Angry. Confused. Disappointed. Anguished. Frustrated. Resigned. Bitter. Disillusioned. Whatever word or words you want to use to describe them, I have been thinking a lot about the emotional state of many New York Giants fans recently, especially in the wake of the organization’s decision to send Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns.
Many in the media haven’t helped, with their poison pens turned menacingly in the direction of Dave Gettleman, who some might think of as the crazy old man in charge of making personnel decisions for the Giants.
My stance has been much more “wait and see” than it has been visceral, leaving me to sort of feel like Grandpa Ed trying to play peacemaker in the middle of a nasty family argument.
Anyway, some thoughts s we wait to see what will happen when the Giants come out the other side of whatever it is you want to call what Gettleman is putting them through. I’m not calling it a rebuild, or a build, or a re-construction, revamping or whatever.
As I type this on a windy, gray, miserable un-spring like Friday afternoon it occurs to me perhaps the best word is “transformation.” Like winter transforms to spring.
The Giants have been in winter for a long time now. Except for a brief 2016 interlude, the Giants have been in winter since they last slayed the New England Patriots in the 2011 Super Bowl.
Will spring — and eventually summer — ever come again?
“Trust the process”
On the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast the other day, Carl Banks said the Beckham trade — and to a slightly lesser extent the loss of Landon Collins in free agency — had brought the Giants’ fan base to its “trust the process moment.”
Gettleman’s “process” has been hard for many to understand. Signing Beckham to a mega-contract, then trading him away. Perhaps, and I’m not at all sure this was the case, not initially realizing the enormity of the task the blunders of Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo had left him with. Sticking with an aging quarterback and stubbornly pushing back against a narrative that insists that quarterback can’t play anymore — in fact, hasn’t been able to play for a while. Zigging when many think he should be zagging, and zagging when they think he should be zigging.
The incredulous reactions make me laugh.
Remember the outcry — and the fear — when the Giants hired Gettleman to replace Reese? The fact that Gettleman had a long history in the Giants personnel department had many thinking the Giants were sticking with the status quo, just re-arranging the deck chairs. It was basically “same old Giants, turning to one of their own. Nothing is going to change.”
Well, everything — with the obvious exception of the current starting quarterback — has changed. The way the Giants grade draft prospects, the coaching staff, almost the entire roster, a renewed emphasis on line play, the GM’s willingness to admit mistakes and quickly move on rather than stubbornly sticking with something in a vain effort to prove he was right.
It’s all new. And unfamiliar. And it makes people uncomfortable because it’s different, it’s unpredictable and what comes next is the unknown. And nobody is entirely comfortable with the unknown.
What, though, did anyone expect?
Something I have been saying recently that seems to resonate is that Gettleman is not dismantling the New England Patriots. He wasn’t hired to maintain the status quo, to rubber stamp the losing path the Giants were on. He was hired to try and fix the Giants because they were broken. He was hired to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, to clean up Reese’s mess.
He was hired for his own vision of what the Giants should be. He was hired to try and set them back on the path George Young, Ernie Accorsi and Reese in the early days of his time as GM had put them on — one where they were competitive more often than not and when the stars aligned could win championships.
We knew from his time as GM in Carolina that he was not afraid to ruffle feathers, to do things that weren’t popular. That sometimes his decisions would be hard to understand.
If Gettleman wasn’t making changes, wasn’t trying to do something different to get the Giants out of the dark winter they have been in, he and the Giants would be getting crucified for stubbornly refusing to change.
Instead, Gettleman is getting crucified for making changes many don’t agree with or see the reason for. And for refusing — so far — to make the change at quarterback that so many have been demanding.
Something I want to mention about the Beckham trade. Some are hammering Gettleman for not necessarily calling around to see if he could get a better offer than Cleveland’s. He may not have made phone calls, but I think it’s naive if you believe he didn’t know what other teams were willing to pony up. The Giants had been taking phone calls on and off for a year before dealing Beckham. Gettleman knew who the suitors were and how aggressive they were willing to be. It’s silly to think he only talked seriously to the Browns.
I said in Saturday’s mailbag that I don’t know if Gettleman will succeed or fail. I truly don’t. I haven’t understood or agreed with every decision he has made. That, though, would be the case no matter who the GM was.
Where the Giants are today doesn’t really matter. It’s the middle of March. The AAF is playing games, not the NFL. Let’s see what Gettleman does with all that draft capital he has accumulated, and the cap space he has cleared for next offseason. What will matter in the end is whether or not Gettleman and the Giants can identify and acquire the right long-term quarterback, and whether or not they can put a winning roster around that quarterback.
If he can do those things, spring and maybe even summer will return to Giants football. If he can’t, the long winter will continue, Gettleman will end up hanging out on Cape Cod in a forced retirement, and someone else will try to fix the Giants.
Tweet of the week
When ex-Giant safety Curtis Riley signed with the Oakland Raiders, our Dan Pizzuta recycled an old tweet that made me laugh.
Curtis Riley was consistently the most... entertaining (?) part of rewatching the Giants' defense every week https://t.co/lpJ5qQii99— Dan Pizzuta (@DanPizzuta) March 22, 2019
Quarterback tea leaves
The recent Pro Days for Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock and Will Grier — and the fact that the Giants were well-represented at those events — heightened speculation about the Giants and finding their quarterback of the future. Pat Shurmur’s dinner with Haskins, of course, turned up the volume on the buzz.
Remember, though, this is the time of year when all is not exactly what it seems to be.
Even though Gettleman said recently that quarterback was “probably” in the team’s Round 1 plan I continue to believe quarterback will not be in play at No. 6. Haskins and Lock may each have their supporters, but I still don’t believe either has the unanimous backing of the team’s decision-makers or that the Giants think either guy is an absolute must have.
That being the case, I still believe the Giants go after the highest-impact defensive player on their board at No. 6, with offensive tackle being an outside possibility should they not find a veteran right tackle.
Quarterback? The 17th pick — maybe — if Lock somehow slides to that spot or the Giants like Jones enough. The 37th pick — maybe — if Jones, Will Grier or someone else is there and intrigues them enough.
Let’s see if that changes between now and draft day.
I wanted to take a minute to thank everyone who has been listening to the shows on BBV Radio. So far this month, the amount of downloaded shows is more than double any other month since the shows debuted last fall. Thanks to all of you, and we hope the shows continue to grow and get better. Of course, maybe I should be thanking Gettleman and Beckham for this month’s explosion, as well.
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