Dave Gettleman

When Dave Gettleman was introduced to the media and fans as the new General Manager of the NY Giants, he said something that stuck with me then and still sticks with me to this day…

“But at the end of the day, it’s the three things you’ve had to do in 1935 that you got to do now in 2018. You got to run the ball. You got to stop the run. You got to pressure the passer.”

Really?

Two out of the three most important things you want to architect your franchise with are running the ball and stopping the run? This is Neanderthal thinking. Dave Gettleman is an anachronism. It is manifested in many ways, but the biggest one was his unequivocal decision to draft Saquon Barkley at 1.02 overall in the 2018 Draft. We did not like the pick from the moment he chose the Running Back, we still don’t like it, and we won’t like it even if Barkley goes to the Hall of Fame (which may happen if Barkley has a head coach with ‘intelligence’). Love the player. Hate the pick. Yes, we need to restate that Wonder had Barkley as the NUMBER ONE PROSPECT on his Draft Board that year. Yet it is not how you build a team in 2018.

For those of you who want to re-enter 2018 (and 2020, which is fast approaching), consider this article on analytics in Sports as we close out this decade.

“It doesn’t take a calculus degree to understand why quants have screamed for teams to pass the ball more. It was simple. As it turns out, passing consistently yields more yards.”

Roughly speaking, the game I grew up with the 1970’s ran the ball roughly 60% of the time and passed the ball 40% of the time. Today it is reversed. Why? Because the rules have changed. Offensive Linemen can hold inside the shoulder pads. Defensive players are not allowed to breathe on receivers after 5 yards. Rules for safety mean you can only hit the QB in about 3% of his body without being called for roughing the passer.

The NFL has an agenda. It wants the ball in the air. It wants its QBs to be protected from injury. It does not want receivers getting concussions on every passing route like the days of Wayne Chrebet.

Selecting Running Back at 2 Overall is folly, and we do not want to spend this blog post regurgitating all of the reasons why. Injuries, career length, platooning, absence of star running backs on nearly all of the past 10 Super Bowl winning teams, picking one without an Offensive Line to block for him (see our guest podcast from last week)… POSITIONAL VALUE for Running Back is a freaking joke.

We will mention one more reason which we have not mentioned previously, because it only goes further in exposing what insanity it is to take a guy like Barkley at 1.02. When Barkley was signed as a rookie at that spot, he instantly became the 4th highest paid Running Back in the NFL without even taking a snap. The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement between players and owners got rid of this excess by reducing rookie salaries as a proportion of the cap. Yet this happened .. why? Because Running Backs do not have the positional value anymore in the NFL to command huge salaries… because of all the reasons we cited above. Money talks and bullsh*t walks. Even the money says don’t pay it to running backs. Yet by taking a RB at #2 overall, Gettleman the fossil ignored the 21st Century and architected his team right out of the box with a 20th Century move. If he had selected a QB or traded down, he would not have had that problem. He would have figured out what everyone else in the NFL has figured out- that you select QB, an elite pass rusher (the one part out of 3 he actually did acknowledge correctly), or you trade down. (Yes, if there is an elite Left Tackle, you can go that route too, but there are risks there.)

Maximizing the cheapness of rookie contracts is critical to being competitive in an NFL hard cap world. The worst part is that Gettleman doesn’t know what he doesn’t know… we’re betting his hubris makes him oblivious to this dynamic. Confronted with the Brutal Fact that a 1.02 RB eliminates rookie cap value, he’ll just say that that doesn’t matter because I have Barkley. These things do matter because they all add up- the lack of an OL to leverage a RB’s production, the injuries, the wasted rookie cap advantage… we see it via an 8-22 record.

In the podcast, we discussed how critical it is to squeeze out production from cap dollars. Look at competing teams like the Saints and Vikings, who have Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook on much cheaper rookie deals allocated to this position. Cook makes $1.6M/yr, selected 41st overall. Barkley makes $7.8M/yr. That $6M extra every year for 4 years to use on OTHER POSITIONS is a huge competitive advantage. Yes, it’s harder to find talent in the draft in Round 2 than Round 1. But not that difficult. And because RB is avoided by GMs in Round 1, you can get impact RBs more easily in R2 or R3. This all goes back to positional value.

There are other moves that Gettleman has made which demonstrate his prioritization with stopping the run. We rated Dexter Lawrence high out of the Draft. He was #13 on our Board, and the Giants took him at 1.17. He helps the Defensive Interior. Why Gettleman also traded for Leonard Williams at the end of his contract for a ~3.66 and 2021’s Round 4 was over the top stop-the-run zeal. Now he must sign Williams to realize the value of picking up a player when the team was nearly a lock not to make the playoffs.

