“Obviously, he’s coming off the ankle injury and he’s going to be out of spring ball,” general manager Jerry Reese said today. “But Eli is a smart guy. I think he’s driven to prove that last year was just an odd year for him. I think last year was an odd year for him. I believe he’ll bounce back and have a terrific season.”
A reporter at Reese’s pre-draft news conference started asking about the plan for Manning’s rehabilitation.
“Well, he’ll be back when he gets back, but we’re not going to rush him back,” Reese said. “We want him for the summer. We know he’ll be back in the summer. That’s important for us, to have him back in the summer. If he can do something in the spring, we’ll be happy to see him out there, but we’re not going to rush him back.”
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- Curtis Painter, Manning’s backup last season, had arthroscopic knee surgery this week and is expected to be sidelined for four weeks. The Giants also have Ryan Nassib, last year’s fourth-round draft choice, and former Tampa Bay first-round pick Josh Freeman and this week added former Tennessee Titan Rusty Smith.
“There’s competition at the number two spot,” Reese said. “Obviously, Eli has the ankle, we wanted to have more competition in the spring and we think Josh is a talented player and we wanted to create some competition. We like Nassib. He hasn’t really had a chance to do a lot for us, so we’re going to take a real good look at him in the spring. But we think he’s still a good player. He hasn’t had a chance to really play yet, so he’s going to get a lot of work this spring and obviously he’ll get a lot of work in the preseason, along with Curtis Painter, there’s competition, and Josh Freeman. Curtis just had the knee scope so we brought in another quarterback.”
The Giants have a new offensive coordinator in Ben McAdoo, but Reese said that doesn’t alter the expectations the team has for Nassib.
“We expect him to compete for the number two spot,” Reese said. “I don’t think there’s any change in respect to him. We expect him to compete for that number two spot.”
- Reese said he is “hopeful” to have running back David Wilson, who missed the last 11 games in 2013 with a neck injury that required postseason surgery.
“If we have him, that gives us more depth at the position,” Reese said. “We brought (Rashad) Jennings in and we had Michael Cox from last year, who we’re hoping is developing, but David Wilson, he’s really kind of a bonus for us if we can get him back and we expect him. He’s on schedule to be back and we’re very hopeful that he will.”
Reese said Wilson’s status will not change the Giants’ decisions in the NFL Draft next week.
“It’s not going to affect the draft regardless if he’s back or not back,” Reese said. “It’s not going to affect us and how we pick. If there’s a good running back at some point and we think he can help us, we’ll pick him.”
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- The defensive line remains a work in progress after end Justin Tuck and tackle Linval Joseph left via free agency.
“We have guys who need to step up,” Reese said. “We brought in some defensive linemen in free agency, we have some guys from last year – (Cullen) Jenkins, we have (Johnathan) Hankins from last year, we have (Markus) Kuhn coming back from the knee injury, so we have some defensive linemen. Jason Pierre-Paul is coming back from his injury. So we have guys that we like, Damontre Moore. Our defensive line, we want to upgrade everywhere. We’ll try to upgrade our defensive line as we move forward as well.”
- Reese said the Giants exercised their fifth-year option on the contract of Prince Amukamara, their first-round draft choice in 2011.
“We think he’s a good player, so we exercised the option,” Reese said.
- Reese said moving the draft back two weeks from its usual late-April time slot has had little effect on study and preparation.
“It’s just business as usual, I think,” Reese said. “It gave us more time, in respect to free agency, the free agency period. We had a lot to do in free agency, so we worked hard in free agency and after that, actually I liked the couple extra weeks to get ready for the draft.”
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