Reasons for Change- Part 2

In Part 1, we discussed why Tom Coughlin should be replaced.  Here in Part 2, we run through the reasons why Jerry Reese should be replaced.

1) Too many bad drafts.  Let’s use John Mara’s years alone, citing 2011 and 2012 being unproductive. Overall, it is far worse. There has been exactly ONE Reese draft pick that has been resigned to a significant long term contract.. Will Beatty.  That’s like building a house without a foundation.  Yes, there have been a couple of others who were re-signed, like Bradshaw and JPP, but their circumstances are noteworthy in the differences.  The staples that provided the foundation of the franchise for XLII and XLVI were from Accorsi, not Reese.  The Diehls, Mannings, Snees, Umenyioras, Tucks… these were Accorsi’s.  It is the end of 2015 and we are debating about how much money Prince Amukamara is worth to keep OR NOT.  That is the legacy of Reese. The cupboard is mostly barren (only Beckham) because it is Reese who has failed to consistently deliver through the draft.

2) Too many neglected positions. The allocation of draft resources is stark.  We have posted about this in the past.. how many players get drafted with high picks for Wide Receiver and how many players do not get drafted for Linebacker.  It is a cosmic joke. There is not balance.  Of course we understand that in a passing league you have to prize QB and WR on offense more than other positions.  And similarly, we also understand that you have to prize DE and CB more than others on defense.  But if you keep allocating resources unevenly, that distribution exposes other areas.  We note those other areas in points made below.

3) What is the NY Giants’ identity? The General Manager is the architect who builds an identity with the Head Coach. George Young and Ernie Accorsi had design.  Young, with Parcells, drafted Linebackers for the 3-4.  Defense was the Franchise Identity. “Linebackers, I collect’em. Can’t have too many of them.” That was an identity.  No, we do not aspire to that identity in today’s NFL, where passing is king. And Accorsi morphed the vision by renting good quality Free Agent Linebackers like Michael Barrow and Antonio Pierce.  Reese borrowed from his predecessor’s identity by bringing in guys like Boley and Beason.  Boley was good enough for 2011’s miracle run, but it must be remembered that it was part of a miracle eeked out from a 9 win season.  That skinny margin against a bad NFC East can only pay off once in a long while.  Every year can’t be a 9-7 miracle.  That is the exception.  That is not an identity.  The best I can come up with for what I think Reese’s architectural plan is is a team that has lots of WR firepower so that it can outscore the opponent.  That’s it.  The rest is rife with holes.

4) Safety 2009.  This was the first Reese hole.  All I have to say is two words and I will get Giant cringes.  CC Brown.  It’s like seeing Medusa’s head.  We documented how Reese knew about Kenny Phillips’ injury and yet still got caught with his pants down.  It was ugly.  5 games where the Defense allowed 40+ points. It ruined an entire season.

5) LBer 2007+.  This blog has penned numerous posts over the years asking for linebackers.  It got to be so comical that we stopped bothering to even ask.  Do you realize that the last time this franchise drafted a LBer with a Round 1 pick was 1984? That is 32 years. People reply: ‘Well, who you gonna pick if they aren’t there?’  My answer is- try.  And we SPECIFICALLY RECOMMENDED BEFORE THE DRAFT players like Rey Maualuga, Daryl Washington, Martez Wilson, Justin Houston, Lavonte David and Alec Ogletree.  Not all of them became stars, but half are pro bowlers.  We even touted Vontaze Burfict in the middle rounds; he went undrafted and became a Pro Bowler.  So don’t tell us that they can’t be found.  Reese has allocated a R2 pick to Sintim and a R3 pick to Wilkerson in NINE years to Linebacker high in the draft.  That is a freaking joke.  Every time you see a TE or a RB ripping the Giants to shreds in the middle of the field, ask aloud about 9 years of failure at drafting LBer.  The only LBer Reese hit on was Kennard, and he is injured (more on that tomorrow).  The Jets used Bilal Powell specifically to target the matchup vs a LBer. This is structural.  And Reese is the architect of this woefully deficient structure.

6) Safety 2015.  How bad was Safety going into 2015?  Reese was intelligent, aggressively trading up to the 33rd pick to grab Landon Collins.  The rookie was starting on Opening Day from that moment because the others on the roster were two players named Nat Berhe and Cooper Taylor, neither of which had started a single game in the NFL.  They brought in Meriweather from his couch to give a veteran presence.  He was cut and then brought back.  These problems don’t happen overnight.  They happen because of bad drafting along the way, years before we reach this point.  You can’t fault Reese for guys like Chad Jones getting nearly killed in an auto accident.  But nonetheless, 3 years later they are still threadbare here and the cost is huge for the team.

