Last Tuesday, Giants co-owner John Mara said that his franchise had “lost some credibility as an organization.” That was at the press conference that started as a goodbye to Tom Coughlin but eventually turned into a state of the Giants presser.
There is no doubt that the Giants have certainly struggled the last three years, having gone 7-9, 6-10 and 6-10. They have not made the playoffs in four years and they have just 19 victories the last three seasons. They have certainly gotten worse, but it was certainly stunning to watch the press conference last Tuesday morning and to see how badly Mara and GM Jerry Reese came across.
Mara put a lot of the blame for another lost season at the feet of Reese, but Reese kept his job. It shows you that Mara still believes in Reese and does not still believe that Coughlin is the right man for the job. Meanwhile, Reese was combative and ornery and took responsibility, but also said he was not the only one. He said that “everyone is involved” in personnel decisions. So if, indeed, that is that case, is Reese the GM by name only? Does anything actually stick to him as a decision maker?
Reese blamed injuries and began his portion of the press conference with the JPP fireworks accident from last July. If the Giants entire defense was based on JPP in 2015, they were doomed from the start, even if he was completely healthy. Reese felt the Giants were not that far away after losing eight games by a combined 26 points and many of those losses in the closing seconds. Injuries and bad breaks were to blame as well, he said.
It was not one of Reese’s better days. At a press conference in which a future Hall of Fame head coach is resigning, I don’t think Reese should be saying, “nobody has a perfect roster, but you need to find a way to win games.”
From that presser, Coughlin was the one who left you inspired and once again handled a tough situation beautifully.
The official announcement was that Coughlin was stepping down as Giants head coach, but he knew the Giants did not want him back, so he did the Giants a favor and made an uncomfortable situation more comfortable. After 12 years and two Super Bowl wins, his run as Giants head coach came to an end. It was time for a change. The Giants needed a new voice and Coughlin certainly had his highs and lows in this market. Tuesday was another high point, even on his way out.It was a ‘Come to Jesus’ press conference that left his former quarterback Eli Manning in tears. Coughlin was commanding, and inspirational, and it was a tour de force performance that made me wish he was coming back to coach the team.
Now, it was going to be very difficult for Mara and Reese to top Coughlin. But each failed quite miserably. Mara made it clear the Giants issues were more personnel related and the roster was lacking talent. But it was Reese who was coming back and not Coughlin. Mara even went so far to say that if he polled the media two years ago, Reese would have been viewed as one of the top GMs in the sport. But in a results-oriented business, public or media perception does not matter.
Results are results and Reese has drafted poorly and has failed to complement the Giants roster with top quality free agent signings. Quite simply, they have regressed under his watch.As Mara continued last Tuesday, you began to wonder how exactly it was Reese who was safe? I get the Giants history and their patience.They have not fired a general manager in 36 years.Reese stays and stands on unsettled ground. But the Giants search for a head coach is now well underway and they must win next season in order for Reese to stick around. They must win to regain credibility in the NFL. They must win because their quarterback is now 35-years-old. They must win because they have not won enough in the last three seasons.
In the end, they entrusted a GM who has done a poor job of putting together a roster and they got rid of a coach that every player wanted to continue to play for.
Jerry Reese might think he has thick skin and can take the hit and criticism. He certainly did not show that trait last Tuesday and if he thinks this is bad, he better make sure the Giants win in 2016. Coughlin is out of the building and the buffer is now gone. Just remember Jerry. “Nobody” has a perfect roster, and everyone is part of the decision making process. Good luck.