New York Giants: What role is Dave Gettleman playing and how much credit does he deserve?

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman
June 5, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman walks the field during minicamp. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/ via USA TODAY NETWORK

Isn’t it interesting how winning solves a lot of problems? New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman has been on the hot seat for quite some time, particularly regarding his 2018 draft class and the decision to select Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick. However, the Giants remained loyal, authorizing him to move ahead with the 2019 draft and follow his rebuilding plan.

Gettleman publicly stated after the 2018 season that the decision to rebuild and win at the same time was wrong, and the Giants subsequently shredded the roster and started over. But what we didn’t realize at the time was that the coaching staff was incapable of utilizing the players to their strengths.

“I thought we could do both at the same time and I was wrong.”

Former head coach Pat Shurmur and defensive coordinator James Bettcher seem like a distant nightmare at this point, as Joe Judge and Patrick Graham have revitalized this team in ways inconceivable through 13 weeks.

Facing COVID-19, no preseason, new schematics, and players across the board, the Giants entered the season as one of the worst teams in the NFL. They started 1-7, but things started to take shape after losing three consecutive games by a combined six points.

Since then, the New York Giants have won four games straight, dethroning the Seattle Seahawks, who entered the game as 10.5 favorites at home. Without starting quarterback Daniel Jones, Big Blue managed to run the football with ease against the 3rd best run defense in the NFL. The Giants totaled 190 yards on the ground when Seattle was allowing an average of 89.3 per game.

It is interesting, though, as the calls to fire Gettleman have quickly faded into the abyss as the Giants have racked up wins. However, it remains possible that Gettleman could be fired, or he can retire at the end of the season. Nonetheless, his past mistakes are turning into interesting successes, but not because of his decisions, but because of the coaching and their ability to extract value where there wasn’t any before. That is something Shurmur and his coaching staff struggled to accomplish, but Judge has managed to discipline his team and keep them focused despite falling to a 1-7 record earlier this year.

There are many that still harp on Gettleman’s past judgments, and justifiably so. We have to think of things in context, like the Leonard Williams trade. Williams might have 8.5 sacks this year, but that is because of the coaching staff, which some could argue that Gettleman helped put together. Nonetheless, he mismanaged assets last year by trading away a third and fifth-round pick for Williams during a lost season with a bad head coach. They did not anticipate Judge taking over and suddenly turning these mistakes into massive wins. Predicting this turnaround was simply impossible, and it has undoubtedly cast a cloak of redemption over Gettleman’s mistakes.

The New York Giants have improved and it’s time to give credit where it’s due:

There is a positive spin, as the personnel decisions this past off-season were phenomenal. The free agency signings and latest draft class have been impeccable and integral to the Giants’ success this season. Gettleman deserves some credit for that, and we mustn’t forget.

Now, as the 2020 campaign inevitably winds down, the reality is that Dave will likely stay with the Giants next season. However, things are different than they were before as Gettleman was the focal point in personnel decisions. Now, it is more collaborative, with the coaching staff helping to piece together this team.

The only way I see Gettleman sticking around is if Judge wants him in a supportive role. Personally, I think Dave offers great value when piecing together the offensive line and finding hidden talent. Leaving Judge to handle the day-to-day operations and current roster, Gettleman can go off and begin scouting players for the draft.

Instead of being a hands-on general manager, I believe Gettleman is taking more of a head scout role, gathering information for Judge to make the everyday calls. This would support my thesis that Judge has a superabundance of power within the organization, considering the job he has done turning around the culture and putting a winning team on the field.

That is more his doing than Gettleman’s, and we must comprehend that. He took the players on the roster, signed several free agents and a bevy of rookies, and turned them into contributing players. It is exceedingly challenging to do that for any coach, let alone a first-year head coach. Dave deserves some credit, but it is Judge that is running the show, and Gettleman is simply a supportive piece.

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