If you’re a Giants fan looking for a glimmer of hope, listen to Dave Gettleman’s final words before he got a chance to watch his first practice as the team’s newly named general manager.
“I want [fans] to know that we’re going to use every avenue to get this thing fixed,” said Gettleman, who was introduced Friday as the full-time successor to Jerry Reese, who was fired Dec. 4. “There are some very good players on this team. It’s not crash and burn. It’s not torch the whole place, dump 63 [players on the roster, including the practice squad] and bring in another new 63. There are some darn good players on this team.”
Gettleman believes he can peer through the rubble of this 2-13 season and identify legitimate solutions. That doesn’t mean there won’t be a major renovation, but it does signal that the new general manager believes there’s enough to work with to turn things around quickly.
“There’s always hope,” he said. “And I’d like to think that, you look at my resume, you think you’ve got a chance. Just hang in there with us and we’re going to get it fixed.”
The resume certainly is impressive enough. Gettleman has been a part of seven teams that went to the Super Bowl, three of which won rings (the 1997 Broncos and the 2007 and 2011 Giants). He helped build a Super Bowl team in Carolina before being fired in July, in large part because he was able to make the tough but deeply unpopular decisions to release players such as Josh Norman and Steve Smith.
Gettleman’s track record is one of painstaking attention to detail in judging players’ true value, and he has been on the mark with most of those evaluations. That bodes well for a team that needs to address several areas, starting with the offensive line.
“We’ve gotta fix the O-line, let’s be honest,” he said.
Gettleman also offered strong hints that Eli Manning will be back next season, although he wouldn’t discount the possibility of taking another quarterback in the draft or considering third-round rookie Davis Webb as a long-term successor to Manning. He added that if Manning’s big game against the Eagles “wasn’t a mirage” — and he doesn’t think it was — “then we’ll keep moving [with him].”
Giants president and co-owner John Mara, who introduced Gettleman at a news conference Friday at the team’s training center, gets a trusted voice who had 15 years’ experience with the organization before becoming the Panthers’ GM five years ago. It is a safe pick for an owner who needs to get his house in order after a mind-numbingly bad season, but it also is a smart choice. Mara knows firsthand the kind of respect Gettleman commanded within the organization, and bringing him back as the lead football executive makes sense.
“After going through all these interviews and talking to [former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi, who served as a consultant] and [Giants co-owner Steve Tisch], we just had a conviction that this was the right guy for us,” Mara said.
It also gives the Giants a head start on the search for a new coach, something that could be complicated by a rash of firings after Sunday’s games. There could be as many as a dozen coaching vacancies in this year’s hiring cycle. Among the coaches who could be considered for the Giants’ job: Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith. Giants interim head coach Steve Spag nuolo will be interviewed but isn’t expected to get the job.
“I’m also conscious of the fact that, come Monday or Tuesday, there are going to be a number of head coaches that get fired, and a lot of teams out there competing for quality candidates,” Mara said. “Being ready to do that starting Monday morning was certainly something we wanted to do. So once we reached a conviction about Dave, we felt that was the right thing to do to make a decision now and hit the road on Monday.”
Getting the right coach is a must, but already having the right general manager is a great first step.