New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman has been mediocre during his tenure. A lot of his free-agent and trade acquisitions have not panned out. He has missed more than he has hit on drafting as well. Some issues can be attributed to the coaching staff, but Gettleman is the general manager.
The moves are attributed to the way the team is built in terms of philosophy. The rest of the NFL is adjusting to the new age of football, as the New York Giants in some aspects are still in the old school way of thinking.
How Dave Gettleman Messed Up The Rebuilding Process
A Quarterback/Running Back Before The Offensive Line
One of the biggest mistakes any general manager can make in football is when they take a running back or quarterback before finishing their offensive line. The New York Giants took Saquon Barkley second overall in 2018 and Daniel Jones sixth overall in 2019. Both seasons the offensive line failed to blow holes for the ground game and protect the quarterback.
In Gettleman’s first year, the offensive line had several combos featuring Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, Spencer Pulley, John Greco, Jon Halapio, Jamon Brown, Patrick Omameh, Ereck Flowers, Brian Mihalik, and Chad Wheeler. Only one true draft pick was spent on the offensive line that season, Hernandez, and so far in 2021, he has proven not worth a second contract. Many of these signings were prompted by the win-now mentality, even though the team rebuilt the defense halfway through the year. The offensive line allowed 47 sacks that season.
Enter Daniel Jones and his offensive line did not fare much better. The left side of the line (Solder and Hernandez) stayed the same, while Gettleman acquired guard Kevin Zeitler and signed a veteran stop-gap tackle in Mike Remmers. The offensive line only allowed four fewer sacks in 2019.
Nate Solder was a great contributor to Jones’ rookie fumbles. Will Hernandez regressed in his second year, being surrounded by Jon Halapio and Solder, who both struggled. Halapio’s two games of good play in 2018 did not last in 2019, as he ranked among the worst centers in football. Kevin Zeitler fared well and Mike Remmers played at an average level.
Despite drafting Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, and Shane Lemieux in the 2020 NFL Draft, the offensive line fared worse for the Giants in 2020. The team allowed the second-most sacks with little to no progression.
The offensive line progressed in the running game in the second half of the year with Wayne Gallman, Alfred Morris, and Dion Lewis in the backfield. In the last eight games, the Giants averaged around 118 yards per game on the ground.
Andrew Thomas struggled in the first half, some of that due to the poor technique teachings of Marc Colombo. Matt Peart looked decent in the few snaps he received. 5th-round pick Shane Lemieux struggled heavily in pass protection. Will Hernandez played on an average level, dealing with the effects of COVID-19 in the second half. Kevin Zeitler played solid, but not to the level he did the previous season. Nick Gates made strides playing center for the first season of his career, only allowing eight pressures in the second half of the year. Cameron Fleming played at an average level as the primary right tackle.
Dave Gettleman and the Giants ignored the offensive line in the 2021 NFL Draft. Many successful starters to this point like Trey Smith were in the team’s lap, however, they elected to select Arizona running back Gary Brightwell. Most notably, the team traded back when Rashawn Slater was still on the board in the first round. However, getting the extra first-round pick from the Chicago Bears in 2022 should help this team address its key issues.
The lack of depth showed early in the preseason and especially at this point in the season. When the Giants realized the likes of Jackson Barton, Ted Larsen, Jonotthan Harrison, and other castoffs would not be valuable depth pieces, the team traded for backups near the roster cutdown period. The team traded former third round pick B.J. Hill for former first round pick Billy Price, as well as going for 2020 fourth round pick Ben Bredeson and signing Matt Skura to the practice squad.
Shane Lemieux aggravated his patella tendon injury in Week 1 and Nick Gates fractured his leg in Week 2, both suffering season-ending injuries. Bredeson also went out with a hand injury, later losing his job to Skura. This prompted Skura and Price to start in place of the injured linemen with Wes Martin entering the lineup at times. Not to mention, the coaching staff is favoring Nate Solder over Matt Peart, despite his horrific play after a year off.
Dave Gettleman’s neglect of the offensive line has burned the prime of Saquon Barkley and ruined Daniel Jones’ chances of being the franchise quarterback. The next general manager needs to make up for his misdeeds in the next draft.
