Exclusive: Giants general manager Dave Gettleman to his critics as the NFL Draft approaches: "I like my resume so far" | Politi



Dave Gettleman is trying to convey his message again, this time to an audience of one, me, with a bowl of tomato and basil cream in the Giants cafeteria.

He tried to take him home a few minutes earlier, starting his NFL draft press conference, reading an article from USA Today. It was a pair of high-profile college basketball coaches, Mike Krzyzewski and John Calipari, who learned last season that bringing together the best talent does not always make the best teams. He even quoted Lou Lamoriello, the hockey general manager of the Hall of Fame, to point out the point before opening the field for questions.

"Players win games, teams win championships."

And then, for the next 30 minutes, he answered more than a dozen questions about the selection of a star quarterback. His message, it seemed, had collapsed. Based on the reaction to his controversial squad motions this winter, including, as you know, the columnist sitting in front of him and that bowl of soup, he should get used to that reaction.

"I think some people still miss him," the Giants general manager told NJ Advance Media in a broad 30-minute interview. "Football is the best team game, if the 11 players are not doing the right thing, you will not succeed.

"There is more than just collecting talent, there is something cultural that is critical, I have not been to a team that has gone to a Super Bowl that has had a culture problem."

Did you have one with the giants?

"No more," he said with a satisfied smile.

I started this interview with a simple premise: that Gettleman is the most interesting man in the NFL, a statement that provoked a great laugh and a quick response. "That shows you how boring the NFL is!" But even he can not deny that he stands out. In an era in which most general managers have tight lips, are badytical and colorless, it is a shameless, disrespectful, without apology.

The reviews of his first 16 months as general manager at East Rutherford have not been kind. Prominent NFL reporter Peter King called the 68-year-old a "personal dinosaur" in October, while ESPN badyst Bill Barnwell described his many moves since he took over as "just credible".

He is the man who changed the star receiver Odell Beckham Jr., only a few months after having hired him for a mbadive contract, he let a quarterback pbad with the No. 2 overall selection to carry a great player (Saquon Barkley) to a position (runner) that little valued so much, that he refused to use the franchise tag in the security of Landon Collins despite his status as a costume leader and a defense already devoid of game creators.

To be clear: the Giants were 5-11 last season, so no one on that list should be safe. But the general work that goes into the draft next week is disconcerting, to say the least. The Giants are a rebuilding team with a 38-year-old quarterback who has just added several veterans with big salaries to their roster. For a stranger, they look like a team that moves in two different directions.

Gettleman, faced with that criticism, does not flinch.

"What I find interesting is that there are people who inform and make judgments about what I do and how I do my work who do not know the game, who have never been involved in a team and who have been outside looking out," said Gettleman . "That's not your fault, by the way, it's the way it is, but the problem is that, for me, it's when a journalist makes a judgment and does not have all the information, that's something that I deny with my head" .

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The double talk of NFL Draft QB Draft of all the Giants, Dave Gettleman, makes my brain hurt. Can you guess what you are thinking from these quotes?

The general manager of the New York Giants, Dave Gettleman, is consistent in talking in circles.

Gettleman believes, and firmly believes, that his path is right. He recites the names of the men who have influenced him throughout his long career as a football executive – Bill Polian and Ernie Accorsi up close, Bill Parcells and Bill Walsh from afar – and issues a reminder with his resume that he does not is & # 39; A guy the giants took from the street.

"I've been to seven Super Bowls," he said. "I feel very strongly that I know how I should be, how I should smell, how I should know. And, then, you can look at me and say, well, I know what I'm doing or I'm a big, fat rabbit foot. None is bad, right? I like my resume so far. "

"You have to have a philosophy, and you have to be intentional with every movement. And you can not panic. I told John Mara that we're going to fix this. We're going to put a team out there that everyone will be proud of. "

But will your old school philosophies work in this NFL happy to happen? Gettleman hits the table several times while answering.

"Let me say this, okay?" He said. "There are three truths: football evolves, the game evolves, the game style evolves, but there are three truths that have not changed and will not change, right, you have to run the ball, you have to stop the race and you have to hurry. to the pbader. "

To take home that point, Gettleman is immersed in the recent history of the NFL. The Patriots won the Super Bowl this winter, not because of the greatness of Tom Brady, he says, but because Patriots coach Bill Belichick worked out a game plan to get the ball through the Rams' throats.

"Talk about … do you mean that Belichick is not a dinosaur? (Looks) the Super Bowl," said Gettleman. "Why is not it a dinosaur? Do you understand what I'm saying? Those are the three truths. "

This week, despite all the changes you have already made, you could shape your legacy. Gettleman has 12 picks to work on in the NFL Draft, including numbers 6 and 17 in the first round. He called this a "very good draft", and he will need three really good days using those selections to continue building a list that is very shallow.

Accorsi, a friend who still relies on his advice, consolidated his place in the history of the Giants in 2004 when he made the exchange on the day of purchase to acquire Eli Manning. Gettleman, who inherited quarterback Cam Newton in Carolina, has never had to choose a franchise quarterback.

"Listen, the two most important decisions a GM has to make are the quarterback and the head coach, and if he runs into both, he's riding the salsa train, Ernie hit both," said Gettleman. . "In Carolina, I did not have to do anything either, here it's completely different."

Here, he hired Pat Shurmur as head coach while defiantly challenging Manning in the face of growing criticism, including his comment on Thursday that the 38-year-old quarterback showed he had "a lot" left, prompting laughter in social networks.

He has the opportunity to get the last laugh, of course. If he finds the next quarterback in the franchise this week, then his much-criticized decision to take Barkley last spring will look like a stroke of genius. If the Giants achieve something without Beckham that they never did with him (win a playoff game), he will have a chance to win the ball to his skeptics.

"That's not me," he said when asked if he would enjoy it. "I do not want anyone to talk about me in the world of my dreams, I want everyone to talk about the football giants of New York, and Pat Shurmur, and Eli Manning, and Saquon Barkley. They do not need to be talking about me, bored. "

With that, the most interesting man in the NFL brings his bowl of soup to the cafeteria dishwashing station and goes back to work.

Steve Politi can be reached in [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @StevePoliti. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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