It seems like New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese is like a dog with a bone, and he will not let go of it. In the aftermath of the team’s year-end press conference, Reese was taken to task for a few answers he provided with regard to what should be his primary responsibility of player procurement. This week, Reese continued to be combative on the same subject, which came into question at the introduction of new head coach Ben McAdoo.
According to NJ Advance Media on Jan. 15, 2016, Reese was asked whether McAdoo would have input into player acquisition, and the general manager responded, “I’ve been here 21 years. Ever since I’ve been here, our coaches, our coach and our personnel have always been part of the process with personnel,” Reese said. “That won’t change. They are always a part of it.”
That answer seemed complete, but Reese was not finished.
“And again, at the end of the day, it’s my responsibility. If somebody doesn’t pan out, it’s the GM’s responsibility. It seems we got that confused the last time. But it’s my responsibility if somebody doesn’t work out. Everybody is part of the process, OK? You guys got that?”
Recent New York Giants drafts have been noteworthy for high level failures like Marvin Austin (2nd Round, 2011) and Clint Sintim (2nd Round, 2009); mid-level failures like Ramses Barden (3rd Round, 2009), Jerrel Jernigan (3rd Round, 2011), Jayron Hosely (3rd Round, 2012) and Damontre Moore (3rd Round, 2013); as well as unnecessary reaches like Adrien Robinson (4th Round, 2012), Jay Bromley (3rd Round, 2014) and Mykkele Thmpson (5th Round, 2015).
In addition, Reese has traded away much-needed assets to move up in the draft to acquire players like Landon Collins (2nd Round, 2015) and Ryan Nassib (4th Round, 2012), as well as trading away draft picks to acquire middling talent like Keith Rivers and Darius Reynaud.
If the continued pounding on Reese seems like overkill, understand that at this point, the general manager issued a challenge at the year-end press conference not unlike presidential contender Gary Hart did in 1988, but instead of taking a more conciliatory tone, Reese doubled-down on the combativeness with his latest response.
ESPN senior writer Ian O’Connor wrote on Jan. 16, 2016, “If general manager Jerry Reese wasn’t embarrassed by the defensive personnel he handed Coughlin this season, he should’ve been.” O’Connor rated the McAdoo hire as the fifth best (out of six) coaching hires this off season. Only the Philadelphia Eagles’ hiring of Doug Pederson rated lower in O’Connor’s evaluation, which curiously has the Cleveland Browns’ Hue Jackson as it top rated coaching procurement.
Given the state of the roster, and with a rookie head coach at the helm, the possibility that the Giants could take a step backwards from a 6-10 record surely exists, which may explain the state of Reese’s temperament. But with the proper off season cuts, the G-Men will have more than $60 million in cap room to reconfigure a roster that currently lacks for star power, with the exception of Eli Manning and Odell Beckham.
If one takes off the rose colored glasses for a moment, then it become more clear that competing for the division title will be a challenge in 2016. The reality is that the franchise has taken at least a step backwards for the past three seasons, so ownership may be content with merely seeing forward progress this coming season.