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Valentine’s Views: Dave Gettleman, Golden Tate’s suspension, more

Things I think as training camp rolls along

NFL: New York Giants-Training Camp
Dave Gettleman watching practice on Thursday.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants conclude their first stretch of training camp on Sunday, with the first off day for players looming on Monday. Here are a few “things I think” after watching the first few days of practice.

I don’t think Dave Gettleman is going anywhere

In the comments in the post on Gettleman’s recent plea for trust from the fan base, it was obvious that some believe the GM should be gone after this season if the Giants don’t show dramatic improvement. Or, that he should already have been shown the door.

To those folks, I say this. You had better settle in and get ready to deal with it, because I think Gettleman is going to be around for a while. Pat Shurmur, too.

Gettleman and Co. may have left the impression a year ago by sticking with Eli Manning and passing on a franchise quarterback that they were in “win now” mode. They they obviously did not win, with the team turning in a 5-11 season.

Really, though, digging the Giants out from under the mess they were was never going to be quick, easy, or painless. There was, and still is, no switch to flip that automatically makes them contenders. A team thin on talent and really devoid of locker room leadership, the Giants were a project. Gettleman will never use the word “rebuilding,” but let’s just say they weren’t — and still aren’t — a quick build.

We always knew the biggest decision Gettleman and Shurmur would make is who they would select as heir apparent to Eli Manning. They have made that choice with the selection of Daniel Jones.

In my view, both deserve — and will almost certainly get — time to see if they were right about Jones. That means multiple years.

Common wisdom is it takes three years to fully assess a draft class, and Gettleman has admitted how important the 2018 and 2019 draft classes are to the team’s future.

An organization as historically patient as the Giants, one that prefers stability and loyalty to change for the sake of change, is almost certain to give Gettleman enough rope to see if his draft classes pan out. To see if Gettleman and his staff can make the right free agent moves with the cap space that will be available next offseason.

After a scary bout with lymphoma a year ago, Gettleman said on Friday “I’m healthy, and I’m feisty and, like I said in my opening presser, I come in here every day to kick some ass.”

Unless the wheels come completely off like they did in 2017 — and ownership finds itself completely embarrassed again — I think Gettleman is going to get some time to see if he can do just that.

I think Golden Tate is serving four games

Tate said in his statement regarding his four-game suspension that he is appealing and is “confident in the facts.”

Those facts, as he presented them, are that he was taking a fertility drug, stopped after quickly learning it contained a banned substance, then self-reported the situation.

That’s fine. He acted responsibly once he learned of the situation. But, rules are rules.

From the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing drugs:

“Players are responsible for what is in their bodies and a positive test will not be excused because a Player was unaware that he was taking a Prohibited Substance.”

— “Kudos,” incidentally to ESPN’s Jordan Ranaan for looking this up and posting it, which saved me having to dig for it.

That, as clear as day, tells players they better know exactly what is in any medication you are prescribed before they take it. Tate, who has to know better after nine seasons in the league, didn’t do that.

There is also this — not a single PED suspension by the NFL to start the 2018 season went for less than four games. I did not look up the circumstances of each one, but you can bet several of those players also thought they had good reasons to appeal.

I think Sterling Shepard is showing his value

The morning before Shepard fractured his thumb, coach Pat Shurmur referred to the wide receiver as a “value added guy.”

“He plays his position, but he makes the people around him better,” Shurmur said.

Shurmur, of course, was thinking about Shepard’s blocking, his locker room presence and other things. He likely wasn’t thinking about how Shepard would handle an injury.

Shepard’s thumb injury, though, is actually showcasing another Shepard “value add,” and a big part of the reason the Giants gave him a four-year, $41 million contract. His seriousness and his leadership.

Broken thumb or not, Shepard has not taken a day off. He has been on the field with his teammates, has been running routes and catching passes with one hand.

“My legs work perfectly fine,” Shepard said.

I think this is the kind of player the Giants want to build around.

I think Lorenzo Carter has been the star of camp

And that is a VERY positive development for the Giants’ defense.

The Giants need Carter to take a huge step forward in his second season, and he has been a force during early workouts. Two incredible plays on Thursday and a sack on Friday were the highlight reel plays.

Carter is confident he can be the player the Giants need him to be.

“I’ve always put big expectations on myself,” Carter said. “Coming to New York I knew reading the media wasn’t going to be the smartest thing to do. I try to stay away from it, but if that’s what they say then go ahead and watch, just watch and see.”

Markus Golden, who played opposite Chandler Jones with the Arizona Cardinals, is also confident in the player Carter can become.

“I wouldn’t compare him to Chandler Jones, you never want to do that. I played with Chandler Jones and there aren’t too many guys like Chander Jones,” Golden said. “But, Lorenzo Carter can be an elite rusher. He’s a hard-working kid, he comes to practice every and works hard. He’s asking me questions all the time. He’s always trying to get better.

“Every quality that you see in a top pass rusher, he’s got it.”

The Giants need Carter to turn those qualities into production. He is off to a good start.

A few more things I think

  • Undrafted free agent tight end C.J. Conrad is making the 53-man roster, provided of course, that he stays healthy.
  • Both Eli Manning and Daniel Jones have done exactly what the Giants hoped they would early in camp. To put it simply, both have been good.
  • It has been interesting to see the Giants rotate some offensive linemen at the tackle spots, with Nate Solder and Mike Remmers working back from spring surgeries. In particular, the past two days seventh-round pick George Asafo-Adjei has gotten a smattering of first-team reps. I think he did better with them on Saturday than he did on Friday, when he looked overwhelmed. The best Asafo-Adjei rep I noticed Saturday was him holding his ground against a Carter bullrush.
  • I think Julian Love is going to have a terrific career. I think, though, I’m getting tired of writing Love’s number (37) in my notebook when Giants receivers make catches down the field.
  • Finally, I think the most hilarious moment of camp thus far was provided by Pat Shurmur. At the podium the other day, Shurmur looked down, say the phone of ESPN’s Jordan Ranaan sitting there set to record his remarks, looked up and “hey, Jordan, your wife called.”