Senior Vice President and General Manager Dave Gettleman -- July 26, 2019
Opening Statement: Itís great to be back. I hope you guys enjoyed your time off. I really donít have a whole lot to start off with. Weíre certainly excited for the season. We had a good spring. We came out of it pretty healthy. Unfortunately, the worm turned a little bit the last couple of days. Yesterday really. But weíre excited. We feel like we made a lot of progress in the spring. Itís about just getting better every day, which is what weíre looking to do. I thought yesterdayís practice was terrific. You guys were here, you saw a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm, players getting after each other. You saw both sides of the ball make plays, which is what youíre looking for. You never want to see one side of the ball dominate the practice. Sometimes it happens. Over a period of time, you want both sides of the ball to make plays. It was a good start. Letís rock and roll. So how are we doing? Who wants to go first?
Q: It sounds like itís positive news on Sterling Shepard, but do you feel the need to look for receiver help because of the injuries?
A: Historically what happens is you have runs at a position. We started camp with 11 receivers. Right away, Alex Wesley is on PUP. So now youíre down to 10. Then we decide to make the claim to get [DaíMari] Scott from Buffalo. You do that and think youíre back up to 12, but youíre really not and now all of a sudden, youíre down to 9. The problem is it really affects the way practice operates. It affects the way Pat [Shurmur] writes the script, Pat and Mike Shula write the offensive script and everything, so it hurts. Then, what happens is you have X amount of reps. Now you have fewer people taking those reps. Consequently, the short answer is, yeah, weíre going to have a workout tomorrow and weíre going to do something.
Q: Youíre talking about guys that can help in practice, though, and not just veterans?
A: Well, who knows. Weíll see. Weíre going to invite a couple of vets and see if they decide to come.
Q: Pat said two days ago that Daniel [Jones] has exceeded his expectations so far. What is your early evaluation of Daniel?
A: You canít take their temperature every day. Daniel had a good spring. And he had a pretty good day yesterday. It takes time. It takes time for any young kid to really be able to evaluateÖ youíre going to evaluate him over time. You donít draft based on one game. You know what Iím saying? A college kid rushes for 350 yards, you donít draft him in the first round because of that game. You draft him because of his body of work. Itís the same thing here. I donít believe in taking temperatures every day. Hopefully weíre all 98.6. It happens over time is what youíre looking for. Weíll evaluate it, probably once a week weíll have personnel meetings. But I donít believe in every day, Roman Colosseum thumb up or thumb down, thumb sideways.
Q: For this season, whatís your role in the decision on when itís Danielís time to play? Is it your decision, or you and Patís?
A: Itís a Pat decision. Pat and I talk all the time. We talk a lot, every day. And we talk about the whole schmear. The ganze megillah. We talk about every position, we go through it. Listen, I really believe this, it doesnít make a difference who youíre talking about, at the end of the day, itís going to be clear. When anything happens, youíve got to, donít lock your knees and just go.
Q: With Janoris Jenkins, this year heís thrust into a mentor role. How do you think heíll handle that? Heís not a very vocal guy.
A: Itís really funny you say that. Yesterday he and DeAndre [Baker] are off on the side. They were spending time [together] and you could see they were talking. Rabbit was talking technique. It was something you hope to see, and first day right off the bat, we saw it. Rabbit is a good guy. Heís a good person. Heís a good man. He wants to win. Heís not stupid. He knows that these young kids, these young corners, you know DeAndre, Sam Beal, Corey Ballentine and Julian Love, they have to grow up quick. Heís more than happy to help them along.
Q: Along those lines, is there a concern on how long it might take all of the rookie defenders who might start to come together for the defense to really hit its stride?
A: It excites me. This is professional football. One of the things we talk to the kids about, the rookies, is, youíre expected to be a pro now. Those guys out there, those veterans out there, when you walk into the locker room, theyíre looking at you and saying, ĎOkay, howís this guy going to help us win?í Itís all about responsibilities to grow these guys, quickly. Thatís part of the drafting process. Whoís going to have the maturity to handle that? Because this is a different world. I tell them all the time. I tell Dexter (Lawrence) all the time, ĎYouíre about to enter a very violent world, okay, where youíre going to be playing against 28, 29-year-old men who want to rip your lungs out. Youíre not playing Duke or whomever anymore. Youíre not in the ACC anymore. This is the NFL.í So yeah, theyíll make youthful mistakes, but if theyíre smart, theyíll only make them once. If they play with youthful exuberance, weíll be fine.
