The New York Giants have won nine games over his two seasons as general manager. They are on their second head coach. The fan base is growing impatient. Talk of building and of a brighter future isn’t enough. Many are itching to see results, as in wins.
Dave Gettleman, though, is remaining steadfast in his belief that the Giants are on the right course.
“Well, I think we’ve, you know, we’ve had three years of roster development, you know, and I think we’ve, we’ve, we have brought in a number of players that are going to help us, you know, that they’re going to be part of this winning process. Obviously we’ve had a change in coaches and we’ve got a young developing team and I think Joe and his staff are going to develop those players,” Gettleman said during a Wednesday morning videoconference with Giants media members.
“So that’s what gives me confidence. It gives me confidence that we have a quarterback, that we’ve got a heckuva running back. We’ve got some nice pieces on defense, the O-line we’ve got pieces. We’re getting there, we’re getting there. And I think, I believe we’re going to be competitive.”
Gettleman is, largely, hanging his hat on the development of the young players the Giants are building with.
“We’ve obviously got young players that are continuously developing, you know, so Dalvin [Tomlinson] has gotten better every year. We’re looking for Dexter [Lawrence] to improve you’re looking for all those young kids to improve. We’ve also got some veterans that have skins on the wall and can help those guys help those guys become team players,” Gettleman said. “I just feel like, you know, the roster is going to be competitive, and it’s gonna to have the ability to win games.
‘I’m not putting a number on it. Listen, you get out there, you put a team out there, they’ll be the ‘Fightin’ Joe Judges,’ I have no doubt. It’s going to go well.”
Here are more takeaways from Gettleman’s Wednesday availability.
A safe and open culture
Asked about the variety of things swirling around that could distract players from football — COVID-19, the ongoing and very public fight for social justice that athletes are front and center in, a divided political atmosphere with an election just weeks away, the 69-year-old Gettleman turned philosophical.
He talked first about Judge and the advantages having MetLife Stadium available to them have given the Giants.
“Joe and his staff have done a great job of opening the lines of communication with the players and the staff. There’s been constant communication with all of us,” Gettleman said.
“The blessing of being at the Stadium, we can look at each other and say, hey, and how’s your family and do all that stuff. Part of it’s about being a professional. Part of it’s about respecting other people’s opinions and attitudes. I think it can be done.”
Gettleman then ventured into territory that could be considered political or social in nature. I pass it along in hopes that what he said will be taken to heart rather than scoffed at.
“We’re creating, we’ve created an atmosphere of safety and openness,” Gettleman said.
The GM mentioned a book called “Culture Code,” written by Daniel Coyle
“The most important thing you can do in an organization is for everybody to feel safe. It’s very important than anybody in the organization can walk into my office and say ‘Gettleman, you knucklehead,’ and not worry about that I’m going to get upset about it. Not worry that I’m going to hold a grudge,” Gettleman said.
“That culture of safetiness has been created here, and guys are comfortable talking about things.”
He also mentioned the philosophy of ‘seek to understand.’
“Sometimes we don’t listen to each other well. Here at the Giants we really work hard at that. Listen to what the other person is saying. Think about where they’re coming from. Seek to understand. If you understand each other we can have those conversations — and they’ll be conversations,” Gettleman said.
“Sometimes I think in today’s world people think if I yell the loudest I win. Doesn’t work that way.”
On playing games without fans
A handful of teams, like the Dallas Cowboys, may have some fans in attendance. Most, including the Giants, will not. Is Gettlemn worried about a competitive disadvantage?
“Joe and the guys are doing such a great job building the team, the team concept, I know that they’re going to have to bring their own energy. For us, you know, we’re not going to have fans initially,” Gettleman said.
“When we go to Dallas, they are going to have fans. I mean, it’s, it’s, I just think you have to just, you can’t look at it as, Oh, poor. Oh, woe is me. I think you’ve got to figure out a way to turn it into an advantage. And I think that us not having that, you know, it is what it is. Oh, you can’t, you know, when you, when you get up in the morning and you want to play golf, if it’s raining, you play golf. I think more than anything else, it’s certainly a challenge. But I think it’s one that Joe and the staff and the players are up for.”
On evaluating players in a shortened window
NFL teams are operating without spring practices and mini-camps, with no preseason games and with only about a dozen or so padded practices and intra-squad scrimmages as they try to set their 53-man rosters. Proper player evaluation has never been more difficult.
“We’re a young developing team, that’s all there is to it. I mean, we’ve had, you know, with the way Joe is run practice, you guys have seen it. You know, he has what he calls two-spot when he’s got team work on both fields. These guys have gotten a ton of reps and as we finish up, uh, there’s plenty of, of film available to legitimately evaluate all these guys,” Gettleman said. “Everybody’s in the same boat, um, you know, to a certain degree with their young players and we feel good about, you know, you know, the work these kids have put in, and I think we’re going to be fine. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s a challenge. There’s no doubt about it.
“When we sit down on Friday, we’re going to, you know, after the scrimmage, we’re going to be able to really look at each other. And the one thing we talked about consistently is at the 53, I said, we have to make informed decisions. We can’t, you can’t do guesswork. And this, you know, that. So, you know, that was a, that was a big emphasis. We want to make informed decisions. And I truly believe we’ll be able to.”
Practicing the Patriot way
After spending several years working as an assistant to Bill Belichick in New England, it was understood that Judge would bring much of the Patriots’ philosophy and style to the Giants. He, of course, has. Practice laps following mistakes. The slip ‘n slide fumble recovery drill. the efficiency of time spent on the field.
Gettleman told a story from his days as Giants’ pro personnel director. He apparently spent a few days watching Patriots practices, while New England’s Scott Piolo came and watched Giants practices.
“I got a little bit of an inside view to what a Patriot practice looks like. And that’s what we’ve had here,” Gettleman said. “I mean, you guys have seen it when special teams is working. You know, if it, if it says return or cover, some of the big guys are involved with, you see they’re busy, they’re over doing things. There are times we’ll be, there’ll be an individuals. And Joe will have a couple of players working with the special teams as far as vices, whatever. So people are busy. People are busy, no know, standing around, hanging out.
“And the other thing that you see is the attention to detail, attention to detail. You know, we have those, there’s some drills where you see five coaches standing there. They’re all coaching up something. You’re coaching a point. And that attention to detail is huge.”
On Year 2 for Daniel Jones
This is the second season for Daniel Jones, and the first since 2005 that the Giants enter without Eli Manning beginning the year as their quarterback. So, what does Gettleman hope/need to see from Jones in his sophomore season?
“We feel really comfortable and confident in him moving forward,” Gettleman said. “So kind of what are the things you want to and need to see from Daniel this year? I’ll say this, I’m calm, I’m comfortable and confident with him right now.
“The only thing that it was a little frustrating last year with the turnover, the fumbles. I mean, he had a solid rookie year, did things that no other rookie quarterback has ever done. And for some reason, I just feel like the fumbles overshadowed, all that stuff. He showed, he can bring us from behind and win a game. He showed he can make big throws in an overtime period. I mean, this, this kid accomplished a last year, so I’m not going to put a, I would never put a win-loss thing on it. It’s all about Daniel improving.”