Dave Gettleman – © USA TODAY Sports
DAVE GETTLEMAN ADDRESSES MEDIA AT NFL COMBINE…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman addressed the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana on Wednesday. (VIDEO)
Q: What is your evaluation of Davis Webb?
A: As Pat (Shurmur) said, there is only so much to watch. He has not had a lot of NFL experience. We liked him down in Carolina in the draft. He is pretty highly rated. It is kind of like having a Christmas or a Hanukkah present that you get to unwrap eventually.
Q: You picked Christian McCaffrey top-10 last year. There is a common theory that you can get running backs later in the draft. With Saquon Barkley, where do you fall on top 10 vs running backs later in the draft?
A: The bottom line is: is the guy a football player? This whole myth of devaluing running backs, I find it kind of comical. At the end of the day, if he’s a great player, he’s a great player. It doesn’t matter what position he is. The other thing, listening to Pat, sometimes I think it gets lost that football is the ultimate team game. You blow the whistle, 11 guys have to go out there. Offense, defense and special teams. Everyone has to understand that every player is important. That is why when you are looking at the second pick of the draft, which we are, the first thing we have to determine is, is this guy worthy of being the second pick of any draft? Not just this year’s draft, of any draft. You make that determination and you move forward. (The Carolina writers) have seen my act down there. If he’s a great player, I don’t care how stacked we are at the position, we are taking him. It is all about accumulating talent.
Q: You spoke about wanting to avoid ‘quarterback hell’. How much does it weigh on you that you have a quarterback that is towards the end of his career and you want to make sure the franchise is OK?
A: Really and truly, obviously I think about it. It is a monster puzzle that we are putting together. There are other things that you have to look at as well. We know that if you don’t have a QB, it is going to be a long season. We know that. We will come to the right conclusion.
Q: What is your general perception of this QB class?
A: I tell you what, it is an interesting class. All shapes and sizes, all flavors. This is like Howard Johnson back in the day. It is a real interesting group. I’m excited about meeting some of these guys here. It is going to be fun. Obviously we will be busy once the combine is over, visiting. You have your 35 visits. That will be part of the process. It is a really interesting group.
Q: How important is that Combine interview?
A: It is only 15 minutes. At the end of the day, can you really know anyone in 15 minutes? It is like speed dating. At the end of the day, it is an introduction.
Q: The fact that if you take a QB, the goal is to not have him play versus the No. 2 guy that is not a quarterback and could come in and make an immediate impact on a team. How much insurance do you need?
A: Well, no one wants the one to go down. You don’t want to get there. At the end of the day, you evaluate and you bring the guys that you believe in. You go through camp. Again, when you start camp, your roster shuffling does not stop. Roster building is a 12-month season. That is just the way it is. You have to understand that things happen and players become available. You have to be willing to pull the trigger. We will be ready to do that.
Q: How much will Webb’s presence on the roster affect your decision-making process when it comes to taking a QB?
A: Like I said before, we had him highly-rated, Pat thinks highly of him, just as anyone with a small NFL sample size. It is all part of it.
Q: For years, college linemen have been standing up and have not been ready for the NFL game. Does the NFL have to adjust at some point that this is what some of the linemen coming in are doing? Is there a happy medium in terms of both sides making it work? A lot of times it has not been working.
A: That is a hell of a question. At the end of the day, if you watch football, obviously the college game, a lot of it is really different. If you watch how it has evolved, it has changed. Style, whatever. Really and truly, if you watch the teams that win in the NFL, you have quarterbacks that are making plays from the pocket and you have offensive lines that are running old school NFL runs with little twists. Everyone has two O-line coaches. It is really imperative that they be great teachers. Some of these kids, there are guys that start for four years and the only time they have their hand in the dirt is if they fall down. It is two points the whole time and occasionally you will see them in the four-point on the goal line. Your two O-line coaches have to be great teachers. The other thing you have to do is get them as many reps as possible. There is a theory that you need 5,000 reps before you are ready. I don’t know if I subscribe to it, but you think about it. Obviously that is not just on the field, it is in practice as well, but it takes time. Think about positions on the field. What is the most awkward? You think it is natural for a 320-pound-kid to back up and block? They want to come off and we teach them that. It has become more difficult. When you evaluate hog mollies, you have to be patient. You have to take your time. You look for the things that all the great ones can do. You have to look at all the basics. Does he play with a base? Can he roll his hips? Can he do this? Can he do that? You will find guys in the two-point that can do that.
