jranieli Posted November 28, 2007 Share Posted November 28, 2007 http://www.newsday.com/sports/football/gia...0,825811.column f this were another season -- 2005, say, when the Giants also were 7-4 -- maybe Jerry Reese would have a better grasp of his team's future. But this season's 7-4 is a far cry from the 2005 version, when Eli Manning was in his first full season as a starter, the Giants were fighting for the NFC East title and Tom Coughlin hadn't yet taken them to the playoffs. "We've got a big few weeks coming up," Reese said. "It's going to tell us a lot." Reese didn't want to talk much about Coughlin's future except to say, "He's coaching for his life out there." Reese meant it as a positive, that Coughlin is doing anything he can to win. But it may have another meaning that won't be determined until after the Giants' season ends, whenever that may be. Reese's first year as general manager seemed, at the start, as if it might be a rebuilding season. He jettisoned some older regulars, had a coach on a one-year leash and a team leader AWOL. But Reese has seen plenty this season that tells him things might not change one bit for 2008. Same coach, same quarterback, same Hall of Fame defensive end. But then ... Here are the main areas Reese and his staff will be evaluating the next five weeks, and into January: The coach. Reese is still feeling very positive about Coughlin, who could be the first Giants coach with three straight playoff appearances since Bill Parcells (1984-86). The owners feel the same way, and nothing has been decided. The true wild card in Coughlin's future may be Steve Tisch. Team president John Mara has never been one to make sweeping changes, but Tisch, in his third year as executive VP, may push to go in a different direction regardless of what Coughlin does, short of a Super Bowl appearance. The quarterback. The Giants exercised a buy-back of the final two years of Manning's contract in March after those years were voided by Manning hitting performance clauses. Now, the Giants are on the hook for $8.45 million for next season and $8.9 million in 2009. There will be serious negotiations this offseason, and games like last Sunday's don't help Manning's case for a long, lucrative extension like the one the Cowboys gave Tony Romo last month. And there has been, according to a team source, plenty of discussion about whether to draft a quarterback in April or sign a young one to groom for the future and possibly push Manning a bit. Jared Lorenzen and Anthony Wright haven't provided Manning any competition, and the Giants may want to change that going forward. The veterans. Strahan might be headed to his eighth Pro Bowl, which will stoke his desire to play another season and ask for more than the $4 million he's due for '08. Amani Toomer is still a viable receiver at 33, but Reese has already shown a willingness to move on. The young guys. A person outside the organization who is familiar with the Giants' thinking said the team initiated extension talks with Justin Tuck, Brandon Jacobs, Chris Snee and Gibril Wilson during the bye week, but nothing was signed. All four may be integral to the team's future. Only Wilson will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, but he's the sole veteran at a painfully thin safety spot, and the Giants may not be able to afford losing him. Change is definitely coming for the Giants and Reese. "Let's just say there's a lot on my mind right now," he said with a laugh. "But my main focus is the Bears, and where we're at this week. We've got to see where this thing goes before we make any other decisions." Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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