receiver. You can say that any time when you're 0-6. Beason has done a nice job for us since he's been on board with us. We had Dan Connor in and obviously he had an injury and that set us back a little bit and we expect to develop guys. We have some young linebackers that we expected to step up and step out of the shadows and help us out a little bit, but to say miscalculated, you can say that with any position when you're 0-6.
Q: When you were mapping things out in the offseason, did you worry that injuries would happen to the guys that you had the injury factor with?
A: The injuries are always part of it. It's football. Any time a guy has been in the National Football League for a significant amount of time, there's some injury history with most players and that's just part of it. You have to take some chances sometimes. Sometimes you make some decisions that work out and sometimes you make some decisions that don't work out, as well. It's just a part of the business.
Q: Do you think Hakeem will be here at 4:01 pm today?
A: We keep all of our options open, but Hakeem played well this past game and we always keep all of our options open. You never say never until four o' clock, so we'll see what happens.
Q: How do you approach the trade deadline at 2-6 rather than 6-2?
A: It depends on what your circumstances are. Under our circumstances, we have a chance to get back in the race, so that gives you a different feel of what you can do at the trade deadline. If you're 8-0 like Kansas City… It depends on what your record is and what your circumstances are. It's different things at different times and different situations.
Q: Are the last three draft classes progressing the way you hope they would?
A: You always want your draft classes to… Again, you start out 0-6 and your personnel is not very good, you haven't made a lot of good decisions. If you win, you're pretty smart and you made a lot of good decisions. We own all that. We try to develop players. We expect players to continue to develop. We always believe in the draft. Sometimes you hit with players in the draft and sometimes you miss. Nobody is batting 1.000, including me and everybody else in the National Football League.
Q: Were you close at all of thinking about next year instead of this year through the 0-6 start?
A: I'm an optimist and I'll always think at some point we're going to stop the bleeding and it's going to get turned around because at times in the game, if you look back, the defense has done some things at times in the game that keep us in the games, but we were turning the ball over at a high rate. In this league, if you turn it over at a high rate, it's hard to win. We have to play better as a unit. When I say as a unit, I mean offense, defense and special teams, and I expect us to do it. I talked to Tom this past Monday and I said, 'We scratched out a couple of wins, but what would happen if we played a whole game and played as a unit?' Offense and defense has been playing well. We've got a chance to continue to grow, for a lack of a better term, with where we are right now.
Q: Do the spate of injuries and the losing make you think that you're facing a major rebuilding?
A: A major rebuilding? It's always rebuilding, even when you win Super Bowls. Your roster changes every year. To say major rebuilding, I think you're always going to have good core players that you can build around as you move forward, but major rebuilding, I don't think we can phrase it as a 'major rebuilding.' There are always changes on your roster every year, if you don't win a game or you win all of them.
Q: You wouldn't characterize it as an overhaul?
A: I wouldn't do that, no.
Q: Based on the talent that you have right now, do you think that you underachieved as a team?
A: When you're 0-6, you can frame it however you want to frame it. Underachieving, or whatever, the GM's decisions, coaching, how players are playing, how they're executing plays. Again, you'll be right. Our focus moving forward is we have eight games left and we're going to try with every fiber that we have to win these games and have a chance to even be there for the division. We have some chances. All around the league there's a bunch of teams feeling this way right now.
Q: You've said many times, you feel like Eli Manning is an ascending player. Through six games, his record-breaking interception rate and low passer rating, what's your sense of him right now?
A: Again, I think Eli is still a very good player and after 10 years, he didn't forget how to play his position all of a sudden. There are a lot of things involved with his play and everybody's play. It's all of us. We win together, we lose together. Eli has been through some rough patches before and we've seen him pull himself out of it and really play well and I expect him to do that again.
Q: You have some age on both the offensive and defensive line. What's your thought process in deciding whether or not you're keeping a guy a year too long or getting rid of a guy a year too early?
A: Well, the thought process is if you keep him a year too long and he gets injured and he doesn't play well, then you don't look too smart. The other process is if you keep him a year longer than you probably should, he works out for you, then you look like a smart guy. It's just part of the business. I wish I had a good answer for that, but I don't have a good answer for that. Sometimes you guess right and sometimes you guess wrong on some personnel issues. It's just the way it is.