Q: Can you see that here? In the drills here?
A: A little bit. It is helpful, but it is really with the pads on. You need the pads.
Q: How much are you open for business at two? Would you deem it a buyer’s market or a seller’s market with all these teams?
A: There is so much stuff going around. Are we open for business? Any decision I make is going to be in the best interest of the New York Giants, plain and simple. If someone makes me an offer I can’t refuse, would I move back? It depends upon who is there. Again, if there is a guy that is worthy enough of being the second pick of a draft and what we are basically saying if we answer that question to the affirmative, you are drafting what you think is going to be a Hall of Fame player. You can’t get too cute about the whole thing.
Q: What would be your understanding level if Odell would to take the position of wanting a deal done without participating in any activity from the standpoint of having gotten injured last year and really being even more concerned about that?
A: Let me say this to you, I do not talk about contracts or negotiations. I believe it is personal between the club and the player. I’m not going to speculate. Just see what happens, that is all.
Q: When you evaluated your offensive line, just watching the tape from last year. Justin Pugh, D.J. Fluker, at center. What did you see? What did you Like? Do you still believe it needs total revamping?
A: You have to be practical and you have to be realistic. When I watched the offensive line, they had a ton of injuries. The group that finished the season against Washington, what I really liked was that they played tough. They were physical and they got after it. They did a really nice job. I said in my opening presser that I’m not going to lie to anyone, give me a break. We are going to do it piece by piece. If the right guy is there, we will make a move.
Q: How do you view Justin Pugh?
A: He’s a versatile, smart football player. Really, he is a four-hole guy. We are still in our evaluation process and we are going to figure it out.
Q: Do you come here with a pecking order at No. 2 in your mind?
A: We had our meetings in February. We went through the first time. Now, we are gathering information. We get to the draft in April. We will add all the new information and then we have this crazy thing called a discussion. Pat is involved, obviously, very involved in the draft. At the end of the day, I believe in collaboration. I believe in communication. Everyone in that room is going to say their piece. Then, it falls on me to make a decision. I have no preconceived notion. I just don’t.
Q: Where do you stand on Eli Apple?
A: We had a nice visit. Eli came in and we talked for about 25 minutes. It was a good visit. We broke bread, so to speak. I told him it is clean. Let’s go. That’s where we are at.
Q: Do you expect him to be on the roster next year?
A: I expect him to show up April 9th. I hope he shows up April 9th.
Q: How did this all come together? You ending up here from Carolina?
A: I think you need to check. I said it publicly. Anytime that something like that happens, we are all complicit. I have to step back and be honest. I have a great wife that helps me do that. Joanne does not pull any punches. You have to understand that when there is a difference of opinion between people, you have all had arguments, if you have a difference of opinion, somewhere in the middle it should be. It is (Jerry Richardson’s) franchise. He made a decision and here I am.
Q: What are your thoughts on Janoris Jenkins, his consistency level and work ethic?
A: We can all be more consistent. Everyone in our daily lives. Janoris is a very good football player. It is like I said to you guys. Every time you write an article, are you writing a Pulitzer Prize winner? No. Every decision that I make, is it the right one? No. At the end of the day, we all try and get better. Janoris is a very talented and gifted player. I got to know him a little bit and I am excited he is a New York Football Giant.
Q: Assessment of Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane as a tandem in Buffalo?
A: You are going to make me say nice things. I think it is a great group. Brandon has really grown up and he is ready. I think the fact that they have a personal relationship is helpful. I think they are going to be a great team. He is bright, tough and thoughtful. He went through the process with us of talking, collaborating and communicating. He has that piece down well. I think they are going to be a great team.
PAT SHURMUR ADDRESSES MEDIA AT NFL COMBINE…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana on Wednesday. (VIDEO)
Shurmur: Good morning guys. How are you doing? Alright, so most of us are down here, now that we’ve started the process certainly of trying to get as much information as we can this week. Actually did some meetings last night, we’ll have meetings throughout the week and try to get as much information as we can on all of the players that are here.
Q: Since this is your first combine, what’s your priority on how to shape this team going forward?
A: Well, this is about my 18th combine, so the priority here is to make sure you get as much information as you can about the player. We’re trying to find guys that are passionate about football, the medical part tells us if they’re healthy enough to play and then we want to walk away as coaches and try to answer the question by getting to know them as best we can. Are these guys we want to coach? So that’s why this is really the first real big exposure for us as coaches in this evaluation process. So our whole staff is here and we’re trying to get as much information as possible.
