Giants Mara says season was very disappointing
In the wake of another disappointing New York Giants season,
co-owner John Mara wasn’t so sure about his own job.
”Not according to my mother, it’s not,” the Giants president
and chief executive officer quipped Monday in his first comments on
the 7-9 season that left the team out of the playoffs for the
fourth time in five years.
A candid Mara confirmed the feeling that Giants’ fans
experienced this season and expressed his own frustrations.
”Obviously, this was a very disappointing season, as
disappointing as any in my memory,” he said addressing the media
at Giants headquarters.
Mara spoke about the many shortcomings of the team, including
the offensive line, but did not point the blame at coach Tom
Coughlin, general manager Jerry Reese nor quarterback Eli
Coughlin was told Monday the team wants him back for an 11th
season as head coach.
”In terms of other changes that may or may not be made, that
will be discussed later in the week,” Mara said. ”I’d like to
think that the fans know we’re going to do whatever we have to do.
Not necessarily the moves they want us to make. Nobody wants to win
more than Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese, perhaps than myself. We’re
going to do what we have to do. We’re going to do it in an
intelligent fashion. Stability is important. There are times when
changes have to be made. We’ll do whatever we have to do to put a
team on the field that our fans can be proud of.”
Giants fans can be assured that Mara will be looking to improve
the offense, especially the offensive line.
”I think our offense is broken,” Mara said. ”We need to
improve on the offensive side. To me, that is the No. 1 personnel
priority going into the offseason is we need improve the offensive
line. My biggest concern coming into the year was if our offensive
line could stay healthy. We were never able to protect Eli or get
our ground game going well enough.”
Mara said it was obvious Manning did not have a good season. The
career-high 27 interceptions was evidence of that.
”With Eli, sometimes he tries to do too much,” Mara said. ”He
competes so hard out there. We have all the confidence in him. He’s
still the face of the franchise and we need to help him. We need to
give him some better tools and do a better job around him.”
Mara admits he made mistakes in evaluating the team and during
”I was the same person who said in the preseason that this was
as talented a team as we’ve had in years,” Mara said. ”I read
some stories about our draft picks. We have missed on some guys and
have had bad luck with some second or third-round picks. There were
a few instances where we took a chance, knowing we were taking a
chance, thinking we were going to hit it out of the park, and we
”I think we have as good a group of scouts as there is in the
NFL. It’s as much as me as anything else. I knew the risks we were
taking. To be successful in this league you have to do a good job
in the draft, especially with those middle-round picks. No question
over the last few years we’ve missed on people. I’m not sure why it
took us three years to find out that Jerrel Jernigan can
When asked about Reese, Mara said, ”Yes, I’m convinced he’s the
right guy. I like the way he deals with the players in a direct and
Since it seems obvious that Coughlin will be back, Mara was
asked about the Giants philosophy of not letting a coach go into
the season with a one year left on his contract.
”Extending Tom? That has been our philosophy in the past,
whether that continues or not has not been decided,” Mara said.
”I’m not sure he knows how much longer he wants to coach. It’s
very tough to have an exit strategy in the National Football
Mara agonized over the 0-6 start as much as the fans. He thinks
the team could have won its division if not for the horrendous
”It kills me to go into these other stadiums and see this large
collection of Giants’ fans come out to support us and we put on
performance like we did in Kansas City, Carolina and San Diego,”
Mara said. ”It’s painful to watch that. There is no reason we
couldn’t win our division this. We needed to just make a couple of
plays in those games.
”If there was one positive, at least the locker room held
together. Three was no mutiny or finger pointing.”
Both Eli Manning and GM Jerry Reese pointed to Broncos
quarterback Peyton Manning as a reason that next season can be
”There are some really good quarterbacks who have come back
from rough seasons and been really good players,” Reese said.
”Actually, his brother (Peyton) had 28 interceptions one season
(1998). (Eli) has to play better, we expect him to play better. He
expects to play better. One of the things that attracted us to him
when he came out of Ole Miss was that he made everyone around him
Peyton Manning set an NFL record with 55 touchdown passes during
the regular season.
”You can get better,” Eli Manning said. ”That’s with Peyton
having his best year at 37, so I know I can get better. I can make
improvements and play at a high level these next years and get back
to making playoffs and winning championships.”