How Jerry Reese built this team-Offense

Over the last few years two people on the Giants have been maligned, attacked and critized by fans and the media for being incompetent. They have been Eli Manning and Jerry Reese, these two men have been questioned about every aspect to the performance of their jobs. Now no matter what the outcome of this super bowl is they should never again be questioned by any sane individual. Jerry Reese has assembled the best possible team that anybody could through the draft and free agency. So many times Reese has gone against the grain specifically that means what the fans and media wanted. He did not sign that big free agent nor draft that player every draft site and forum said the Giants should. He did not hold onto the over the hill but popular Giants player past his prime, he cut them, that started with Luke.


So let’s look at how Jerry Reese assembled this team, player by player. We’ll start with Eli Manning, Eli was here, he was Ernie Accorsi’s guy, thank goodness for that. Ernie could have had 2 other very good quarterbacks from that draft, one has two super bowl wins now but would have never been able to handle the New York Media. For that matter the other very good Quarterback would have definitely imploded under such scrutiny. Of course I am taking about Ben Roethlisberger and the player the Giants actually did draft, Philip Rivers. Ernie gave up a lot for Eli but knew he was our man. His aw shucks demeanor hid the heart and pedigree of a true champion who would let all the negativism slide off like a Teflon Don. He was made for this town, he stands in there like the Giants quarterbacks of old and takes the punishment, bloody and beaten he delivers. I’m talking about YA Title and more recently Phil Simms. There was a very famous picture in 1964 on the cover of the Pittsburg Post-Gazette of YA in the end zone bloodied and battered, if you have seen it then you know what I am talking about, look for it. Jerry Reese believed in Eli and now everybody else does too, it was Reese who finally found the receivers to help prove how good Eli is.


Let’s look at those receivers, Nicks, Cruz and Manningham, those three players have helped Eli achieve one of his best seasons. Nicks was a first round pick in 2009, a true top 10 receiver with the ability to break it for the long one anytime he touches the ball. All the fans clamored for the more locally popular Kenny Britt but we now know Reese made the correct choice. Nicks does it with the polish and power of a running back not the grace of the typical so called #1 receiver like a Randy Moss. When the fans begged Reese to get Braylon Edwards he knowingly passed and stuck with the guys he had. Manningham a third round pick in 2008 who was said to have first round ability but a later round football mentality, Reese took a chance and it has paid off. He’s still rough around the edges but he produces touch downs and has come through many times for the Giants. Then there is Cruz, who is this guy, where is he from. He was an undrafted 23 year old free agent from Massachusetts that Jerry Reese just found. His first season with the Giants produced an amazing award winning preseason but in 2010 he was put on IR with an injury. Was he really injured or was he being stashed by the Giants, we’ll never know but at this point like how fast he runs a 40, frankly who cares, if he stays healthy he will have a hall of fame career. Cruz is a very polished and talent receiver with a knack for getting separation and catching the ball. He allowed Reese to let Steve Smith walk for more money, another unpopular move that once again Reese proved to be right about. How’s Philly now Steve, you know you left your heart in New York. In my opinion the Giants MVP is Cruz, in fact the league MVP should be Cruz because without him the Giants would never have made the playoffs.


Unfortunately Ramses Barden has not produced but I still have a gut feeling he will next season, although he may never become the player he should have been that’s how it goes, not every player you get will make it in the NFL for many reasons. So far Reese has done a great job here and has gotten value from the players he has assembled. We still haven’t seen what if anything Jernigan can do but from what I have seen he has that certain something, hopefully he will get his chance too. Devin Thomas can’t run a rout in my opinion but seems to be a good special team’s player, you need them too.


Move in closer to the line to see what the tight end situation is and remember Boss was a seventh round selection by Reese in 2007. He played very well until he signed with the Raiders, big mistake Kevin no do overs in the NFL. Jake Ballard took over and although not a speed burner he is a big target with soft hands, plus he’s a better blocker than Boss is. He was an undrafted free agent out of Ohio State where he was seldom used as anything other than a blocker. Ballard had confidence in himself, worked hard and made the team, only to be cut and brought back. When finally given a chance he proved what he could do and has outplayed Kevin Boss. This brings us to Travis Beckum, a man without a position on the Giants, he is not really a tight end he only plays one in the NFL. The idea was to for him to be an H back type who created mismatches in coverage, which he does. He doesn’t block well enough to play anything but off the LOS as a slot receiver or some times as a pure pass catching TE, his career has been hampered with injuries which may account for his deficiencies. However once out in the open field he has proven to be a good receiver and does create mismatch problems for the defense. In the future I hope he stays healthy and the Giants find a way to use him, he is a talented receiver just not a true tight end or H back type.


