NEW YORK (WFAN) — The New York Giants had an extremely active offseason. They raided free agency, said goodbye to some old friends and drafted perhaps the next coming at wide receiver.
But the key to the 2014 season could very well hinge on how well they adapt to the new West Coast offense being installed by new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.
A guest on WFAN with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Monday morning, Giants general manager Jerry Reese touched on the offseason and his expectations going forward.
Reese upgraded all over his roster during free agency, signing the likes of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond in the secondary and several other players he expects will contribute immediately, but one player who won’t be leading Big Blue’s defense is Justin Tuck.
“It’s always difficult to part ways with guys who have been such great players for you and help you win championships. That’s the hardest part of being a general manager – parting ways with guys that have been there for a long, long time,” Reese said. “But that’s part of the business. It’s not personal. Justin wasn’t just a good Giant; he was one of the great Giants and we’re happy for him that he got a fresh start out in Oakland and we’re always pulling for Justin Tuck.”
Reese said he was happy to lock up linebacker Jon Beason, because the defense before he arrived last season was a far cry compared to what it became once he felt comfortable in the system.
“We had a lot of issues we wanted to address in the offseason, but that was one of the major things we wanted to get done – try to secure Beason, because when he came in he settled the defense down. He has that leadership ability. I expect him to be a captain this fall,” Reese said, adding the entire organization breathed a collective sigh of relief after it was determined that Beason’s foot injury suffered during OTAs isn’t considered too serious.
But as far as what the Giants could be in 2014, of all the new faces they added McAdoo may be the most important. With the Giants undergoing significant changes at the skill positions and on the line, Reese said it will take some time to get used to McAdoo’s West Coast offense.
“I think it’s just some new energy. You can’t say that the offense we ran … it was at terrific offense. It helped us win two Super Bowls and Kevin Gilbride did a hell of a job for us,” Reese said. “This is just a fresh start for Eli (Manning) and our offense. They are liking it right now in the spring, but the offense is behind the defense because it’s new and there’s a lot of new terminology for all the players. So everybody is leaning it; the coaches are learning it. We had a good spring and everyone is excited about it, but it has to work this fall. Ben McAdoo is a very smart coach and we think we made the right move.”
Reese said he did not expect to see Manning, who was still recovering from offseason ankle surgery, at OTAs and was very impressed by what he did see.
“I will a little surprised. I was the guy who said, look, let’s not put that guy out there. I’m really not concerned about the spring. I wanted him to be ready to go in the summer, but he healed quickly from the surgery … he’s 100 percent and ready to go.”
Reese said he’s also optimistic about what David Wilson will bring to the table. The third-year running back out of Virginia Tech missed 11 games in 2013 due to a severe neck injury. However, Reese said he expects Wilson to bounce back.
“We brought in Rashad Jennings and he’s definitely a bell cow type of a running back – he can run it, he can catch it, he can block, he can do everything with it,” Reese said. “David Wilson is an explosive player, but first and foremost we’re concerned about his health. We do think all systems are go pretty much for him to be healthy and ready for contact during training camp. We held him out for spring, no contact at all, but unless he has a setback we expect to release him for full contact during the fall. Any time he touches the ball he can go the distance. In this West Coast Offense, we’ll try to get them ball to him in different ways and obviously he’ll help in the return game.”
Reese spoke about several other topics, including first round draft pick Odell Beckham Jr., the revamping of the offensive line, and the need to see Jason Pierre-Paul return to the form he showed two years ago. Please click on the link below to hear the entire interview.