Jan 022019
 
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Dave Gettleman, New York Giants (September 30, 2018)

Dave Gettleman – © USA TODAY Sports

GENERAL MANAGER DAVE GETTLEMAN ADDRESSES MEDIA…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman addressed the media on Wednesday to discuss the state of his team after completing a 5-11 season (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Opening Remarks: Happy New Year! It’s good to see everybody. I hope Santa made a visit, or you had some good potato latkes. It’s good to see everybody. I just wanted to open with a couple thoughts to get us going.

We’re headed in the right direction, I really believe that. We’ve had a year, we’ve done a lot of different types of things. Obviously we’ve done a pretty extensive overhaul with the roster. We consistently talked about culture and building a winning culture. Again, it’s a team that had to learn how to win again. So I feel really good about the foundation that we’ve started to lay. I’m not happy with 5-11, nobody is, but I feel good about where we’re headed. There’s eight franchises right now looking for head coaches and the common theme coming out of them was they needed to get in the right direction. Well, I feel very strongly and very good about it – and it’s easy for me to say it to you people that we are headed in the right direction.

As far as the team’s concerned, I’ve told you guys this and I mean it: there isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t ask myself the question, have me and the personnel people given Pat (Shurmur) and the coaches enough players to win with? I ask that question of myself all the time because roster building is a 12-month deal. The season doesn’t begin, ‘this is the 53 and this is the 10 guys on the practice squad, and away we go.’ You have to constantly evaluate what you’re doing, so like I said, roster building is a 12-month season and I’m very conscious of that. Like I said, we had a significant overhaul this year. By the end. I think we had on the varsity, we had like 13 guys that had an NY on their lid last year. That’s it. That’s a pretty extensive overhaul. Not every move’s going to work out, oh by the way, as we’ve seen. The other part of it is, I believe in that definition of insanity – keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result. It’s true, so you’ve also seen that we make a decision and if it’s not working, we will make a change. Again, we still have roster work to do, I’m not going to deny that for a moment.

Then the last thing I want to talk about before I take your questions, just to get it out there just so you guys understand, (QB) Eli (Manning) and I had a very extensive conversation on Monday. No holds barred, he took me in the low post and won, but the bottom line is it was a very honest and up front conversation. I’ll keep what was said private between he and I, but in terms of any question you’re going to ask me today, just so you understand – we will do what is in the best interest of the New York Football Giants. That’s the way we’ve operated since I walked in the door, and that’s the way we will continue to operate. What we’re trying to do here is build sustained success and that takes some brutal honesty and it takes some tough decisions. Then finally, just as a quick reminder, don’t ask me about contracts, don’t ask me about negotiations, don’t ask about any of that stuff because I’m just not going to respond. Ok? Alright, let the games begin.

Q: How do you evaluate the quarterback position when you look at a 1-7 start to the season and then four wins over the second half of the year, three of which were against backup quarterbacks? Eli seemed to play better, but the pressure was essentially off at that point after the 1-7. So how do you weigh those?

A: First of all, I don’t want to hear about ‘backup quarterbacks’, ‘we played backup quarterbacks’. We went 4-4 in the second half. Here’s what I would say to you, when you’re bringing in and installing a new offense, you’re looking at four to six weeks before everybody’s really on the same page, and it’s really the outlier, it’s six. It’s going to be the outside of six. We were having O-line issues, weren’t we in that first half? We made changes and I think that’s part of it, that you’ve got a comfort factor in terms of you’re on the same page, the offense is on the same page, and you’ve also got a comfort factor in that the O-line, putting Chad (Wheeler) out there, claiming Jamon (Brown). Jamon came in out of the bye, that’s when we got him. So doing those kinds of things, that settled everything down, the combination of those two, and I think that’s the reason that the offense started to click. I almost fell down when they told me we scored more points than anybody else in the division, which kind of blew my mind. They swore to us, so I hope I’m not lying to you. The distance that the offense came from Week 1 to Week 16, you think of the points – the backup quarterback that we played against, for example, (vs. Chicago), he didn’t play defense, and the other backup, Washington – those guys weren’t on the defense, they were on the offense, so you’re asking me an offensive question. At the end of the day, between the fact that they were able to get comfortable with each other and we settled the offensive line down, we scored points. I saw a graphic, I think we averaged 27-28 points a game the last half of the year, something like that.

Q: Are you committed to having Eli back next year?

A: Here’s what I’m committed to do. I’m committed to making the best decision in the interest of the New York Football Giants. That’s what I’m committed to do. We’re in the evaluation process. I know that you guys want answers now, but very frankly, I didn’t come in yesterday. I’ve got to do what I do, which is get in my office and watch film. We’re going to meet this week with the coaches and get their evaluation. We’ll meet next week with pro personnel and get their evaluations and get their feelings on everything. That’s our schedule, and I will be watching film for the next who knows how long until my eyes bleed. That’s what I do. So, my commitment is to make this team the best team it can be and if that happens to have Eli playing quarterback, it does.

Q: Why do you feel good about the foundation? Why do you feel good about this team?

