Giants Interim GM Kevin Abrams speaks with the media before Thursday's practice:
Interim General Manager Kevin Abrams
Q: What is this like for you?
A: Initially, it was a shock and surprise and emotional and uncomfortable a little bit. Now, it's starting to take on more of a business as usual, but the circumstances aren't getting any less unfortunate.
Q: What's the job of an interim general manager and what changes for you in the short term?
A: Well, I don't have Jerry (Reese) down the hallway to make all the final decisions right now and the job is to support the coach, support the staff, support the players. 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.
Q: What have you been told about your future here and whether you have a chance to be the permanent general manager?
A: I've been told nothing definitive and that I'll get an interview before the end of the season.
Q: What do you know about personnel and how would you describe your role on the personnel side since you were mostly on the business side at first?
A: Well, it would be better to answer that more in-depth probably as we get towards 2018. I don't want to interview or campaign for a job today, here and now, but my role has been more than just doing the cap (salary 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. But, we're all encouraged to grow professionally and like everyone else, I was getting a lot of opportunities to do that and I try to take advantage of them whenever I could and a lot of that included being involved with our personnel departments.
Q: What are the challenges of going through the scouting process without much direction in terms of having a permanent general manager in place?
A: I mean, nothing on our scouting side of things has changed. 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.
Q: What do you think went wrong with this team this year?
A: I don't know if I want to dissect the whole thing right now. 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. 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 were at all of our games. You've seen some of the things that have worked out for us and against us that, you know, 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.
Q: How much change have you experienced day-to-day this past week?
A: I don't think a lot has changed. I think I'm just a little busier because of all the things that would stop at Jerry's (Reese) 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.
Q: Do you want to see quarterback Davis Webb at some point this year?
A: I think we'd like all of your young guys to get a chance down the stretch. Davis, in particular. Because of the position, it's just hard to do. And I know you guys know this already, but you can only play one quarterback at a time. So, it's not like trying to sprinkle in a defensive tackle or a linebacker into the mix and give him some reps. It's a bit different, it has a bit more of an impact on everything else that you do. Spags and I talk about it all the time, John's talked about it on plenty of occasions, and we know what we want to accomplish, it's just not easy to do it necessarily. It's an ongoing conversation and hopefully we get an opportunity to put him out there, but it's got to be done the right way.
Q: It's easy to do if you just start Webb in a game, right?
A: Yeah, if you make that decision, yeah. It's making that decision that's not as easy.
Q: Whose decision is it whether or not to start Webb in a game?
A: Spags. That will be the head coach's decision.
Q: How much were you a part of the decision to start Geno Smith against Oakland?
A: Jerry kept me in the loop, I certainly gave him my two cents. So, I knew it was coming, I didn't know exactly when or how the switch was going to flipped, but I knew it was coming and I knew what the plan was. So, to that extent, I was involved.
Q: What is your message to the Giants fan base right now?
A: Well, I think, first and foremost, Spags has a really hard job now and he's doing it really well. 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, I think, 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 and I know the team has responded well, even before last week. But, especially now, they're responding well.
Q: Do you want the full-time general manager job?
Q: No hesitation?
A: I think everyone would want this job.
Q: Do you think you're ready?
A: Why do I think I'm ready? It sounds a little bit like I'm going to be interviewing on the spot here. I'd rather not do that just because of the appearance of a campaign and I want to play it straight.
Q: How do you view the salary cap going forward?
A: We're healthy. We won't have any restrictions on what we can do based upon the salary cap. We'll have tough decisions like we have every offseason, but we don't have to make any decisions because of the salary cap.
Q: Do you think the in-house relationship that you have will be an advantage or a disadvantage in this process?
A: I don't know. That really depends on what John (Mara) and Steve (Tisch) want to hear in a candidate, so that's really more of a question for them. I feel prepared to talk about our program because I'm very familiar with our program, but I don't know if that's an advantage. It's going to depend on their perspective.
Q: Do you have a definitive plan on where you think things went wrong and what you would do differently?
A: Yeah, I guess to go back to your last question. If there is an advantage, it's not an advantage, as it relates to my preparedness to interview for the position, I guess it would be I already had a plan of things I wanted to talk with my boss about what we can do coming off of what at that point in time was looking like a pretty poor season. So a lot of what would come up in an interview is already on the table to be discussed because we're always looking to get better. So I guess that segues into the next conversation.
Q: Do you already have coaches you would present to them?
A: I don't want to talk about that. That's a 2018 question.
Q: Do you think Eli (Manning) still has good football left in him?
Q: Do you think getting him an offensive line is the biggest piece to get him to perform the way he can?
A: Yes, every quarterback needs an offensive line, but I don't want to give the impression that I'm putting 2-11 at the feet of this offensive line. I think they've actually played solidly and I think going back to what I said before, this is a collective 2-11. I know they take a lot of heat and every position group and every part of this organization could have done a better job this year. To be 2-11, it takes a lot of people to not do their best to get to this point.
Q: How can you afford 18, 19 guys being on injured reserved?
A: You just budget for it. You know going into the season what your worst case scenario is. Sometimes you exceed that even, but you better make sure you can absorb it and we were touch and go this year for a little bit. We weren't expecting this many.