It is impossible for me to assess the demeanor of New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese when he met with reporters Thursday. Reese was standing outside the lunchroom at the Timex Performance Center. I am writing from our summer place in the Adirondack Mountains.
What I can tell you is that the words from Reese that came across in the transcript of his press conference certainly seem defiant. Reese confidently predicted that "We'll make the plays this time and we'll get into the playoffs and we'll make a run."
Reese acknowledged the unrest of the team's fan base, saying "it seems like people are in a little bit of a panic."
"The perception is that we are not doing a lot. We had a game plan and we are sticking to our game plan," Reese said."We feel good about our roster and we have a strong roster. We will continue to try to make it stronger."
Reese said he was not bothered by the perception that his team had taken a step backward with the losses of Steve Smith, Kevin Boss, Barry Cofield, Shaun O'Hara and Rich Seubert.
"That's mostly fans who say that kind of stuff and they really don't understand the process. We have good players on the team. We're not looking to go out and make every sexy splash that can be made. We make solid football decisions. That's been happening for a long time," Reese said. "Everywhere, you probably go to any camp, and the fans are saying that about their football team. That's what fans do and that's what makes fans great."
Reese said the Giants made "responsible offers" to Smith, Boss and Plaxico Burress.
"It's called free agency for a reason. Those guys are free to go somewhere else," Reese said. "We made responsible offers to everybody. Sometimes it doesn't work out the way you want it to work out, but we play the hand we're dealt and we'll win with it.
Earlier Thursday coach Tom Coughlin expressed some anger about the way Smith's departure to Philadelphia unfolded. Reese, however, did not criticize Smith or his agent, Ben Dogra.
"Nobody owes you anything in free agency. It is almost a dog eat dog situation in free agency but it happens that way sometimes. Free agency is free agency and guys go to different teams," Reese said. "I'm not blindsided or surprised by anything in free agency."
Reese pointed to the free-agent signings of center David Baas and punter Steve Weatherford as key moves, as well as bringing back running back Ahmad Bradshaw. He seemed particularly happy with the acquisition of Baas, a six-year veteran from San Francisco.
"We went out and secured the center that we wanted. We felt like he was the best center in the market and we feel like he is a Pro Bowl center for us. He is our kind of guy, he is flexible and can play guard and center. He makes us strong up the middle so we got out there and did that right away," Reese said. "It is not as sexy as a receiver or cornerback but the guy touches the ball every single play and that was important to us to have a guy secured like him."
Reese also pointed out that while the Eagles have made the most noise with their bevy of signings, that making a splash does not always translate to winning.
"How many big, sexy moves did the Green Bay Packers make last year? I don't remember a lot. Who won before? Pittsburgh. How many big sexy moves did they have? You develop players. The making the splash, the big sexy moves, I don't know if that always works. Who won the Super Bowl before Pittsburgh? The Saints, did they have any big sexy moves? I don't remember any. I don't remember a lot if they did. You make solid football decisions. ... I don't know if all the big, sexy moves are the right way to go," Reese said.
"We feel good about where we are. We'll continue to look for players to make our roster stronger, but we're not going to throw in the towel right now. We think we have a strong team."