INDIANAPOLIS -- The optimist in New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese believes that help is coming from within the roster. But like any personnel chief, that's not going to prevent him from making contingency plans. Reese knows injuries to key players in 2009 hampered the Giants -- but they won't receive any sympathy from their NFC East rivals.
“I think there are some holes we need to fill defensively,” Reese said Saturday during his news conference at Lucas Oil Stadium. “Are there some guys on the roster? I hope there are, but we’re still going to try to go out and fill some spots.
"If there’s a guy on the roster that we don’t see yet that emerges, fantastic. But we’re definitely not going to depend on that. We’re going to try to bolster a lot of positions offensively and defensively."
Reese isn't one for trashing players, but he called out safeties Michael Johnson and C.C. Brown for their poor play in '09. And he also took some of the blame for not getting the right players on the field. I remember him telling me in training camp last year that safety Kenny Phillips was about to become an absolute star in the league. Phillips indeed had a remarkable first two games, but then he missed the rest of the season with a serious knee injury that required microfracture surgery. Reese said Phillips is making excellent progress in his rehabilitation, but that won't prevent him from trying to upgrade the position via free agency or the draft.
Reese didn't spend a lot of time talking about defensive end Osi Umenyiora, but he confirmed that a meeting took place between the two of them. He dismissed Umenyiora's recent complaints as offseason "chatter" and said that it's something he's used to by now.
"I don’t get upset about players in the offseason,” Reese said. “Again, it happens every season with almost every team. That’s just what you get in the offseason. It doesn’t bother me a bit."
The one player that Reese went out of his way to praise was cornerback Terrell Thomas, who took over as the starter while Aaron Ross battled a hamstring injury. From a news standpoint, Reese hinted Will Beatty is in the mix to become the starting left tackle. If that happens, David Diehl would likely move to left guard. Reese believes Diehl's versatility is a huge asset for this team.
Reese also talked at length about new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. We'll have more on that over the next few days.