Q: You saw Lorenzo Carter make that play yesterday. Is he the kind of player who has not done it yet but who you absolutely need to develop into big time players from within?
A: Think about it. Itís no different than you guys writing when you started, writing your first great article, then stepping back and saying, ĎHoly crap! I can do this.í Sometimes you need to make that play and itís like, ĎWow! I just did that. Wow, I can do this.í To answer your question, itís really important. It really is. They donít know what they can do, they donít know what they canít do. When you see a young kid make a play like thatÖ itís no different than me evaluating a player for the first time and being right.
Q: How much does the decline of this roster have to do with not hitting on those kinds of players, second round picks, third round pick. These guys who have to develop into big time players.
A: Philosophically, first, second, third round guys, you look at them and say first and second rounders should start right now. The third rounders should be legitimate role players at the very least, with starting potential. If you think about it, thatís what happened last year. Saquon [Barkley] starts. Will [Hernandez] starts. Lorenzo [Carter] and B.J. [Hill] are immediate role players. B.J. really was a starter midway through the year. And Lorenzo will start this year, obviously. Thatís the drafting for us. So itís important. Once you get into the fourth round, youíre hoping to get lucky. Fifth, sixth and seventh, youíre looking for legitimate backup guys who can help you on [special] teams. So you have that. Thatís what youíre looking for. Again, thatís why, the way last year worked out with these kids, we were thrilled.
Q: How do you respond to Odell saying he felt disrespected about how you and the team handled his departure?
A: How I respond is Odell plays for the Cleveland Browns now, and weíre moving on. We wish him the best. Itís over.
Q: You did trade him, rightÖ
A: No more Odell questions.
Q: Over the last couple of offseasons, you basically remade the entire roster, a new foundation so to speak. Do you feel like you have a solid foundation in place to build on and to get back to Giants football?
A: A big part of it will be the continued development of last yearís rookie class, and what happens with this class. There are some good, young players that were left here. Bringing in a JabrillÖ this yearís important in terms of how this rookie class turns out.
Q: You gave everybody a clean slate your first year. Whatís the message youíre giving everybody this year?
A: For me, the guys had a great spring. Our attendance was off the charts, and itís voluntary. The way theyíve come together, and watching this practice yesterday, the message is, ĎItís go time. Letís just keep getting better.í
Q: Where do you think you have improved the roster the most from last season to where you are now?
A: I think we have gotten more depth in a few spots where we didnít have a lot of depth last year. Obviously, we have completely remade the back end. With the addition of (Kevin) Zeitler, and that piece in the offensive line, getting Pio (Jon Halapio) back and Spencer (Pulley) did a great job, so we feel great about that situation. Weíre feeling better about the O-line. The D-line, we are feeling better, feel much better about the linebacker position. We feel better about a lot of things. We feel like weíve gotten a lot done in a year and a half in that respect, in terms of the personnel piece. We just got to keep going.
Q: Where are you right now, in the sense that, you came in here to a three-win team, you took it over, you developed cancer, you went through the cancer. Where are you as far as physically, mentally, and all that?
A: A year ago, I was fighting for my life. But Iím here, and Iím healthy, and Iím feisty and, like I said in my opening presser, I come in here every day to kick some ass. I feel great, I really do.
Q: Have you given any thought on about how long you want to do this?
A: Until they throw me out (laughter). I donít know, gosh. Iím 68 but I feel like Iím 10. Of course, my wife thinks Iím four. But no, I feel fine and Iím just excited to be here at camp and Iím working with a great head coach.
Q: What do you say to your fans who are sort of doubting the direction that you sort of spearheaded? You said you donít give up on talent and you made the trade and you said you donít reach for a quarterback, but others feel you didÖ
A: Well, what I say to them is give us some credit for the experience in our resumes. Itís one of those situations where you just have to trust (us). Pat (Shurmur) has been coaching a long time, I have been doing this a long time, (VP of Football Operations) Kevin Abrams, (Director of Player Personnel) Mark Koncz, (Director of Pro Personnel) Ken Sternfeld, (and) (Director of College Scouting) Chris Pettit, weíve all been doing this a long time. Weíre professionals and itís one of those things that unfortunately, because of the volume that you are dealing with here, as theyíve said, football is the ultimate team game and dealing with 53 players on the roster, 10 on JV, you have 20 coaches, and all of these folks that youíre involved with. Unfortunately, you canít turn this thing on a dime. Itís impossible. I appreciate their passion, and their concern. Listen, we want to win just as badly as they do. There is no doubt about it, because if we donít win, weíre looking for a new address (laughter). So, I would just say, trust that we are working our fannies off and we going to pull it until the end.
