Dave Gettleman has been around a number of franchise quarterbacks in his career. Jim Kelly with the Buffalo Bills. John Elway with the Denver Broncos. Eli Manning gave him two Super Bowl rings during his first tenure with the New York Giants. Cam Newton was in Carolina when Gettleman became general manager of the Panthers.
He saw what swinging the deal for Eli Manning did for the legacy of former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi, who remains a beloved figure in franchise lore.
Gettleman, 68, would like nothing better that to ride off into the sunset with his name attached to a similarly iconic quarterback.
“What Ernie did for the Giants it would be a dream for me to do the same thing,” Gettleman said Wednesday at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.
“I would love to drop a franchise quarterback in this place then watch him from Cape Cod and enjoy the hell out of him.
“That’s a gift and it’s what I would like to do that for the New York Giants.”
So, if you believe that the Giants have their collective heads in the sand when it comes to the quarterback position I would offer that as definitive proof to the contrary.
They know the importance of it. They know the urgency of it. They are working to try and find it.
“It’s a massive decision,” Gettleman said. “This is the face of your franchise.”
Bottom line for the Giants is simply the idea of getting better
“There’s all these narratives … we’re trying to make our team better,” Shurmur said on Wednesday. “It’s no mystery. Eli’s closer to 40 than he is 20. That’s no mystery. We’re going to do the very best we can to get the best players, especially the one that’s playing quarterback.”
Shurmur said he doesn’t believe that Manning’s stature in franchise history would impact any type of transition, particularly a midseason one if it were to take place.
“I don’t think so. We’re not looking to make a midseason transition. We’re looking to play the best player and have that player in there,” Shurmur said.
“You have an established starter that’s won Super Bowls and been the MVP in Super Bowls. We’ve all acknowledged he’s closer to 40 than 20, so we’ve acknowledged that.
“We’re also trying to win games and if we bring in a new player develop that player to the point where he’ll start for us.”
The Kansas City model
We spoke earlier this offseason about the Kansas City model at quarterback. This is what the Chiefs did with Patrick Mahomes. They traded up to draft him in 2017, then let him site for an entire season while veteran Alex Smith held the forte and took the Chiefs to the playoffs.
Gettleman didn’t deny his admiration for that plan.
“Listen, the Kansas City model really worked well,” Gettleman said.
“You could cite a number of models where they had a veteran guy and they drafted a young guy and at some point in time the torch got passed and away everybody went, and it was a happy away everybody went.”
The Giants have the first part of the equation in Manning.
What are they looking for in Part 2?
Meaning, what are they looking for in an heir to Manning.
Shurmur said they “come in all shapes and sizes.”
Gettleman talked at length about instincts being more important than physical characteristics.
“One of the things that we really focus on are instincts. Instincts are very important.
“You can write a laundry list of things you’re looking for ... one of the things I focus on and we talk about all the time is instincts. Does he have a feel for the game? Is he a step ahead of everybody else?
“Instincts and play smarts allow you to play bigger, stronger, faster.”
Gettleman, in fact, called them “non-negotiable.”
Shurmur talked about the subjective nature of the process.
“There’s things we’re looking for. And really, as a coach, we watch the tape and we watch them do what they do because there’s a lot of players where you turn the tapeoff and you say, ‘Darn, that guy is a really good football player.’ Then you go and look and maybe his measurables aren’t to what the standards might be, but you still love the player and you want to work with them,” he said. “Then there’s other guys that have the elite measurables and then you go watch the tape and you say, ‘Meh. He’s OK.’
“That’s where it becomes a little subjective. That’s why getting to know the player, getting to know whether he’s going to be a good teammate, if he appreciates what it means to have relationships with coaches. That’s why all this is important because we get to know the player a little bit more intimately.”
Does the QB have to come this year?
The Giants have the No. 6 overall pick in the upcoming draft. There are many in the draft community — and the fan base — who would find it unforgivable if Gettleman passed for the second year in a row on using a top 10 pick on a quarterback while overseeing the final days of Manning’s time.
Gettleman called the idea that he had to take a quarterback at No. 2 a year ago “hogwash.” This year, he isn’t biting on the notion that he must draft a quarterback sixth overall.
“You cannot reach,” Gettleman said. “I will say it until the cows come home, you can’t reach.”
“You evaluate the quarterbacks and you take the guy when you believe he’s the guy and it’s at the right spot.”
Gettleman also said he would move up for the right guy.
“No guts, no glory.”
Whatever you think of Manning, this year’s class or last year’s decision to pass on Sam Darnold the point here is the Giants know they must find the successor for Manning. I have said in the past, though, that I believe getting the right guy is more important than getting a guy this year.
Gettleman will eventually take his shot at a quarterback, and at securing his own legacy as having set the Giants up for the long term? Will that be this year with Dwayne Haskins, Kyler Murray or Daniel Jones?
We will all just have to wait to find out.