Q: Would you say what happened this year might influence your decision about guys like Chris Snee and David Baas going forward?
A: We'll make some decisions after the season on those kinds of guys, but our focus right now is trying to come out of the bye week with some momentum and win some games, get on a streak and win some games. That's what's most important for us right now. I'm not thinking about the bye week, I'm really not thinking about the 0-6. I'm thinking that we scratched out a couple wins and that's positive, so we're going to stay with the positive. It helps. We're going to stay positive and try to continue to build off the two wins that we do have and win a bunch more games down the stretch. There have been some times that we've started off the season 6-2 and it didn't end the way we wanted it. It's a little bit different this time, so hopefully we can flip it and play good down the stretch and play as a unit and play some good football.
Q: Would you characterize this as one of the toughest professional stretches you've been in?
A: Well, we haven't started out 0-6 since I've been general manager, but it's always tough. We've been put in the grave since I've been a general manager before the season even started sometimes. It's just part of the business. It's part of the territory. It's the way it is.
Q: You had said before the season, as far as you were concerned, Tom could coach here as long as he wants to coach here. Has anything that's happened, including the 0-6 start, shaken that belief or your belief in him?
A: No. Coach Coughlin, he's a heck of a football coach and he didn't forget how to coach, either, at this point, regardless of what our record looked like. He's still an outstanding football coach.
Q: There has been speculation about Hakeem Nicks at the trade deadline. I also saw one report suggesting that you trade Linval Joseph to get something for him before he enters free agency, Would you be concerned, given that you still have hope, about the message trading a big piece would send to your locker room?
A: I'm not sure what you're asking me, but again, we're always thinking that we're going to get back in the race. We always leave our options open with respect to personnel and see what our options are. But I'm not sure where that came from, it didn't come from us. I think it's just some speculation around the league and chatter.
Q: How would you assess where JPP is right now and what you've gotten from him in the first half?
A: Like I said at the beginning, we all can do our jobs better. We have to do our jobs better and I believe we will do our jobs better. I think that about JPP. I think he can play better, obviously he hasn't played up to the level that we've seen him play. I'm hoping after the bye week he can get recharged and come back and finish strong the second half of the season and play like the JPP that we know.
Q: The offensive line was a staple here for the two championship teams. Are you concerned that this offensive line just isn't good enough?
A: That's your opinion that the offensive line was a staple, but we play as a team. I think the championships were won as a team and everything we do is as a team. We have some young players in the offensive line, I think the offensive line definitely hasn't been the only problem that we've had. We've had problems all over our football team. But again, we've run the ball pretty well at times, we're starting to get a little bit of a rhythm, I think. I think we, again, Coach Coughlin and I, we talked about the problems coming out of the 0-6 start. We would talk about, "OK, look, we're 0-6. Something's wrong. How can we fix it before we go into the next game, before we go into the Minnesota game? Let's evaluate what we're doing more because it really didn't make a lot of sense for us to continue to go onto the next team before we evaluate ourselves." We talked about some things and we did a little bit more evaluating, had a little longer week because we played on Thursday, so it gave us a long week, so we evaluate some things and, again, we scratched out a couple of win. Even our couple of wins people say, "Oh, those two teams you played, they weren't very good." That's just the way it is. It's a part of the business.
Q: During that difficult opening to the season, did you find that you were leaning on each other more than ever or were you contentious trying to…?
A: It's just a broad spectrum from crying on each other's shoulder to being contentious. We were very honest in our meetings. We don't sugarcoat anything, we talk out loud. I remember one morning I walked in, I don't remember what the game was, but obviously we had lost the game, and I was like, "Coach, the sun came up." He was like, "Really, it did?" They're very good meetings, they're very productive and they're very honest. We're all together.
Q: Before the season started I remember you saying that you didn't have any conversations about the future in regards to Coughlin. Does an 0-6 start change that?
A: We're just trying to win. We're just trying to win moving forward. That's what's most important to us. We have good coaches, we have good players and we're fortunate that our division isn't playing that well. Our focus is to move forward and to try and win these last eight games and get back in the race and have a chance to put ourselves in the position to play in the postseason. Obviously it's one game at a time. We dug ourselves in a pretty deep hole and we're trying to dig out of it. To have two wins after such a rough start, that's positive for us. We'll try to build on that.