Secondary Before The Edge
Starting in the half-rebuilding year of 2019, Dave Gettleman attempted to build up the porous secondary with picks like Deandre Baker, Julian Love, and Corey Ballentine. Put aside the fact that all of those picks have failed. In his first two years, Dave Gettleman spent no top picks and two third-round picks to assess the edge. Both players, Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines, not working out to this present day. Markus Golden was the only major signing that worked. However, the team traded him in 2020 due to his coverage inability.
In 2020, the Giants signed James Bradberry to a three-year/$45M contract to go along with drafting Darnay Holmes. The Deandre Baker robbery-accusation incident derailed his Giants tenure, forcing his release in September. Despite the investment in the secondary, Dave Gettleman only signed Kyler Fackrell and drafted Carter Coughlin in the seventh round to assess the pass-rusher spot. The lack of high investment into pass-rushers forced Patrick Graham to scheme up pressure while dealing without a true second cornerback. The Giants finished the year with 40 sacks, only four more than the previous year. Leonard Williams led the pack with 11.5 sacks.
In 2021, Dave Gettleman finally improved his pass-rushing investment strategy to some extent. He spent a second-round pick on Azeez Ojulari and a 4th-round pick on Elerson Smith. The investments did not compare to the secondary, as Bradberry returned for another season alongside newly-signed free-agent cornerback Adoree Jackson. Gettleman also took Aaron Robinson in the third round out of UCF.
As of right now, the Giants are 23rd in total sacks. Azeez Ojulari and Leonard Williams are tied for the team total of five and a half. Other than them, not much production has surfaced. Former third-round draft choices in Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter have disappointed, not even accumulating a sack on the year. Waiver wire acquiree Quincy Roche has surprised many, but he is not number-one pass-rushing talent.
Much of “the Giants Way” has kept this team in purgatory the last few years, especially with Dave Gettleman making the personnel decisions. However, building the pass-rush is something the Giants have forgotten how to do. Their SuperBowl rings, beside Eli Manning, are based on the efforts of Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Lawrence Taylor, Michael Strahan, and others. Cornerbacks like Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, Terrell Thomas, and others never played to the Pro Bowl level and did not need to in their prime because they gave the rushers enough time to get home. In today’s NFL, the trenches still matter.
Waiting Until 2021 To Get Weapons
During Dave Gettleman’s tenure, the New York Giants have been desperate on the offensive side of the ball. Besides not investing in the offensive line, Gettleman has failed to get Daniel Jones true wide receivers. Signing an after-prime Golden Tate less than 24 hours after trading Odell Beckham Jr. is a despicable move in itself, doubled-down upon by giving Sterling Shepard an extension. Gettleman drafted former Auburn Tiger Darius Slayton in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Slayton ended the 2019 season with 48 receptions, 748 yards, and eight touchdowns.
In a year where Gettleman attempted to rebuild the offense, including the offensive line, the weapons remained the same. Unfortunately, the Giants passing offense ranked 29th in the NFL. This was because of Jason Garrett‘s conservative playbook and the amount of dropped passes the offense accumulated. The offense ranked 10th in the NFL with 28 dropped passes.
Much of the wide receiver core did not stay healthy, while tight end Evan Engram played all 16 games and dropped 11 passes, a career-high. His dropped and tipped passes led to more than four turnovers for Daniel Jones and the Giants offense.
Up to this point, neither of those signings have worked out like they were intended. Kyle Rudolph and Kadarius Toney are likely missing Sunday’s matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. The worst part is while not staying healthy, Golladay and Toney up to this point have zero touchdowns. This is because of missed reads by Daniel Jones, but mainly Jason Garrett’s lack of effort to get both involved in the offense. Andrew Thomas, Dante Pettis (on injured reserve), and Rudolph have at least one more touchdown than both weapons, whom the Giants have invested a lot into.
The involvement in the offense may not be Gettleman’s fault. However, his last-minute investment into Toney and Golladay, who were neglected, may hurt the Giants on the field and in the salary cap, if one or the other want to move elsewhere.