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John Mara press conference, 12/29: Full text of remarks

Mara speaks to media as Dave Gettleman is introduced

NFL: New York Giants-GM Dave Gettleman Press Conference Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Q: Are the head coaching interviews going to start right after Sunday at some time?

A: Yes. Expect us on Monday to start sending out the consent forms and start making contact. We want to get going on this right away.

Q: So teams with candidates who have byes, you can talk to them next week?

A: You can request permission and the team that they currently work for can tell you what day and where, but you can start asking for permission on Monday.

Q: What did you think of Dave’s (Gettleman) answer to the question about as long as the Eagles game wasn’t a fluke, he’s okay with Eli Manning being the quarterback moving forward?

A: He had given me that answer in the interview as well and I think that’s fine. Obviously he has to sit down and look at the tape and we’re going to hire a coach and it’s going to be a discussion going forward.

Q: Do you think the Eagles game was a mirage?

A: I think he can still play. I think he can still play at a high level, but at the end of the day, that’s going to be a discussion among Dave, the new head coach and myself.

Q: How much were Eli and Odell’s (Beckham) names brought up in the interviewing process?

A: Their names came up in the interview process, yes. Obviously, they are two important parts of this team so, yes, their names came up and I think we got pretty much the same answer from everybody on both of those guys. And really they’ve got to come in, look at the tape, talk to Eli, talk to Odell, and we’ll make decisions going forward.

Q: When you went into this search for a GM, did you expect to go into January and talk to people from other teams?

A: 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.

Q: Could you be doing an interview on Monday?

A: I guess conceivably we could be, but we’ll be sending out the consent forms then, so in all likelihood it wouldn’t take place on Monday.

Q: What kind of coach is necessary to help change the culture?

A: 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.

Q: Where are you with Eli Apple?

A: I think Dave said it well, too. You don’t want to quit on talent. I think that’s a discussion we’ll have to have in the offseason. He’s a young guy. I happen to like him personally. I’m obviously disturbed with what’s happened this year. I thought he had a terrific training camp and I was really excited about him as a player coming into this season. So I think we have to figure out what’s going on with him. But I’d like at the end of the day for him to be a part of this team’s future, but I think that’s going to have to be a discussion with whoever the next head coach is and with Dave as well.

Q: Will Ernie be part of the head coaching search?

A: Not officially. He’s certainly there as a resource. I talk to him all the time, but he’s not going to be there on the interviews.

Q: Do you feel confident that Odell is still a part of this team’s future given everything that has happened over the last few months?

A: I still want him to be a part of this team in the future, but I think I’ve got to sit with Dave and the new head coach and figure out exactly what is going to happen there. But let’s face it, players with his ability don’t come along very often so, yes, I want him to be a part of this team’s future. As to when we actually do the contract, I think that’s up for discussion.

Q: Is it more likely now that you’re going to have him play out his fifth-year option?

A: It’s too early to say that.

Q: Many people misunderstood when you said wholesale changes because when Dave was announced as a candidate, that was not a wholesale change. How would you explain this?

A: Yeah, 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.

Q: I think people took that as we’re going to go outside of our tree and bring in someone new.

A: I understand, but I think these constitute pretty significant changes, at least certainly in my lifetime. 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.

Q: What is the one thing that you want to see fixed from this season?

A: There are so many things, it’s hard to just identify one of them. Dave mentioned the offensive line. Obviously, that’s an area we need to improve in. Our defense didn’t play all that well, either. Nobody played all that well, to be honest with you, with a couple of exceptions. It’s hard to pinpoint one thing. You’re 2-13.You’re 2-13 for a reason and it’s usually not just one reason.

Q: Why did you guys abandon the plan to get Davis (Webb) some reps?

A: Well, there wasn’t a plan to do that. It was something that I expressed quite a while ago, but once Steve (Spagnuolo) got appointed as the interim head coach, he believes, and I share that belief that Eli gives us the best chance to win right now and I don’t like to tell head coaches who they should be playing.

Q: Do you feel like it was a missed opportunity not to get a look at Davis?

A: It would have been nice to get a look at him, but, again, I wasn’t going to force that and we are where we are.

Q: In hindsight, was it a mistake to bench Eli if every candidate you interviewed had him in their plans?

A: I think we could have probably handled it better, but you can argue that a lot of different ways. From a pure football point of view, where we were as a team right then, getting a look at somebody else at quarterback was not the worst decision in the world. I think it could have been handled better and I take responsibility for that. I could have handled that better.

Q: Do you expect big results for the Giants in 2018?

A: I expect us to be a good team in 2018. You go from last to first or first to last, teams do that every year. And we do have some talent on this roster. We obviously have a lot of holes to fill as well, but I don’t see any reason why we can’t have a successful team next year.

Q: How extensive were your feelings about Eli during your interview with Dave?

A: That was certainly a significant part of the discussion, but it wasn’t the most important thing that we discussed. I was interested in hearing what his philosophy was in building a team, what he had learned in Carolina, what he knew about our roster and what he thought we needed to do going forward and, obviously, who he had in mind for head coaching candidates, which I’m not going to go into for obvious reasons. Those things were important to me. His philosophy on Eli is let me sit down and look at the tape before I have a definitive answer for you on that. He had seen the Philadelphia game. Eli played very well in that game and he made the same statement to me that he made to you in there.

Q: Is that encouraging to you?

A: It was encouraging to me, yes.

Q: Do you have any necessary qualities on the kind of head coach you’re looking for?

A: 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.

Q: Do you want Spags to have a shot?

A: He will have a shot. I told him that when we made him the interim head coach and he will have a shot.