7) OL 2013+.  This one we saw coming YEARS in advance and watched in slow motion how it all fell apart.  If there is any single one place where the indictment is crystal clear about Jerry Reese’s failings, it is here at Offensive Line.  Reese inherited the single greatest Offensive Line I have seen as a Giants fan.  The 2008 OL of Diehl, Seubert, O’Hara, Snee and McKenzie was the best in the NFL.  But they were veterans who were getting older.  And any GM worth his salt knows you have to draft for the future, replacing older players with younger men who can assume the reins.  You do this BEFORE their end, not AT the end. Reese drafted Beatty, and that was IT.  Everything else was too late or a failure.  We asked for OL high draft picks in 2010 (Iupati, Pouncey).  We asked again in 2011 (Castonzo).  We asked again in 2012 (Glenn).  And all the while, the unit corroded.  When Snee’s back gave out, the entire unit collapsed.  Then went the entire Offense and we watched Gilbride/Coughlin with no ability to make adjustments.  The architect, Jerry Reese, failed.  All of  sudden, in 2013, he wakes up and says holy sh*t, I need to address OL.  And he reaches for Pugh, a Tackle who becomes a Guard.  Pugh is ok, but he is not any kind of value at the 19th pick overall.  He belonged at the end of Round 1, but desperate men like Reese need to get who they have to get because they did not obtain these players when they should have been selected, specifically in the previous 3 years when there was plenty of opportunity. Is it any wonder then that Reese goes up high in 2014 to get Richburg?  Or in 2015 to get Flowers? Both of those picks were better than Pugh in terms of value, but look at the difference in grabbing OL in 2010-2012 vs 2013-2015? It was easily seen by anyone with the Date of Birth of the roster.  It was negligent. The only other thing we’ll add here is that Reese and the Giants are EXTREMELY FORTUNATE that this negligence did not cost them the health of Eli Manning. In 2013, there were games where he was a human piñata. Thanks Jerry.

8) Never trades down in the Draft.  Cars have gears for forward, neutral, and reverse.  In the Draft, you can trade up, stay where you are, or trade down.  A smart GM uses ALL THREE to gain maximum flexibility and adaptability to what is in the best interest of the team.  I am always amazed at how inflexible certain people are to the concept of trading down.  Not once in 9 years can I recall Reese having EVER traded down.  Even if I am incorrect and missed one, I can certainly rattle off a few where he has traded up (Kehl, Barden, Nassib and Collins).  There is a buyer for every seller.  Common sense indicates that over a 9 year period there were just as many opportunities to trade down and gain more benefit.  Why did Reese never do this?  He probably has the hubris to believe that he has the answer every time he is ready to pick.  His track record speaks otherwise.  So use a little humility, obtain value once in a while and trade down.  Belichick has not done well in the draft but his quantity covers up mistakes because he is always willing to trade down one round and ALSO get that team’s pick in the following year.  It is practically stealing.

9) David Wilson 2012.  If Offensive Line is the crystal clear indictment of Reese’s failure for a specific position, then David Wilson is the crystal clear indictment of Reese’s failure for a specific pick.  This selection set the team back years.  How can one player do that? Because it was at a crucial juncture for the team.  They had just used smoke and mirrors to win XLVI, were a 9-7 team and were given the 32nd pick overall.  It was a pivotal moment.  Every ounce of value had to be extracted here in this draft. There were many needs.  And Reese went for …. RUNNING BACK.  Running back.  In 2012.  He was a good player, but there were so many flaws in this pick.  We wanted Cordy Glenn, the Tackle who is arguably the best on the Bills OL. So let’s list the reasons why this pick was incorrect: (1) RB is not a gamechanger in the passing league of 2012 (2) platooning minimizes snaps (3) Gilbride is always slow to develop his RBs because he wants them to block (4) the Giants have proven they draft RB well in later rounds (5) if you draft RB high, he better be able to catch passes (which he never showed) (6) RB has the shortest career length in the NFL.  We will not even give the 7th reason about other positions being of greater need.  Those 6 are more than enough to show how structurally flawed the Wilson pick was.  To say we are Monday Morning QBing Reese for watching Wilson get hurt is not true.  Not so uncoincidentally, teams have been shying away from taking RB in Round 1 in recent drafts.  ZERO were taken in Round 1 in 2013 and 2014, part of a trend to stay away from this position early. The Giants were literally the last ones to get this memo.  Why take a player that IS going to get hurt and have a shortened career/impact as opposed to another position that can much more easily last YEARS longer?  This pick was a huge setback for the organization, and it had little to do with his neck injury.  In fact, the apologists and blamers of “luck” will use that excuse. We listed 6 specific reasons why luck had nothing to do with this pick being a bad one.  Going one step further, chew on this one- if Wilson were playing today for the Giants, they would still be 6-9 because he can’t catch a pass.  RB in Round 1 is just wrong.

10) Free Agent Track Record.  We used subjective grades for the Reese Free Agents from 2007-2014.