Q: What do you look for in quarterbacks at the combine?
A: Well, you’re trying to look for all of the intangible things that a quarterback does. You want to try to determine whether he’s a good decision maker, whether he has a sense of timing. The tape tells you whether he’s an accurate passer or not. And then you just want to get a feel for, ‘hey, is this the guy that we want to lead our team?’ So some of it is subjective, some of it really just comes by getting to know the player. So we have a good idea of what a good quarterback is, so we’re trying to see those attributes in all of these candidates.
Q: Does it matter if they don’t throw (at the combine?)
A: No, I think times have changed. We’ve seen him throw on tape. He’s going to have a pro day where we can see him throw. It’s certainly nicer when they do throw. The more exposure you have, the more times we see the player doing what he does, it helps, but I think times have changed so some do, some don’t.
Q: I know you said you thought Eli (Manning) had years left in his career, but given that you’re sitting at the number two pick in the draft, what are your thoughts on the importance of setting up the franchise for the future there?
A: Yeah, I agree with both of your assertions there. We’re looking forward, moving forward with Eli, but certainly with the second pick in the draft, we want to draft a player worthy of that pick. I think we’ve talked about it before, but the last time the Giants had the second pick in the draft, they picked Lawrence Taylor. The last time they had the third pick in the draft, they picked Carl Banks and those were two franchise changing players. So I think we have to keep an open mind on this and we certainly want to make our team better and I think that’s the approach that we’re taking.
Q: Can you afford to spend the number two pick on a player that might not even play this season?
A: We’re going to pick the very best player that we can pick at the number two pick. We’re coming into this, again, we’re looking for passionate players that want to be coached, that we feel good about and we’re trying to upgrade the whole team.
Q: Do you know what you have in Davis Webb? Will he impact what you do with the number two pick?
A: Yeah, that’s a good question. It’s interesting, he and Eli are in the building every day and I have to hold back from talking ball with them, so I see them in the lunch room after they have their workouts so that’s a little uncomfortable for me because they’re so eager to get going. But I like what I’ve seen in Davis Webb. I went back and watched his tape again from college just to get reacquainted with him. I liked what I saw on tape when he played. I had a chance to watch his practice tape, which has been terrific. We just don’t have a large sample size of Davis Webb playing NFL football, but I’m excited about what he brings to the table.
Q: What can you get from the practice tape?
A: Well, you can see him drop back and throw and make the right reads and just all of those things quarterbacks do.
Q: How different has this coaching experience been so far compared to your tenure in Cleveland?
A: It’s way different. I think the second time through on anything, I’ve said it, there’s a list of things I’ll never do again, there are certain things that I need to do in the first month and some of that I’ve already accomplished. You are just more comfortable with what needs to get done because you can see it a little better and I feel good about the staff that we’ve hired, getting to know our team and the way our organization functions and doing it at a little faster pace. So anytime that you do something for the second time and really the first time, I get it, those that say there are things they didn’t see coming are full of it in my opinion because there are some things you don’t see coming, but you get used to handling it. And then there are years since that time where I’ve become a better coach, so it helps.
Q: Since you have a successful history of working with quarterbacks, do you feel like you have an advantage because of your background?
A: I think we know what quarterbacks are. I added Mike Shula, who again understands what a quarterback looks like and how to develop a quarterback. We know what we’re looking for, we know when we see it. So we want guys that are in the building that will develop the way that we see them having to develop. For guys that have been in the league a long time like Eli, we just want to try to maximize what he does well.
Q: What about managing the different personalities?
A: Yeah, that’s hugely important, but I think your personality needs to be genuine. To your point, they’re all different and what’s important is that they’re the best version of what they are. They don’t want to try to model themselves after somebody else. So that’s what we try to do, maximize the best of who they are.
Q: How much does having a Super Bowl caliber quarterback in Eli Manning allow you to expand your playbook?
A: Yeah, Eli is sharp. And again, I haven’t been able to talk football with him, I just know him and he’s very smart. Quarterbacks along the way have had to learn other offenses and get accustomed to new schemes and we call it apple, they call it orange. Eli’s got all of that. So it certainly helps a great deal. Experience really matters for a guy that is a really good player because he’s seen things, he’s done things way more than somebody we would bring in that would be a rookie.
Q: What’s your first impression on this year’s offensive line draft class?
