New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese spoke abotu a wide variety topics on Sunday, including his thoughts on Jason Pierre-Paul, the offensive line, the comeback of Victor Cruz and more. Let's look at some of the key takeaways from Reese's annual training camp press conference.
"Heart goes out" to Jason Pierre-Paul
Reese had little to add to the Pierre-Paul saga, but he did express sympathy for the defensive end who had a finger amputated following a Fourth of July fireworks accident.
"I don't have anything to report about that situation," Reese said. "I wish Jason nothing but the best ... it's an accident ... my heart goes out to him. For a young man to have a traumatic event like that it's life-changing for him."
For the most part that it what you would have expected Reese to say. Let co-owner John Mara play the heavy.
Defense will surprise
Reese believes the defense, with or without Pierre-Paul, will be improved.
"I think we'll be really good defensively," Reese said. "I think we're going to surprise people. I think we have five defensive ends we feel like that can play and play to a high level. I do think our defense is going to be better than last year.
"[It's a] great opportunity for some guys to step out of the shadows."
Reese first mentioned Damontre Moore as a player who could step up in Pierre-Paul's absence. He also spoke about Kerry Wynn and Owamagbe Odighizuwa.
Victor Cruz not yet 100 percent
There is a lot of excitement about the fact that Cruz, working his way back from the torn patellar tendon he suffered last season, and Odell Beckham, who missed spring practices with a hamstring issue, have been able to practice the first couple of days. Reese said he believes Cruz still has work to do to make it all the way back.
"I'm just happy to see Victor out there. It's a long way back, he had a big injury. I still don't think he's 100 percent back, but I think he's close. We'll continue to take it sloww," Reese said. "To see those two guys out there together is exciting for us."
The offensive line has "enough"
Reese was, of course, asked about the state of the offensive line. He said he felt that group has "enough to get us through and play well up front."
Reese mentioned several times that left tackle Will Beatty, who has a torn pectoral mucles, is not out for the season.
"We're gonna get Will Beatty back at some point," Reese said.
The GM said the Giants will "keep our options open" in regards to signing free-agent tackle Jake Long. Reese also said the team has not ruled out the idea of Justin Pugh moving back to right tackle if necessary.
"Pugh is playing guard but he could easily go back out there. If we have to move him out there at some point we're not afraid to do that," Reese said.
He's not a big fan of analytics
Perhaps it is a bit of a surprise, but Reese is not a fan of the increasing emphasis on analytics. Baseball has gone analytics-crazy, and it is creeping into football as well. Reese, though, still likes his scouts to rely on what they see.
"Here with us we evaluate guys with our eyes. Analytics play a role, but the number one thing we use here is our eyes. Our eyes tell the story," Reese said.
"At the end of the day what you see is what you have to believe."
Oh those injuries
It seems like everyone has some sort of theory on why the Giants have led the league in games lost to injury for the past two years, and have had extraordinary injury issues for longer than that. If you want an answer to the Giants' rash of injuries, you will hate what Reese said.
"We've tried different things. We've readjusted the schedule, we've adjusted some things in the weight room trying to have more room for down time to allow guys to recover," Reese said. "But I think it's just been some back luck. Guys break bones or tear muscles off the bone or something like that it's unfortunate. Things happen sometimes in the National Football League."
It's an offensive league
For all of the attention that has been paid to Pierre-Paul and whether or not the Giants can play well enough defensively to win, Reese insisted that the league is now about offense.
"I expect our offense to score points. If you don't score 28 points in this league it's hard to win," Reese said. "The rules favor the offense, so you have to score points. You have to take advantage of it," Reese said.
"I still think you have to have a solid defense, but the rules now favor the offense and you have to score points because if you don't score points, if you're playing from behind all the time it's hard to win football games. You've gotta get out, you've gotta score points and we hope our offense can do that."