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BBV mailbag: Why so much latitude for Giants’ GM Dave Gettleman?

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It’s about the big picture, not about every small decision along the way

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

Let’s open up the Big Blue View mailbag, which starts off with a question you may be surprised I chose to answer.

CTscan asks: Hi Ed, first off, big fan of you and BBV for a long time. And now the other shoe … Your reluctance to criticize Gettleman has been something of a head scratcher for me and I think many others. It’s rational seems to take the form “he is the GM and deserves full latitude in realizing his vision and so we should not judge the process at all until we see the product.“ The list of “debatable” personnel decisions that have sounded loud alarm bells among most others in the press and fandom have found you continuing to grant him a seemingly inexhaustible benefit of The doubt. Since when is it out of bounds to question the process in advance of the product? In business, in politics, in life, if we see someone pulling a bunch of inexplicable, contrarian moves, most of us don’t wait for the disaster to unfold before becoming dissatisfied. As someone who gives their opinion professionally, why such adherence to the wait and see attitude in the face of some very, very suspect decisions?

Ed says: CT, you might be surprised that I’m even choosing to touch this question. I debated whether or not there was benefit in doing so, but ultimately decided that providing a window into the way I think would be a good thing.

Truth is, I haven’t agreed with every decision Dave Gettleman has made as GM. I would have liked to see the Giants find a way to keep Landon Collins. I think he might like to have a do-over on letting Romeo Okwara get away. There are others that I perhaps didn’t understand or agree with.

The thing is this. I don’t want to sit here and substitute my judgment for that of a GM who has been in the business for more than 30 years, who has a staff of dozens of people who know more football and have more information at their fingertips than I do. So, I’m not going to go nuclear about every single decision. I’m focused on the big picture.

I think this. I think the Giants were bad for a number of years before Gettleman came on board — that’s the reason he came on board. I think we can argue forever about “process” and about whether this decision or that decision was the right one. In a vacuum yeah, fine, it passes the time and nowadays people don’t seem happy unless they have something to argue about. So, fine. Go ahead and argue. Perhaps I would feel differently if Gettleman was ripping apart a team that had been good. He’s not. He’s trying to piece back together one that was bad.

Ultimately, Gettleman will be judged by two things. He will be judged by whether or not Daniel Jones is the right choice to be the next quarterback of the Giants. He will also be judged by whether or not, a couple of years from now, the Giants are a good football team or a bad one.

I see where Gettleman is trying to go, and how he’s trying to get there. Right now, he is still trying to dig the Giants out from under six years or more of poor decisions. I’m not going all fire and brimstone right now because we don’t yet have the answer as to whether or not Gettleman can get the Giants where he wants them to go.

Dave Propper asks: I (and I think many people) was surprised that we drafted 3 CB plus we have Beal waiting in the wings but we did not draft a FS. I have heard that Ballentine (best wishes, kid) has some safety experience. Are you hearing any buzz that one of the new CBs may actually project to a FS where a young player is needed?

Ed says: Corey Ballentine (yes, best wishes) does have some free safety experience. Dave Gettleman also mentioned that Julian Love is a player who might be able to transition to safety one day. Yes, it might be a bit surprising the Giants went for so many cornerbacks, but they obviously felt the position was important and that there was value on the board.

Raymond Dansereau asks: Why do you think there is sometimes so much difference of opinion between sports media opinions and the NFL draft/scouting community? I don’t even just mean [Daniel] Jones. [D.K.] Metcalf, for example was hyped as a mid first and the top receiver in many mocks. The NFL people didn’t see it. I wondered if the media community likes stats and excitement and Jones is just boring (he is). But that’s obviously not the case with a guy like Schofield. What do you think?

Ed says: Raymond, I think there are a number of reasons for this. First and foremost, everyone is different. No two people are going to see exactly the same thing, no matter what they are looking at.

Let’s go a little deeper, though. I have lots of respect for the scouting community and the work that people like Mark Schofield do. Let’s remember, though, that NFL teams have vast amounts of information at their fingertips that — for lack of a better phrase, Internet scouts — don’t have. NFL teams get the All-22 film of years worth of games. They have teams of scouts who travel, meet players, watch them at practice, talk to basically anyone and everyone who can give them insight into a player. There are mountains of medical information. General managers and coaches meet face-to-face with players and, in the case of quarterbacks, especially, there can be a number of meetings. Those meetings, the personal interactions, the whiteboard work, all have something to with it. There are also scouting services teams can turn to for additional information and insight. The reports teams have on these players are far more in-depth than anything you will read by checking out scouting reports at ESPN or The Draft Network.

