The Autopsy, Part II: Bad turns to worse
Dave Gettleman's time is up. In Part II, we examine the Daniel Jones pick in 2019, everything that went down in 2020 and... what's next. Those who witnessed the wreckage firsthand speak freely inside.
Miss Part I? Catch up right here.
Into Year 2 of his tenure as general manager, it was time for Dave Gettleman to make his move at quarterback. As a franchise, the New York Giants were finally open to life post-Eli Manning.
Daniel Jones has supplied moments of hope but are the Giants, again, trying to see something that isn’t there?
In Part II below you’ll learn…
…how the Giants arrived at this selection in 2019, and why the GM’s “full-bloom love” took scouts by surprise.
…why they had no business taking cornerback Deandre Baker that same year.
…once upon a time, Justin Herbert was the apple of the Giants’ eye. The team’s timing on Justin Herbert was brutal.
…why the team drafted Andrew Thomas in that loaded 2020 draft class at offensive tackle. (Hint: Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett loved him.) Obviously, there’s still hope for Thomas.
… how the voices of scouts were minimized, year to year, under Gettleman. What used to always be an inclusive process took a turn in that Covid draft.
… what happens next? With a few signings, the Giants went all-in this season. It hasn’t pan out. Now, it sounds like owner John Mara will promote a trusted figure again.
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The QB decision
Exactly one year after describing Saquon Barkley as an Earl Campbell-Barry Sanders-Jesus Christ hybrid, there was the general manager praising his new franchise quarterback.
With the sixth overall selection in the 2019 draft, Dave Gettleman shocked the football world by drafting a quarterback out of Duke University.
He got his guy: Daniel Jones.
Back to the press conference table he went. With head coach Pat Shurmur again at his side, Gettleman opened by calling Jones “just perfect” for the New York Giants. He said Jones had “the right head” and that the Giants had him graded “on the same line” as Kentucky pass rusher Josh Allen. Then, when asked when he knew Jones was his quarterback, Gettleman puckered up and assured it was early. He loved Jones on tape and then truly fell for him at the Senior Bowl.
Which. Wait. What?
As he told the story, Gettleman clasped his fingers, twiddled his thumbs and cracked a smile.
“He walked out there and I saw a professional quarterback after the three series that I watched,” Gettleman said. “That’s when I was in full-bloom love.”
“That’s quite a visual,” Shurmur added, awkwardly.
Anyone’s performance in the Senior Bowl Game is usually a minuscule part of the draft evaluation. Most NFL personnel leave Mobile, Ala., before the game is even played. So, Gettleman was essentially struck by Cupid’s arrow on a first date… at a hole-in-the-wall bar… with something between his teeth… and the music so loud he could barely hear his future wife speak.
Most observers were surprised to hear the general manager go on and on about Jones and, frankly, so was his own personnel staff. Throughout the lead-up to the draft, the Giants’ college scouts had zero clue what Gettleman thought of Jones. The inner circle running the team wanted to keep their opinions close to the vest so the scouts — the same ones who should’ve been heard one year prior — had no clue Gettleman was in “full-bloom love.”
“Dave never said anything,” said one scout. “I was wondering, ‘What he’s feeling? What he’s thinking?’”
A GM triple-padlocking such intel isn’t a novel concept. Paranoia runs high in the silly season that is the NFL Draft. Last spring, no scouts and no coaches on staff had a clue Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch were drafting Trey Lance No. 3 overall. What made this strange, however, was that Gettleman typically rambled on and on about draft prospects. He’s a man with stories to tell. And on Jones? Mum was the word. Never mind the fact that this was a decision bound to affect the livelihoods of everyone in the building. Dissenting opinions should be heard. Heated debate should be had. Daniel Jones’ game should be dissected like a frog in ninth grade biology class with anything the GM says about the quarterback robustly challenged.
The Giants whipped around the room, everyone said their piece and Gettleman was vaguer than vague.
“Dave was like, ‘I’m still doing some work. I’m still working on him. But I’m listening to all you guys. I hear what you’re saying but I’m still doing work,’” one ex-scout recalls. “It stayed like that. I was like, ‘Man! I wonder what he feels.’ I never got to hear that until he talked after we picked him.
“Generally, it’s always an inclusive process. That was one where, ‘I’ll keep this one to the vest, until the time comes.’”
The choice was between Jones and Allen, who the Jacksonville Jaguars took one pick later.
Obviously, there’s still time for Jones to turn a corner. This week, the team decided to shut him down for the season with his sprained neck and head coach Joe Judge swiftly assured “Daniel’s our quarterback.” Whoever takes over as GM could talk himself into Jones, too, because there are traits to love. He statistically threw the best deep ball in 2020. On passes of at least 20 yards, Jones was 19-of-39 for 636 yards with five scores, no picks and a 134.4 passer rating. He was the fastest quarterback in the NFL, too. On his 80-yard epic, Jones’ clocked in at 21.23 MPH, per Next Gen Stats.
Like Manning, he was coached by David Cutcliffe in college. Like Manning, he exuded a cool, but steely demeanor.
Then again, injuries and turnovers have defined Jones’ career to date and it’s also fair to wonder if there’s even a switch for him to flip. This is a quarterback who was hardly recruited out of high school. Rivals didn’t even assign a number of stars to him. Jones originally committed to Princeton University before walking on at Duke where he was, eh, OK. In his three seasons, Jones fumbled 19 times (losing 13). And his final season, he threw for 2,674 yards with 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
As a rookie, in 13 games, Jones then had 19 fumbles. The fifth-most for any NFL player all-time.
