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John Mara: Changes to Giants are “pretty wholesale”

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Co-owner points out 1979 was last time organization changed coach, GM in same year

NFL: New York Giants-GM Dave Gettleman Press Conference
John Mara speaks to media on Friday.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants co-owner John Mara on Friday dismissed the idea that hiring Dave Gettleman, a former team executive, as general manager did not represent “wholesale changes to the organization.

“I’m not sure why there is such confusion about that. When was the last time we changed a general manager and a head coach in the same year? It was 1979 and there might be another change or two or three happening in the future. For me, that’s pretty wholesale,” Mara said.

Mara acknowledged that some may have thought he meant the organization needed to look outside the family tree.

“I understand, but I think these constitute pretty significant changes, at least certainly in my lifetime,” Mara said. “And people seem to forget that Dave has been out of the building for five years, so it wasn’t just promoting someone from within.”

More takeaways

On what he wants in a new head coach ...

“I think, obviously, it has to be somebody who has either had head coaching experience or at least has been a coordinator for a significant period of time because I think if you don’t have that, the odds are really stacked against you. It’s not impossible for you to succeed without that, but I think the more experience that that individual has as either a head coach or as a coordinator on either side of the ball, I think is very important.”

Mara said interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo “will have a shot” at the job. He also indicated the search will begin on Monday, as soon as it possibly can under league rules.

On why they didn’t wait until next week to interview more GM candidates ...

“You know, initially that had been our thought, but after going through all of these interviews and talking it through with Ernie (Accorsi) and Steve (Tisch), we just had a conviction that this was the right guy for us. Listen, I’m also conscious of the fact that come Monday or Tuesday, there are going to be a number of head coaches that get fired and there are going to be a lot of teams out there competing for the quality candidates that are out there. So being ready to do that starting Monday morning was something that we wanted to do, but I think once we reached the conviction about Dave, we felt like it was the right thing to do, make the decision now and then be ready to hit the road on Monday.”

On the type of coach needed to change the losing culture ...

“I think Dave outlined the qualities very well. You’re looking for someone who has intelligence, but leadership qualities, too. Somebody that’s going to be able to command the room when he stands up there in front of that team. And we don’t have any preconceived notion about whether it has to be an offensive or a defensive coach. Ideally, it will be somebody with previous head coaching experience, but that doesn’t have to be the case, either.”