It’s time for this week’s Big Blue View Mailbag, and it seems increasingly like Giants fans want yours truly to be the GM nor to buy the team. So, let’s see hoe you think I would do in those roles.
Lawrence Taylor asks: What does Daniel Jones need to show the second half of the season for you, as GM (sorry about the demotion), to exercise his 5th year option in April? Also, how do you expect Daniel to play and what do you expect the Giants to do regarding the option?
Ed says: Lawrence, there are Giants fans who will want to sack me for this but he doesn’t have to show me anything. There is no question in my mind that I’m exercising that option. I know the Giants don’t score enough points. I know Jones doesn’t throw enough touchdown passes. I know he still makes an occasional bad decision, or stares down a receiver.
I also know that to my eyes Jones has shown a lot of improvement this season, and even before he was injured last season. He’s never going to be Patrick Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers. I think he can be a good NFL quarterback, though, and I’m not ready to start over. I still want to build with him and see what can happen if the Giants ever put a quality group around him.
Joseph Niczky asks: The emerging consensus among many fans and media members seems to be that, unless the Giants turn the season around, the Giants will fire Gettleman and keep Judge. I’m ambivalent about Judge, but think that the new GM should get to pick the head coach (or at least, have influence in the decision given that ownership will probably have the final say). My concern is that forcing the new GM to retain Judge hamstrings the Giants’ ability to hire a GM and makes the job less attractive to the top candidates, who have certain coaches in mind that they want to hire. The Jets tried this after the 2012 season when they kept Rex Ryan but replaced GM Mike Tannenbaum with John Idzik. It didn’t work out for the Jets, and two seasons later both Idzik and Ryan were gone. I think firing the GM and keeping the head coach just delays the inevitable complete reset. What are your thoughts?
Ed says: Joseph, this is the decision that teams face all the time. Sometimes the shotgun approach of bringing in a GM over an existing coach works. It did for Dave Gettleman with the Carolina Panthers. Sometimes it doesn’t. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of doing that.
John Mara has made his belief in Judge obvious. I don’t believe the head coach is in any danger at this point, nor do I think he should be. I will say again what I have said many times before — you can’t keep hiring a new head coach every two years. At some point, you have to commit to someone, commit to his philosophy and give him time to try and get it right. I think the Giants intend to do that with Judge.
I would, honestly, like to see the GM and head coach on the same time table. Unless the Giants want to commit to extending Gettleman, which would have a significant portion of the fan base in an uproar, I don’t see that happening here.
MKoopersmith asks: Each year, during the off-season, we read about specialized camps/training programs for the players. Are there similar “self-improvement” programs for coaches, in particular for NFL head coaches? If you’re right in your assessment of Joe Judge (and I agree 100% with you) Judge isn’t going anywhere, but he sure needs to improve his decision making and put his players in a better position to win games.
Ed says: There are no camps for NFL coaches. That doesn’t, though, mean these guys don’t seek self-improvement in the offseason. A big part of what they do is examine what they did, how they did it, what worked, what didn’t, how other teams approach those same situations, and try to see where they need to change or be better.
I know Judge is trying to grow as a coach. Judge told me this summer that he spent a lot of time in the offseason talking to coaches in other sports, not about strategy but about communicating with players.
I think you can only hope that as he examines outcomes and decisions during the offseason — and all the data that is available — he realizes that some of his decisions have not maximized the team’s chance of winning. There is no “school” for that, other than experience and the school of hard knocks.
I know that’s a murky answer. There is no single “this is how you improve in-game decision-making” method.
Douglas Mollin asks: While John Mara’s name comes up daily here on BBV, Chris Mara’s name pops up frequently,Chris too.
Since he got the title of VP of Player Personnel in 2011, he’s overseen one of the worst 10-year stretches in NY Giant history.
He’s been with the team since the 1980s as a scout. How likely is it that the Giants upgrade this position in the offseason? And would you give the new GM (if there is one) the power to make this call?
Ed says: Douglas, I think what you’re asking me here is whether John Mara would fire his own brother. Or, if he hires a new GM, give that GM the authority to fire or demote Chris Mara.
Chris Mara has done two stints with the organization. He was a scout or member of the personnel department from 1979-2003. In his second stint, he has been with the team since 2003. It seems to me that during both of those stints the Giants have done a fair amount of winning.