A: I’ll tell you this, and I know that I’ve said this before when we had our little fireside chats during the season and you guys looked at me like I was a little off, I feel good because, number one, winning in the NFL is not easy. It’s hard. Winning a game in the NFL is hard. If anybody tells you any different, they’ve never played, they don’t know the game. It’s very difficult. To go 1-7 for the first half of the year and to lose a number of close games, I think we tied for the league lead with 12 games decided by a touchdown or less, and it would’ve been 13 if the Saints didn’t score that late touchdown. To lose games like that, be 1-7 and to have the types of practices we were having where there was focus, there was energy, things were getting accomplished and the proof was in the pudding by what we did in the last eight games. That’s what encourages me, that’s why I think the foundation is right. You didn’t have any of the crap going on in the locker room that happened last year. There is nobody in this room that can argue with me on one point: this team did not quit. It was competitive as hell. That’s the start.

Q: You said you almost fell down when somebody told you that you led the division in points. Did you almost fall down when someone told you that you gave up the most points, too?

A: No.

Q: That was evident to you?

A: Well, that’s why you’re 5-11.

Q: Is that the main reason you think you’re 5-11?

A: We’ve got to continue to improve. It’s not easy to win games when you don’t have playmakers. We need to improve the defense, guys. Just like I looked you right in the eye last year and told you we’ve got to fix this O-line, we’ve got to get better on the defensive side.

Q: You inherited two big contracts with Olivier Vernon and Janoris Jenkins. How would you evaluate those two, the way they played this year and moving forward?

A: I haven’t. This is what I’m going to do the next two weeks. My personal feeling is the biggest mistakes are made when you’re emotional. When the season ends, you’re emotional and you’re mentally cooked. So until I start watching the film, which is going to start today, I really can’t answer that question. It’s not fair.

Q: When you look at the moves you made last offseason, do you think you misjudged how close this team was to being competitive?

A: I didn’t misjudge it at all. That’s been asked before and I’ve thought about that. I had no illusions of what we were. None. You tell me why you think I misjudged it.

Q: If you know you’re going to be in a rebuilding process, you bring back Eli, you don’t draft a quarterback, you trade, give up a draft pick for (LB Alec) Ogletree, you bring in older veteran free agents, those types of things.

A: You’ve got to start somewhere. But by the end of the year, we had one of the youngest teams in the league. Listen, nobody likes losing. Nobody. Anybody in here like losing, you want to raise your hands? Nobody likes to lose. So what you have to do when you come in is you evaluate what you have and you say to yourself, remember, I’ve told you guys – I’m on that tight rope, and me in a tutu on a tightrope ain’t pretty. It’s the tight rope of you want to win now, you want to get those wins now because you’ve got a coaching staff whose fannies are on the line every Sunday, and you want to set the team up, the franchise up, for sustained success. We sat back, we made the decisions we made last year, and here we are. There’s some good stuff and there’s some stuff we’ve got to fix.

Q: You talk about not wanting to make judgments about players without looking at film. Last year at this time, though, you were very committed to Eli Manning. You said what you saw late in the season wasn’t a mirage. I’m just curious, is there a chance there will be a another starting quarterback next season for the Giants?

A: Listen, there’s a chance you and I are going to get hit by a bus. We’re going to do what’s in the best interest, we’re going to look at film, we’re going to evaluate everything. Everything’s on the table for us. Everything is on the table for us. Okay?

Q: When you look back at the evaluation process that led you to Jonathan Stewart and Patrick Omameh, do you have to do some self-scouting and go into this offseason differently?

A: We’ll go into this season because we have different issues. One of the biggest issues we had last year that we had to fix was what? The locker room. And both Jonathan Stewart and Patrick Omameh are true professionals, and they were brought here for a specific purpose, they were brought here for other reasons than their play. Just understand that. We feel like we’ve turned that corner, especially with this rookie class. (RB) Saquon (Barkley) is unique. I stood up here and you watched me drool all over myself in the pre-draft. It was ugly, wasn’t it? Things happen. I should’ve worn a bib from Joe’s Stone Crab. My point is, he’s unique and he’s special. So is (G) Will Hernandez, and (DL) B.J. (Hill), and (LB) Lorenzo (Carter), and (DL) RJ (McIntosh) is still growing up physically, (QB) Kyle (Lauletta) is in a different spot because of the quarterback position. But this is all part of the process. We’ll continue to vet guys out, we’re only going to bring quality people in here that hate to lose. That will stay the same. Obviously, we’re different than we were 12 months ago, we’re in a different place, so we’ll approach things somewhat differently.

Q: Last year when you evaluated Eli Manning, you hadn’t seen him play throughout the season, so you had to rely on the film. You’ve seen him take every snap this season, you see him in practices. Why do you need to go back to the film to form an opinion on what you just saw over the last four or five months?

A: I always want to be right. You always want to have your hole card and that’s me, that’s just my nature. I’m a film junkie, and there are things that I remember that happened that, oh, my gosh – that’s me. Understand this, and I think I’ve said this to you guys before: I am very intentional about how I operate. Very intentional. Methodical. Some people call me an Alta cocker (old man), whatever you want to say, but that’s just the way I am. I’ve been that way my whole career in the NFL. Very methodical about film watching and thinking about things in making decisions. I’m very intentional, that’s why I say yes, I watched every snap, but I want to watch the film and I want to have time to breathe.

