Jerry Reese: Giants GM hearing criticism

New York Giants Senior Vice President and General Manager Jerry Reese addresses the media

The natives are getting restless and the Giants haven’t played a single preseason game yet.  

Fresh off the news that Pro-Bowl wideout Steve Smith defected to the hated Eagles, there was uproar in Big Blue nation from players (privately), fans and the media alike.    

Critics abound as to why the Giants seem to be sitting on their hands during this historic free agent frenzy while rivals like the Eagles have been throwing around money as if they’re playing Monopoly.  

But general manager Jerry Reese insists there’s a plan in place.  

“It seems like people are in a panic and perception is we are not doing a lot. We are sticking to the game plan,” Reese insisted. “We are not going out to make sexy [signings].”    

Reese said that’s just the way free agency foes: you win some, you lose some.  

“We’ll continue to look to make our roster better,” Reese said. “But I don’t feel like I got a raw deal. It’s free agency. We wish him [Steve Smith] the best.”  

The seemingly que sera sera attitude of the Giants’ front office is what has been driving fans crazy. While the Eagles sign seemingly every former first-round pick or prized free agent, the Giants are countering with the likes of David Baas. Yes, Baas is a top-flight center, but to the fans — and some media ‘experts’ — the Giants are way behind on points and the real fight hasn’t even begun.  

Reese said everyone needs to calm down and trust the brass. He noted that recent champions weren’t busy making fantasy football type moves, but rather building a solid foundation via “responsible signings.”   

“David Baas was a big move at center [because] he gave us flexibility. And [Ahmad] Bradshaw was a priority, too,” Reese said. “Those moves haven’t been sexy … We’ll see. The proof [will be] in the pudding. The Steelers won and before that the Saints won. And I don’t remember those teams making the sexy moves.”  

Defensive end Justin Tuck, one of the more outspoken Giants, also wondered aloud why there was so much doom and gloom at camp, when no one has even played a single preseason game yet. Tuck is usually easy going with the media, but even he had a tipping point. He gruffly responded to a barrage of questions about the state of the team’s off-season moves by agitatedly answering a query with his own question: “When have names ever won a game before?” 

Tuck was surely tiring of the naysayers who have already pegged the Eagles as the runaway favorites, so he quickly provided a history lesson for all those that doubt Big Blue.  

“No one gave us a chance when we won [the Super Bowl in 2007],” Tuck said, referring to the Giants knocking off the previously unbeaten Patriots. “I’m sure if I wasn’t on the Giants and was on the outside looking in I’d probably jump on the Eagles’ bandwagon, too. But that’s why they play the games.”  

Big Blue notes

» Reese wouldn’t address the Osi Umenyiora situation anymore but said he’s confident the disgruntled defensive end will be able to practice on Monday, providing Thursday’s doctor’s appointment checks out OK.    

» Coughlin said he was “disappointed” that Smith decided to join the Eagles without at least giving his former team a shot at matching the one-year, $4million offer: “We thought he’d be a Giant all the way. Dr. Warren did the [microfracture knee] surgery and he knows what it takes to come back from that. But having said all that it’s the nature of our business. There were some disappointing factors [behind the scenes] that I’m not going to speak on, though, because negotiations don’t go through me.”    

The coach then insinuated he felt led astray by Smith’s management team: “We were constantly told if and when the market did develop for him that we would always be included with what was going on. From what I understand there wasn’t any involvement on our part at all … It’s like lining up for a race and you’re in the locker room waiting but no one told us the race was going to be run. That’s the disappointing thing that I don’t think we were given the opportunity.”    

Reese backed Coughlin’s assertion: “No, I don’t [feel blindsided]. But you do expect some feedback…I feel we had a good handle on market for them [Smith and Kevin Boss] and we made responsible offers to them both.”    

» Veteran offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie said what’s done is done and is only looking at what the Giants have now and not what they lost: “I’m not sitting here worrying about what we lost. It’s more about what we’ve gained. There are now opportunities on this team. You can’t second guess what hasn’t been done. All you can is go out there and do the best you can.” 

McKenzie noted the Giants lost Smith for a considerable amount of games last year but his replacements [Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham] filled in rather nicely: “We lost him at a critical point last year and still performed, so you have to look at it that way. Guys have been anxious to prove themselves worthy of a spot, so it’d behoove them to go out there and give it their best.”  

McKenzie then took a page out of Tuck’s reasoning and went back to 2007: “If you look at years past, when we started out at 0-2 [‘07] and we turned it around and got hot at the right time. You really don’t know what you have until you actually step out there and play the games.”

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