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Giants' GM Jerry Reese panned after "defiant" press conference

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Did he really accept responsbility?

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese said during his Tuesday press conference that "I take full responsibility" for the roster decisions that left the Giants short on talent in recent years. It seems like many in the media, including yours truly, don't believe Reese really meant it. Of if he did mean it, didn't do a good job of conveying it.

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports went ballistic on Reese, calling his remark that "everybody's involved" in personnel decisions "a chicken-bleep statement."

Eb Samuel of the New York Daily News said Reese was "less-than-stellar" in defending his work:

He opened his press conference by saying he took "full responsibility for every player that's been on this roster," but quickly felt the need to mention that "everybody's involved."

He then added that the Giants were "competitive."

"We are 6-10 so you are what your record says you are," he insisted, "but I believe that we were competitive. The roster that we put out there, it wasn't a perfect roster. Nobody has a perfect roster. We lost too many close games. Had a chance to win a lot of games."

Reese almost seemed to blame Coughlin, and he made excuses for several of his own failings, blaming the struggles of the defense on "the Jason Pierre-Paul Effect," and insisting that the club "tried to upgrade at linebacker," despite a lack of playmakers at the position.

Steve Politi of NJ Advance Media blasted the general manager for being "defiant and defensive" on Tuesday:

It is hard to imagine that Reese, who has been GM of an NFL franchise in this parade-or-bust market now for almost decade, really thought he could pass off the idea that the 6-10 Giants were thisclose to competing with the NFC elite for a spot in the Super Bowl.

But that was Reese on Tuesday. Yes, he gave an obligatory "I take responsibility for everything that happened," but he sure sounded like a man who thought bad breaks and bad luck — and maybe even bad coaching — were more to blame than bad personnel decisions. ...

You are what your record says you are, a wise man named Bill Parcells once said. The Giants are a bad team and have been for a while now, and whether he wants to admit it or not, that means the GM has done a bad job.

Former Giants great Carl Banks also took Reese to task after the press conference:

"Clearly there is a deficit in talent, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.... the end result was they had a very bad group of players of defense, offensively they struggled to find a No. 2 receiver all year. Your general manager, personnel folks, they've gotta be somewhat accountable. ...

"The focus is still on personnel. The thing that really tells you when a coach should be fired and when he should not is if you give a coach good talent and the talent doesn't play for him. That's not the case ... his best players played good for him, his bad players overachieved, they just weren't good enough ... you just couldn't get blood from a rock."

Valentine's View

Reese keeping his job was expected. John Mara basically putting Reese on notice was encouraging. Reese sounding somewhat disingenuous was disturbing. He said he accepted responsibility, but came across like a man blaming everything except his own decisions.

I have watched a number of Reese press conferences over the years. Tuesday he seemed more defensive than I have ever seen him about the ongoing personnel issues the Giants have. Maybe he was right is some of the things he said, but where Coughlin showed humility Reese showed hubris.

Let's hope Reese can fix this mess, for the sake of Giants fans, ownership, quarterback Eli Manning and everyone else invested in it. Despite my criticisms of him I believe that he can, but to do that he is going to have to look in the mirror and truly accept that his decisions are largely responsible for a situation that has the co-owner lamenting lost credibility. From what I saw and heard on Tuesday, he hasn't really done that yet.