Q: When you go back and you do this evaluation, obviously you’ve got guys like Eli Manning who have been playing 15 years, you’ve got some other guys who have been playing a couple years. When you do your evaluation and base it on everything, are you looking ahead or are you looking back at the entire body of work in terms of what they’ve done in the past, injury history and all that stuff?

A: Obviously, it’s different. When you’re looking at older players, you’re looking early, middle and late, did they fade? When you’re looking at younger guys, you’re looking for early, middle and late, did they improve? That’s what you’re looking for. It is a little different, I remember – I’m really going to date myself – back in 2000 when we brought in those three offensive lineman, Lomas Brown, Glenn Parker and Dusty (Ziegler). The big question for me on Lomas was what was he playing like in December because Lomas was long and lean. He wasn’t a power player, he was an athletic tackle, so I wanted to see is Lomas the same player in December that he was in September? When you’ve got older guys, you’ve got to do that. You’ve got to see if they fade or not. That’s why I will look and look and look and look until I have the puffs of white smoke coming out of my ears or my head or whatever.

Q: Pat Shurmur to us has been very supportive of Eli, saying he thinks he’s got years left, leadership, experience, makes the throws, all that stuff and pointed out that the last eight games, this offense scored a lot of points with Eli. How much will you take that into your evaluation of Eli that the head coach seemingly wants this guy back?

A: It’s part of it. This is not a dictatorship. I really am a big believer in collaboration. I’m not a dictator, I’m not. These are conversations that you’re going to have with Pat, that’s why I say we’re going to hear the coaches and what they have to say, we’re going to talk to the pro guys and what do they have to say, and then I’ll get my work done and we’ll get together and formulate a plan. Obviously it’s part of it. Pat’s had a lot of success with quarterbacks, so I’m certainly going to listen.

Q: When you and Eli had that conversation Monday, did the two of you come to conclusions, or did you leave it as the fluid situation that you’re portraying it to us?

A: We left it at that. We had a great conversation. He’s a mensch (a person of integrity and honor).

Q: I know you want to watch the film, but you when you watch this team every Sunday, what is your evaluation of your offense with and without Odell? What difference is that?

A: He didn’t play the last four games, right? Listen, the bottom line is you want him on the field. I have this crazy idea that he’s a great player, so let’s get him on the field. Unfortunately, he got the leg whip and those calves (quads) can be funny things, they really can. The offense did what it did with him and it did what it did without him.

Q: You guys obviously made a huge financial commitment to Odell Beckham just a few months ago. Are you committed to him being here in 2019 or are you open to trade ideas or anything as well?

A: We didn’t sign him to trade him, if that’s what you’re asking me.

Q: So he’ll be here?

A: You heard what I said.

Q: A year ago, you stood there and left very little doubt that you were committed to Eli. You were very strong about that, Pat was (too) a couple weeks later at his press conference. Today you’re saying you’re going to do what’s in the best interest of the Giants. Does that indicate a change in your feeling and commitment to Eli?

A: No, it isn’t. It’s funny, last year that was the question. That was the question, but if you think about it, the guy was running for his life last year. This year, we calmed it down. Once we got rolling, once everybody got comfortable with the offense, if you’re going to look at stats, it wasn’t too shabby what (Eli) did. Obviously, we want to win more games, and we’ve got to continue to improve the roster.

Q: How did he look to you in December?

A: In December? We scored 36, we scored 35, 27, scored 40. How does that look? He still can make the NFL throws. You know what I’m saying? He’s still got it.

Q: What would be the ideal scenario at quarterback going into next season? Would it be Eli and a first-round pick? Eli and you bring in another young player? Eli and a veteran free agent or just turning the page?

A: I can’t answer that question because I don’t know what the field is right now. I don’t know what the field is.

Q: How important is it for you to address the quarterback of the future of this team this offseason? Is that a priority?

A: Let me tell you something: if you make something a priority, you will make a mistake. It’s got to be within the flow of what you’re doing. You can’t force it, especially at quarterback. That’s why the guys in Carolina looked at me like I was out of my mind, you guys looked at me (like I was out of my mind). You get in the draft, you’re taking the best player — you’re not taking, ‘ I need a ___, so I’m taking a ___’. No. You do that, you’re going to make a mistake, you’re going to screw it up.

Q: The Giants have had one winning season in their last six. What is your message to Giants fans right now?

A: The message is what I’ve said to you before: we’re going in the right direction, we had a lot of competitive games and we’re getting better, and we’re going to continue to fix this.

Q: What is Kyle’s (Lauletta) future here? Are you still as high on him as you were (when you drafted him)?

A: We drafted him in the fourth round, he did some nice things in training camp. He did something silly in Hoboken or Fort Lee or wherever the hell it was (Weehawken). He’s developing, he’s like anybody else. I’m going to be a little bit of a jerk here maybe to some of you, how many of you guys wrote Pulitzer winning articles your first year as reporters? You understand what I’m saying? He’s a kid. I’m a kid, you’re kids, we make mistakes. None of us are perfect. Hopefully we learn, so to answer your question, Kyle’s a work in progress, just like me.

