John Fennelly, Lead Writer
Giants CEO John Mara is probably the most low-key owner in the NFL, but at league meetings he has become somewhat of a sage. His franchise is not the most valuable, or even the most visible, but his presence creates a level-headed atmosphere for the league to conduct its business.
It’s rare that Mara handles any of his own team’s business hastily or without contemplation. Patience has always won out with Mara and it has trickled down throughout the organization. This offseason, the Giants needed a severe overhaul in both the offensive coaching ranks and the brittle roster.
Calling the offense, “broken” after the team finished 9-7, Mara gave GM Jerry Reese a directive to ‘get it fixed.’ That is still ongoing, but opportunities arose to augment the defense, and Reese was given the green light to do so. They will now turn to the draft to fill their remaining offensive needs.
Mara spoke to the media yesterday about the team’s uncharacteristically aggressive strategy this offseason. From Ebenezer Samuel of the Daily News:
“We think we improved our team,” Mara said on SiriusXM NFL’s Late Hits from the NFL owners’ meetings in Orlando, Fla. “We obviously had a lot of holes to fill. On paper we look a little better right now. We still have some more holes we need to fill. We’ve got to have a good draft. Hopefully we’ll be a better team next year.”
The Giants finished last season on a 7-3 run, but Mara wasn’t fooled by that coming off a 7-9 season and the fourth without a playoff berth in the last five years. That was one of the big reasons why the strayed from their usual offseason philosophy and cannonballed into the free-agent pool.
“There were really a couple of things,” Mara said. “One is we went into this offseason in the best cap situation we’ve ever been in , with the most room we’ve ever had. And we had a lot of holes we had to fill. There were players out there we thought could help us, so we were a little more aggressive this year than we had been in the past.”
The main reason the Giants had to take an aggressive stance this spring was because of the fruitless drafts of the past few seasons, so Reese is on the spot to produce this May. He’s lucky because the draft is deep and he’s drafting the in the highest spot (12th) since takng over for Ernie Accorsi in 2007.
After hitting the jackpot in 2007, when all eight picks participated in the Super Bowl XLII run, Reese’s drafts have been riddled with disastrous choices. His track record in the first four rounds has been a mixture of washouts, injuries and flat-out busts.
Two of the 2007 selections (WR Steve Smith and LS Zak DeOssie) would go on to be Pro Bowl players, but Reese’s drafts have only produced one other Pro Bowler since 2008 (DE Jason Pierre-Paul).
Mara wants players that can get to the playing field quickly. The 2013 draft was a good start. It produced OL Justin Pugh, who started all 16 games at RT; DT Jon Hankins, who will be a key cog in the D-line rotation, dynamic DE Damontre Moore and QB Ryan Nassib.