As far as General Manager’s go Jerry Reese has been a success. In his 7 years with the New York football Giants Reese has 2 Super Bowl championships. He also had a reputation for finding steals later in the draft such as Ahmed Bradshaw. Reese also developed a hard reputation dealing with his own free agents who wanted big pay days such as Steve Smith, Kevin Boss, Mario Manningham and the list goes on and on. In fact this is his strenght. Letting players go and plugging holes smartly won the Giants their second Super Bowl. In fact as the GM Reese’s teams have a 8-1 record in the playoffs. But 4 of those years the Gianta have not made the playoffs and when the Giants had the number one seed after the 2008 season they were one and done. That might have been the best team Reese had put together and could have very well won two consecutive championships if Plaxico Burress had not shot himself in the leg. The Giants averaged over 9 wins a season during his tenure but this last season was the worst NY has had in quite some time.
With an 0-6 start and massive miscalculations with his personnel decisions this offseason is huge for Reese to make a big mark. There was wide spread problems all over the offense. The defense while not spectacular was the bright spot on the team which dosen’t say much. It still lacked the punch and play making ability it showed in the past. The Special Teame were anything but special. Throw it all together and your two time Super Bowl winning coach looks old and foolish. But I must say Tom Coughlin did a good job to get that team to 7-9. Coughlin deserves another year or two trying to figure out how to turn this team around. Injuries decimated this team especially the offensive line but what was long a staple of the Giants success was the ability to plug from within. “Next Man Up” was the motto this team lived on the last 5-10 years. But this team is not without bright spots. In Eli Manning you have a two time Super Bowl winning quarterback. Those are hard to find. Eli is in no danger of losing his job but he must have a better season than last year and I suspect he will if the offense gets re built and with a new offensive coordinator to freshen up the offense. Victor Cruz is a top level wide receiver. Justin Pugh is the kind of building block offensive lineman the Giants scored on in last year’s draft. He already has a full season under his belt. Let’s take a look at what Reese has to re build starting with the opening of free agency today.
On the offfensive side it all begins with the offensive line. Outside of Pugh all could be replaced. Chris Snee has restructured his contact and will be a big help with leadership in the locker room. His best days are behind him. Here is where you can see as many as 3 new starters. Reese must be aggressive in free agency right out of the box and I suspect he will. The running game is in bad shape. David Wilson is a bust. A bad offensive line does not help but when your best RB is Andre Brown who can’t stay healthy that is a problem. You don’t need great RB’s to win. The Giants have proven that. Reese can sign a couple of guys like Darren Sproles and another running back plus bring back Ahmed Bradshaw who will not cost much. Tight End is a huge issue too. While again a great TE is not required to win the Giants got nothing from their’s last season. Hakeem Nicks is most likely gone. His productivity has been going down year by year. Rueben Randle might not be ready to be a # 1 wide receiver. So the Giants can be in the market for a solid not specacular wr to pair with Cruz. Basically this whole offense has to be re built. ‘
Defensively there is far less holes to fill. The line has lost it’s punch. Justin Tuck is a free agent and I expect him back with the Giants as long as the money is close to what he wants. Tuck is a true Giant taught by Michael Strahan. Jason Pierre Paul needs to find that magic he had the first 2 years of his career. True he would have been in store for a big pay day by now had he stayed his course. But the lack of a big time pass rush has exposed the rest of the defense. The pass rush has been the identity of the defense for years and Perry Fewell must re discover this. The trade for Jon Beason was big. He fit in very well and is still young. He must be resigned. The Giants were always knows for their linebackers all the way back to the 50’s but recently that has not been the case. In fact the biggest reasons the Giants won 2 super bowls was because of the ferocious pass rush from the d line not the line backer play. The secondary was not spectacular but Prince Amukamara is a player. A healthy Stevie Brown should make a difference. Antrel Rolle is a leader on this team who preaches accountability. So another defensive back will be brought in.
I was never a Lawrence Tynes fan. But the guy made some really big kicks such as in overtime of the NFC Championship game in GB after missing 2 4th qtr attempts. So when he wasn’t resigned I didn’t shed any tears. But Josh Brown has been very bad. I don’t suspect he will be cut but I could see a new place kicker. Steve Weatherford is still a quality punter. Now as for a kick returner. The Giants can desperately use a game changing player here. Maybe Devin Hester.
So far this offseason Reese has done what he always has. He told his free agents to test the market and comeback to him when they get an offer. And he has been right to do that. It has not been un common for Reese to bring back players who left for bargain prices. Bradshaw and Mario Manningham can be brought back and I expect that to happen. I would like to see Sproles and Ben Tate also in to fill out the back field. But until I know what the Giants are spending on the offensive lineman I can’t make that determination. Tate can be costly since he is inline to be a top starter who does not have the usual wear and tear rb’s usually have at this age. I expect the first round draft pick to be used on a Offensive lineman. And Reese will sign one top guy. This is go time for Reese and he has to make impact signings and also must hit home runs on the bargain players too. He has to be up for the job or he could be out of a job.