Q: When you traded Snacks (Damon Harrison), I believe one of the reasons you said was so the young guys could get some valuable playing time. How would assess what they did with that?

A: When we traded Snacks, part of the issue when Snacks was here was he played the one, we had Dalvin (Tomlinson) playing the three, and B.J. (Hill) playing the five techniques. Well, Dalvin’s a one technique and B.J.’s a three, so I’m very pleased with the change, to answer your question. B.J. came a long way. Pass rush is critical, as I’ve stated it a million times as we all know. B.J. had, I think, five and a half sacks, so he made some progress inside. Dalvin did what he does at the one, so for us, it worked out and those young guys are getting snaps. That’s the only way they’re going to get better. There’s a theory out there that young guys, once they get to 5,000 snaps, that’s when they’re really ready to rock and roll and that includes practice and game snaps and all that. I don’t know if I subscribe to it, but I’m just throwing it out there.

Q: On the decision to keep Eli Manning: Will that decision, though, involve money? Can he have the talent to play here, but if he makes too much money, he can’t be here?

A: I’m not going to go down that road with you. Obviously part of the salary cap is, players are not in vacuums when it comes to that salary cap. Nobody’s in a vacuum. You don’t say, okay, I’m going to sign this guy, I’ve got to sign this guy – no, wait a minute, you’ve got to look at your cap situation. But I’m not going to go there. Not going there.

Q: Eli’s father (Archie Manning) told ESPN that if Eli wants to come back that you guys need to win, that he can’t go through another season like this. Can you guarantee to Eli that you will have a winning team for him to want to continue to play here?

A: Really and truly, can anybody guarantee anything like that? Really? All you Yankee fans thought you were going to win 162 games this year (laughter). I knew better. All kidding aside, you can’t guarantee that. There’s no way. I wouldn’t guarantee that to anybody.

Q: Do you understand his point?

A: No, because Archie didn’t tell me.

Q: How do you respond to the ongoing idea that you should’ve taken a quarterback, regardless of how great Saquon was his rookie season?

A: I respond to it by saying, again, you’ve got to take the best player available. If you start reaching, you’re going to get into trouble. I’ll say it again: us taking Saquon was not a referendum on the quarterbacks, it was a referendum on Saquon – on the player he is, and on the person he is. If I was in that situation 100 times, I’d draft him 100 times.

Q: You have (Nate) Solder, you have (Will) Hernandez. Do you feel like the other three guys could be your starting line next year? Is it a big emphasis this offseason?

A: Here’s what I would say – first of all, don’t forget (C Jon Halapio) Pio, don’t forget Jon. He went down, unfortunately, in the second game. He was playing the best of anybody. So, don’t forget about Pio. I am always going to keep working on those lines, on those groups. You cannot have enough hog mollies, you can’t, because people get hurt. You can’t have enough. People looked at me in ’13, we took a defensive tackle in the first round, a defensive tackle in the second round, and I had people say, and maybe they’re right, ‘Gettleman has no idea what he’s doing’. I’m always going to do that.

Q: Why is this offseason different from year one for you? What is different about this process?

A: I think what’s different is we’ve got a better understanding of what Pat and his coaching staff are looking for, because you’re looking for scheme fits. Last year was not easy, because we’re moving to that 3-4 look – that type of 3-4 that Jimmy (Bettcher) wants to play. There’s different style players on it, and you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole. That’s part of it. We have a better understanding of what the coaches are looking for and it makes it big. When I went to Carolina, it was a 4-3. We had played a 4-3 year after year. So for me, it wasn’t a big deal. The offense was not a big deal. It’s really the defense that’s different.

Q: So it is fair to say the challenges last year were on the defensive side of the ball?

A: Exactly, and you can only trade out so many guys. When you blow the whistle, 11 guys got to go out there — at least you want 11 out there.

Q: Did you see anything to make you waver, in your mind, that Pat Shurmur is the right guy for this moving forward?

A: Not at all. If anything, it reinforced my feeling about him a year ago when we went through the interview process. It was the steadiness, it was the message. We’re 1-7 and we have two practices during the bye week, I just was kind of amazed. Again, you guys may gloss it over, but I don’t know that you can really appreciate it. You’re (the media) there, and then you’re gone. You watch them stretch – what are you guys there, 15 minutes? Then you’re gone. To stand there for the next hour and 40 minutes, I wish you could’ve seen it. Just the way Pat and the coaches kept everyone on task, going in the right direction, understanding that, to a certain degree, maybe we were the little engine that could. We kept pushing that thing up the hill. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the right guy.

Q: Why did you feel the need to have a straight-forward conversation with Eli?

A: I have this crazy idea that I’m always going to be honest and straight-forward, and sometimes that gets me in trouble, but we won’t go there. Eli came in and he wanted to talk. I just have this crazy idea that if a guy asks me questions, I’m going to be honest with him. It wasn’t like he was called to the principal’s office. He came to see me.

