In my "Five things I think I think" post earlier on Tuesday, I mentioned the idea that with Tom Coughlin out as coach general manager Jerry Reese was now directly in the line of fire for recent failing by the New York Giants. Giants' owner John Mara confirmed as much.
"Jerry knows this is on him. I've had that discussion. You can't hide from the record. It's up to you now to get it fixed because the last three years are just not acceptable," Mara said during his end-of-season press conference.
Does that mean Reese is on the hot seat?
"No matter what I say, I'm sure you're all going to put him on that hot seat," Mara said.
Mara had said near the beginning of his press conference that Coughlin's decision to leave as coach was "as much mutual as anything else." He was asked why Coughlin is out and Reese, general manager since 2007, gets to stay."Listen, we've had three losing years in a row. A lot of that is due to some personnel decisions that have been made," Mara said candidly. But I still believe that Jerry Reese is the right guy to lead us going forward. Why do I believe that? Jerry put together two Super Bowl-winning teams. I would venture to say if we were to poll all of you in this room two years ago about who the top general managers in the league are, every one of you in here would have him on your list.
"So now two years later, after another bad season, do we want to throw all that out? I still think he's capable of putting a great team together and he's going to get that opportunity."
Reese seemed fairly defensive when his turn came to speak. Could this be taken as a shot at Coughlin?
"The roster that we put out there, it wasn't a perfect roster, nobody has a perfect roster," Reese said. "You've gotta manufacture wins in different ways. You've gotta play the hand you're dealt and you've gotta win with it. We lost too many close games."
We have discussed the draft and other personnel mistakes made in recent years several times. Mara said that he and Reese have had several conversation about potential changes in the personnel department."We need to look at where have we missed the boat on some of these things, where we can do better, what do we need to change, are our standards too rigid, are they not rigid enough," Mara said.
"The last couple of drafts have been much more productive. But we had a few in there where we just haven't seen the production. Your core players are your third, fourth, fifth-year players. If you look back at those draft classes, there's not a lot of them that are playing right now."
Reese did say "I take full responsibility" for the roster.
"I get paid to make decisions. You can make your own decisions on whether I make good or bad decisions," Reese said. "I'm never afraid of a challenge. If you've got thin skins and if you're afraid you can't work in this business."
Reese's challenge now is to clean up his mess. He needs to help the Giants find the right coach, and to bring in the right players. Otherwise, someone else will have to clean up after him.