A: I think there are a lot of good players in this year’s draft, but I think we’ve got some good players on our roster and, again, we have to maximize what they do. But let’s make no mistake, blockers got to block, quarterbacks got to throw, receivers got to catch, runners got to run, and I’m just talking about on the offense. So all of the guys in our building need to do those jobs better and we’ve got to try to maximize what they can do and then, of course, we’re going to try to upgrade all of the position groups. So the new guys that we’re bringing in need to be passionate, they need to understand what a relationship is and be willing to be coached. So the new guys that we’re bringing in, that’s what we’re looking to gain by getting the information we talked about earlier.
Re: NFC East
A: I think it becomes a personality of the teams in the division. Certainly, the NFC East is a tough division. We’ve got the Super Bowl champion in our division, but we also have the DNA in the New York Giants to do the same thing. So the Washington Redskins, an outstanding team, and Dallas is obviously an outstanding team. So we’ve got our work cut out for us. We were 3-13. There was a reason for it, we own that and we’ve got to do what we can to get back to those years where we’re playing in the playoffs.
Q: What are your thoughts on what the Eagles were able to accomplish last year, especially with Nick Foles stepping in as the backup quarterback?
A: Well it’s impressive. Let’s get past the two quarterbacks that played last year, they have assembled a terrific team. So that kind of pushed them through. The quarterback piece is obviously very important and Carson Wentz had an outstanding year. And I was with Nick Foles when he had his very best year, so I wasn’t surprised to see that he could lead them the rest of the way. So no, I’ve got a lot of respect for what they’ve done and I’m looking forward to competing against them.
Q: How much have you been able to talk to Eli Apple and what are your concerns with some of the maturity issues that happened last season?
A: Eli Apple, I’ve got to keep my Elis straight. Yeah, Eli was in the building, so I had a chance to visit with him and this is a clean slate deal. So I think we all know we need to get better. We had a great conversation, he’s eager to get started when we do get started and we’re going to put the ball out there and let it rip.
Q: Are you concerned about the stuff in his family circle?
A: No, I’m not concerned. And as I get to know him better and as we start to develop those relationships that are necessary for a player and a coach and an organization, we’re sort of starting at ground zero with that and so I’m looking forward to that.
Q: Have you gotten an update on where Odell Beckham is in his rehab and what’s your confidence that he’ll be ready for the spring?
A: Yeah, he’s been through, and to my knowledge, he’s making great progress. So, yes. And I don’t know about the camp part of it yet.
Q: He tweeted about not playing in any preseason games, is that a discussion you guys have had?
A: We haven’t really been able to discuss football and certainly we wouldn’t have talked about any participation in training camp. But no, we communicate on the surface like we have to with all of our players, but we’ve developed a relationship that’s pretty sound.
Q: What did you see in Kevin Stefanski that you wanted to bring him over here with you?
A: Yeah, I think Kevin is a tremendous coach and obviously the Vikings feel the same way. So I think he has a very bright future, he’s a good man, and the Vikings did a good thing by keeping him for the Vikings. So I’m hopeful they have a great year as well.
Q: What does it tell you that Davis and Eli are in the building every day?
A: Well, I’m encouraged by that because they feel like the best place to train is in our building. I think we’ve created an environment (in the league) now with the players where there are so many things that you can’t do in the offseason, so guys go off on their own, they get trainers, they’re trained away from the facility and you don’t know what’s going on. Even though we can’t work and there are rules with how much we can be around them, the fact that they’re there tells me that it matters and the fact that the two quarterbacks on our roster are spending time together every single day, I think it’s a really good thing.
Q: What were you able to see from Brandon Marshall when you looked at the tape from last year?
A: Yeah, he’s an outstanding player. He got hurt early so there wasn’t much that we could talk about, but those are contract deals, we will talk about them at a later time.
Q: When you look at Davis Webb’s college film, it was mainly all spread stuff, so some of it translates, a lot of it doesn’t. How much does that put him back or does last year’s time with the Giants help him?
A: You can see in college what a quarterback can do and it translates to our game. So the word ‘spread’ is used a lot like ‘west coast offense’ or ‘3-4 defense’, there’s many, many versions of those three elements of football, but we can see it. Obviously, he was drafted for a reason and we can see why on tape.
Q: What’s your evaluation of Evan Engram?
A: Yeah Evan, he was a player that we really liked. He is a pass receiving tight end. He obviously had a really good first year. I mean, there are certain areas that he could improve, but certainly looking forward to working with him.