When the New York Giants began their search, though some would barely say it qualifies as such, for a new general manager, we listed five questions candidates would have to answer. Now that Dave Gettleman has the job, let’s look back at a slightly modified version of those questions.
Who will he hire as head coach?
This, of course, is absolutely critical. The GM and coach have to be on the same page when it comes to the type of team, and consequently type of personnel, they want. It’s long ago now and perhaps pointless to bring up, but I always had the idea in the final few years of Tom Coughlin’s tenure that he and Jerry Reese didn’t see things the same way. A GM has to know what his coach wants/needs, and do everything he can to give him the right pieces. When the GM and coach aren’t on the same page, you get rosters and coaching staff that don’t fit each other.
Does Gettleman want a younger coach? An older one? A guy who has been a head coach before? A first-timer?
We heard a few names as possible targets on Thursday night — Matt Patricia of the New England Patriots, Steve Wilks of the Carolina Panthers, John DeFilippo of the Philadelphia Eagles. Even Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien, should he and Houston part ways.
There will be others. Maybe Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel, or New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will be among those who interest Gettleman.
We will find out soon enough.
What is the quarterback plan?
The Giants are standing firmly at the crossroads with Eli Manning. You can be sure that Gettleman, John Mara and Steve Tisch have spent a lot of time discussing the team’s quarterback plan, and that they know what they want to do. What, though, will that be?
Move on from Manning this offseason? Draft a quarterback in Round 1 and keep Manning for a year while your first-round pick learns? If that’s the plan, who’s your guy? UCLA’s Josh Rosen says he would rather play for the Giants than Cleveland Browns. Sam Darnold? Josh Allen? Baker Mayfield? Lamar Jackson? What about keeping Manning, using the No. 2 pick to trade down, acquire more picks, and letting Davis Webb develop as the potential heir to Manning?
What changes will come in the scouting department?
The Giants have a mostly veteran scouting/personnel department. Some of their senior scouts have been with the organization since the George Young era. Some were hired by Ernie Accorsi. Many are good scouts who have been with the organization through good and bad. Remember — it’s their job to scout the players, not to pick them. Gettleman has worked with many of them. He should be well acquainted with which scouts are good and which might not be.
The bigger decisions might regard current interim GM Kevin Abrams and Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross. By all accounts, the Giants want to keep Abrams. With Gettleman being 66 years old, he could be groomed as the heir to Gettleman a few years down the road. Ross was a Reese hire, and his future would seem much less certain.
Rebuild or revamp?
Yes, there is a difference.
A rebuild would mean most likely hiring a young, first-time coach, jettisoning Manning, letting most if not all of the veteran players heading to free agency walk, perhaps even looking at the roster and stripping away a highly-paid veteran like Janoris Jenkins, whose $28.8 million in guaranteed money has already been paid. This is the blow everything up and start over approach.
Revamp would mean looking at the roster, including the long list of key players who are on injured reserve, and concluding that what you are starting with should be closer to the 11-5 team it was in 2016 rather than the two-win disaster it has become this season. In this scenario, you are probably inclined to keep Manning with the belief that the right head coach, coaching staff and a few key personnel moves could push the team back into contention.
Considering his age, Gettleman probably wasn’t brought in to engineer a long, slow rebuild. More likely, we’re looking at trying to fix this mess. Now.
What is the Odell Beckham plan?
Yes, a plan for Beckham’s future has to be part of the deal. That includes addressing both Beckham’s contract and his penchant for silly distractions.
Giants’ ownership has long said it wants Beckham to be a Giant long-term, but John Mara seemed to leave a little wiggle room in his press conference to discuss the firings of Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese.
“I certainly expect him to be a part of this team in the future, but that will be a discussion also with the incoming general manager and the incoming head coach and we’ll make whatever decision we think is appropriate going forward,” Mara said.
- Do you want to make giving Beckham a long-term mega-contract this offseason one of your first major acts as GM?
- Do you want to let the 2018 season ride with Beckham playing on his $8.459 million fifth-year option, and address his long-term future after that?
- Do you have the audacity to present ownership with a Beckham-less plan for the Giants, one that would include trading him for a bushel of draft picks that would be used, hopefully, to infuse the franchise with a new base of talent?
In Carolina, Gettleman was ruthless in dealing with star players like Josh Norman, Steve Smith Sr., Jon Beason and others. I wouldn’t expect him to shy away from making unpopular moves if he and ownership believe they are the right ones.
Fixing the locker room
Let’s add this one to our original list of five questions for Gettleman. The Giants’ locker room is broken. That much has become obvious during this miserable season. Too many disciplinary issues, too much “me first” nonsense.
In my view, that all started with McAdoo. Too much self-absorption, too much belief that he alone had the answers, too much time spent throwing players under the bus while not recognizing his own mistakes. McAdoo turned out to be a weak, self-interested leader who couldn’t, or really wouldn’t, handle a team.
In the end, Reese went into self-preservation mode. In his final press conference, he pretty much threw McAdoo under the bus. He talked about players believing the hype and not being prepared, a direct hit at the coach.
That seeped into the locker room. Too much “look at me” on the field and too much bickering off of it.
Gettleman is charged with fixing it. I referred to it Thursday as needing to restore Giants Pride. What will that entail?
We know from his time in Carolina he isn’t afraid to roll through with the heavy artillery, and use it. The view here is Gettleman’s hire means, for starters, the suspended Eli Apple probably doesn’t have a future with the Giants. How deep will the roster purge go? Who will be brought in?
Gettleman’s new job involves a lot of heavy lifting. Let’s see if he is up to the task.