John Mara says Giants' window of opportunity not closing
John Mara conceded that he thinks every season will be better than the previous one.
"What am I supposed to say, that we're not going to be as good as we were last year?" the Giants president quipped Thursday.
This time, though, he's not only measuring the current squad against its most recent performance -- a 9-7 flop that ended without a playoff berth -- but against the 2011 team that won a fourth Super Bowl for the franchise, and second in five years.
"I look at us on paper and I think we're every bit as good as that team," Mara said of the team that finished with the same 9-7 record but won the title. "There's a long way to go between the paper and proving it on the field. But we have enough talent to compete with anybody."
That talent will assemble Friday as the Giants report for the start of training camp. They'll participate in a conditioning test in the afternoon and prepare for the first practice of the season on Saturday.
The 2013 Giants will be very different from the 2011 version. Many familiar faces have departed -- the list of two-time Super Bowl winners on the roster has dwindled to nine -- and even more could be on the way out. Stalwarts such as Justin Tuck, Corey Webster and David Diehl are in the last year of their contracts. The Giants have brought in a cast of veterans on one-year contracts who are trying to revive their careers such as Aaron Curry, Mike Patterson and Keith Rivers.
The team may have the appearance of one making a final reach for another Lombardi Trophy, but Mara said that's not the case because of one main factor.
"We obviously have a quarterback in place who has won a couple of Super Bowls, who is in his prime," Mara said of Eli Manning. "He needs a little bit of help and we have to play better on defense and play better up front and we think we've added some pieces that are going to allow us to do that. But I don't look at it like our window is closing, we'd better do something now . . . As long as he's behind center, yeah, we have a chance to win and compete."
Notes & quotes: The Giants agreed to terms with first-round pick Justin Pugh and QB Ryan Nassib, the fourth-round pick. Both will report with the rest of the team on Friday. Pugh will compete with Diehl for the starting right tackle job . . . The Giants announced a new partnership with Quest Diagnostics on Thursday and will rename their facility the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mara joked that the Quest pitch was so impressive "they even convinced me to put a green-colored logo on our building."