Giants general manager Dave Gettleman again took to the airwaves to assure Giants fans that he does have a plan to fix what ails the Giants franchise and that the plan is actually coming together in stages.
Gettleman, who appeared with Peter Schrager on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football from Phoenix, the site of the league meetings, at times joked about the notion that he doesn’t have a plan to fix a team that has won just eight games in the last two seasons.
“I have my beliefs on how we’re going to build a roster and that’s what we’re doing,” he said. “I laugh at ‘I have no plan.’ My wife every once and awhile texts me, ‘You working on your plan yet?’ It’s pretty funny stuff.
“I call this the roster building season. There’s a game season, and there’s a roster building season. At the end of the day, we don’t play until September,” he continued, noting that the team concluded its initial wave of free agency activity.
“My theory on free agency is if you do it right, it puts you in position where you can take the best player available in the draft; you’re not in a situation where I have to have a [position] and then fill in the blank. You don’t want to be there.
"So I think we’ve done that and you’re still nibbling around the edges, seeing who is still available. At the end of the day, probably in another couple weeks you start your draft meetings and be ready to rock and roll.”
Despite his attempts to reassure the fan base, there is still plenty of unrest among the Big Blue faithful who, in the last few weeks have seen the franchise trade away generational receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for safety Jabrill Peppers and a couple of draft picks and seemingly recommit to embattled quarterback Eli Manning.
“It wasn’t a secret three of our last four games we couldn’t make a stop on defense in the fourth quarter,” Gettleman said of the focus he’s put on fixing the Giants defense.
“We could have won all three of those games. We’ve really bolstered the back end with the trade for Jabrill and signing Antoine Bethea. We’ve strengthened the offensive line with the Kevin Zeitler trade. We’re building.”
Even after trading away Beckham?
“At the end of the day, every decision that a general manager makes is sending a message to the rest of the team, and sending a message obviously to the fan base,” Gettleman said.
“Football is the ultimate team game. Last time I checked, when you blow a whistle and the ball is spotted, there are 11 guys on both sides of the ball. So that’s why I say it’s the ultimate team game.
“Really it’s about volume in terms of talent. The business decision was teams had called us, we listened, and we were not going to give Odell away and we didn’t.”
As for the continued faith in the 38-year-old Manning, Gettleman reiterated his opinion that Manning can still be a functional quarterback in the NFL.
“I really believe there has been a false narrative out there that Eli [Manning] is finished, he’s done,” Gettleman insisted. “He had a heck of a year. We scored a lot of points late. But at the end of the day, Eli can still make all of the NFL throws, he can still play.
"Last time I checked, if your quarterback is upright it gives you a chance. So we rebuilt, built up, whatever phrase you want to use, the offensive line and we have another important piece with the Kevin Zeitler trade. Eli is still a quality NFL quarterback.”
With that said, Gettleman said the team is fully aware that they need to address the position sooner than later given Manning’s age.
“Obviously, he’s 38 years old; like [head coach] Pat [Shurmur] said he’s closer to 40 than he is to 20,” he said. “The bottom line is yes have to address it. It’s reality, so when the time is right we will.”
Gettleman chuckled when asked if the team can win and build simultaneously.
“You can win and build at the same time,” he said. “They’re not two separate pieces. You can do that, and we’re going to do that. We’re going to fix this and we’re going to be better.”