If you look at the big picture Reese has done well supplying players and filling needs. For instance Bear Pascoe is a big man who can play TE and fullback and filled in when called upon. Pascoe was a sixth round pick by none other than the Forty Niners in 2009, Reese signed him after the Niners cut him, another good move Jerry. I’m sure you will see a tight end signed or drafted for next season to improve this group. But right now they were good enough to get the Giants into the Super Bowl, Reese never stands by what he’s done, he’s always moving forward and trying to improve the roster in every way at every position. Which brings us to the fullback Henry Hynoski, where did he come from, he’s another undrafted free agent and rookie from Pittsburg. We have had a succession of good fullbacks brought in by Reese basically from nowhere and Hynoski might prove to be the best one, this guy can actually catch the ball on the run. He’s a pretty good blocker and seems to be getting better, his father played fullback for the Cleveland Browns in 1975. Another season in the weight room and working on technique will do a lot for him. Hey Gilbride I’d like to see if he can actually run the ball, he did in college.


In 2010 the offensive line was a mess, so many injuries, it seemed as though the line was more like a game of musical chairs. Reese knew he had to do something about it. He moved Beatty to where he belonged at left tackle, Diehl to left guard, Snee and McKenzie stayed at their usual spots. O’Hara and Seubert were let go as was Andrews who I thought when healthy was one of the best offensive lineman I ever saw. If not for injuries he would have been a hall of fame player. For a center Baas was signed from San Francisco, I’m sure he’s glad he signed with the Giants. A very quiet off season for free agents from the Giants but the Baas singing was important. It looked great on paper, the size and talent is there as well as some pretty good backups, but as the old saying goes the best made plans of mice and men. This plan imploded like an old brick house and a ton of TNT. Baas was hurt, Diehl was playing terribly, Snee was injured and not playing well and Mckenzie just looked old.


Then just when things were maybe starting to come around Beatty who too had not been playing well was diagnosed with a detached retina, he’s on IR. Diehl moved back to left tackle were he has had some rough games, career backup but a good one Kevin Boothe from Queens, New York picked up as a castoff from the Raiders in 2007 by Reese was filling in at center for Baas and moved to left guard when Baas was finally healthy, Snee and McKenzie stayed at their usual spots. Petrus a fifth round 2010 draft pick played well filling in at left guard and has a bright future. This is the Giants offensive line now, period, good, bad or indifferent. They were not playing particularly well and the Giants had no run game but they persevered and now are playing much better. Although the run game still looks mediocre and Eli got plastered by the Niners in the NFC championship game, but you have to understand how good the Niner defense is. This is a good time for two weeks off for this crew to get healthy and work on some chemistry. I think they will peak just at the right time. Reese was able to patch this line together and things have worked out well despite all the adversity. I think you will see wholesale changes coming next season. For now this is the line Diehl, Boothe, Baas, Snee and McKenzie, they have a lot to prove and this is their chance. A real dark horse is Tony Ugoh, signed late in the season as an emergency player. This might just turn out to be a great pickup by Reese like Boothe has been, he was a second round draft pick in 2007 by the Colts and was expected to protect Peyton Manning. The Colts out of desperation threw him in too fast, he wasn’t ready but he does have the physical ability, is he the starting right tackle of the future for the Giants?


Whenever I see Jacobs I think that I just wish this guy would shut up and play the right way. He came into the league with a lot of promise, he was an Accorsi pick in 2005 in the fourth round. I don’t think he was ever envisioned as a featured back and I think he could have really become a force as a multi-faceted running back. But he has not reached anywhere near the impact he could have. What saved the day for the Giants when Tiki Barber retired was a 2007 Reese draft pick Ahmad Bradshaw. He too was never envisioned as a featured back but with Jacobs makes for a potent one-two punch. He’s a bit injury prone and had some fumbling issues but every time he touches the ball it seems something good is going to happen, it doesn’t always, but you can see the intense desire on every play, he is a true Jerry Reese type player, he gives it all every snap. Our third back is DJ Ware, another free agent pickup that fills in well enough when needed, not a great player but a solid professional that plays hard on every down. I do wish our seventh round pick in 2011 was given more of a chance, Da’rel Scott has shown a lot of promise. Like Cruz the year before he had a very good preseason and I am hoping he gets his chance next season. This Super Bowl will depend so much on Reese’s seventh round pick in the 2007 draft, Ahmad Bradshaw.