Q: Why did you call him a “mensch?”

A: Because he is – the way he carries himself, who he is as a person, the way he respects the game. You know men in your life who are not mensches. You know what a mensch is. There’s no deviousness, there’s no duplicitousness, none of that stuff. He’s a mensch. Someday, I hope to be a mensch.

Q: Do you look at this as a rebuild? Is it a multi-year process you’re in to get back to being a Super Bowl contender?

A: I just hate the word rebuild. You just keep going, you just keep building. It’s really what we’re doing here. We’re doing our best to accumulate the talent that fits our schemes, and that understands how to play the game, and hates to flippin’ lose. That’s what it’s really all about, and we’re going to continue to do this and get it right. We’re going to fix it.

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have officially signed the following players to reserve/futures contracts:

  • RB Robert Martin*
  • WR Brittan Golden
  • OT Jylan Ware*
  • OT Victor Salako*
  • DE Jake Ceresna
  • DE Myles Humphrey*
  • LB Jonathan Anderson
  • CB Ronald Zamort*
  • LS Taybor Pepper

*Martin, Ware, Salako, Humphrey, and Zamort were on the team’s Practice Squad.

The Giants signed Martin to the Practice Squad in September 2018. The Giants originally signed the 5’11”, 207-pound Martin as an undrafted rookie free agent after he impressed at the May 2018 rookie mini-camp as a tryout player. Martin also flashed for the team during the preseason.

The 30-year old, 5’11, 186-pound Golden was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Chicago Bears after the 2012 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Bears (2012 and 2013), Jacksonville Jaguars (2012), and Arizona Cardinals (2013-2017). Golden played in 44 regular-season games with the Cardinals with one start. He has 18 career receptions for 293 yards and one touchdown. Golden also has experience returning kickoffs and punts.

The Giants signed Ware to the Practice Squad in October 2018. The 6’7”, 317-pound Ware was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders waived him before the 2018 regular season started. He has played in one regular-season game with no starts.

The Giants claimed Salako off of waivers from the Cleveland Browns in August 2018 and then signed him to the Practice Squad in September. The 6’5”, 316-pound Salako was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2017 NFL Draft. He spent time on the Practice Squads of both the Eagles and Browns in 2017.

The 24-year old, 6’6”, 295-pound Ceresna spent the past two years in the Canadian Football League (CFL) after a brief stint with the New York Jets in 2016.

The Giants signed Humphrey to the Practice Squad in October 2018. The 6’3”, 238-pound Humphrey originally signed with the Baltimore Ravens after the 2018 NFL Draft. He spent most of September on the Ravens’ Practice Squad.

The 27-year old, 6’1”, 237-pound Anderson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Chicago Bears after the 2015 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Bears (2015-2017) and Arizona Cardinals (2018). Anderson played in 31 regular-season games with the Bears with three starts. He has 53 career tackles.

The Giants signed Zamort to the Practice Squad in October 2018. The 5’10”, 174-pound Zamort originally signed with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has not played in a regular-season game.

The 24-year old, 6’4”, 245-pound Pepper went undrafted in 2016. He signed with the Green Bay Packers in 2017, playing in four games, before being placed on Injured Reserve with a broken foot.

Dec 312018
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (December 30, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

PAT SHURMUR DISCUSSES THE STATE OF HIS TEAM…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media on Monday to discuss the state of his team after completing a 5-11 season (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Opening Remarks: I just visited with the team, and so they’re going through their exit process. I think the important thing is we’ve talked about how one year can connect to the other and we made some progress as a team. I mentioned yesterday this is about leadership and team building. We’ve made some progress. We certainly didn’t reach any of our goals in terms of being in the playoffs and competing for the championship, but we’re a different team than this team was a year ago and it’s a credit to the players. They’ve been very coachable, they’ve done what we’ve asked – staying in the moment, continuing to fight, and every game matters, every play matters. I think we’ve made progress there. Now, right is right, we’ve got to get better in all areas and that’s the process that we’re going to begin. I have no answers for you about any player moving forward. I know Dave (Gettleman) is going to have a chance to visit with you. I’m probably going to visit with you less this time of year. This is about player acquisition, player evaluation and things that quite frankly we’re not going to be willing to share. I think that’s something we should keep private and move forward with. The players are finishing up their evaluations, I’m going to get a chance to meet with a lot of them individually. The way we did it, we had a team meeting, right now they’re meeting as an offense and a defense, then they’ll meet with their position coaches, and there will be a select few I visit with before they leave. Then anybody I don’t talk to, I certainly will be able to talk with on the phone. I appreciate all the hard work that you guys have done. I understand reporting on what we do is not easy. I’ve tried this year to be very open and honest and share with you things that are appropriate to be shared, and so hopefully we can keep that going. With that said, I will take your questions.

Q: How do you go about deciding who are the players, the select few that you said you meet with? What goes into that?

