New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman spoke to the media Thursday after Joe Judge was formally introduced as the Giants’ head coach.
Q: I know John (Mara) told us that he felt as though Monday afternoon, the search was over. What were your feelings when you exited the interview with Joe (Judge)?
A: You know, I felt the exact same way. The interesting thing, when you go through an interview process, you’re looking for the broad view, you’re looking for intelligence and we talked about that. The thing that was really amazing to me was, and he said it, it really was just a conversation. That’s really what it was. It was easy for him. The biggest thing when you’re hiring a head coach is you have to picture him in front of the room. He has to command that kind of respect. Yeah, for me, it was the same.
Q: Let’s get this big picture question out of the way. Obviously, we understand Giants, personnel, collaborative. If you disagree, who has the final say?
A: At the end of the day, it’s about building consensus and it’s about getting to the right place. I’ve been doing this long enough with Ron (Rivera) and then Pat (Shurmur), whatever. We’re going to get to the right place. It’s not… It’s about the right answer.
Q: It’s not slamming your fist down?
A: No, I’ve never done that in my life. Except when, no I’m only kidding. I can’t say it. I can’t give you a throwaway line. Bottom line is, it’s collaborative.
Q: I’ve heard some people say so I’ll ask you, there’s this perception from some that it’s going to be Dave Gettleman picking the players and it’s Joe Judge’s job to coach them. Do you feel that way?
A: No. It’s going to be collaborative. I don’t understand where that notion comes from. That notion has got to be coming from people that have never worked with me.
Q: That is the Giants way. In the past, that was George Young’s statement, right? The GM picks the players.
A: There was a way, way back in the day. It was scouts scout, players play, coaches’ coach, etc. That world has changed.
Q: Is there anywhere in particular you and Joe align in terms of your philosophies about team-building and how you want him to coach this team and all that stuff?
A: First of all, he has to coach the team the way he feels comfortable. The biggest thing was when he came in and said, ‘You have to run the ball, you have to stop the run, and let’s play special teams.’ There’s a toughness that you develop when you build your team to do those kinds of things. People say it’s a passing league, I get that, but that graphic on Sunday afternoon should not have been lost on everybody. Top four passing teams were not in the playoffs, the top four rushing teams were in the playoffs. Don’t quote me but most of the teams were in the top I think 12 in terms of rushing. Again, it’s a physical, violent game and if you don’t build your team to do that late in the year when the weather’s lousy and it’s mush out there, the tougher team is going to win.
Q: I know Joe is hesitant to talk about the roster until he can actually get in the building and dig in. But from your dealings with him, I would imagine that he feels the same way about Daniel Jones as you guys do, right? Is there any change in what you feel about Daniel and how he’s the quarterback here?
A: It’s like Joe said. He’s on the outside looking in the periphery. We believe Daniel is our guy.
Q: And you have no reason to believe he doesn’t believe…
A: I haven’t had the chance to have a conversation with him yet. Really.
Q: How much was he part of the interviews, Daniel, in general?
A: The interviews are more philosophical. They really are. It’s where’s your head, where’s our head, and can the two heads get together and mush. That’s really what that is. You don’t go player by player by player down the roster. You can’t.
Q: Joe spoke about fundamentals and all of the scheme stuff will kind of fall into place. Do you think all along people put too much emphasis on scheme and the importance of scheme and not enough on fundamentals?
A: Absolutely, absolutely. The bottom line is, there’s an old saying in coaching, ‘The last guy with the chalk wins.’ At the end of the day if you’re not fundamentally sound, and you look at the teams, me as an evaluator, watching the teams that are in the playoffs, they are all fundamentally sound.
Q: When did he pop up on your radar? The general fan doesn’t know who Joe Judge is, so when did he show up for you guys?
A: Every once in a while, you get into conversations about coaches around the league with other guys. Joe’s name kept popping up for me. Again, so you look at the resume, you look at the background, you say, okay, wait a minute— five championships in 10 years, worked for Belichick, worked for Saban, did the grunt work like a lot of us did, lining the fields and working at Birmingham-Southern.
A: Birmingham-Southern. You know what I’m saying? He did all of that stuff. When you get a guy who’s had dirt under his fingers, there’s a, I don’t know the word that I’m looking for, there’s just a comfortableness there that says he understands it, he comes from the ground up.
Q: You went through the process, you have an open mind, but if you’re being honest with yourself were you surprised you end up with him at the end?
A: You don’t know. You don’t know. You have to go in with an open mind. You can’t say, ‘He’s the guy.’ You can’t do that. You can’t cloud your thinking, you have to take each individual as you interview them and go from there.
Q: He’s never been in this role before, but he seems to have a pretty specific vision for the type of team and players he wants. How has the structure in terms of personnel maybe changed or how is that setup going forward with you and Joe working together?
A: We’re going to work together. I’m not exactly sure what you’re saying.
Q: I guess what I’m trying to say is, do you have final say over personnel?
A: It’s collaborative. It is collaborative, we’ll work through every situation.
Q: With that being said, you mentioned the ground up approach. What’s the biggest thing you think he needs to learn and how can you help him in the head coaching?
A: I’ve got to get to know him a lot better before I make that statement. The bottom line is he is foundationally sound, he’s got a great philosophy, he understands about teaching, it’s all of that stuff that he gets that has me excited.
Q: What does ‘old school’ mean to you?
A: Old school to me means you’re always going to be strong with the basics. The fancy schmancy is nice, but you get to that when your basics are sound. To me, that’s what old school is.
Q: You were happy to hear him use the words ‘old school’?
A: Doesn’t bother me (laughter).
Q: How confident are you that he’ll be able to work with the quarterback? I know he’s got to work with all 53 but…
A: He’s going to work with everybody. Everywhere he’s been he’s worked with the whole team as a special teams coordinator. Listen, Daniel is a great kid, he’s a great young man and it’s going to be fine.