In my next blog I will look at the defense and special teams. You can see Jerry Reese’s hands all over this roster and the remnants of Ernie Accorsi, his legacy is still with us. Amazingly through so much adversity Jerry Reese has been able to give us another Super Bowl appearance within a short period of time. This is the game every player, coach, owner and front office person dreams of being part of and winning, this is what it’s all about. Win or lose Reese has assured his place in Giants history next to other great Giants like Bill Parcells, LT, Wellington Mara and maybe even Eli Manning.

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16 Responses to “How Jerry Reese built this team-Offense”

  1. Stickler says:

    Get your facts right so you sound like you know what you’re talking about. The famous YA Title photo was never published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. And papers don’t have ‘covers’ they have ‘front pages.’ TC would not tolerate this sloppiness.

  2. romu says:

    Ugoh maybe our next RT ? I wish, but where did this come from ?
    He sucked as a LT for his first 2 years but as you said, he was thrown in there quicky. Yet he didn’t take a snap in 2010 with the Lions and had 33 as an extra lineman this season.

    I can understand being optimistic sometimes but that seems like a major stretch to me.

    OL is the thing I believe Reese isn’t handling well. It looks like he doesn’t want to use high picks for Olinemen and his management of the guys he have seems erratic.

    He took a major chance with the TEs, Ballard being so good was no sure thing at all. What if Ballard hadn’t take that big step ?
    I don’t want to call Reese lucky because he knows so much more about those questions than I’ll ever do, but man that was a huge risk. It seems to me like he considers TEs as he does LBs : as long as they’re average it’s ok. If what we witnessed this season with great TEs doesn’t change his mind, nothing ever will and I’ll just admit that we won’t have one.

    He did good with the WR, way better than those GMs who drafted WRs in front of us (yet those WR don’t have Manning throwing the balls).
    Manningham was huge too.
    I’m not sure we can credit Reese with finding Cruz, but he sure did see something in him and keeping him was a great decision.

    Beckum and Barden midle round busts, the later isn’t even active on gameday anymore. I don’t attend practices so there’s no way to tell if they suck or if they just don’t fit in our offense.

    Overall it’s an average team he assembled and it looked average too until Manning finally became what we all knew he could become.

    Good article, a little to much pink painting I think but a solid start for discussion.

    • Big Daddy says:

      With Ugoh he was like JPP in a lot of ways, not a lot of experience in college but a great physical specimen. He was thrown into a really hard position to play at LOT protecting Peyton Manning, he was not ready.

      I personally thought they were crazy to pick him in the 2nd round but he was the last tackle standing in that draft and they needed lineman. We did the same thing with Beatty but gave him some time, they have tools but it takes more time with certain big men like in the NBA. The Colts blew it, maybe this guy is mature enough now and understands what it takes. We will give him another chance. Even though the Lions are so much better they are still the Lions.

      That’s what people don’t take into consideration, when you’re a winning team always at the top with 10 or more wins you pick late in the draft and miss out on all the real talent. People forget that and that is what this whole article is about how Reese without top picks for years was able to put together 2 super bowl teams. There is also a cap and Reese used the money wisely unlike the Eagles.

      The only top pick we had was the JPP pick and again he scored with him. That’s because we had a bad year. Bad year = top picks.

      So how come the two teams who perennially pick close to last are in the super bowl again? It means the GM of those teams finds talent the hard way. They don’t have top 10 picks every year.

      That’s why Reese is so good. He knows at some positions you won’t have stars you need good solid players. His stars are in the receiver corps and defensive line. Other positions he has had to patch together because of the lack of high draft picks. This next draft we will probably miss out on some excellent linebackers as usual, somewhere he’s going to have to come up with a linebacker though.

