‘Aggressive’ Mara says his Giants got better in FA

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.




9 comments
jwill
jwill

First season in a long time where the moves made sense and didn't seem like the Giants were either over-thinking or stuck in the bargain basement. I'm loving it. A big negative for letting 3 freaking important players walk, 2 looking at their second contract (I think). That's a big no-no in my book. Overall, I give the offseason a B. Let's see how the draft goes.

fast_eddie
fast_eddie

As low key and patient as John Mara is, you can tell that the past two seasons are REALLY eating at him and as Giants fans we should all be thankful for that. I think Mara's patience is actually one of his strong points, but in this case he knows things need to get better fast so his patience is not on the table this time. I don't think I've ever heard John Mara say before that we NEED to sign certain players and we NEED to have a good draft to see immediate improvement. Well, he did say those things this year which means he is not happy at the recent turn of events especially considering we were a Championship team just 3 years ago.. There is no question if we don't make the playoffs this year, the turnover next year will be even greater than what we're seeing now. Every GM and coach has a shelf life and ours have been longer than most, but it's all coming to a close if the ship isn't righted in 2014. Jerry Reese is definitely feeling the urgency of our owner...no doubt about it.

hashburry
hashburry

Offense a long way from "fixed".

Dave Rosenbluth
Dave Rosenbluth

In this case I think it is pretty obvious that what they went after in FA dictates what will follow in the draft.  And just as important, the picks especially rounds 1-3 need to be players that are contributors-and not just on special teams.

greekgod
greekgod

If the giants don't make the playoffs Reese and company can say goodbye to the organization.....and you can take that to the  bank.

rico
rico

funny how Mara called the offense broken, changed coaches but in the FA market most of the focus has been on the defense. yeah I know they got a lot of offensive line backups and an RB but interesting how this has gone down.


I hope this draft is a fruitful one and not a lot of "projects"

Billy Suede
Billy Suede

Schwartz is going to be a starter and walton may very well be the starting center. Not sure about 'a lot of offensive line backups'.

rico
rico

@Billy Suede  Not sure how good an idea is of  Walton starting @ center.  I mean the Giants I am sure have done their homework but he's been hurt for 2 years not an experienced vet, didn't we have an injured center for the last 4 years in Bass?