The New York Giants seasons ended just like 30 other NFL teams short of the ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl. After a 38-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers, Big Blue will travel back home and start their offseason. While the Giants season ended in defeat the 2016 campaign went significantly better than 2015 which had the G-men having a 6-10 record and missing the playoff. While Tom Coughlin was the one who lost his job over the Giants performance it was made very clear that if Big Blue under performed in 2016, New York Giants General manager Jerry Reese would be removed.
Reese entering the most crucial offseason in his career after taking over for Ernie Accorsi in 2007 did not waste any time spending money rebuilding the Giants defense. Within the first 48 hours of the 2016 free agency period, Reese acquired defensive end Olivier Vernon, defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison, and cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
Following the free agent frenzy, the Giants went their traditional away of building a team and that was the draft. The same which George Young laid the foundation for two Super Bowl teams. In 2016 many fans were shocked when Giants drafted cornerback Eli Apple out of Ohio State. In the second round, Reese and company selected wide receiver Sterling Shepard out of Oklahoma. Defensive depth was addressed in the third and fourth round when safety Darian Thompson was chosen in the 3rd round and linebacker B.J. Godson taken in the 4th round. With the last two picks offensive needs were addressed when running back Paul Perkins was taken in the 5th round followed by Jerrel Adams in the 6th round.
As opening day drew closer the speculation morphed into projections with many trying to determine how the Giants will do in what would be believed to be the worst division in the entire NFL, the NFC East. All Jerry Reese could do now is see how his team would do even though they were cries that a major need at offensive line had not been addressed via the spreading spree in free agency or the draft.
As the season progressed and the wins started to mount it was very clear the Jerry Reese made the right choices in 2016 to keep his job. The defensive acquisitions of Vernon, Harrison, and Jenkins paid huge dividends. Jenkins was a pro-bowler, Harrison was an All-Pro, and Vernon was the perfect complement to Jason Pierre-Paul. The Giants defense that gave away five victories in 2015 was a powerful force in 2016 that did not let their opponents drive down the field for the game-winning score during the closing moments of games in 2016.
The rookies also contributed. Apple did make his mistakes but benefited from being the nickel back behind Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Jenkins in 2016. Shepard was a solid number two receiver that the Giants have been looking for with the emergence of Odell Beckham Jr. The player that made a big impact was Paul Perkins who at season’s end went from the 5th round pick to starting running back. What also helped were previous Reese draft picks which were OBJ who was 2nd team All-Pro and the emergence of Landon Collins as a powerful force in the secondary who was also rightfully named All-Pro.
Yet with many offseason acquisitions leading a resurgence for the Giants the job is not yet finished. With Eli Manning at quarterback, the Big Blue faithful will believe they have a chance to claim another Super Bowl. And with his performance in the 2016 season Jerry Reese should still be at the helm for the Giants as they try to make the right moves to win the franchises 5th Lombardi trophy.