New York Giants co-owner John Mara formally announced on Wednesday that Dave Gettleman is staying on for a fourth season as general manager. Mara said simply that Gettleman “is coming back.”
The Giants have gone 15-33 in Gettleman’s three seasons as general manager, with double-digit losses in each season.
Mara said that he wanted to see progress this season and did, despite the team going 6-10 in Joe Judge’s rookie season as an NFL head coach.
“There’s a different feeling in the building than there has been in a number of years,” Mara said. “I feel better about our roster than I have in years.”
Mara said he liked what he saw from the working relationship between his soon-to-be-70-year-old general manager and his just-turned-39 head coach. Mara said the two “worked very well together” and that “our personnel decisions were really sound this year.”
“I like the combination we have right now and I didn’t see any reason to break that up,” Mara said. “I thought our draft was solid, our free agency moves were solid. I think we have the foundation for something that could be very successful going forward.
Mara said while Gettleman and Judge don’t agree all the time they work it through. He added that his father, Wellington used to say “if you both agree all the time, then I don’t need both of you.”
Mara said while the Giants did not win enough games, they made enough progress “to warrant staying the course.”
Mara also added that he understood Gettleman’s first offseason as GM was not a good one.
Mara admitted that the first offseason of Gettleman’s time as GM wasn’t a good one.
“I can understand that and there’s no defending the record. There’s no defending that at all. We haven’t won enough games. We made some miscalculations in 2018 with some of our personnel decisions,” Mara said. “I think the last two years, particularly this past year, we’ve seen significant improvement. I just felt like to break that up now and to bring in somebody from the outside was not going to be beneficial.”
Valentine’s View: I have been saying this for a while now. The decision didn’t come down to the overall won-loss record. It didn’t come down to faulty decisions made way back in 2018. It came down to the fact that Gettleman and coach Joe Judge work well together, see things with the same philosophy and have collaborated on a number of sound personnel decisions that have helped the team.
Here are more takeaways from Mara’s season-ending Zoom call.
The right head coach
Mara believes the Giants got it right when they surprised everyone by naming 38-year-old special teams coach Joe Judge as the head coach to succeed Pat Shurmur.
“We’re very pleased with the selection that we made at head coach. I thought Joe did a very good considering what he had to deal with,” Mara said. “When you think about, here you have a brand new head coach at 38 years of age and look what he was asked to deal with. A pandemic, no offseason program, no mini-camps, no preseason games, virtual meetings, protocols that kept changing and he loses his best player in Week 2.
“I thought he showed great leadership and great adaptability. Nothing seemed to faze him during the year.”
Mara added one more caveat that is important to a relatively conservative, old-fashioned ownership group.
“I thought he represented our franchise the way i wanted a head coach to represent our franchise,” Mara said. “I thought he established a great foundation and s great culture.
Valentine’s View: Judge always says one of the mottos he follows is “adapt or die.” His ability to embrace that, and to lead men, was on full display during the season. I absolutely believe Mara is right and that Judge will be the Giants’ head coach for years to come.
On the need to win
How much longer will impatient fans need to wait for a winning team”
“Hopefully not too much longer, cause I can’t wait too much longer,” Mara said. “I’m tired of sitting up here at the end of the year trying to explain what went wrong and why I feel optimistic about the future. i want to do it after a winning season.
“I think if our fans continue to stay patient with us that they will see a winning team pretty soon.”
Mara referred to the foundation that Judge has often talked about trying to build.
“i think we’ve established a basis or a foundation that can have continued success going forward. I’m excited about what the future holds for this team.
“What I wanted to see this year was some progress and some reason for some optimism going forward, and I did see that.”
Mara wants progress again in 2021. He wasn’t, though, about to define what that should look like.
“I’d like to see our team win more games. I’d like to see us get back into the playoffs, but I’m not ever going to set a minimum number of games that we have to win or make any kind of determination like that. Again, I want to feel at the end of next year that we’ve taken a significant step forward. It’s not another six-win season or something like that. We need to win more games. But I’m not going to give you a required minimum.”
Valentine’s View: Mara obviously was not going to say 2021 has to be “playoffs or bust.” There are just too many variables. Sooner or later, though, progress has to yield tangible results. I would think to do that 2021 has to be at least an eight- or nine-win season.
Commitment to the quarterback
We have heard over and over that the Giants’ organization is committed to Daniel Jones, the 2019 sixth overall pick.
Mara affirmed that commitment on Wednesday.
“Daniel before he got hurt I thought was playing really well during that winning streak that we had,” Mara said. “Our coaches, all of them, are very high on Daniel and I feel the same way.
“I think he has what it takes to lead us to where we want to go.”
Valentine’s View: It is crystal clear that the Giants are going to ride with Jones and see where his development goes. I know there are guys like Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert who quickly became stars. That, though, doesn’t happen to everyone. Giants fans who watched the arc of Eli Manning’s career should know that. If you’ve seen what has happened in Year 3 of Josh Allen’s career with the Buffalo Bills, you should recognize that.
Mark Schofield always says quarterback development isn’t linear. I continue to believe there is a lot to like about Jones and that patience with him and the development of the offense could be rewarded.
The Giants had the 31st-ranked offense in the league. They are committed to their young quarterback. The owner knows they have to get him more help.
“I think we certainly need to help our offense a little bit this offseason, be it free agency and the draft. I think we need some more pieces there,” Mara said. “Part of the problem that we had is we had a brand new offensive line with new guys playing new positions, they had never played together before, we had no offseason, we had no preseason games for them to get to know each other and get the feel for playing with one another, and they struggled, particularly early in the year, no question about it. I thought they started to play better in the second half of the season. But there’s no question that we need to help our offense going forward and add some more pieces. That will be a priority for us.”
Valentine’s View: Start spending your free time studying free agent and draft eligible receivers.