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"Now," said Michael Norman, the once disgruntled fan, "Jerry Reese has a job for life, as far as I'm concerned."
In Super Bowl XLVI, Ballard had two catches for 10 yards but tore his left ACL in the fourth quarter and will be out until at least midseason of 2012. Beckum, the No. 2, sustained a similar injury in the game. So in comes former Cowboys backup Martellus Bennett in free agency, and you can be sure Devine or another of the Giants' 12 scouts has found a prospect whom Mike Pope will try to turn into a player come training camp in July.
The Giants' 1986 and '90 title teams had a smart G.M., Young, and a secretive personnel boss, Tom Boisture, both of whom often clashed with Parcells. That creative tension worked. Today New York's draft room is a creative symphony. "It goes back to Jerry and Tom working together," Devine says. "You can see the trust they've built. In the room no one's got an ego." It's no coincidence that four consistent winners—the Steelers, Packers, Ravens and Giants—operate similarly on the draft and other personnel decisions, with cooperation and understanding between coach and G.M. In Baltimore, John Harbaugh trusts Ozzie Newsome implicitly. In Green Bay, Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson are on the same wavelength. In Pittsburgh, bold Mike Tomlin and understated Kevin Colbert are perfectly paired.
"In my first draft with the Giants [in 2001]," says Devine, "I looked in the back of the room, and there was an older man with gray hair sitting there every day, taking notes and observing. It was Wellington Mara. When you see the owner sitting there with his notebook out, you understand how much of a cornerstone the draft is here, how much this organization believes in it."
In the draft room this week Reese, Coughlin and the Giants' staff will be working together—no egos, no credit sought—to shape the roster for 2012 and beyond. Major headlines are unlikely in April, but don't be surprised if come January some unknown is making a big impact for Big Blue.