Q: How is ownership taking this season?
A: Well, you have to talk with them when they feel like it's time to talk. I don't want to speak for them, but obviously they're disappointed, but I think they still believe in what we're trying to do here as the Giants. We try not to kneejerk on anything and to have such a rough start, they've been very supportive to myself and to our coaching staff and to our players. I think they still believe in what we're trying to do here.
Q: What are your thoughts on coach Coughlin's age? There has been a lot of speculation that maybe his age would be a factor in you making a decision on his future.
A: Age has nothing to do with coach Coughlin. Coach Coughlin is a tremendous football coach. Age has nothing to do with it.
Q: Before the start of the season you said, "We've missed the playoffs three of the last four years and that's certainly not good enough, despite winning two Super Bowls." This year, unless things go really well, is going to be four of five. Are you worried you're not heading in the right direction?
A: I think that's a rhetorical question right there. I think if you miss the playoffs in four out of the last five seasons, you're not going in the right direction.
Q: Do you regret at all the Super Bowl calendar…
A: Nope, I don't. I don't. It has even more emphasis for me now. I think today is 95 days. That should put us on notice even more that the time is running out and we don't have time to have any hiccups down the stretch. I think that I don't.
Q: Is there any part of you that thought of taking it down at 0-6?
A: No. That's a reach for that to be part of the equation why we're 0-6. I think that's a reach.
Q: When you look at the film, do you feel like a lot of the league has caught up with a lot of what you do, especially on offense? You've had the same offensive coordinator for a number of years now. Do you feel that the offense is maybe stuck in a rut, doing the same things?
A: We have smart coaches and I think our coaches will make the adjustments as we move forward. It's just part of the league. Sometimes you start out rough like this, we haven't been in this spot for a long time. And again, anything you can point to, to say, "Wow, we started out 0-6," you're right.
Q: It's one thing to say that everyone has to play better and that's understandable but when you guys do what you want to do, how much do your big players have to play to their resume and to their salary level? Whether it's Eli, Nicks, JPP, guys who are so important to the success of this team.
A: Well, you want your star players to play like stars. That's in any profession, you expect that from your star players but again, for us it's all about playing as a team and as a unit. I think that's where you have the most success. A lot of teams can have star players and stars can shine, but if you don't play as a team, it's hard to win.
Q: When was the first time that you sensed Jon Beason would be available?
A: I'm not sure. It was obviously a few weeks ago.
Q: Did it happen quickly?
A: It was just a short conversation. He's done a good job so far. Re: what he foresees as the cause for turnaround in second half of season
A: I think we'll play together as a team better. There have been lots of issues with the team. Whatever you say that's wrong, you're right. I think we can correct a lot of things. Again, I think we have a lot of pride in our coaching staff and with our players, and I've always said this, Coach Coughlin, this is a big spot for him. I would never bet against him and he's done a really nice job. When you're 0-6, your team can just be like, you know what, I'm throwing in the towel. Our players have continued to play hard, continued to battle. Even though we haven't played as well as we would have liked to have played, they're still out there battling. They come to work and they work hard and I have total respect for that.
Q: Can you give us any kind of update on David Wilson and are there any thoughts maybe to put him on the IR?
A: He's still day-to-day and I think early next week he's going to have some more tests to see where things have progressed to and we'll make some decisions as we move forward with him.
Q: Could that be career-threatening, Jerry?
A: I'm not a doctor so I don't want to stand up here and say something is career-threatening, but anytime you have a situation with your neck and your spine, those are some serious things that you need to take into consideration.
Q: At the start of training camp you said that everyone is on notice, which is a pretty strong statement.
A: It's a strong statement, Paul. When I say everybody is on notice, on notice that all offseason we talked about, let's start fast, let's be more consistent, that's really on notice. On notice doesn't always mean, you're on notice and if you don't do this, somebody's going to get fired. I think it got spun that way a little bit, but I don't think I necessarily meant it that way. When you don't win, people do get fired.
Q: To start fast…I mean the team was 0-6. If we talked to you two weeks ago, the tone of this conversation would be a lot different.