Signed Player Grade Numerical Years
2007 Boothe B- 2.7 7
2007 Mitchell A 4.0 1
2007 Tynes B 3.0 6
2007 Hedgecock B- 2.7 5
2008 Carr B- 2.7 2*
2009 Canty C 2.0 4
2009 Bernard C 2.0 4
2009 Boley B- 2.7 4
2009 CCBrown F 0.0 1
2010 Bullock F 0.0 1
2010 Rolle A 4.0 5
2010 Grant B 3.0 2
2011 Baas F 0.0 3
2012 Rivers C 2.0 2
2012 Bennett A- 3.7 1
2013 Myers F 0.0 1
2013 Patterson C 2.0 2
2013 Jenkins B- 2.7 3
2014 DRC B- 2.7 2
2014 Schwartz F 0.0 2
2014 Thurmond F 0.0 1
2014 Beason F 0.0 2
2014 Jennings B+ 3.3 2
2014 McClain C+ 2.3 2
07-14 Average C+ 2.3
11-14 Average C- 1.6

First, let’s explain the subjective grading.  Baas was not an “F” as a player, but his signing was an “F” because (a) the Giants gave him a 5 year deal for $28MM with $11.5MM guaranteed AND (b) his play on the field never came close to those numbers.  Insane. Whereas Boothe played for much much less and made significant/sporadic contributions as a backup/starter, even if his play was ordinary.  Chris Canty was an okay starter but he was miserable considering he got paid a kings ransom ($42MM on a 6 yr deal). Even without these guys finishing up their contracts, they are still frontloaded on monster bonuses that make the deals painful.

The average calculation is weighted by years, so survivorship bias of better players playing longer benefits Reese because bad players get cut quicker.

What you see with Reese’s Free Agency is a GM who has had some early successes but in the past 4 years (2011-2014) he has been awful.  Quantitatively, he is averaging a C- grade recently, and is still only a C+ over the 2007-2014 period. Overall, while subjective for a single player, collectively this is an objective assessment that Reese has not helped the team in Free Agency, ESPECIALLY IN RECENT YEARS.

11) John Small.  John Small is a High School Football Coach for the past 23 years.  He knows a few things about football: “Reese is arrogant.  His ‘everybody is on notice’ pissed me off cause he should be #1! He has bypassed Linebackers and Tight Ends like they don’t exist and tried to fill those spots w mediocre players which really hurt us. He hasn’t replaced key guys who have retired or left via Free Agency. His FA pickups are below average at best! We’re not looking for name guys, but we want guys who can play and play well. His guys don’t. His drafts from 08-12 have been horrible, “F” grades in my book! Did he hit a few guys like Beckham and Richburg? Sure, but overall the drafts are turds of guys who when cut by us, don’t even land in other places! The scouting system and scouts are to blame as well, but it is Reese who pulls the trigger. I am a HS coach for 23 years and a football junkie. Not to be arrogant, but I know the game and Reese makes me scratch my head with his decisions. We need a shakeup and it has to start with him! Reese and the entire scouting staff needs to go. I’m already deep into eval on this upcoming draft, and believe me, I dont know it all, but Reese’s thoughts will not match up.  Worst thing that happened to him was early SB win in 07 (w Accorsi’s team) and hitting grand slam w Cruz as a UDFA! I feel like he is always trying to prove how smart he is, finding the next golden nugget.”

12) Wonder.  Our draft analyst Wonder chimes in with his own unique perspective on Jerry Reese.  “Posit this question to all the readers on the blog, Andy.  Ask them this…. When was the last time Reese made a trade or a move for a player in Free Agency where you can say in hindsight that the Giants got a steal/blockbuster guy that turned the franchise around?”  The answer is not a single time in 9 years.  JPP was a draft pick.  He was instrumental in XLVI.  Cruz was a UDFA who Reese gets zero credit for because he wouldn’t even pay for a bus ticket back from UMass to Patterson NJ.  What Wonder is referring to is the kind of move that energizes your entire level of play on the field.  Parcells and the Jets getting Kevin Mawae.  The Saints getting Drew Brees when the Chargers balked due to his medical. The Cardinals getting Carson Palmer in 2013 for a $6MM signing bonus, making them live for a Super Bowl 3 seasons later. The Cowboys trading for Charles Haley.

Summary:  From a wide variety of objective viewpoints and angles, Jerry Reese has missed the mark.  He has underperformed in the draft and free agency.  This may be personal, but I have always detested Reese’s bye-week “spin” in recent years.  These press conferences would talk about a silver lining instead of respecting the customer (fan) in a more realistic assessment of poor performance.  This is the element where Small refers to Reese’s arrogance.  Maybe we would support Reese if he was slightly more critical of his own body of work.  XLII was very much Accorsi’s and XLVI was a miracle.  Reese can get some credit for both, as his rookie class of 2007 put the Giants over the top and JPP was instrumental in that 2011 run.  Everything else has been mostly weakness.  I think the best way to look at this is that going into 2016, the Giants need help at S, CB, LB, DE, DT, TE, OL, and WR… in other words, AT ALMOST EVERY FREAKING POSITION!  The Giants have Eli and Beckham.  Everything else is one hot mess. This franchise is in need of a major overhaul.  Reese is the problem, not the solution.

Tomorrow is Part 3 of the series: Ronnie Barnes- the man behind the curtain.

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