We will not go into all of the myriad mistakes Gettleman has made, such as Omameh, Stewart, not rebuilding in 2018, Shurmur et al. Just keep it simple and know that the Giants GM is not in step with the NFL. He believes that it is a foundation to run the ball and stop the run. It is not. Those days are long gone. It is not a coincidence that the Giants days as a winning organization are also in the past. It is time to reenter the present and get a GM who understands the truth of what it takes to win in the NFL.

Denial is a River

One of the blessings of this dreadful season for me personally is that I have given up the weekly game recaps. No longer do I have to chronicle the mishaps and regurgitate the misery of yet another season of dysfunction.

Sunday evening I read a quick story on the “anger” of John Mara. He was smart enough (ostrich) to leave the building without saying anything to the media. That is the problem with John Mara. He is just smart enough to think highly enough of his abilities, yet not smart enough to accept COMPLETE responsibility for the state of the franchise. Does he truly understand that he needs to hold himself accountable for everything? This blogger is fairly certain that Mara is in denial- it is his franchise and his decisions that have sent this franchise to this place. We will not see the kind of meaningful change that we noted here (almost a year ago to the day in November) until Mara reaches that point where he realizes his methods and his decisions have been the source of the persistent losing.

We know it is a rebuild. We have been using that word for quite some time. 2-8 should not bother me. The reason it does bother me (greatly) is that this team keeps making weak decisions and keeps underachieving on the field. It is okay to rebuild and admit you are rebuilding. It is not okay to have such poor coaching limit the development of the rookies you are trying to teach. Let’s discuss one glaring example.

The most significant problem in Sunday’s debacle to the Jets was not the loss. It was another pummeling of the heir to the franchise, Daniel Jones. He is a human pinata. People asked me if I was okay with Jones taking the reins when Eli faltered. YES, I said unequivocally! The reason why I was of such strong conviction was because he had a good enough Offensive Line not to become the next David Carr, so let’s get on with his matriculation. There is no time like the present in today’s post 2011-CBA, where winning with rookie contracts is a strategic edge. That is how you beat the salary cap. Getting Jones the experience today moves up his timetable and moves the franchise ahead. If you can lose with Manning, why not lose with Jones and get him the valuable experience he needs as soon as possible? That is the way the NFL works in 2019.

The crux to that argument is “David Carr.” David Carr was the rookie QB who was subjected to 76 sacks in his first year in the NFL. He never recovered. For lack of a better word, he became “hard-wired” to bad practices and failure. Let’s look at this list of leaders in sacks for rookie QBs. It is instructional in WHAT NOT TO DO. Do you see guys like Warren Moon and Jim Kelly up there? Pay no attention to them. Moon played for SIX YEARS in the CFL before coming to the NFL. He was no rookie. Kelly went to the USFL in 1983 and did not arrive in Buffalo until 1986. He was MVP of the USFL in 1984 and threw for 10,000 yards in that league before it folded. He was no rookie either. When you start at the top of the list and go down, it is littered with …. litter…. defunct players who never got on track. You can’t successfully develop a QB this way. But this is precisely what Shurmur is doing. Shurmur is so lost behind that playcalling sheet that he is on his way to potentially destroying the future of this franchise, Daniel Jones.

Let’s do some numbers. 76 sacks in 16 games was insane. Note how it was 20 sacks ahead of the #2 on the list. TWENTY SACKS. So David Carr was destroyed. His rate was 4.75 sacks per game. Average. Do you know the average number of sacks of Daniel Jones took the past 4 games? It is 5.5/game. If we use all 8 games he has started, it is still 4 sacks/game, a rate which would finish him at 56 sacks in a season with 2 games less than Carr. At the current spiraling rate of the past 4 games, Jones would be subjected to a total of 65 sacks. Shurmur is currently negligent in turning his rookie QB into a career-scarred pinata.