A: I just have a list, and that’s private. But I visit with the players all the time anyways, so along the way here the last couple of weeks with some of the rookies, I could do a drive-by on them and say, hey listen, you did this well, this well, this well, make sure you’ve got a plan this offseason. Part of what is going to be very important for our rookies is between now and when we come back in 15 weeks, and this is the first time in their lives where they’ve had to manage their offseason. If this thing’s about setting standards and putting habits in place, we’re going to help them make sure that they do the right things.

Q: You said you’re proud of the team and how it has grown. Have you thought about your own growth from when you first took this job to now, and what can you tell us about that?

A: I don’t know. I quality control myself all the time, I want to make sure I’m sharing a message that is the New York Football Giants message, and I think that’s important. I start everyday trying to do the things only I can do for this organization, and then help in areas where I have expertise. I constantly go through that. I try to grow every day as a person, and hopefully that rubs off on the job.

Q: What do you think went well or not as well this year when you look back?

A: We didn’t win enough games. What we did well is we took a young team and a new team and a new staff and we competed, and we had some good victories. But we’ve got to do a better job of winning those close games. We’ve either got to get a stop or get a score, and that’s where we need to get better.

Q: When you say self-evaluate, how about yourself in terms of some of the things you look back at?

A: Being I’m the play caller, there’s always a handful of plays. You make 70 decisions in 40 seconds or 25 seconds or less, as you all have watched, you’re not perfect. So what you try to do is become more perfect, make less mistakes, make more good decisions.

Q: When you look at the close games that you lost, are there things that you think you could do to help win those?

A: Yeah, I think each game, there’s a different story in each game. But like I said, in a close game, you’ve either got to get a stop or you’ve got to get a score. In the games that we’ve lost, we haven’t done those things. So those are the things you look at. Maybe there’s things we could do different tactically, we’ll look at that, that’s always part of it, the scheme evaluation. That’s what we spend our time on, at least half of each day is spent on that.

Q: When you look back from when you got hired until now, you obviously know a lot more about the organization, the players, everything. Looking back, was this more of a rebuild than even you thought it was? You talked a lot about distancing yourself from 3-13.

A: I don’t know what I expected from that standpoint. When you take these jobs, you really don’t know much about anything in the building other than the history and the tradition and some of the players, the ownership and the people in positions of authority. But having not worked with them, as coaches, we get a feel for players and people after we work with them. So I certainly have a much better view of what this organization is and I can help more or have more educated ideas as to what we can do moving forward because I know the players, and now I have a staff of guys that I’ve worked with. I mentioned it this week that other than Bill McGovern, I did not work with any of these coaches. I purposely didn’t hire some of my friends who are now no longer my friends, but I’m really pleased. And again, we can all grow, there’s things that we can all do better, but I’ve got a bunch of guys here that I’m looking forward to moving forward with.

Q: You will keep the staff intact?

A: Yeah. Again, you can’t ever say that. Some guys leave for whatever reasons, but again that’s part of the process that we’ll go through. We’ll meet as coaches and try to find ways to get better.

Q: What’s your policy if another team wants to interview one of your guys? Would you let them?

A: Individual basis. In terms of, I’m all for guys advancing, I really don’t want to stand in anyone’s way and I’ll have some opinions as to whether it’s advancement or not. But, listen, I had ambition as a young coach, you gain experience and want to move forward. I don’t want to stand in anyone’s way. I think as long as I replace that guy with a career coach that’s open-minded, understands the importance of relationships and can work together with the staff, we’ll make it work.

Q: If you look around the NFL, coaches seem to be on a short leash. Does that increase your sense of urgency to get things right?

A: I don’t know that. I think I’m pretty urgent, and I’m pretty disappointed when we don’t win every week. No, I don’t think so. I think we all understand the environment. Did I hear there’s eight guys that lost their jobs already? That’s a fourth of the league, and that’s pretty typical. I guess we all understand how that works.

Q: You always talk about blocking out the noise. Is today one of those days where you can’t ignore what’s going on around the league?

A: We don’t have an opponent to prepare for, so I’m certainly aware more of what’s going on. There’s no reason to block anything out today.

Q: You said you didn’t know anything about the organization really. What do you know now after a year here?

A: Very supportive. Really, there’s a lot of people in this building that have worked here a long time that live and breathe and sleep everything that we do well, and share the pain when we don’t win. We have a committed organization, we have a committed group of players, and it’s up to us now – as I’ve said, right is right. We’ve got to start winning these close games.

Q: What do you want Saquon to come back to you in April as?

A: A better version of his former self. I think that’s important. That was part of the message I already mentioned to the players, is making sure that they keep moving forward. All year, it’s been about team and tough and together, and that really doesn’t stop when the guys leave the building.

Q: How would you describe how your relationship with Odell has been over the year? How has it progressed up until now?

A: It’s good. I appreciate everything that Odell has done, I appreciate him as a player, I appreciate the fact that he’s tried to get back here in the last month. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to do that. Just like any player on our team, I’ve learned a lot about Odell and I think our relationship is good. It’s very honest and open, just like it is with every other player.

Q: Did Kyle (Lauletta) develop as you thought he would when you picked him in the fourth round?

