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BBV mailbag: Where Ed defends Dave Gettleman — again

Yes, the mail’s here!

Another offseason Saturday, another edition of the Big Blue View mailbag. Let’s open it up and see what questions pop out regarding the New York Giants this week,

NFL: New York Giants-Rookie Minicamp
Dave Gettleman
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas Williams asks: GM Dave Gettleman constantly overstates his role on SB teams: he was a lowly scout for the Bills, Broncos and Giants. On the 2011 Giants he was given a title but clearly Reese didn’t want him - he was kept on the payroll because Accorsi had Mara’s ear for his best friend. So his only real executive role was GM of Carolina in 2015. Why doesn’t the media call him out on this? And can we please learn as many of his “top picks” while a scout as possible? A look at those teams’ draft picks during his tenure years shows 1) core rosters in place before Dave “Smartest Man in the Room” Gettleman appeared on the scene and 2) Many, MANY bad picks that led to the given team’s decline.

Ed says: Thomas, I’ve heard similar comments about Gettleman before so let’s address that. First, I will say I’m not fond at all of the derisive “Smartest Man in the Room” moniker. Gettleman thinks for himself and doesn’t always do what the majority of fans — who I remind you have way less information at their fingertips — think he should do. To be honest, I wouldn’t want someone making personnel decisions who wasn’t capable of thinking for himself. Over time, we will find out if he will be proven right or wrong. We all know that. He knows it, too.

Now, let’s clear up some things about Gettleman’s role with the Giants. Your apparent bitterness toward Gettleman is misguided because you clearly don’t understand his resume, or any of the circumstances.

First of all, this “Reese didn’t want him” nonsense is clearly that. Complete and utter nonsense.

Here are the facts.

Gettleman was originally with the Giants from 1998-2012, and he was not “a lowly scout.” He was always in the pro personnel department. He was assistant pro personnel director his first year and then ran that department through the 2011 season. He was not demoted by Jerry Reese, the Giants, or anyone else before the 2012 season.

Gettleman wanted to be a general manager and he stepped away from his full-time Giants duties into an advisory role as a pro personnel analyst, probably equating to a consultant role. He did that so he had time to study and learn aspects of the business outside of pro personnel in hopes of landing a GM job.That was HIS choice.

Gettleman was never involved in the Giants’ drafts during his time with the team. Sure, he may have been asked to look at a player on occasion and offered opinions. His job was scouting pro personnel. Scouting the Giants own players, scouting other teams to find free agents worth pursuing in the offseason or street guys worth picking up when emergencies arose during the year.

It’s a pretty safe bet that Gettleman and his department had a lot to do with the signings of guys like Shaun O’Hara, Plaxico Burress, Kareem McKenzie, Antonio Pierce, Domenik Hixon, Sam Madison, R.W. McQuarters, Antrel Rolle and others who helped the Giants win a pair of Super Bowls.

Gettleman has pointed to his work in the past with the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos, where he was a scout, as part of his “I know what it should look like” stance. He talks freely about being part of seven Super Bowl teams, three of which won. I get how that can seem self-aggrandizing. Gettleman, though, has never taken credit for building those teams. He has only said he learned from what he saw there and the people he was surrounded by. I think that’s fair.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Jabrill Peppers
Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Pizzuro asks: We hear a lot about edge pass rushing but modern defenses also need players who cover ground sideline to sideline. Who will play that role for the Giants? Seems like our linebacker group is more gap fillers than speed demons.

Ed says: Good question, Frank. What I might ask, though, are how many true “sideline-to-sideline” defenders are there in the NFL The best of the best. All-Pros like Luke Kuechly and Darius Leonard. Maybe a handful of safeties in the league. There aren’t really a lot of them, to be honest.

I think the Giants are hopeful that safety Jabrill Peppers can be that type of player for them. At least a play-making guy who can do a lot of different things for them on defense.

As Dave Gettleman says, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” He has been able to do a lot of things — revamping the offensive line, re-making the front and back of the defense, drafting a quarterback of the future. He hasn’t yet found that dominant three-down inside linebacker. I’m sure he’s aware that it’s an area that needs attention, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a spot they look to upgrade next offseason.

Robert J. Simon asks: If the Giants’ rebuilt O-line offers Eli better pass protection, do you see Shula/Shurmur possibly tweaking the offense to allow for added downfield pass routes that take more time to develop?

