New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese enters every season optimistic that he has put together a roster that can compete for a playoff berth. The Giants, obviously, have fallen short of that benchmark the past four seasons.
With a new head coach in Ben McAdoo, an expensive class of free agents on the defensive side of the ball and a draft class that has drawn praise, Reese is feeling good about the 2016 version of the Giants.
“I think we have a really good football team. We added some players in the offseason, obviously. We think we helped our defense a little bit more than we’ve been able to in the past. We had a significant amount of money to spend this time. We were players, obviously in the free-agent market,” Reese said.
“We feel good about our team. Defensively we think we’ll be better. Offensively we should be able to score points and our special teams should be solid.
“We’re very optimistic about our football team.We think we’ve upgraded, we like our coaching staff, we like the direction that Ben is taking us right now.”
Here are a few other topics Reese discussed during his annual training camp meeting with the media on Sunday.
The rookie class
Reese echoed McAdoo’s recent comments that the team would not be afraid to play young players.
“We expect young players to play. Nowadays it’s not like you can come into the league and draft guys and play ‘em after three years. They have to come in and contribute right away. We expect our guys to do that.”
This spot, of course, is still a major concern among analysts and the fan base.
“(Marshall) Newhouse has played a lot of football … he’s in a battle over there with Bobby Hart,” Reese said. “We have confidence in our offensive line. We think we have a very competent offensive line that can get the job done ... Be great to have five Pro Bowlers up front, but I don’t think anybody has that.”
Reese said he is “pulling for” Cruz and that “I believe he’ll make it.”
“He’s gotta get some game snaps. He’s gotta go out there and he has to turn it loose. In practice you don’t turn it loose like you do in games. I’m anxious to see him get out there in the preseason and turn it loose and I’m pulling for him.
“Hopefully, he’ll be able to get across that mental hurdle. I think physically he’s fine, it’s a mental hurdle you have to get past. Hopefully, he’ll be able to go out there and get past that mental hurdle and we can see some glimpses of the old Victor Cruz.
“We’re hoping for the best. I believe he’ll make it, I really do.”
Reese is excited about what he has seen from Pierre-Paul.
“He looked like a beast out here. His motor is running hot, he looks like he’s on a mission to me. … he looks like the old JPP,” Reese said.
“He’s looked big and fast and explosive. I’m happy to see that. … I expect him to be a load.”