My memory of 2002 is not great, but I remember David Carr battling just like Jones is battling. That is what rookies do. They stand in the pocket longer because their bodies can take the abuse and they want to win at all costs. Those instincts are good, but only on the surface. Look at where it got Andrew Luck. Just because you “can” take a hit does not mean you want to be exposing yourself to unnecessary physical abuse. Not in a rebuild. Not in your first year. I like a QB who can hang in the pocket and take a hit. Yet I also hate a rookie who is subjecting himself to too much abuse. We already delineated why this is Shurmur’s responsibility a few weeks ago. The only difference now is that it just continues each week, week after week. No, not 8 per game. But 8 sacks, 3 sacks, 5 sacks, 6 sacks. It has gotten worse as the wheels have come off for Solder (concussion) and Remmers. When you lose whatever semblance of order you have on your Offensive Line, you need to adjust. But therein lies the problem with Pat Shurmur. He cannot see the forest for the trees because he is not managing his team. He is too busy managing playcalling. The team suffers. Daniel Jones suffers. The franchise suffers. And John Mara is angry.

Let’s discuss another example of losing the forest within the trees- Saquon Barkley. Every Giant fan could see Barkley was NOT Barkley on Sunday. He was running the ball without the cuts he is famed for, and his pass blocking was worse. Yet Shurmur had him in there and was calling his number over and over. If Barkley were making great moves and deserving of touches, that would be one thing, but this was not that day.

Quarter: Carries (yards)
Q1: 2, 3,
Q2: 0, -3, 3, 1, 2
… hello McFly …. McFly …
Q3: -2, 0, -1
… earth to Shurmur, earth to Shurmur ….
Q4: 0, -4

13 carries for 1 total yard. He was hurt. What is going on here?

Are we going to see adjustments in scheme? Does Jones get subjected to another 6 games of physical abuse? Or do we get a Head Coach who can see the forest for the trees?

Let’s go back to selecting an Outsider. Mara chose the septuagenarian insider Accorsi to select the sexagenarian insider Gettleman, who in turn selected Shurmur. The word was that Patricia and Daniels were preferred but skipped on the Giants. Why? I suspect it was because they understood what kind of franchise the Giants were. It is a franchise with too much loyalty and nepotism. Loyalty gets you Accorsi, Abrams, Gettleman and Ross in the mix for the GM position. Gettleman was a safe choice. Shurmur was a safe choice, a grown up with experience. No risk, no reward. These decisions are too safe and too familiar. I’d rather lose with a process which interviews 4 outsiders and finds one with the references that stand out. Mara is afraid of what that kind of change will do to his organization. Fans are tired of an organization that is too comfortable with losing. Shurmur is very good at losing, and Gettleman/Mara have to much hubris to face the music.

 

 

Wonder on All 32 Teams after Week 8

One liners from UltimateNYG’s draft analyst Wonder on all 32 teams

NE  Does anyone else know how to coach?
BUF Kudos to Bills organization, designing a team for the cold weather.
NYJ  Unless you are RWilson or KMurray, no QB can survive without an OL.
MIA Still tanking for Tua, but should tank for Lawrence in 2021 instead.

KC  Please Mahomes, come back, we miss you!
OAK Las Vegas fans should be encouraged about the future.
LAC Worse than an enigma.
DEN If only Elway could draft Elway.

BAL Harbaugh can coach. Jackson is undefendable.
PIT The era is over. Time to start anew.
CLE If this is a Dream Team, what is a nightmare?
CIN Time for Cincinnati to pack up and go. Oklahoma?

IND Good job by Reich to keep his players focused.
HOU Watt is done. He and O’Brien have to go.
JAC If Ramsey wasn’t an a******, and Foles wasn’t hurt, might be a 2 seed.
TEN So disappointed in Mariota.

DAL Jason Garrett must have compromising pictures of Jerry Jones.
PHL Too busy reading their press clippings from 2 years ago.
NYG Shurmur is not the answer, and neither is Gettleman.
WAS The other 31 owners should force Snyder to sell.

SF  Lynch and Shanahan have been amazing.
SEA Russell Wilson should be renamed Houdini.
LAR What happened to the 2017 coach of the year?
AZ  Kingsbury and Murray are on their way. Get ready NFL.

GB  Was McCarthy that bad, or was their Defense that bad?
MIN I can’t tell if you win because of Zimmer or in spite of Zimmer.
DET Doing better with Patricia than I would have guessed.
CHI Last year’s coach of the year is in a serious sophomore slump.

NO  Sean Payton and Drew Brees are second only to Belichick and Brady.
CAR What happened to Cam Newton and the Panthers after 2015?
TB  Winston = Loser.
ATL The D has disappeared after the first half of the Super Bowl.

8 Sacks

I just get through praising the Giants for developing their rookies after the Patriots game, and now this. The Giants went from a “Good Loss” to a “Bad Loss” in literally one game.

So why is the 27-21 loss to Arizona a Bad Loss?