A: I don’t know what I expected. Again, I think Kyle has a bright future, but there’s a lot to learn, especially at the quarterback position, to be able to function efficiently at this level. I think he’s made great progress. He’s one of those guys that he needs to continue to improve and work on the things necessary to do his job here in the next 15 weeks.

Q: When you sit down with Dave Gettleman, how much input do you have in conversations about your own free agents like Landon Collins and Jamon Brown and those guys, and free agents maybe across the league you’d be interested in? How does that dynamic between you guys play out?

A: It’s very open. As you might expect, we talk all the time about all the players. Dave is well aware of what I think of the players, I’m well aware of what he thinks, and we’re both well aware of how those players are going to fit moving forward. I don’t think any of us are looking for a percentage of impact on decision making, but it’s very open and honest what we think about players.

Q: Do you have guys who are going to need surgeries here or injuries you’re going to be watching?

A: A couple guys moving forward, but nothing super major. I don’t know if you had somebody specific. I don’t have all that information yet. I do know the ones that are probably going to need a little touch-up, I guess you’d say. I don’t have any details as to when that’s going to start.

Q: Who?

A: Did you have somebody in mind?

Q: Is Odell one of them?

A: No. He doesn’t need surgery.

Q: How about Landon? What’s his situation with the injury and rehab? His timetable?

A: He had a labral tear on his shoulder, so it’s going to be a length recovery, three or four months, I guess. But he’s been around, I’ve had a chance to communicate with him throughout, so he’s fixed and he’s now coming back from his surgery.

Q: Does Saquon need anything?

A: No.

Q: Eli is going to be 38 this week. The quarterback situation moving forward is going to be a topic I’m sure you guys discuss over the next few months. How do you look back and look at the full 16 games and view how that went specifically for Eli?

A: I think it’s all coordinated. The quarterback play, the line play, the ability to run the ball – I think what we want to be offensively was better showcased from the bye week on. Prior to the bye week, we were scoring 17, 18 points a game, and after the bye week we’ve scored 27, almost 28 points a game. That’s what you need to do. Part of that was we solidified the offensive line, which allowed Eli to do more of what Eli can do better, and helped our runner. I think we would all agree in the second half of the year, we played much better offense. So when you talk about a coordinated effort, I talked all along about the things I really appreciate about Eli in terms of playing the quarterback position. They’re like everybody else, they make mistakes. Andrew Luck threw a pick-six last night. When you’re making the decisions and you’ve got the ball in your hand every play, there’s mistakes that are made, but there’s also some great things that you’re doing. We’ll go back and look at it all, but I think he was better able to showcase what he could do once we solidified the offensive line. I think that’s a fair assessment.

Q: Was there a quarter or handful of drives at some point in the season where you looked at it and said, that’s it, that’s what we point to?

A: I don’t know, I think there’s always stretches of games, key moments throughout. I can’t say I would point to one or another.

Q: A lot of these young QBs in the league are going crazy with numbers and things like that. Is your philosophy of quarterback, Eli is not that, never really was that. Do you look at the quarterback and say, I want a guy who can win the game, manage the game, scores 28, 27 points a game and isn’t have to be a 50-touchdown kind of guy running around and things like that?

A: When you look around the league and let’s assume there are good coaches everywhere, you try to play to the strengths of the guys on the roster. The Baltimore Ravens are playing a different style of offense now that Joe Flacco is not their quarterback. I guess what you do is try to maximize and that’s what I was saying about the last eight weeks. You try to maximize the skillsets of the players that you have. It’s a coordinated effort – nobody can do this alone. Baseball is the ultimate skill sport, this is the ultimate team sport, and nobody can carry the team by themselves. It’s a coordinated effort. As much as everyone would like to say, Saquon did all these things, and he did a lot of great things, well, we blocked better and it was coordinated with the throwing game where he maybe got some two-shell runs. It’s coordinated.

Q: Is this version of the offense you played in the second half of the year, is that compensation or is that because of limitations? Or is this what you want your offense to look like?

A: I like offense where you’re able to run the ball throughout because play action is meaningful. Again, I think Eli ran more boots and nakeds, he hasn’t run this many boots and nakeds since he was at Ole Miss. But it works, and we changed the launch point. I think we’ve given up 40-some sacks. Since the bye, I think we’ve been sacked like 15 or 16 times, so again, it’s coordinated. I want an offense that’s going to score enough points to win. The last two weeks, we didn’t do that by a point.

Q: Both Dave and John (Mara) said that the offensive line was their number one priority for last offseason. Do you now feel at the end of this season this could be your offensive line going forward? Or does it need more tweaks?

A: No, I think you’ve got to always address the offensive line to some degree. I think sometimes the answers are on your roster. (Jon Halapio) came in and played really well at center until he got hurt, then we picked up Spencer Pulley who’s done a very, very good job playing center. (John) Greco stepped in and played center, we picked up Jamon Brown. I think you’ve got to always try to upgrade your offensive line to some degree because when you look around and you start to see teams that are playing bad offense, don’t look at the skill players first. If you can’t block them, then nothing fancy looks good, nothing normal looks good, nothing that you need to do in football looks good if you can’t block them. I think that’s where this game starts. I worked for Nick Saban, and I watch Alabama. Alabama’s got a lot of very talented players, but when push comes to shove, the teams playing Alabama can’t block them. You may make a play or score a touchdown, but when you’re trying to do it over and over and over, teams can’t block those guys. It’s important that we’re always addressing the fronts. This is a big man’s game, and we’ve got to make sure we’re doing what we can to get the O and the D-line right.

