Jerry Reese continues to be the gift that keeps on giving. He’s like lice that way.
Over the past three years, Reese, the former New York Giants general manager who was fired a couple weeks ago, purposefully and deliberately ignored the offensive line. As he threw millions upon tens of millions of dollars at the defense and chasing playmakers for the offense, Reese forgot the offensive line. It was a mind-boggling decision given the consistency and value of four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Eli Manning.
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Reese chose to expose Manning to big hits and a collapsing pocket, this even as Manning represented the best chance at the offense consistently moving the ball.
But rather than truly think things through, Reese ignored the line and taking care of his team’s greatest asset. Even after he spent $200 million two years ago in the offseason to upgrade the defense, Reese didn’t improve the line, not even marginally. And even as Ereck Flowers struggled, the third-year left tackle and former Reese first-round pick hasn’t truly improved, Reese refused to go offensive line early in the draft the past two years and – heaven’s forbid – actually improve the unit.
And this sheer negligence came to bare again on Sunday in a 23-0 loss at the Arizona Cardinals, another dropped game that sees the Giants sit at 2-13.
Pro Football Focus notes some of the horrible numbers to bear from the offensive line in that game. Give Reese a helmet sticker for this one:
- Flowers allowed six pressures, a season-high to the Cardinals according to Pro Football Focus. He also had two holding penalties. This was a first-round pick by Reese and he double-downed repeatedly on Flowers even as the player has consistently struggled.
- Guard Jon Halapio was yanked midway through the game. Reese signed Halapio late this September. Reese failed repeatedly to address the guard position in the draft or via free agency.
- The protection (or lack of it) was a major reason why the passing game struggled. Quarterback Eli Manning had a 44.9 rating from PFF. The analytics site also noted that Manning completed just one of five passes attempted over 20 yards. Manning was under pressure and has been throwing from his back the better part of the last two years.
Talk about some coal Reese left in the Giants stockings this Christmas. This team can’t rebuild fast enough.