Ed says: Robert, we haven’t even seen a practice with the full team yet. It’s too early to know how the passing attack will evolve. I do think it’s going to be interesting to see how Pat Shurmur uses the guys he has and tries to create mismatches. My belief is the Giants’ attack will be based more on quick throws, identifying the mismatch and getting the ball into a play-makers’ hands quickly, more than deep throws.

That is partially because Eli Manning will be in his 16th season and that’s a smarter approach than asking him to be “vertical” a large percentage of the time. It also happens to fit what Daniel Jones did well at Duke.

Chris and Fiona ask: The Giants have been very willing to tinker with their roster since the draft. With that said, what is their 2019 cap status? Why is it taking so long to sign all their draft rookies? Are not their salaries already determined by the CBA?

Ed says: Yes, the actual salary cap numbers and length of contract are established by the CBA. You can see all of that in this handy chart from Over The Cap. There is always, however, fine print. How bonus money is to be paid, guarantees, more. I’m not going to pretend to be able to explain all of it. Read this from former sports agent Andrew Brandt to understand more.

NBA: NBA Draft Lottery Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Carl Robbins asks: You’ve probably discussed this topic before, but given the recent hoopla over the NHL and NBA Draft Lotteries, perhaps this would be a good topic for an upcoming Saturday mailbag segment.

Personally, I don’t think tanking is a big problem in the NFL, but given all the publicity these lotteries now generate, that might be enough for the league to at least consider implementing one.

Your thoughts, please.

Ed says: Well, Carl, since you said please I will get into this one. I’m not a big fan of draft lotteries, to be honest. It seems to work in the NBA as the way they have structured it does appear to seriously discourage tanking. I hope, though, a draft lottery never comes to the NFL.

There is a great deal of competitive balance already, and not actually all that much separating teams. Unlike the NBA, where there are usually only a couple of difference-making prospects, we see great players drafted at all levels of the draft each year. I don’t really see tanking as a major NFL issue, and don’t really see the need for messing with the standard draft order based on records.

Bruce Frazer asks: Given an educated guess as to the prospects of the rookie and undrafted free agent class for 2019 do you have a feeling as to who might be the biggest surprise of the group and wow us by the end of the 2019 season?

Ed says: Bruce, coming off rookie mini-camp that’s a hard one to answer. It’s really hard to judge line play, linebacker play, running backs, etc., when guys are in shorts and t-shirts. I would say watch wide receiver Reggie White and tight end C.J. Conrad. Also, I’m really curious how the hybrid quarterback/tight end experiment goes with Eric Dungey. We will have a better idea after OTAs, which begin on Monday.

David Brenner asks: Everyone seems to have a crush on Dwayne Haskins, or at least thinks he’s a better prospect than Jones, including BBV. But, it’s interesting that the following teams, which arguably could have grabbed him and groomed him for the future, all passed: Bucs, Jags, Raiders, Dolphins. Bengals, and Steelers, had they believed he was a top-notch prospect. And, let’s face it -- the team that finally took him doesn’t actually have such a great track record at picking QBs. So, is it possible that the NFL guys don’t see Haskins as nearly as good a prospect as the pundits? And doesn’t that at least give you some hope that Gettleman wasn’t so dumb in not taking Haskins?

Ed says: David, I think saying “everyone” thinks Haskins is a better prospect than Daniel Jones is overstating the case — dramatically, in fact. The Giants may have been the only team that would have taken Jones sixth overall, but indications we had at draft time were that there were a number of teams who liked Jones more than Haskins.

Now, ask me who they were and I would be guessing. I think the Cincinnati Bengals might have been one, but that’s speculation. And it’s probably pointless now.

Listen, I’m not going to substitute my judgment for Dave Gettleman’s, or for that of any other general manager or trained scout. I’m smart enough to know that they have more training in evaluation, more experience and far more knowledge at their fingertips than I do about these players.

I think you make a fantastic point that after the Giants took Jones no one jumped up or traded up to get Haskins. Even if the Redskins really loved him so much that they had to have him wouldn’t you think they would have jumped in front of any other team they thought might be in the quarterback market? I do.

Who knows how all of this will play out? It will be years before we know. Shoot, people are still arguing about Eli Manning/Ben Roethlisberger/Philip Rivers.

We will just have to see how it all plays out. If Daniel Jones wins the Giants a Super Bowl or two, no one will care about any of this. If he turns out to be Blaine Gabbert, Gettleman gets fired.