    • CHeeKZ Money says:

      man another Reese hater. I hate you guys. We actually have one of the best roster in football. Our LB corps is way under appreciated (we still need a MLB). But Boley, Williams and Kiwi make a great core that have been solid this run. Our secondary is loaded with 1st and 2nd round talent, WR we are stacked. TE fans greatly over estimated the importance of Boss. He was a low round draft pick to begin with, what’s the big deal if we replace him with an unknown.

      Reese has my trust and should be GM for life. I want to see the OLine get better and younger, I want to draft a MLB and TE and I want to continue to see play makers added to both sides of the ball. But I don’t want to see resources wasted getting these. Giants don’t waste cap space or draft picks and that is how you win a super bowl.

  3. Michael S says:

    Good article! Could you do a player by player and coach by coach comparison for the Giants and Pats before the Superbowl?

    Eli…stats wins etc
    Brady…stats wins etc

    • Big Daddy says:

      I leave the stats out with almost everything I write for a reason. Stats are for fans and I try to look at things from a coaches or GMs perspective. Of course there’s nothing wrong with it or being a fan, for me I try and look deeper, much deeper.

      The most important stat that coaches look for is how efficient the team is. For instance they have down and distance and that’s what it’s all about for coaches. How did we do lets say on third down and 10. What percentage of times did we make a first down and what plays worked against what defenses. Same with the defense but reversed.

      That type of stat is only for the team, there is almost no way for a person out of their circle to get that information. It would takes a lifetime. This is their profession so it’s something they have compiled for years. Each team has guys who do just that. Belichick and Mangini started off doing that to start their NFL careers.

      All those other stats have no meaning in a real game so I don’t bother too much with it. So if a running back had 1000 yards and a 4 yard per average, that’s great unless on third and 2 he has a 1 yard per run average, of course depending on what plays they are, that is the more important stat. A DE has 15 sacks but on film you see that he never covers his gap and you can run on him all day until the defense adjusts, that is much more important than how many sacks he has. It’s all about breaking down film and looking for things that do not show up in stats.

      If you want those kind of stats you are talking about there are a hundred of those kinds of web sites starting with ESPN.

      • Michael S says:

        Nah not stats only. I mean like position and coaches comparisons. Who has the better QB in your opinion.. Then rbs.. Who’s better who has better depth, then we and so on.. I didn’t mean for it to sound like stats exactly but just comparisons basically to see how both teams match up.

        • Big Daddy says:

          I see, that’s a good idea but it’s very subjective. Let me finish this series and I’ll see what I can or maybe another blogger can do. Let it work in my little brain and see if anything helps the light bulb go on….

          • Michael S says:

            Alright sounds good! Thanks! I wanna see what you guys opinions is also cuz we all have different opinions about the team but also all love the Giants!

  4. Big L says:

    Great article, man. I read this blog everyday and this has been one of my favorites.


    • Big Daddy says:

      Thanks, I really appreciate comments like this, that’s why I do it, to give people something to read. I see so much nonsense on other sports sites and I try very hard to do different things. The worst articles are who is dating the players, man that just is such a waste of space, does anybody care? I dig looking at hot chicks but really.

      And then there are those forums were people who don’t know jack just mouth off. They bicker and argue and none of them really understand what’s going on the field. If you say something they don’t agree with they all gang up on you to insult and belittle you. Does anybody want to read that?

      Here we try very hard to get deeper into the game itself and inform the best we can. I wish I had access to game film, coaches and players but it’s just me and my PC.

  5. giantsfan73 says:

    Big Daddy, I look forward to your posts here every day when I get the Giants Gab digest in my email. I love the insight, you don’t get this stuff in most other places.

    I’ll be shocked if McKenzie is on the team in 2012… who do you think is more likely to start at RT… Diehl or Beatty or someone else like Ugoh or Brewer? Maybe a first round guy can step in at RT if Reese goes in that direction.

    • Big Daddy says:

      You’re jumping the gun on me man, I’m gonna do a review after the Bowl. I’ll try my best to get into the why some people are going and who or how they will be replaced.

      Hang on!!!!!!


      Thank you so much for your kind words, it keeps me going.

  6. giantsfan73 says:

    @ romu: Who do you say we cannot give credit to Reese for finding Cruz? Who found him? Finding diamonds in the rough like this is incredibly difficult. A team has its big board and then a massive pool of undrafted free agents to go after. To my knowledge, Cruz has never been with another team (like cut early in another camp). Finding a probowler from the ranks of the undrafted is more difficult in my opinion than recognizing first round talent.

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