New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese opened his annual post-season press conference by apologizing for the way the team performed in 2014, and the wondering at the disappointing lack of killer instinct the team displayed.
After that, however, he moved on to more optimistic topics.
"The positive things are, I think we are going in the right direction ... I do think we are going in the right direction, I think we have a really good football team going in to next year"
Reese's words echo the confidence and excitement expressed by many of the Giants' players.
When asked if he has any regrets about drafting Odell Beckham, Reese said "I think he has the chance to be a good little player." He went on to add "He's good. The best thing about him (Beckham) is, he has a gifted skill set but the number one trait that sets him apart from a lot of people with a superior skill set like he has, is that he is what we call a 'dog' around here. He has that 'dog' mentality, his passion and his, as you can see you almost need to calm him down a little bit, and how hard he plays. He's a really gifted young football player, and he has a chance to be a really good player for us for a long time."
Reese was also asked about the team's drafting philosophy "What we try to do in our draft room, and all of our decisions around here, we try to come together as a staff. We want everybody to be on board and sometimes it doesn't happen that way. We talk about it and the final decisions we make, we live with it. We don't look back and we just live with it. It is our decision, it is not my decision, it is not Tom Coughlin's decision, it is our decision."
He added, when asked if anybody pulls rank in the draft room, "No, we try not to do that. I don't think it is like that around here. Everybody has an opinion, personnel, our coaches write reports. Of course, our personnel staff, myself, we come to a consensus on who we like and it is rarely a situation where somebody gets on the floor and we are going to pick this guy and that's it."
"We're always conscious of where we think our need is. But we always try to pick the best player available. If you can get a combination of your need and what the value is, it's an easy pick for you. " Reese was also asked if the poor record makes the likelihood of wholesale changes to the roster higher than in previous years.
"Well, not wholesale changes. Last year we had to turn the roster over and we are not going to go out and spend a huge amount like we did this past off-season in free agency. (Last year) the roster was getting a little older, so we did have to turn the roster around. There are some new faces. Offensively, I thought we would jell a little bit quicker than we did. We saw flashes later in the season of what we think the offense can be. Defensively, we had some new faces, we lost some players on defense. I do think that if we can get players back, we can have another good draft, we will definitely do some things in free agency, but we are always going to try to upgrade our roster at every position, every year."
On the team's impending free agents, Reese said "I sat down with all of the unrestricted free agents yesterday and that is the only conversation I have had. I haven't talked to Jason Pierre-Paul's agent yet at all." He went on to say that they hadn't spoken to JPP's agent during the season because it wasn't the right time. And on Jason Pierre-Paul in particular, he said "I think at the beginning of the season he wasn't playing like he played at the end of the season. The second half of the season, he came on really strong and played like we thought he should play. The guy has some ability to be a game changer. We didn't see enough of that in the first half of the season."
When asked about how JPP's injury history, Reese responded "It is a combination of all of those things. He has had some injury problems and we've seen the guy be a dynamic player, and he still is a young player. We know that ability is there. What we have to do is sit down and have a conversation with his agent. I know you guys talked to John Mara and Tom Coughlin about these things already, but it has to make sense for us, it has to make sense for him, like any free agent."