A: You're saying if we were 0-8, my tone would be different?
Q: Well no, I'm just saying if we spoke to you two weeks ago, your team was 0-6, I think your tone in this conversation would be different. You wouldn't have those two wins in the book, just on the fact you started 0-6 and you say everyone's on notice, what does that mean?
A: I said that back at training camp.
Q: You said about a fast start.
A: And as I walked in here, I said, this is obviously not how we planned it. We were hoping for a fast start, but sometimes in this league, it doesn't happen that way. It didn't happen that way for us. We are where we are right now. We're 2-6, and in our 10-game season, we've won two games out of our 10-game season, that's where we are, to try to make it positive as we can. Again, we're fortunate that our division is down a little bit and we have a chance to dig ourselves out of this hole and get back in the race. We're excited that we're still in it.
Q: What is your message to the fans?
A: Our fans have been great, to be honest with you. Giants fans get upset because of where we are. They're true fans. They come out and cheer like crazy. We hadn't won a game the last time we played out here at MetLife, they were cheering like crazy out there. My message to the fans is that we're going to keep battling. We're fortunate that our division is down and we have a chance to get back in it. With every bit of our fiber, we're going to scrap and claw and continue to battle for them and try to get back in the race so they have something to be proud of at the end of the season. It's a long way to go with eight games to go. That's a lot of games and a lot of things could happen, but our fans are True Blue. Just like anybody else would be, they're disappointed, just like we're disappointed. They've been great.
Q: Did you sense Eli was pressing to do too much earlier in the season?
A: Maybe so. Again, whatever you say is wrong, you're right. He could be pressing a little bit, he could be trying to do too much, but again, he has to play better, he has to do his job better, just like all of us.
Q: Jerry, I know you said you're optimistic about the rest of the way. If it doesn't go your way, is there a scenario where you make changes…?
A: I'm not worried about that right now. All I'm worried about is trying to win those last eight games and we'll worry about that after the season. Our focus right now is not trying to, what if nothing happens, we're hoping for the best and we hope these last eight games are in our favor. You can start to see a little bit of a shift. When you play bad, nothing goes your way. The calls don't go your way, the bounces don't go your way, but you can see a little bit of things starting to happen, starting to go our way. The fumble that Jacquian Williams picked up right on the sideline, when you're playing really bad, you never get those kind of plays. In the Minnesota game, Hillis fumbled the ball and it bounced right back up to him and the other running back Cox fumbled the ball and it bounced right back. You're starting to see a little bit of a shift, so hopefully things start to go our way, but you have to play for it and make your own breaks. We expect to do that. You have to say that you've always got to have a little luck to get where you want to go, but you have to have some good coaches and players. We have that, and we're hoping for the best and we believe we can get back into the race.
Q: Jerry, have you received a lot of calls about Hakeem?
A: Only after all the chatter about him wanting to be traded, I got a few calls about him.
Q: And what was your reaction or response?
A: I can't talk about what my response has been, but I did get some calls after it was reported that we were trying to trade him.
Q: Do you think you were a little bit late in infusing new blood into the offensive line?
A: Well, we've got some young players in the offensive line. Anytime you're 0-6, you can say you're late on everything. We have some young players in the offensive line.
Q: Jerry, this seems like uncharted territory for you. Did you feel the need to go down and talk to the players, or has it just been the usual message to them?
A: I always talk to the players when I get a chance. I'm always around the players. They know how I feel, I always try to encourage the players and tell them what we expect from them and I think you can ask any of those guys, I try to be very positive around them. If they're not playing well, it's like, why aren't you playing well? I'm very honest with them as well.
Q: Jerry, what do you think it says about the organization that even though you were 0-6 at one point, there wasn't any perceived backbiting? Nobody was calling anybody out, it was a team sticking together through this difficult time. Where does that begin and what does it reflect of this team?
A: Tom Coughlin.
Q: Can you just elaborate? You never saw Tom with an 0-6 team, so what did you see in him that kept them together?
A: This is not Tom's first rodeo. He's been around for a while and the passion that he brings to the table, all of our players can see that, owners can see that, and that's never an issue with him. For him to keep this team together, I think it shows you how much respect the players have for him and what he does for this organization.