Giants general manager Jerry Reese held his annual midseason state of the franchise address on Tuesday, as the players began to pack their belongings and head their separate ways for the bye week.
And much like the players themselves, Reese spouted the same cautious optimism about the Giants (2-6) being able to make a run in hopes of overtaking the horrid NFC East. The Cowboys (4-4) are currently leading the division, but they’re nowhere near running away with things.
“It’s where we are and we’re going to make the best of it,” Reese said. “But we’re still in it. I still believe we have a chance to right the ship.”
Big Blue will spend the next week resting and mentally preparing to battle through a schedule of must-win games to keep their faint playoff hopes alive.
Reese sounded confident about the Giants’ prospects of turning around their season because of one main reason: head coach Tom Coughlin.
“He’s a heck of a football coach. He didn’t forget how to coach, regardless of what our record is,” Reese said, clarifying his training camp remarks of people being “on notice” if the team failed to win this season. “It was a bit misinterpreted, [but] when you don't win, people do get fired.”
Reese also addressed the famous (or infamous, depending on who’s asked) Super Bowl countdown clock that’s inside the team’s facilities. The general manager, who was responsible for putting up the clock as a reminder due to the big game being hosted by MetLife Stadium, said he never considered removing the clock, adding that it has “even more emphasis on the urgency now.”
Before the 4 p.m. trade deadline, Reese sounded as if the Giants would be standing pat, noting the importance of Hakeem Nicks being in the lineup if Big Blue is to make a playoff push. The Giants ended up making no moves.
“We keep all of our options open, [but] you never say never until 4 o’clock,” said Reese, who acknowledged he’d gotten a handful of phone calls about Nicks, but refused to dole out any more information on the talks.
Big Blue notes ...
»Coughlin had high praise for safety Will Hill, who has vastly improved the secondary since he was eligible to play following his four-game suspension to start the season.
“He’s made a strong contribution,” Coughlin said. “He’s worked hard and he has tried to go about his business the right way — in other words, to prove the quality of person that he is, rather than talk about. He’s not one to volunteer a lot of verbal, but he loves football and he’s a very good football player. Interestingly enough, the more you ask him to do, the more he can handle. He doesn’t miss many special teams’ plays and he started and played the whole game, played very well, had the pick at the end [against the Eagles]. He’s gone about his business and we’ll stand by him and we encourage him. I think he feels a great deal of responsibility to his teammates now and hopefully that will just continue to grow.”
»Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell had praise for defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, even if the former Pro Bowl player has yet to match his pre-back surgery production. Fewell reasoned that fans and critics alike need to practice some patience.
“With the time off and those types of things, he’s not playing to the standard that he wants to play to,” Fewell said. “Everyone expects so much of him and he’s trying to get there, but he’s just not there yet. We have to be patient with him and he’ll keep getting better and better as the season goes on and we think that he can return to that form. The biggest thing for us is we believe in him and he has got to believe in himself also. … I always expect Superman out of him. We think of him so highly and he does so many amazing things that when he walks on the practice field, you smile. It’s probably unfair to him because everybody’s expectations are for him to be Superman, but he’s human.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.