Of course the New York Giants hired Dave Gettleman as their new general manager.
Once they announced that former GM Ernie Accorsi would be leading the search after the firing of Jerry Reese in early December, Gettleman getting the job has always been the expected outcome.
Gettleman and Accorsi both joined the Giants organization in the same year, 1998. Accorsi recommended Reese over Gettleman for the Giants GM job in 2007, but had enough respect for Gettleman that he helped him land the Carolina Panthers’ GM gig in 2013.
It can’t be a surprise to anyone that Accorsi would push Gettleman for the Giants job the second time around. Or that co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch, having seen their franchise deteriorate into a dysfunctional, embarrassing mess reminiscent (if not worse) than the Wilderness Years of the late 1960 and ‘70s, would turn to someone they trust to try to clean it up.
The choice is understandable
The hiring of Gettleman won’t be universally loved by Giants fans. In our early poll results, 21 percent of voters have given the selection an ‘A’ grade. Fifteen percent have scored it a ‘D’ or ‘F.’ There is still time to vote. Please do.
The hiring, though, is absolutely as understandable as it was predictable.
The Giants are in crisis. They have a fractured locker room with a group of individualistic players who have no clue what “Giants Pride” is. They need to hire a coach — the right coach, this time. They have a deteriorated roster that needs to be rebuilt. They need to make a franchise-shaping quarterback decision.
When the Giants pushed Tom Coughlin out the door, choosing Reese instead, they gave the coaching job to Ben McAdoo. A first-timer and an outsider. That blew up in the organization’s face. A brilliant defensive effort the Giants couldn’t repeat in 2017 saved McAdoo in 2016. His shortcomings were fully exposed this season.
The Giants, quite obviously, were in no mood to again gamble their future on someone they didn’t know. They chose, as expected, the devil they knew over the devil they didn’t know.
I get it if you’re disappointed
It’s easy to say this won’t bring about the “wholesale changes” John Mara talked about when he fired Reese and coach Ben McAdoo. Gettleman was employed by the Giants for 15 years, so he is a trusted part of the family. He knows the Mara and Tisch families. He knows most of the scouting staff. He knows many of the secretaries and other employees around the Giants’ facility.
He is, really, a Giant.
Is that really a bad thing? I might argue that part of what has been lost in recent years is what it is to be a Giant. He knows the Giants place in the NFL. He knows the expectations. He has been part of three Giants’ Super Bowl teams, and a fourth in Carolina. He knows what “Giants Pride” is.
The job of the next general manager is to restore it. Knowing what it is, and how the organization went about establishing it, can’t be a bad thing.
Of course, the argument that the Giants passed on a chance for a clean break, an opportunity to interview top-tier front office executives from other organizations and to chart an entirely new course has validity. Guys like Eliot Wolf (Green Bay), Nick Caserio (New England) or Brain Gaine (Buffalo).
I get it. What you don’t know always sounds better, or at least more exciting, than what you do know. Until you know it. McAdoo vs. Coughlin. The backup quarterback vs. the starter. The old vs. the new, until the new is old and you realize it’s not very good. Or, not better than the old.
But, is Gettleman really just more of the same?
Sure, he knows the scouts. But, that also means he knows which ones do their jobs well and which ones don’t.
Gettleman never ran a draft with the Giants or made a personnel decision. The ones he made in Carolina, from keeping Ron Rivera as coach to jettisoning lots of popular players, made fans unhappy at first but led to a lot of winning. I think Giants fans would sign up for that.
Gettleman has long been known as a guy who loves what he calls the “hog mollies.” The big guys. The offensive and defensive linemen. His first two draft picks in Carolina were defensive tackles. In four of the five drafts he ran in Carolina, an offensive lineman was selected in the first three rounds.
That in itself is a pretty radical departure from the way Reese did business.
The Giants need a bulldozer
The Giants are in no position to be wishy-washy. They need someone at the top who is willing to make hard decisions, and who won’t flinch at the repurcussions.
- If they want to move on from Eli Manning, they need someone willing to tell him that, and to be the guy associated with it.
- If they want to slap Odell Beckham Jr. down a peg, they need a general manager with the intestinal fortitude to do it.
- If they want to strip the roster of guys who are locker room issues or highly-paid veterans who aren’t worth the money any longer, they need a guy who isn’t afraid to be unpopular.
Gettleman showed in Carolina that he’s willing to be that guy. Ask Josh Norman. Or Steve Smith Sr. Or Jon Beason. Or any of the other popular players he ran out of town when they could no longer pull their weight.
At first blush, hiring Gettleman feels like the Giants just settling for more of the same, for the status quo. I really don’t think it is.
Gettleman’s work in Carolina was a mixed bag, for sure, but it added up to a lot of winning. Isn’t winning the point?
Gettleman isn’t Reese. As I said, he favors “hog mollies” while Reese favored play-makers. I have argued that the Giants’ talent evaluation hasn’t been as good since Gettleman left full-time work for the team after 2011.
The fact that Gettleman is 66, and probably only figuring on holding the job for a few years, may also be a good thing. There is no reason for him not to be bold, or afraid to make a difficult, unpopular call.
I would have been on board has the Giants decided to wait and interview more candidates, but I also can’t get riled up and call this the wrong move. This might work. It might not. It is, though, what you always should have expected since the day the Giants ousted Reese.
Give it a chance.