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Interesting article on Jerry Reese

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Interesting article on Jerry Reese

Post  Big_Pete on Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:59 am


Pressure Builds as Giants’ Stoic Architect Begins Repairs
Ángel Franco/The New York Times

Jerry Reese was 8 for 8 on picks in the 2007 N.F.L. draft, his first as the Giants’ general manager.

Published: April 18, 2010

Jerry Reese’s first indication of what his new job was going to be like came when he was ensconced in the Giants’ general manager’s office for just a few months in 2007. In poured the letters, tons of them, he said, wondering what he was doing, why the Giants had barely made a peep. Reese treads quietly, anyway.

That spring, Reese waded into his first period of free agency as boss with a whisper, signing just one player from outside the team, linebacker Kawika Mitchell.

That year is now part of Giants lore. Reese, in his first time with final say on the draft, went a staggering 8 for 8 on picks, remarkable in a business in which even Reese said the goal was merely to get on base and to not strike out. Every rookie played a role in the Giants’ stunning run to the Super Bowl championship that season, and Reese established himself as one of the N.F.L.’s most astute drafters.

“If I listened to everybody who said to do something and I signed what I consider a marginal free agent?” Reese said in an interview last week. “They hired the wrong guy if I would crack under that.”

Three years later, the pressure is back on Reese when the draft starts Thursday night. This time, he has to prove that he is adept at not just building a team, but also at repairing one. The co-owner John Mara’s pointed post-mortem summed up the 2009 season.

“I’m disappointed in everything,” Mara said. “I’m unhappy at everybody.”

Felled by a late-season defensive collapse and set against the backdrop of feverish change around them, the Giants are at what feels like a crossroad, picking 15th over all, their highest slot since 2004, when they ended up with Eli Manning.

They have committed more than $100 million to defensive players in the last year. But because of injuries and free-agent disappointments, the Giants head into the draft with holes to fill, most significant at linebacker, although Reese insists there are players on the roster who could replace Antonio Pierce.

Still, the seismic shifts to the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins put in motion by the Donovan McNabb trade, and the all-out run for the headlines and the Super Bowl by the Jets, have largely taken the spotlight off the Giants. Reese prefers it that way.

Despite an appealing personal story — he rose from a poor Tennessee childhood — and extraordinary early success, Reese has almost no public profile.

“He’s not a step-to-the-front glad-hander who tells stories,” said Gil Brandt, a former Dallas Cowboys personnel executive, who knows almost everybody in the N.F.L.

If he were, this is what Reese might point to. Brandt, an analyst for, keeps track of how drafts pan out. The Giants have had 24 picks in the last three years — Reese’s tenure — and by Brandt’s count, seven of them are starters, nine are backups and just one is out of the N.F.L. The Patriots, considered astute drafters, have had 28 picks in that time. Four are starters and eight are backups. Seven are out of the league.

Reese came up through the scouting ranks, steeped in player evaluations. The Giants’ scouts are well regarded around the N.F.L., and although there are heated discussions during the preparation meetings that lead up to setting the draft board, Reese said there was no shouting in the war room once the draft started. That is a reflection of Reese’s demeanor.

“In my exposure to him, he’s been unflappable,” said Charley Casserly, a former Redskins and Houston Texans general manager who is an analyst for CBS and the NFL Network. “I don’t think he’s one who will let his emotions show, which is good, because you’re not supposed to. If you’re emotional, it leads to instability around you.”

Even last week, Reese noted that though he had been criticized for bringing them up, he thinks injuries undermined the Giants most last year. And about Mara’s comments: “I didn’t say it as sensational as John said it, but he said the same thing I said when I stepped in here before he came in. I said, ‘Nobody is happy with 8-8.’ ”

Unless the Giants make an unexpected move in the first round, the biggest acquisition of their off-season will almost certainly be one that is out of character for them. They signed safety Antrel Rolle to a free-agent deal that includes $15 million in guaranteed money and is one of the biggest ever for a safety.

The Giants have traditionally lavished money on their own players, and have only occasionally made moves for big-name free agents. But Rolle is just 27 and was the top player available at a position of need because of the uncertainty surrounding Kenny Phillips’s return from injury.

“Some people ask, how do you build your team, through free agency or the draft?” Reese said. “We don’t have a template of how we do it. Every year is different. If it’s best to stay pat during free agency and draft a guy, we will. We try to adjust. You know the draft — that’s a certainty. You’re going to have those picks. But if we feel there are free agents who can help, we’re not afraid to do that.”

Reese went into last season thinking the Giants had put together the strongest team in his time there. When it failed, it stung, he said. It stings still. The halls of the Giants’ training facility are lined with reminders of their milestone victories, with portraits of their star players, with wood carvings of memorable moments.

But Reese is known for his consistency, so he shrugs when it is suggested that there is more at stake for him and the Giants this year than in years past. An 8-8 season feels as if the sky is falling when standards are so high, he said, but that does not mean there is any more pressure this season than there was right after the Giants won the Super Bowl.

During his predraft news conference, Reese slipped into general-manager-speak, revealing few details and no predictions, a briefing designed not to attract attention, the way Reese prefers to work.

“I pride myself on being even keeled,” he said. “When things are good, they are not as good as they seem. When they’re bad, they’re not as bad as they seem. I pride myself on being the voice of reason. I think I can get my point across without being a yeller or a screamer. That’s what fans are supposed to do — get excited. My job is to be levelheaded, and make the best decision.”
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Re: Interesting article on Jerry Reese

Post  Big_Pete on Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:23 pm

apparantly Reese was recently on WFAN and he said that he likes to draft for
talent in the early rounds, then address depth later on.
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