The New York Giants are only two years removed from winning the Super Bowl in 2011. In all honesty, If not for a late season hot streak, they wouldn’t have made the playoffs that season.
Since Jerry Reese became the GM for the Giants in 2007, we have seen this team go from a Super Bowl champion (2007/2011) to a winless team (0-4) in 2013-14.
Although Reese was part of the Giants' brain trust prior to his promotion to GM in 2007, the credit for Super Bowl champions in 2007 should be given to Ernie Accorsi.
After all, he orchestrated the trade to bring Eli Manning to New York in 2004 and arguably without Eli Manning, the Giants do not win a Super Bowl in 2007.
So let’s for argument sake remove the Super Bowl victory in 2007 from Jerry Reese’s resume for the moment. The Giants (2008-12) under the leadership of Reese/Coughlin era won:
2008: 12-4; lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 23-11 in the division championship
2009: 8-8; did not make the playoffs
2010: 10-6;-did not make the playoffs
2011: 9-7; won a Super Bowl with a late season hot streak and a miracle catch by Mario Manningham
2012: 9-7; did not make playoffs
A lot has been written regarding the drafting philosophy of GM Jerry Reese during his tenure with the New York Giants. Whether you feel Reese has done a good job or not, the following facts tell the story on the current state of the Giants in 2013-14.
Since the arrival of Eli Manning in 2004 the Giants (under Ernie Accorsi) realized the importance of having a solid OL for a solid running game, but more importantly to protect his investment (Eli Manning). The following OL lineup for the Giants from 2005-2012:
2005-06: Luke Petitqout (LT)/David Diehl (LG) Shawn O’Hara (C)/Chris Snee (RG)/Kareem McKenzie (RT)
2007-09 (Jerry Reese GM tenure begins) David Diehl replaces Luke Petitqout at LT/Rich Seubert replaces David Diehl at LG. O’Hara, Snee and McKenzie complete the OL.
2010: David Diehl (LT)/Kevin Booth (LG)/Rich Seubert (C)/Snee (RG)/McKenzie (RT)
2011: Will Beatty (LT)/ Diehl (LG) Baas (C)/Snee (RG)/McKenzie (RT)
2012: Beatty (LT)/Booth (LG)/Baas (C)/Snee (RG)/Diehl (RT)
Under GM Ernie Accorsi, the Giants drafted Chris Snee (2004 draft-same year as Manning) in the 2nd round. Signed Shawn O’Hara as a free agent in 2004 (same year the team drafted Manning). Signed Kareem McKenzie as a free agent in 2005; all three had been selected to the Pro Bowl as a Giant. Let’s not forget the drafting of David Diehl and Rich Seubert during Accorsi’s tenure. Ernie Accorsi realized the importance of surrounding your star player (Manning) with a solid OL.
Under GM Jerry Reese tenure; the Giants drafted Will Beatty (2nd rd), James Brewer (OT), Matt McCants (OT), Brandon Mosley (OG) and Justin Pugh (1st rd) and signed free agents Kevin Booth and David Baas. Mosley, Brewer and McCants have not worked out as well as the Giants had hope and Reese needs to be accountable for these selections.
The fact that Jerry Reese has not looked at the OL as a priority thus far speaks volumes. Finally drafting a OL in the 1st round of the 2013 Draft has been questionable as many experts felt (including myself) that Pugh was a high reach in the 1st round (19th overall).
History will show you that aside from Accorsi, former GM George Young also realized the importance of revamping the OL during his tenure. In 1987, after the Giants Super Bowl victory, GM Young and Bill Parcells realized that the Giants' OL was getting old and also with the illness of RT Karl Nelson, needed a facelift.
From 1987 to 1989, they revamped the OL by spending nine picks (ie: Doug Riesenberg, Eric Moore, John Elliott, Brian Williams, Bob Kratch) on an OL in 3 years. The fact that center Bart Oates (signed as free agent by Young) was the only OL to start in both Super Bowls (1986/1990) is a testament to Young and Parcells foresight.
Currently, the Giants' offense ranks 32nd in the league in the following categories: Yards Per Drive/INTS Per Drive/Turnovers Per Drive. 30th in the league in Fumbles Per Drive and Points Per Drive. Finally, 32nd in the league in time of possession with slightly over 25 Minutes Per Game. These are all glaring signs that the OL is not controlling the line scrimmage.
So how does Jerry Reese fix this? What should Reese focus on first? Whether it’s personal changes or the philosophy of best player available or drafting a need, something needs to be done. Below are my recommendations to fix the Giants:
Management/Coaching Staff: Team President/CEO John Mara and VP and Chairman Steve Tisch need to make a decision on which direction they want to see the Giants to go moving forward. Based on GM Jerry Reese’s track record; he deserves a second chance to turn this team around. However; the same can’t be said for the Giants' coaching staff.
I have always admired Tom Coughlin as far back as when he was an assistant under Bill Parcells. I believe he is a future Hall of Fame coach and a great coach. Unfortunately; I also believe that Tom Coughlin has lost the team and needs to be accounted for this. The same can be said for OC Kevin Gilbride, DC Perry Fewell and ST coach Tom Quinn.
GM Reese needs to clean house and start fresh with coaches who will bring a different attitude and philosophy to the New York Giants. Who these coaches would be is anyone’s next; but in a perfect world my selections would be Tom Cowher as head coach, Pete Carmichael as OC, Mike Zimmer as DC and Dave Toub as ST coach.
The Giants' offensive and Defensive schemes and style has become very predictable and boring to watch. Replacing the old with new with give the Giants a face lift that they desperately need.
Draft: The Giants need to draft wiser and select players who can make an impact immediately. GM Reese does have others involved in the scouting and drafting process (Tom Coughlin/head coach, Kevin Abrams/assistant GM and Marc Ross/VP of Player Evaluation), however; the final decision most likely ends with Reese. Also, the Giants should be more creative during the draft. Trade up if there is a player you really want or trade down for additional picks for the current draft or future drafts. With that being said;
Free Agents: Acquiring a player via free agency is certainly another option; as long as it’s within the team’s budget. Historically; the Giants are not a big supporter of paying top tier free agents. Perhaps they need to re-evaluate this philosophy once more and adjust.
The current NFL has changed immensely as teams no longer have a roster full with players who are signed long term. Reese needs to tap into the free agent market and select wisely with players who are young and are reasonably priced.
Trades: Ironically, football isn’t as active in the trading market like other sports are. Regardless; this is another avenue for Reese to explore. The Giants have some players who Reese could use as trade bait to help give the Giants a fresh start and perhaps a more competitive team on the field.
There’s no crystal ball or magic potion to build an NFL team. It takes lots of hard work and a little luck as no one can project a prospects development down the road.
However; one aspect is clear; and that’s that Giants are winless thus far in 2013. Unless GM Reese can make the necessary changes needed to put the Giants back in the right direction; if not, then perhaps Giants upper management should find another GM to take over. If nothing is done, the Giants could be looking at many more years of a sub -par .500 seasons.