8 SACKS.

It is time to quote Joe Gibbs (paraphrased) once again: “I will not throw the ball unless I can block it up.”

Or this simple quote: “We are supposed to be watching the QBs and protecting them.”

Pat Shurmur is too busy with his head up his a** calling (lousy) plays to be bothered with the Head Coaching responsibility of not killing your QB. To be fair to me now, last week I also reminded everyone that until Shurmur gave up playcalling, there would be an inability for this franchise to move forward with him at the helm. Last October, almost a year ago to the day, I called Shurmur a loser. When you sit idly by watching your QB take 8 sacks, you are now in David Carr negligence land. Wake. The. ****. Up. Help your QB. Help your OL.

A Coach cannot let a new QB get pummeled like this. I know some of you are blaming Jones for this. Jones has enough poise and enough fight that he will take 30 sacks if he thinks he can hold onto that ball a little longer to get a Win. That is the mindset of a rookie. The head coach has to know better. The reason why I supported going to Jones was because I believed that the OL would not be so bad to turn him into David Carr. Well, when you playcall and allow your QB to get sacked 8 times (and I am not counting all of the knockdowns), that is on the coach.

I think I saw one screen pass called and it was a miserable failure. Frankly, if I had to practice the screen all week (oh btw, did we mention the Giants had 10 days to get ready for the 30th ranked Defense of the Cardinals??), that would be an acceptable use of the team’s time. Let’s remind everyone, when you have a liability in your pass blocking, use

  • 3 step dropbacks
  • limited 5 step dropbacks
  • flares
  • RB/TE chips
  • max protect
  • screens
  • design rollouts
  • draws
  • MORE screens

anything to slow down the pass rush. Help your QB regain rhythm. Chandler Jones had 4 sacks by himself. Blame Daniel Jones all you want for holding onto the ball too long. He has lost his clock and needs to be helped. It is the Head Coach’s and the Offensive Coordinator’s job to help him. But those two people are one and the same Pat Shurmur.

I am not a big Francesa lover. He’s a pompous a** too often. But in this moment, because of his bias against the Giants leadership, he at least can offer a candid and brutal assessment

If you watch the coach’s press conference after another terrible performance you understand why the Giants are a gift 2-5 ( should be 1-6) and why he is a career loser. He is clueless.

Some gems from the Presser (with my comments in italics)…

Q: What has been your impression on (Jones) up until this point?

Oh really? Is that the best you got? He is regressing, you are allowing him to get crushed, and that’s what you have… yes, Mike, he is clueless.
Q: Were you surprised the offensive line had a tough time with their group?

A: I don’t know if I was surprised. We’ll go back and look at why it happened. They’ve got some really good players up front. We face good players every week.

You’re kidding right? If you weren’t surprised, then why did you let your QB get the snot beat out of him? Why did you sit idly by while he was exposed to unnecessary hits and too many opportunities for turnovers? Why weren’t you adjusting? 

Q: You’re 0-4 on those (challenges of pass interference), you know they probably won’t get overturned, so why do you continue to do it?

A: Because I think it still makes sense in situations like that, where those are large chunks of yardage to give it a shot.

Wake up. They are not overturning anything on pass interference. Are you stupid? Or just insane?

Q: Does anything about Daniel’s play today concern you?

A: No, just try to get him better on the things that didn’t go well for him, that’s all.

Just clueless.

If you think Mike Francesa or I am biased about the Giants Head Coach, let’s go to Linda Cohn of ESPN, who is certainly evenhanded and no coach-killer…

I have yet to hear Pat Shurmur admit he’s made a mistake. He’s had plenty to admit since becoming Giants head coach. Every decision he makes was the right one according to him.

Afterwards, Kimberly Jones recounts the exchange about whether Daniel Jones’ play is concerning to him, and Shurmur’s response, “No.” Nothing? “No.” To which Cohn replies: “I rest my case.”

Look in the mirror. Take some responsibility. Wake up to what you are doing to your QB. Wake up to the fact that you are hurting the team by remaining as the playcaller. Losers lose. This is a rebuilding year. Against other rebuilding teams like the Cardinals you have to beat the competition. Shurmur beat himself.

I was thinking the Jets game would be a win, but watching Darnold come back from mono and how he energized the team gives me pause. Consider that the Giants have to face DET DAL NYJ CHI GB PHL…. they may lose the next 6 games if they are not careful. Even if they beat the Jets (not a given) they would be 3-10. But that is what it is looking like when your franchise’s head coach is not a head coach.