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Jerry Reese: Giants needed more 'passion' this season

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  • By Edward Lewis NFL.com
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The New York Giants' O-line play has been rough, Eli Manning has a bottom-tier 86.1 passer rating, Odell Beckham's lost for the season and the previously stout Big Blue defense has leaked oil this season.

Jerry Reese has seen all that and understands those are all contributing factors to the Giants being 1-6 heading into their bye this week. But the general manager has an even bigger theory on why the Giants are dwelling in the cellar of the division just one year after nearly winning an ultra competitive NFC East: The team just didn't come into 2017 hungry enough.

"It was a lot of chatter," Reese told reporters at a news conference Tuesday. "A lot of good things were being said about the team, but again, when you have a young team, which we have, a relatively young team, you have to protect against winning. When you win 11 games, then you've got a little bit of a swagger about you. You come back and think, 'Well, this is pretty easy, we won 11 games. And we won 11 games with a rookie head coach.' So you come back and think, 'Well, we already got 11 wins.' That's not just how it works.

"So you have to protect against winning. I said all that to say you have to protect against winning. You have to start over. You have to put in the work. You have to play with some passion out there. So that's what I'm trying to say."

It's an interesting take from Reese, considering the dozens of tangible factors that appeared to have trumped the cliche "we're not hungry enough" narrative. So, obviously, the follow-up question to Reese's thoughts were, Was that a veiled shot at Ben McAdoo and his ability to get his team ready? But Reese quickly said he doesn't have any qualms with his team's coach right now.

"As far as Ben, Ben won 11 games last year as a rookie," Reese said. "It's been a little bit tougher. He can't sneak up on anybody in this league. You have to -- he has to do better in what his job is. And I think he will. And here's why I think that: It's because it's important to him, number one. He's a hard worker. He's smart. He's smarter than all of us in this room, I can tell you that. It's not even close. All of us together, he's smarter than all of us. So it's important to him. It means something to him. He's not the guy that you can't talk to and give suggestions to. He's going to do whatever is best for this football team."

So if it wasn't clear before, it's clear now: McAdoo's seat isn't hot. In fact, Reese even personally took the blame off his coach, telling reporters, "I'm responsible for everybody on the roster and I'll take ownership to where we are right now with this 1-6 start." But it's only going to get tougher for the Giants from here. Games against the Rams, Chiefs, Redskins (twice), Raiders, Eagles and Cowboys are still on the docket. If Reese wants to see more hunger, and more wins, the general manager might have to wait until 2018 to find that.

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