EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — General manager Jerry Reese has accepted responsibility for the New York Giants’ dismal play in a season that started with legitimate Super Bowl hopes and now sees them mired with one win in seven games.
Speaking as the Giants prepared to leave for their bye week, Reese said he put the current roster together so the blame falls on him.
The 54-year-old believes that the Giants have good players, they can make adjustments and they will perform well in their final nine games.
Reese insisted that no one is going to lie down.
“If you want me to get up here and have a tantrum, I am not going to do that,” Reese said near the end of his 20-minute news conference.
“It’s frustrating anytime you lose football games and you are 1-6. There is frustration, but I am not going to fall on the floor and kick and scream. I am not going to do that. Of course, we are all frustrated. We can fix that by playing the game the right way.”
If the Giants don’t turn things around, this will be the fifth time in six years that they will have missed the playoffs. That will leave Reese’s future once again in the hands of co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch.
The Giants had created great expectations last season, ending a four-season playoff drought by posting an 11-5 regular-season record under new coach Ben McAdoo.
However, Reese said the team bought into the hype about this being a title contender this season, and it has not played with the same hunger as a year ago.
“I know we played hard in some games but there is a difference in playing hard and having that hunger that you have to have to win in this league,” Reese said, adding it’s a hard lesson for players to learn after they seemingly found a way to win all the close ones last season.
Now in his 11th season as general manager, Reese refused to point fingers, particularly at the offensive line, which has struggled the past two seasons.
It was the one area that he opted not to fix in the offseason, saying he felt the young group he had was all coming back, had some continuity and had shown flashes last season.
It has not worked out, although Reese feels the line has improved as a whole and so has left tackle Ereck Flowers, who gets much of the criticism directed at the line. Surprisingly, Reese didn’t know if Flowers will remain the left tackle long term.
Reese said there were some veteran offensive linemen available but he did not want to sign any older players, opting to keep the line young.
Reese’s other big move was signing veteran free agent wide receiver Brandon Marshall. He was hurt early, never did much and was lost for the season in the same game that claimed offensive catalyst Odell Beckham Jr. Both had season-ending ankle surgeries.
Being in contention for the No. 1 overall draft pick — only Cleveland and San Francisco have worse records — has Reese on the hot seat.
“I’ve been doing this over 10 years now and every single time — I’ve been left for dead a lot of times since I’ve been doing this job and that’s just part of the business, it comes with the territory,” Reese said.
“It’s a high performance business. I’d love for us to have won 10 Super Bowls in my 10 years as the general manager of the Giants, but we haven’t. I wish we could have. We’ve won some games, but I sure believe we could have done better than we have.”
Reese said hopes that Beckham is able to return at 100 percent. “He is a terrific football player. It hurts any football team if you lose a player of his caliber.”
The general manager said Eli Manning has to play better, like everybody else. He added that McAdoo also had to improve and he thinks he will.
“Here’s why I think that, is because, it’s important to him, number one,” Reese said. “He’s a hard worker, he’s smart. He’s smarter than all of us in this room, I can tell you that. It’s not even close, all of us together, he’s smarter than all of us.
“So, it’s important to him, it means something to him. He’s not a guy that you can’t talk to and give suggestions to. He’s going to do whatever is best for this football team.”