Though the New York Giants have the reputation of perennial contenders after winning two of the last six Super Bowls, they’ve quietly missed the playoffs in three of the last four seasons.
Even so, a championship is still the goal for Big Blue. When GM Jerry Reese called in to talk on the Morning Show, he confirmed that his organization is gunning for the Lombardi Trophy.
“It’s everybody’s expectations,” Reese explains to Tiki, Brandon, and Dana. “This is a high-performance business. We set our standards high around here.”
“The whole ‘everybody’s on notice,’ the notice is—most people say ‘Wow, Jerry Reese’s telling people they’re going to get fired.’ That’s not it,” he adds. “It’s inevitable that people get fired if you don’t make the playoffs. But the notice I’m talking about is, we have to be more consistent.”
One unit Reese specifically keys on is the linebacker corps. The Giants need the guys at the second level to bolster a defense that struggled to keep points off the board last season, though it’s unclear which LBs will be up for the task.
“It’d be great if we had Lawrence Taylor and Jesse Armstead and all those kind of guys, but the fact of the matter is, we don’t have those guys right now. We don’t know what we have. So hopefully some of those guys will step out of the shadows,” the GM says, though he emphasizes that this anonymity is not a concern for him.
“And I always hit them with this: who were the starters in Super Bowl XLII? Who were the starters at linebacker?” Reese asks. “They have to think about it.”
Indeed, none of the hosts—even Tiki, who was just a year removed from that Giants team—could name all three linebackers from the 2008 Super Bowl, while New York didn’t even regularly play that many in Super Bowl XLVI.
“I wish we had three stud linebackers, but we don’t know what we have right now. We might have three stud linebackers; we don’t know, the jury’s still out on that. But that position has to step up.”
Another position to watch is running back, as New York opted not to re-sign Ahmad Bradshaw this offseason. That leaves the door open for 2012 first-round pick David Wilson to take over, but Reese sees it as a committee with another under-the-radar back.
“Andre Brown is a guy I think people are sleeping on a little bit because this guy’s big and fast. He was really playing well for us until you have the injuries. That’s been his Achilles heel; you have the injury bug his whole career,” the GM says.
“That is a big issue, injuries all around the National Football League, but as a GM, if you sit and think about it, holding my breath, you’ll be a basket case because injuries are a part of it. It’s inevitable that injuries happen.”
That’s yet another reason why it’s so important to win your early games in the NFL—execute while all your pieces are presumably in good condition.
Though Jason Pierre-Paul is questionable for Week 1, Reese confirms that the team is looking to get ahead in the standings early.
“You always want to start fast,” he says, before qualifying, “Again, you want to be consistent throughout the schedule,”
“There’s different ways to get to the finish line, but you always want to start strong and try to sustain it throughout the season.”