Dave Gettleman is being given the opportunity to continue as new York Giants general manager, the opportunity to see if he can finally help dig the franchise out of the hole it was in when he was hired at the end of the 2017 season.
The soon-to-be-70-year-old sounds raring to go.
Gettleman said he is “healthy as a horse” two years after battling lymphoma.
Retirement? Doesn’t sound like that is on Gettleman’s radar presently.
“It really is dependent upon the Lord how long I stick around for. We’re all day to day, by the way, in case anybody missed that point,” Gettleman said. “I feel fine, I feel good, I’m excited. I just want to keep going. I don’t know where this retirement stuff came from. I have no idea what that’s all about. There are probably some people that… at the end of the day, I feel great. So, let’s keep going.”
Here are more takeaways from Gettleman’s remarks.
On the 2020 season
Coach Joe Judge emphasized improvement from week to week throughout the season. John Mara echoed that. How, the GM is singing the same tune.
“Our football team made quality strides from beginning to end,” Gettleman said. “We certainly have areas to improve upon. Joe (Judge) and his staff had a very productive year. Now as we enter our roster building season, we have full realization there is more work to do.”
Valentine’s View: The Giants are far from a finished product. I do, though, think they start the process of putting the 2021 team together from a better place than they have been in for a while.
Mara said the Giants made “miscalculations” in personnel during the 2018 offseason. Lump the free agent class and some of the draft picks in there, I’m not going to go through the list.
Gettleman acknowledged the rocky start to his tenure.
“I’ll tell you this, we’re always learning. The short answer to your question is yes. You’re always going to learn. I go over every final decision we make. I review it in my head over and over again, good or bad, oh by the way. I review it over and over again because you certainly don’t want to repeat mistakes. You do that and you have to be honest with yourself. You have to debrief, and you have to be brutally honest with yourself,” Gettleman said. “As I’ve already admitted, ‘18 was not a stellar year, personnel-wise. We’ve learned from our mistakes. Our processes are better. I think this past year showed the fruits of that, both in free agency and in the draft. I really believe strongly we’ll continue in that way.”
Valentine’s View: Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Gettleman still hasn’t engineered a trade down in any draft he has eve run. I do believe, though, that there’s a little less arrogance. You don’t hear him say things like “I know what it looks like” all the time these days. I have always believed in Gettleman’s evaluation skills. Combined with Judge’s clear vision of what he wants, that could end up being a good thing.
On Joe Judge
As I have said, whether Gettleman would get to stay on as GM had everything to do with how well he and Judge were able to work together. Mara likes what he has seen. The coach has said there is “synergy” and “one vision” between the coaching staff and front office.
“The bottom line is, with Joe, is his big picture view and then the follow up on the attention to detail. That’s what’s really critical. He starts at A and gets to Z. That is huge, that is really huge,” Gettleman said. “Obviously, he is a very bright guy. That’s what really sticks out in my mind. Just the big picture and the attention to detail. No detail is too small, the old saying, ‘the devil is in the details’. He and his staff, he is really tuned into that.”
Valentine’s View: Again, unless Mara, Gettleman and Judge are all blowing smoke — and I do not believe they are — I can see why Mara is keeping the GM and coach together
On 2021 free agency
Gettleman said planning for signing the team’s own free agents, like Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson, or pursuing help in the market, is complicated by the possibility the salary cap might be going down.
“The toughest thing for us right now frankly is we don’t know what the cap number is going to look like. That’s a problem. We’re not going to know for a while. That’s going to dictate obviously how you operate. We’ve got cap space, we’ve got room. You never have as much room as you want to have. We’ve got cap space, we’ve got room to do the things we feel like we need to do initially,” Gettleman said. “A lot of it is going to be about the drop it’s going to take. How far of a plunge is it going to take? We don’t know. They’re talking 175, who knows. We’ll plan and then once we know the number, we’ll get moving.”
On the 31st-ranked offense
The return of Saquon Barkley will help. So, too, will maturation from Daniel Jones and a young offensive line. Gettleman, though, knows more firepower is needed.
“At the end of the day, this is an important offseason, roster building offseason for us. We’ve got some solid pieces. We’ve built up the lines. We’ve done some things,” Gettleman said. “We have to continue to get good players and part of it is getting playmakers, because that’s what you’re referring to. This is a goal of ours obviously for the offseason ...
“On offense, it’s play makers. We have to be very conscious of it. We’re going to find the right guys to help Daniel get us over that hump.”
Valentine’s View: It’s pretty obvious that the wide receiver position is going to get a lot of attention this offseason. Maybe tight end, as well.
“Complete confidence” in Daniel Jones
The GM took a ton of heat for selecting Daniel Jones No. 6 overall in 2019. The final answer on whether or not he was right isn’t in yet, but Gettleman isn’t backing off.
“Obviously, he flashed last year. He had some big games and played well. Then he had games that weren’t so great. This year, early in the season he was struggling with his ball protection. We all know that. The second half of the year unfortunately he had that blip with the hamstring. He finished the season very strong. He played well against Baltimore despite getting chased all over the place to a degree. Made some big-time throws,” Gettleman said. “Really and truly, it may sound trite, but obviously the last game of the year was a playoff game for us. It really was. We have to win that game to force Washington to win their game. Daniel played very well. He made a couple of big-time throws. Protected the ball for the most part. The one pick was off of Evan’s (Engram) hands.
“He’s done a lot of really good stuff. He’s made of the right stuff mentally and physically. Again, we’re talking about a young quarterback who has had two different offensive coordinators in the NFL. Two different systems. Obviously, he had a different one at Duke so he got three different systems in three years. I thought he got beyond the hamstring the last two games and he played well. We have complete confidence in him moving forward.”
Gettleman, in fact, isn’t backing off on the choices of Jones or this year’s first-round pick, Andrew Thomas.
“You guys are going to call me doubling down,” Gettleman said. “I’m very happy with what we’ve done with Daniel and Andrew Thomas. I’m not even going to blink.”
Valentine’s View: One thing I have always said about Gettleman is that I admire that he has the courage of his convictions. Still do.
On the young offensive line
Gettleman had tried three times to reconstruct the offensive line. The 2020 group, with three rookies playing considerable snaps and a young center playing there for the first time, is the best group he has put together. It should continue to get better.
“We’ve got some really nice, young pieces. Nick Gates stepped in there. He’d never played offensive center before. We drafted Will (Hernandez) and Shane Lemieux. You have (Kevin) Zeitler and Andrew Thomas who acquitted himself very well when he had that rough patch and then he got himself rolling again,” Gettleman said. “I think this offensive line can compete. You can cherry pick here, cherry pick there, in terms of which game you want to pick and how the offense did. The offensive line showed very good progress. They’re big, they’re young, they’re strong and they’re tough and smart. This O-Line has a chance to be pretty damn good.”
Valentine’s View: I happen to agree with Gettleman here. I think that if the Giants come across a right tackle prospect in the draft, or even an interior player they feel strongly about, they shouldn’t hesitate to add to what they have. I think, though, they are in a good place right now.