Teams take all of that information and sit down in a group — scouts, coaches, GMs, ownership in the case of the biggest decisions — and rate players. They know exactly what they are looking for in terms of skill set, personality, scheme fit, how they would use a certain player. Also, you have to remember that these people who work for teams have their jobs on the line — so, how risky a certain player might be will also factor in. And yes, sometimes they get it wrong. It’s not an exact science.

Internet scouts generally have YouTube, some actual game film if they are really lucky, and their own opinion of what they see. Most have little or no access to the players themselves or to NFL scouts and decision-makers. That’s not to discredit their work — it’s just done in a far different way with a lot less riding on the judgments they make.

Chris and Fiona ask: I consider this draft a slap to Eli. Not because of the selection of Daniel Jones, but because the Giants failed again to get a stud right tackle. Eli deserves the best possible offensive line to give us fans some hope for a decent season and finish out his career on a high note and not on his back like all so often. I agree that the Giants need cornerback help, but making three CB picks before waiting to the seven round to get a tackle. Ugh!. Eli needs more than an average tackle like possibly Mike Remmers or an unknown developmental project like X man. Heck, I thought that right tackle was a draft priority for Gettleman. So Ed, what is your evaluation of Mike Remmers if signed? Can we realistically expect sufficient improvement from Chad Wheeler?

Ed says: Chris and Fiona, I don’t see it that way. It’s not about making one position better. It’s about making the team as a whole better.

I’m certain the Giants would have liked to have come up with an offensive tackle before taking George Asafo-Adjei in the seventh round, and I thought they would, it just didn’t work out that way. The trade they made for Deandre Baker really, I think, gave them one pick at 95 where they really had to choose between pass rush and offensive tackle.

The Giants did add a huge piece to the offensive line when they got guard Kevin Zeitler. They hope to be better at center if Jon Halapio stays healthy. Will Hernandez is no longer a rookie.

Remmers, in my view, would be an adequate stop gap. If Remmers doesn’t eventually sign I think the Giants will continue to watch for veteran tackles to become available during the preseason.

Jim Singer asks: We’ve got four QB’s right now, surely we’re not going to keep all of them. Is Tanney the odd man out? What’s your thoughts?

Ed says: Jim, I think the answer is that there will be a competition. Eric Dungey was also signed as an undrafted free agent, though I think he’s a long shot to make the 53-man roster. I don’t know how to handicap Alex Tanney vs. Kyle Lauletta right now, other than to say that we know Pat Shurmur has in the past expressed a preference for having a veteran backup.

Alan Goldstein asks: I freely admit I spend too much time reading comments but a narrative has emerged both in the press and amongst the fan base that a #6 pick has to see the field in his rookie season or it is a wasted pick. Considering that many of the loudest voices are calling Jones an unprecedented reach what is the precedent for top 10 drafted QB’s sitting for a period of time - aside from Mahomes.

Ed says: Alan, I don’t agree with the “unprecedented reach” phrase. The common belief is that Jones was QB2 for many teams, and QB 3 for others. Pretty much everyone agrees he was going to be selected in the first round. The Giants took him because he was the guy they felt they had to have.

As for the narrative, who really cares? Everyone can — and will — have their opinions. As Gettleman has pointed out a number of times, there are a lot of different ways things can be done to develop a quarterback. He could sit all year. He could replace Manning at some point late in the season if the Giants aren’t doing well. Manning could get hurt. Who knows how it will play out.

I’m not buying this “it’s a waste if he doesn’t play this year” malarkey. It’s the right pick if, down the road, he proves to be a quality NFL quarterback who can help the Giants win big games. It’s the wrong pick if, a few seasons from now, we see that he isn’t really a “franchise” guy.

Whether or not he plays this year has nothing to do with it.

Bruce Frazer asks: Is it possible that the Giants, in their search for an Eli successor, have succumbed to the temptation of finding an “Eli clone.” Have they given too much creedence to coach Cutcliffe’s assessment of Jones ability while not taking into account the opinions of the many other scouts and coaches who have documented a host problems with Daniel Jones as an NFL franchise QB? In short is Dave Gettleman wearing blinders and relying only on Cutcliffe’s evaluation because he also coached Eli and Peyton?

Ed says: Sure, it’s possible — probable even that the similarities and connection to Eli along with Cutcliffe’s recommendation — had something to do with the pick. The Giants won two Super Bowls with Eli — why wouldn’t they want to repeat that? Give Gettleman some credit, though. He studied two seasons worth of Jones’ tape. He watched him for a full week at the Senior Bowl. He met with the kid several times. He didn’t pick Jones just because David Cutcliffe whispered “Hey, Dave this kids pretty good” in his ear.