Jerry Reese finally took the podium at the NFL Combine on this past Saturday and talked about the Giants off-season; this was the first time Giants fans have heard anything of substance since just after the end (or should I say car crash of an end) to the Giants season ending in Minnesota in embarrassing fashion (I still can’t reason away how this team lost in the final game 44-7, showing no heart, toughness, or pride).
Reese, among other topics, addressed the ongoing Osi Umeniyora situation (we call it Osi watch); the need to upgrade the safety position, the search for a new middle linebacker, and the possible re-shuffling of the offensive line. Reese shed little light on the status of Osi, but he did confirm that he spoke with the disgruntled defensive end. Reese was predictably tight lipped, only saying that, “I can’’t talk to you guys (about that),” Reese said. “It was a private conversation. It was a good conversation, but that’’s all I can speak on that.”
I happen to think that the longer that “Osi Watch” continues, the greater the chance the Giants will listen to trade offers. Make no mistake, I don’t think the Giants are shopping Osi actively, I am only reiterating that if communication continues to go south and the Giants don’t like what they are hearing from camp Osi, Reese and Coughlin might have to pull the trigger on a deal (provided that the deal makes sense in terms of value of picks and/or players). Knowing Coughlin and the Giants brass, the last thing they want to do is have an unhappy Osi Umeniyora, so the situation bears watching and thus, “Osi Watch” shall continue.
Reese also alluded to the probability that the Giants offensive line will see changes (with stalwart David Diehl either moving inside to guard or over to the right tackle position; second year man Will Beatty would be charged with protecting Eli’s backside (I am not opposed to Beatty becoming the full-time starter, but he better be putting time in the weight room and working on getting a little bit stronger and bigger to complement his quick feet and athletic frame, he could be a very good left tackle, we’ll have to see how this plays out). Don’t be shocked to see the Giants grab a versatile offensive lineman (Maurkice Pouncey from Florida and J.D. Walton from Baylor both fit the bill, as each can fill in at center or guard, and Pouncey might even have right tackle ability as well).
Finally, Reese hinted that the Giants will not be afraid to upgrade the roster through free agency, but I still expect the Giants to shy away from big-money bidding wars for guys like Peppers or Dansby (I do think their interest in Dansby is legit, it will just be a matter of how high will they go?). Reese also slammed incumbent safety, Michael Johnson, for his terrible play in 2009 (Reese seems to share the sentiment of Giants fans on this one).
Expect Giants changes, perhaps on both sides of the ball. The pieces are in place to make another run, but the Giants chance to overcome the Cowboys and Eagles hinges on off-season changes. Stay Blue (in a good way of course)!