GIANTS' JERRY REESE SUGGESTS OPTIONS AT MLB, EXPECTS A WR TO STEP UP, AND MORE
"When Giants General Manager Jerry Reese addressed the media on a scorching
hot afternoon last August, he maintained – despite a quiet offseason devoid of
the "sexy" acquisitions and the loss of a few key cogs -- he had a plan and a
vision and it was panning out as scheduled.
All he needed was some patience, but that was hard to come by after missing
the playoffs two years in a row.
Yet, with a few unforeseen developments – Victor Cruz, anyone? -- he proved
to be right and after another Super Bowl win there will be plenty of patience
this time around.
It’s still very early in the 2012 offseason, but besides the re-signing of a
few players and picking up tight end Martellus Bennett, the Giants -- now about
$2.5 million under the salary cap -- have remained relatively quiet on the
free-agent market. Don’t expect that to change much; the Giants are content with
allowing the Jets reign supreme in offseason activity in the area.
“You just have to stick to your plan,” Reese said in an interview on SiriusXM
NFL Radio that aired this afternoon. "Sometimes you can’t make big moves, you
have to make good football decisions and we try to do that and try to stick to
our plan and it worked out for us.”
One area where Reese may look to improve on either through the draft or free
agency – or perhaps both – is at linebacker. Specifically at middle linebacker.
He admitted today that, “If we had to play tomorrow at mike ‘backer, I’m not
sure” who would start.
He suggested three options. There’s Greg Jones, a rookie last season who
began the season as the starter before seeing his playing time diminish as he
struggled. There’s also fellow rookie Mark Herzlich, the one who took Jones’
starting spot before he suffered what became a season-ending ankle injury and
ultimately made way for Chase Blackburn to join the Giants.
“We have some young players that we think can step in and do the job,” Reese
said. “Obviously Herzlich is a guy we like. We like Greg Jones. There are two
young kids that played a lot for us last year until Mark got hurt.”
He ended his answer with an option that was a little outside the box:
The veteran Michael Boley is an outside linebacker by trade and Reese was
probably just throwing his name out there, but it isn’t out of the realm of
possibility especially if the team feels Jacquian Williams, also a rookie last
season, can step in as the full-time starter on the outside.
“We have linebackers,” he said. “We do. Competition at every position is
what’s important for us.”
Another interesting takeway from his answer: the lack of a mention of either
Blackburn or Jon Goff. Both are free-agents.
Last year, competition at wide receiver combined with a couple injuries
allowed for Victor Cruz to emerge as a go-to target for Eli Manning. With the
loss of Mario Manningham, Reese expects another dark horse already on the roster
to emerge, though the Giants can also draft another receiver next month.
“We expect those guys to step out of the shadows. Ramses Barden’s been hurt a
little bit ever since he’s been in the league. We hope he can stay healthy and
prove to us he was worth -- I think we picked him with a third-round pick. We
expect those guys to play. And (Jerrel) Jernigan, the same thing. He’s a young
guy trying to learn the offense. He should have a better grasp of what’s going
on to be a slot type. Ramses has got that length that you like. So we have some
targets we need to go to.”
What Manningham ultimately left for – a two-year contract worth a maximum of
$10 million if he hits all the incentives – isn’t a lot, but once again spending
that lkind of money on him, even if it wasn’t as much as many thought Manningham
would attract on the open market, wasn’t in the plans for the Giants.
“The salary cap rules the world. If you have a lot of good players you just
can’t retain them all. That’s just the way it is. That’s reality. Again, we feel
like we have some players on the roster that can come in and step up. You know,
everybody gets paid. We think we have a good core of players and we have some
players still waiting to step out of the shadows and make some plays for
One rookie who was not able to compete last season was defensive tackle
Marvin Austin, who tore his pectoral muscle in the preseason and hasn’t played a
football game in two seasons. He was suspended for his senior season at the
University of North Carolina in 2010.
“We’re worried about him a little bit,” Reese admitted. “He hasn’t played in
such a long time now. He tore his pec. He’s been out for such a long time.
“This offseason is going to be big for him to get going again and get
acclimated to playing football, if nothing else, and playing at this level,
which is going to be shocking to him because he hasn’t played in such a long
time. To go out in there and tussle with those big guys, it’s going to be
tougher than you think it is. But he’s a talented kid. We hope he can get in
there with Linval Joseph and Chris Canty and give us a good rotation
Reese was asked about the decision to re-sign cornerback Terrell Thomas, who
tore his ACL in the preseason:
“He’s very much ahead of schedule,” Reese said of Thomas’ recovery. “We feel
good about him. Our doctors feel good about his progression so far. And he’s a
good football player. He’s going to make us better. We feel like you’ve got to
have three corners because you play these spread offenses in the National
“We got away with it a little bit trying to put Antrel Rolle down in the box
last year, but it’s tough for a safety to get down and play that third receiver,
because those guys are good as well. With three receivers it’s like three
starters for those guys.”
Reese all but admitted free agent Kareem McKenzie, who has started at right
tackle for the Giants over the last seven seasons, won’t be back when he was
asked how the team will look to replace him.
“We try to develop players. We believe in developing players,” Reese said.
“We hope he’ll make a step forward. David Diehl is still available for us. Will
Beatty is still available for us. And our inside guys are still available. So I
think we’ll have a good core of our offensive line coming back. But we do expect
James Brewer to step up and challenge for some spots.”
Brewer was a fourth-round pick last season and didn’t appear in a game. He
did, however, carry
the team's lucky teddy bear off the plane when the Giants arrived in
Indianapolis for the Super Bowl."