The Sound of Denial

Longtime commenter "I Bleed Blue" remarked 2 days ago how he looked forward to the bye to finally hear the words from on high… Jerry Reese's media tour. Ricky: "Luuuucy. You got some 'splainin to do!"

I am sure he was disappointed.

On an interview late yesterday with Mike Francesa, Reese was asked about the state of the franchise. Not surprisingly, the NY Giants GM used the last 2 wins for as much cover as possible from the criticism.  Francesa, for his part, asked the needed questions.  But the radio host caved, in typical paid-mainstream-media fashion. 

Marshall McLuhan explained that the medium is the message. By that, he meant that the way you received your information was going to determine what that message was.  A message in print was going to be different from a message delivered by radio.  And similarly, a 21st Century online NY Giants blog is going to deliver a different message.  Francesa is bought and paid for. He earns a hefty salary from CBS/WFAN. His network relies on interviews and access to Giants players, coaches and management.  No access, no content, no revenue. Bloggers don't have the overhead, so they get to speak their mind.  Francesa's WFAN interview may allow one message.  Ours is different, to say the least.

So let's be blunt.

Reese is full of so much **** that it is almost embarrassing to listen.

Spin does not begin to describe what this interview was all about.  Let's spin this 9 ways to Sunday, put lipstick on this pig and see if we can pass off 2013 as bumpy but in the hunt.  The reason I am pissed is not because he is trying to be optimistic.  You always have to be optimistic.  But please do not insult our intelligence.  A simple mea culpa would have sufficed.  That I, the GM of this franchise, have not done a very good job, and that I am a big part of the reason for why this team is 2-6.  That is all we wanted to hear.  Instead we heard how everyone in the organization needs to do better, and that we are in the hunt, so let's go forward.  Spin.

My favorite dodge is how the Giants pass rush has suffered because it is playing from behind.  For starters, the Giants have been in 7 out of 8 games this season through the first 3 quarters, the lone exception being Carolina.  In previous years, they played from behind often, and Eli got his Q4 heroics because of that necessity being the mother of invention.  So to handwave away a lot of the Giants' pass rush problems on playing from behind is simple horse manure.  Of course a pass rusher will have an easier time getting to the QB if he knows they need to pass, but those are moments where stats are padded, not made.  The Giants are at the bottom (#30) of the league in sacks, period.  Interestingly, you can't even fault Reese here, as he has provided the resources.  But to make excuses for players and coaches is not acceptable. 

How the Giants staff handled JPP's back surgery is clearly a question mark.  The DE's pass rushing fell off a cliff in the second half of 2012, and he had surgery in… JUNE.  JUNE!  Read this link and tell me this is Monday Morning Quarterbacking

It’s perhaps fair to wonder, then, why Pierre-Paul waited until now to have this surgery, if he was in pain throughout 2012. Surely, he hoped to avoid this scenario, but the delay could cost him early-season reps and will put his conditioning to the test.

When Reese is asked about a 16 sack contribution turning to 1 sack in 2013 (which was a Secondary sack, fwiw), the Giants GM glosses over the problem with hopes that the bye will help the player get back to form. When a player was getting epidurals all season long and then surgery does not happen until 5+ months after the season is over, that means there was poor decision-making from the entire organization.  And since we have seen these offseason injury treatment delays happen more than a few times (Kevin Boss comes to mind as just one a few years ago), we have to ask (as SI does) how your star impact player on Defense can go 5 months in the offseason before having the "minor" surgery.   

A third dodge by Reese is on the Offensive Line.  "A little bit of a problem for us."  And Waterloo was a little bit of a problem for Napoleon.  Reese hides behind the injuries to Diehl, Snee and Baas.  But what he won't tell you is that the age of these players are 33, 31 and 32 years old.  What he won't tell you is that these guys were ALL HURT LAST YEAR, showing their age.  What he won't tell you is that in 7 years of drafting, he has drafted two players in Rounds 1-3 (the meat of the draft)) out of 23 selections allocated to all positions.  That is 9% of the team going to Offensive Line, where 23% of your starting team lives.  And given that 1 of those picks happened in 2013 (Pugh), it is too little too late, certainly for 2013.  Reese says injuries aren't an excuse, yet he hides behind the injuries.  His OL picks in later rounds have all been weak too.  This position has been all about negligence, since we and many others were asking aloud for YEARS why more help was not sent into the queue to develop players behind the aging line.  The termites were eating away at the foundation for a long time before the house collapsed.  Lastly, the fact that this unit protects your franchise, Eli Manning, is also as negligent if not more so.   

The fourth place Reese finds cover is in the weak NFC East.  He is playing the "2 games out of first" card to hold this season's focus together, and that is reasonable.  But it is a convenient distraction.  We watch as DAL squanders GAMES this season, else the Giants would be done.  Simply stated, very bad teams like the Eagles and the Vikings allowed the team to get 2 wins.  And bad NFC East teams allow the Giants to be only 2 games out of first place.  The Giants are 1-2 vs the NFC East.  Imagine if the division were better.  Or if the Vikings had not had to bring in a 3rd quarterback DAYS before playing the team.     

"You've had nothing but success since you've been here," exclaims Francesa.  We beg to differ.  It was Reese himself who was disappointed that the team did not make the playoffs 3 of the last 4 years.  Reese is an above average GM.  We graded him out that way last year.  He has done some very good things, including the 2007 draft, the drafting of JPP, and smaller but hopeful actions like acquiring Beason.  But he has made many mistakes along the way, allocating an inordinate amount of resources to some units at the expense of others.  His handling of Safety in 2009 set the Sheridan cataclysm in motion.  And there was a large amount of good fortune which propelled the team in 2011.     

However you count it, Reese has helped bring in two titles.  You cannot take that away from the man.  We are grateful as fans for that significant accomplishment.  But do not sugarcoat negligence either.  We think that anything is possible in the second half of the season because of how bad the NFC East is.  Just don't think we were born yesterday and assume that a win vs the Eagles and Vikings and loads of losses are going to be covered up by statistical chances to win a bad division.  The Giants will probably finish the season ~ 6-10 if form holds.  A win vs the Packers would be the pathway to turn this season around.  Beyond that, there was a lot of "splainin" to do that Reese dodged.  Take the good with the bad.  Own up to your mistakes. And for heaven's sake, protect your QB.

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