Q: Obviously Eli has won here. When he has done so, it has been with a good pass rush on the other side and a defense that has helped him – most quarterbacks have. Do you think you have a winning offense as constituted or close to it if your defense can make stops at the end and put more pressure on opposing offenses?

A: I think we’ll have a winning team when at the end of the game we can either stop the team or score against the team we’re playing, and again that’s part of being coordinated. We’re going to address all those things moving forward.

Q: We asked you about (DC) James Bettcher last week. Before the season started, one of the big storylines was how he would work with you and (OC) Mike Shula. What does he (Shula) bring to the table and how did that dynamic work with you calling plays?

A: I have a great deal of respect for Mike and having worked with him now, it worked great because along the way, we’re on the headset talking. He works with the staff, I think he’s done an outstanding job and he’s part of the reason for some of the success, at least offensively, we’ve had in the latter part of the season. I look forward to having him here moving forward.

Q: How is that? You say he’s part of the success, we don’t see that. What is it about him?

A: He’s smart. He was calling plays in the Super Bowl for Carolina. We work together. He’s a career coach, he works extremely hard, he’s smart, and we communicate well together. He does a good job with our offensive staff, and on game day, I get great suggestions as to what to call. There’s a lot of times when I’ll say, hey listen, I want to call apple or orange, what do you think? And he’ll say call orange. That’s the communication that happens. Again, you don’t get a chance to see it, but I certainly appreciate his efforts.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

GIANTS WILL PICK 6TH IN FIRST ROUND…
The New York Giants will have the 6th overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft.

GIANTS 2019 OPPONENTS SET…
The New York Giants will play the following teams during the 2019 NFL regular season:

Home:

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Redskins
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Buffalo Bills
  • Miami Dolphins

Away:

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Redskins
  • Chicago Bears
  • Detroit Lions
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • New England Patriots
  • New York Jets

ROSTER MOVES…
Although not officially announced, the New York Giants have reportedly signed defensive end Jake Ceresna and long snapper Taybor Pepper to reserve/futures contracts.

The 24-year old, 6’6”, 295-pound Ceresna spent the past two years in the Canadian Football League (CFL) after a brief stint with the New York Jets in 2016.

The 24-year old, 6’4”, 245-pound Pepper went undrafted in 2016. He signed with the Green Bay Packers in 2017, playing in four games, before being placed on Injured Reserve with a broken foot.

NOTES…
The Giants finished 2-6 at home, 1-5 vs. NFC East opponents, and 0-3 in division home games. This is the first time they lost all of their home games within the NFC East since 2003.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they are the first team in NFL history to lose each of their final two games by one point.

The Giants lost eight games by seven points or less, the most such games by any NFL team this season.

The Giants lost all five games in 2018 when quarterback Eli Manning passed for 300 yards or more. The Giants are 19-31 in Manning’s 50 career 300-yard regular-season games.

Manning passed for 4,299 yards this season, the fourth-highest total of his 15-year career and the seventh time he exceeded 4,000 yards.

Manning completed a career-high 66 percent of his passes (380 of 576). His previous best was 63.1 percent in 2014.

Manning threw 21 touchdown passes, the 12th time in his career that he has thrown at least 20. Manning’s 11 interceptions were his fewest since he threw he threw 10 in 2008.

Running back Saquon Barkley finished with 261 rushing attempts for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns, and 91 catches for 721 yards and four scores. His 11 rushing touchdowns are a Giants rookie record. He had been tied at 10 with Bill Paschal, who set the mark in 1943.

Barkley is the first running back to lead the Giants in catches since Tiki Barber did with 69 in 2003, and the first player to lead the team in rushing and receiving in the same season since Barber in 2003 (1,216 rushing yards, 69 catches).

Barkley’s 1,307 rushing yards is the seventh-highest total in Giants history.

Barkley’s 1,307 yards are 477 more than the No. 2 rookie on the franchise’s list – Tuffy Leemans’ previous record of 830 yards, set in 1936.

Barkley’s 91 receptions are a record for an NFL rookie running back. The former record of 88 was set by New Orleans’ Reggie Bush in 2006. The 91 catches ties wide receiver Odell Beckham’s Giants rookie record.

Barkley had 2,028 yards from scrimmage. He is the third rookie in NFL history with 2,000 yards from scrimmage after running backs Eric Dickerson (1983) and Edgerrin James (1999).

Place kicker Aldrick Rosas made 32 of 33 attempts this season, a Giants-record 97 percent.

Barkley and left guard Will Hernandez started all 16 games. This is just the second time since the 1970 merger that the Giants had multiple rookies start every game. In 1981, linebacker Lawrence Taylor and defensive tackle Bill Neill started every game.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman addresses the media on Wednesday.