I think Chris Mara is an easy target because he is a member of the family that owns the team, and I quite honestly think it’s a whole lot of wasted venom. I don’t know how big his voice is when it comes to decisions. You don’t know. The only people who know are the ones inside the building, and the ones who sit in the room when decisions are made. I certainly do not believe his voice is as big as that of Dave Gettleman or Joe Judge. When it comes to college players, probably not as big as that of College Scouting Director Chris Pettit.
Chris Mara is part of the family that owns the team. Reality, like it or not, is that he probably will continue to have some type of front office role should he want one.
Douglas asks: As it looks increasingly likely that the Giants will have a new GM sooner rather than later, I am wondering what you think the Giants should do. I am not asking what you think they will do. You have said pretty clearly that you think Judge will get another year. Specifically, if YOU were John Mara and Steve Tisch, would you give the new GM unfettered freedom to decide Joe Judge’s fate for next season? If the Giants require the new GM to keep Judge, does that impact their ability to hire the best possible GM?
Ed says: Douglas, I have sort of answered this already. I am keeping Judge. There are obviously things I wish he would do differently, and some of the things he says grow tiresome, but the Giants need to give someone and extended chance to get this turned around. I would give him the opportunity.
By the way, I’m sure I will get killed for this but I am not 100 percent certain that if I were John Mara or Steve Tisch that I would be hiring a new GM. If you believe in Judge, and if it’s true that Judge and Gettleman work well together, you can make an argument for tying them together for at least one more year. If I am hiring a new GM I am going outside the organization. I will look at candidates who have history with Judge, but I would be looking for fresh eyes to evaluate the talent and the way things are donre.
Jerry Panza asks: Are you surprised the Giants didn’t jettison Evan Engram, also if available would you take a flier on DeSean Jackson for the remainder of the season.
Ed says: No, and heck no.
When it comes to Evan Engram, I know there were reportedly teams that had some level of interest. I know there was another report that at least initially the Giants wanted a first-round pick in exchange for Engram. I don’t know if that’s correct. I do know the Giants are often accused of overvaluing their own players. Reality is, by himself Engram was never going to fetch more than a Day 3 pick in return, probably a fifth- or sixth-rounder.
Would that have been enough. As much as I think a divorce might do both sides some long-term good, I’m not sure I would have dealt him for that. Even though you are 2-6 and going nowhere, you still need to be fair to your quarterback. With all of the wide receiver injuries, Daniel Jones has to have some players who at least are threats to make plays.
Besides, whether you and I agree or not, I wouldn’t be surprised if Joe Judge wants Engram back next season.
As for DeSean Jackson, he will be 35 before the season ends. Again, the Giants are 2-6 and going nowhere. They aren’t competing for a playoff run. Why add a 35-year-old wide receiver? Shoot, I’d rather see David Sills get a chance. Besides, DeSean Jackson? As a Giant? Jerry, have you lost your mind?
Bobby Acker asks: Have we ever seen an NFL head coach struggle as much as Joe Judge has in his first two seasons, only to find success in their 3rd season with the same organization? What historical data is there to suggest a 3rd season under Joe Judge will be any better?
It seems like Mr. Mara painted the organization into a corner when he verbally committed to being “more patient” with Joe Judge as an attempt to restore “credibility”. I would argue that clinging to a mistake is counter productive and just flat-out stubborn.
Ed says: Bobby, I’m starting to feel a little bit like a guy who drives a recycling truck. I keep getting recycled versions of similar questions, especially about Daniel Jones, Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge.
The most relevant current answer is Zac Taylor and the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati is 5-3 this season and looking like a playoff team after going 2-14 and 4-11-1 in Taylor’s first two seasons.
Ron Rivera went 6-10 snd 7-9 in his first two seasons in Carolina, then 12-4 in his third season and 15-1 and to the Super Bowl two years after that. Jimmy Johnson went 1-15 and 7-9 his first two seasons in Dallas. Go way back, and Dick Vermeil was 4-10 and 5-9 in his first two years. His tenure in Philly turned out OK. Bill Walsh went 2-14 and 6-10 his first two season, then 13-3 and won a Super Bowl in his third. He is, of course, is one of the great coaches of all time.
So, yes, we have seen it before.