John Mara wants the Giants to win the NFC East. He wants them to contend for the Super Bowl. He wants that to happen this season.
“That’s certainly what our goal is,” he said on Thursday. “I’ll be very disappointed if we are not in that situation.”
But the co-owner of the Giants also said his decisions next offseason are unlikely to hinge on the outcome of those standards. They are really more hopes than expectations at this point, with a young team and a new head coach. Mara and co-owner Steve Tisch are looking beyond this upcoming season.
“I can’t sit here and say we have to win a certain number of games otherwise I am going to blow the whole thing up again,” Mara said. “I think Steve and I agree, we need to feel like we are building something that is going to compete for a championship. If we’re able play meaningful games in December that would be a sign that we are.”
And if not? Well, they’re probably not going to fire the head coach they just hired. It was Joe Judge’s long-term plan that sold them on hiring him as a relative unknown in January. They’re not going to abandon that after 16 games and what, impacted by a pandemic and social issues, Mara called the most difficult offseason of his life-long tenure with the team.
The general manager they considered firing at the end of 2019, however, does not have that security. It presents a strange dynamic for the people running the team, having a coach on a long-term plan and a general manager on a short leash.
“In terms of a timeline, they both want the same thing,” Mara said of Dave Gettleman and Judge. “They both want to build a good foundation here and set us up to be able to compete for Super Bowls.”
Only one of them, though, may be given time to do so.
Mara praised the way Judge and Gettleman have worked together.
“I think the communication between the two of them has been excellent,” he said. “I think we are all on the same page. When they disagree about something they talk it out and come to a conclusion. That’s all I can expect from them is that they are both reasonable, they talk it through, and they come to a decision at the end of that which is the New York Giants’ decision, not one of theirs. So far I’ve been very pleased with that.”
Next week the season starts and we’ll see how long Mara’s pleasure lasts.
The Giants have been in the floundering stages of a rebuild for the past few seasons. Selling fans on the start of a new rebuild when the old ones never amounted to much is hard. Giants fans want wins, not plans. They want trophies, not blueprints.
“I get that and I hear that,” Mara said. “Believe me, I hear that in the correspondence I get from them. It’s pretty hard to sit here and say ‘We have to win X number of games, we have to be in the playoffs this year.’ We’ve made some big changes over the last few years, but I think we’re starting to build a foundation that can last over the long haul. That’s what Steve and I want to see at the end of the day, improvement in the right direction.
“I know that’s not going to satisfy a lot of our fans, but I think it’s the right philosophy to have.”
Notes & quotes: The Giants wrapped up training camp on Thursday with a scrimmage at MetLife Stadium. Judge said he was “pleased” with the work the team put in during the abnormal preseason. “They made a lot of progress this camp, I’m very proud of how they worked,” he said. “I can’t tell you how pleased I am with their urgency, their attention to detail and their willingness to work the way we want them to . . . They’ve been fun to coach.” But are they ready for the Steelers next Monday night? “You’ve never arrived, you’re never really where you want to be no matter what,” Judge said . . . WR David Sills sat out the final practice with an undisclosed injury. LB Blake Martinez did individual drills but did not participate in any live plays in the scrimmage . . . The Giants must cut their roster to 53 by 4 p.m. Saturday. “It’ll be busy,” Judge said of the coming days. “Ultimately we’re looking to keep as many good players in our program as possible, and that’s the 53-man roster, the practice squad and whatever other means we have . . . We want to make sure we take our time, review everything and make the right decisions.”