Q: In your mind, is there a point in the season where you hope to be competitive, and if itís not happening by then, then Daniel could play?
A: You canít operate that way, you really canít. We are going to turn around, have a great camp and be ready to go by Week One. The guys play when itís time.
Q: You donít have a number in your mind, or a record?
A: You canít do that, you really canít do that because everything is fluid. You canít do that to yourself because now youíve put yourself in a box. You canít do that.
Q: You said back at the Combine, before the draft obviously, that over the next couple years, you would love to leave a franchise quarterback here. From what you have seen from Daniel (Jones), do you believe that in your heart right now you have done that?
A: Yup. Again, itís coming back to the question that gentleman asked about the fans. The amount of film we watched on Daniel, the amount of background work we did on him, the interviewing of him, the personal contact time we had with him. All of that in one spot. All of the work that heís done out here since his feet have hit the ground here, starting with Rookie Mini Camp. You guys have seen Rookie Mini Camps, and it doesnít even resemble football. Well, our offense, it looked like football, the rookie minicamp. When you look at all of that stuff, and I look at the way he has handled you guys and the difficult questions youíve asked, and the tough things heís encountered since he got here. I look at all of that stuff and I know heís got the talent. Heís got edge. Think about the great quarterbacks youíve seen, think about it. Not the guy who had a great season, the all-time great quarterbacks. Think about those guys and think about all of the things that made them great, all of the qualities that they had. It wasnít just physical qualities, itís was the mental qualities. The ability to take responsibility. There was a game last year, Daniel threw a deep post to a wide receiver and the guy dropped it. After the game he was in the presser and they said, Ďhow do you feel about so and so dropping the ball?í Daniel looked at them without even blinking and said, ĎI need to put it in a better place.í Heíll stand up and do that, (when) a lot of guys wonít.
Q: You sense greatness in him?
A: I think heís got tremendous upside. Howís that?
Q: I am not asking about one specific player, because that would include JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) or Landon (Collins). In your job, is saying goodbye to a guy who has played a lot of years with the Giants one of the hardest things you do, and how do you handle that? Whatís your strategy for handling that?
A: Itís really hard. Itís not easy. There were a couple guys down in Carolina that had been good Panther players, and it was just time to go for whatever reason. So no, itís not easy. Listen, I donít take any of this lightly. None of it. I may kid around a little bit, but when youíre dealing with people, you donít take one part of that lightly because if there is anything that Iíve learned, when youíre saying something difficult to somebody, you have got to make sure that you give them their dignity. On the flip side of that, Ron Rivera used to kid me and would say, ĎWell, itís easy for you, you didnít draft these guys. Wait until you have to do that to a guy that you drafted.í That turned out to be hard, but you have to do it. In life, itís not so much the message, itís the delivery. These guys have put their heart and soul on the line for you, blood, sweat, and tears and all those clichťs and you have to respect that. I feel very strongly about that, and I know that Iíve done the right thing with these longtime players.
Q: Along those lines, how do you prepare yourself and this organization, at some point, to say goodbye to a guy who has worn this uniform longer than anybody?
A: Thatís a really hard question. Why did you ask me that question? (laughter) Again, as long as you do everything the right way, thatís how you prepare yourself. You, in your mind, go through the things you need to go through, and you do it like a pro, you do it like a pro. But there is always the human piece of this that makes it difficult.
Q: You were 5-11 last year.
A: I wasnít 5-11, the New York Football Giants were 5-11.
Q: Okay, the team went 5-11.
A: Thank you.
Q: What constitutes a successful season in 2019 in your mind?
A: Improvement. You would like to think that guys like Saquon (Barkley), and Will (Hernandez), and B.J. (Hill), and Lorenzo (Carter), and RJ McIntosh are going to make a significant jump. That old saying from Ďyear one to year two.í Youíd like to think that those three first-rounders are the next man, and Julian (Love) and Corey (Balletine) can come in to make us better. Itís about just to continue improvement. Iím not going to put a record on it. Itís not fair, and itís not fair to the kids.
Q: Would you consider it a successful season without playoffs?
A: Iím not going to get into that hypothetical. Weíll see.
Q: This is a sterling franchise that is renowned around all sports. What is your response to anybody who would say that they have boosted the brand of the New York Giants?
A: (laughter) Youíre leading me down a rabbit hole. We all know that this is an iconic franchise thatís won four Super Bowls and other world championships, and thatís the brand. Thatís the brand.