Those were among the thoughts shared by Jeff Diamond, former vice president and general manager of the Minnesota Vikings and former president of the Tennessee Titans, on the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast. Diamond was NFL Executive of the Year in 1998.
Here are some of the highlights of my recent conversation with Diamond.
Can the Giants claim progress?
“It’s always difficult in a 2-8 season to say. Obviously there’s been a lot of things that have gone right to a certain extent and wrong to a greater extent this season for the Giants.”
Diamond believes rookie quarterback Daniel Jones has been on both sides of that equation.
“[Jones] has really good potential for the future but again he’s going through his rookie growing pains and Giants have had a lot of turnovers, he’s thrown his share of interceptions and that’s been a problem. When you look at a team and why they’re 2-8 the Giants lead the league in turnovers with 24 and minus 12 turnover ratio. That’s going to be a formula for disaster.
“I think he’s been impressive at times. I think he’s got the kind of arm strength and ability to become a really good player in the league, but it usually takes time.
“This team has some potential for the future, definitely, but it’s going to take some time.”
Should they admit this is a rebuild?
“I think it really goes without saying. I think a general manager doesn’t want to necessarily make that public proclamation so to speak, but everybody knows what’s going on when you have a rookie quarterback in there and you’ve got a veteran in Eli who’s sitting on the bench.
“I think the key for them going forward is to make some great decisions in the draft, get some better support around Daniel Jones, to continue to bolster the defense.
“I like the move with Leonard Williams, I think the guy has talent. I think he’s got a lot of ability and I think he can be helpful in the future. There’s some positives that are happening.”
The ramifications of losing to the Jets
“The loss to the Jets I think really was a slap in the face for John Mara. You could tell seeing some of the video of him leaving the locker room, he just was very disenchanted with what happened that day with a Jet team that was just floundering, inner-city rivalry and all that. That really was a loss that I think hurt Pat Shurmur and Dave Gettleman.”
How does an organization deal with the coaching rumors?
“It’s something you can’t avoid as an owner or team president. It’s out there. A big part of how I would always judge coaches is on image and maintenance of the football and all those types of things, and you talk about maintenance of the team the won-loss record is directly reflective of that. Image is what the viewpoint is out in the community. Does the fan base and the season ticket holders and the suite holders and the sponsors do they think the team is headed in the right direction with this coach or not. Those are some of the things that are going to factor in when John Mara makes his decision on Pat Shurmur, and on Dave Gettleman.”
Diamond wouldn’t predict whether the Giants will make changes at the top.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen. I do know the Giants are one of the patient organizations. I know John is a thoughtful guy, I know John and I think he’s very similar in approach to the way the Rooneys look at things in Pittsburgh.
“I believe John Mara will make the call based on what he believes and what he sees with his own eyes and not necessarily on what he hears and reads and what the fan base is saying and what the media is saying.”
Should Dave Gettleman be more accessible?
“I think it’s a mistake not to speak to the media. I was always available any time.
“I do think it’s a mistake for Dave not to be more front and center, not to be talking to the media, not to be visible. I think that’s something that comes with the job description.
“You can steer the direction of the conversation however you want. You don’t have to be making negative statements, you can accentuate the positives, you can talk about some of the good things that are happening.”
Should Pat Shurmur continue calling the plays?
“I don’t think that is really necessarily a factor. If he thinks he has the best grasp of the offense and that he wants to be the play caller then so be it, then I think that’s fine. I don’t think that really impacts what kind of head coach that he can be.”
Diamond said it would be “nice” if Shurmur could give that duty to someone else so he could “fly at 30,000 feet” and oversee everything. Nice, but not necessary.
“I don’t think that’s a big deal either way, honestly.
“In an ideal world as the GM I always thought it was helpful to the head coach if he didn’t have that responsibility, but if he thinks he’s the best guy for the job then I would always endorse that.”
Should Giants fans feel good that 2020 will be better?
“I think it’s too soon to make that statement. I think that they’ve added some pieces, but there’s a lot of work to do. It will help them to have that cap cleaned out a little bit … they’ll have an opportunity to kind of re-fortify. Not that free agency is a cure all, it’s not. I still believe that you build through the draft primarily and you augment through free agency.
“They’ll have opportunities to add some quality free agents and hopefully they’ll turn out better than they did the last time.
“We’ll see. It’s going to be incumbent on Dave Gettleman if he survives this he’s going to have to make better free agent calls … I do believe Dave Gettleman knows personnel, he knows the business, he’s built winners before … we’ll see how it shakes out.
“I think the next draft and the next free agent class [are] really important for this Giants team to take a step forward.”
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