Left to salvage 2017 after Jerry Reese’s departure, the Giants’ interim general manager is looking ahead while staying in the moment.
Currently, the only fact about the future of the New York Giants is that they won’t be showing up in the 2017-18 NFL playoffs.
Interim general manager Kevin Abrams is hoping to become another certainty.
“I think everyone would want this job,” the Syracuse alum said with a slight smile. “Initially, (being named GM) was a shock and surprise and emotional and uncomfortable a little bit. Now, it’s starting to take on more of a business as usual, but the circumstances aren’t getting any less unfortunate.”
The temporary successor for Jerry Reese publicly spoke for the first time on Thursday afternoon, while the Giants prepared for their Sunday afternoon showdown against the Carson Wentz-less Eagles (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX). With Reese and embattled head coach Ben McAdoo now ghosts of Giants past, Abrams is left to salvage whatever’s left of this woebegone season.
“It’s been a tough year for a lot of different reasons and there’s no one person, position group, or individual that’s the cause of us being 2-11,” he said. “We’re collectively 2-11. So, the short answer is we need to get better in a lot of areas.”
First and foremost on Abrams’ mind is what he can control and what he’s guaranteed to oversee. Like pretty much anyone else in the Giants organization, Abrams was asked about quarterbacks, namely Eli Manning and Davis Webb.
Asked if Manning still has good football left, Abrams simply replied “yes.” On the rookie Webb, the Giants’ highest selection of a quarterback since the epic Manning trade in 2004, Abrams hopes he sees action over these next three games, but stressed the difficulty of doing so and finding proper evaluation.
“Because of the position, it’s just hard to do. I know you guys know this already, but you can only play one quarterback at a time. So, it’s not like trying to sprinkle in a defensive tackle or a linebacker into the mix and give him some reps,” he explained. “It’s a bit different, it has a bit more of an impact on everything else that you do. (Interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo) and I talk about it all the time, (principal owner) John (Mara) has talked about it on plenty of occasions, and we know what we want to accomplish, it’s just not easy to do it necessarily. It’s an ongoing conversation and hopefully, we get an opportunity to put him out there, but it’s got to be done the right way.”
In addition to the Manning and Webb quagmires, Abrams dealt with questions about quarterbacks who aren’t even on the team yet. With the Giants undoubtedly possessing a high pick in next year’s selection proceedings, Abrams reported it’s “business as usual” in the Giants’ scouting department.
“(Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross) and his staff are preparing for the draft like they would normally,” Abrams reported. “Our pro department is doing what they do: advance books, following the wire, finding opportunities for us to incrementally get better at the bottom of the roster and preparing for next offseason. So, nothing really changes.”
Abrams knows all about pressure in the NFL, as he played four seasons in the league as a corner, selected in the second round by Detroit in 1997. He’s more than ready to deal with the additional spotlight that comes in New York, which faces a bit of a rebuild climb following this perfect storm. Of course, that’s up to ownership, but Abrams, who has extensively worked with the Giants’ cap situation over the past few seasons, had some good news to report on the money front.
“We won’t have any restrictions on what we can do based upon the salary cap,” he stated. “We’ll have tough decisions like we have every offseason, but we don’t have to make any decisions because of the salary cap.”
As the Giants embark on this final stretch, Abrams will be looking to shed his interim label alongside temporary head coach Spagnuolo. In a message to Giants fans, Abrams praised the work Spagnuolo is doing.
“Spags has a really hard job now and he’s doing it really well. His first 10 days on the job have been exceptional,” he evaluated. “His message to the team has been fantastic, the changes have been subtle, but they’ve had an impact, and I think the players are buying in.”
Spagnuolo reciprocated the praise in his own Thursday statements.
“I’ve known Kevin a long time and Kevin and I stayed in touch even when I left here (in 2009),” said Spagnuolo, who called Abrams “tremendously intelligent” before adding “Sometimes as coaches you can get those blinders on, but he does a good job of seeing the whole thing. There are times when I can’t see the forest through the trees. Then you need somebody to open it up for you. Kevin can, so I’m glad he’s here. He’s been a great help.”
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490