Injuries added up. He kept fumbling. He’s 12-25 as a starter.
“What are we waiting for?” one former NFC personnel exec said. “Kyler Murray struggles but, OK, Kyler Murray’s been great his whole life. He’ll get back to being great. There’s nothing to say with Daniel. You’re hoping he gets to something he’s never been before in his life. How many times are you going to watch this guy historically turn the ball over? This is not run of the mill stuff he’s doing. He’s historic in the number of times he turns the ball over. And lack of scoring. And losses.
“If David Cutcliffe is such a great coach, why does the guy stink? If he’s had the best coaching, why is he still bad? It was whole ‘Looks like Eli,’ the demeanor, all that. Again, Eli is the gift that keeps on giving. Now, we got rid of the guy but we want to get a guy who looks just like him to hold onto.
“The ghost haunts them still to this day.”
And this is where we must admit Go Long bought the Jones hype into 2021 hook, line and sinker and, honestly, I’m still side-eyeing that bait in the water. There is zero questioning Jones’ toughness. He tries to play through all pain, and that’s commendable. The rare instances everything around him is ideal — the blocking, the receivers getting open, etc. — he delivers. Unfortunately, that pocket usually caves and Jones tries to do too much. “What did Kenny Rodgers say?” one former Giants scout says. “You’ve got to know when to hold them and when to fold them.”
At No. 6 overall, with the stakes so high, the Giants needed to hit.
Missing on a quarterback can set any franchise back years.
“You can’t afford to be wrong on a pick like that,” another ex-scout says. “And the problem now is that the jury’s still out. I don’t know if you really know yet.”
The Giants drafted 342-pound Dexter Lawrence with the 17th overall pick acquired in dealing Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns. (“I got me a hog molly,” Gettleman declared.) Lawrence has been one of the GM’s best draft picks, but that’s not saying much. He entered last week as the 41st-ranked interior run defender, per PFF. Nobody’s putting this block of granite in the upper stratosphere of NFL defensive tackles, which is what any team would expect out of a 17th overall pick by now.
Then, the Giants traded up to No. 30 overall in the first round to take Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker despite numerous red flags. Some teams didn’t even have Baker on their draft board and, no, the Giants weren’t oblivious. They were acutely aware of his problems.
Once again, it would’ve paid off to value the boots on the ground.
One source remembers the team’s southeast scout, Marcus Cooper, detailing all of Baker’s issues in three separate pre-draft meetings. Every single time, for all to hear, Cooper said he didn’t know if this kid would ever realize he can’t just show up and rely on talent alone in the pros. During the season, Cooper would call Baker on FaceTime to ask if he was working out and doing what he was supposed to and, many times, Baker wouldn’t even answer his phone. Further, Baker’s position coach was blunt in noting the corner’s poor work ethic. When Cooper reached out to those running the workout facility where Baker trained ahead of the draft, they told him the corner wasn’t showing up.
Said this source: “Once (Cooper) was hearing that, he’s like, ‘I don’t know if this kid will ever get it. Because these are the trainers working with the top guys — and he’s blowing them off. I don’t know if this guy’s ever going to change.’ So, the more he was talking about it, Dave was like, ‘Ah, you’re all scaring me with this. I want to stay away from this kind of stuff.’”
The Giants reached back out to a go-to connection at Georgia and, sensing that the interest must be real with the draft nearing, this person backed off of his initial criticism and essentially told the team that if you boot Baker in the ass, he’ll perform.
Such is the art of scouting. You need to know exactly when someone’s being honest.
“You have to believe those guys when they tell you the first time,” one ex-scout said. “Because they start backing off. They’re thinking, ‘Oh, this kid could be drafted in the first round.’ They start backing off a bit. I put that one on Shurmur. He really started going in and saying ‘We need a guy with some grit, some stuff to them. They’re not all angels.’ Blah, blah, blah. And Dave said, ‘Alright! If we take this guy’ — and he’s looking at the DB coach and everybody else — ‘I don’t want to hear shit about he’s not doing this, that or the third.’ And it could not have fallen apart quicker. It was a fast decline.”
Indeed, despite the red flags, the head coach Shurmur pushed hard for Baker.
It appeared Gettleman would stay firm but the scout said “he caved in at the end.”
“Shurmur was really pushing. ‘We need a corner. We’ll get his ass right.’ I’m like, ‘If these kids aren’t workers already? And, now, you’re going to pay him to come here? It’s probably not going to get done.’ We can clown on Beckham but that boy worked his butt off. In practice, you see it. He might be joking around and dancing but he’d tear DBs apart. He’d tear Janoris Jenkins apart. ‘Jackrabbit’ is a damn good player and he’d make him look silly.”
There’s a good chance you know what happened next.
Ten games into his rookie season, PFF ranked Baker 113th out of 113 cornerbacks. Shurmur would eventually bench Baker and call out his effort in front of the entire team. Teammates told ESPN he was “a handful.” He finished with 55 tackles and no interceptions. Into the offseason, the cornerback was charged with four counts of armed robbery and four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm. He allegedly took jewelry and cash at gunpoint during a dice game in May 2020. The Giants wasted little time in releasing the first-round pick and, in November 2020, all charges were dropped. Baker’s attorney had maintained his client was the victim of an extortion case.
Whatever did or did not happen, his lack of professionalism was a major issue.
The Giants went 4-12 in 2019. Manning retired. The pandemic hit.
The quest to play “big-boy football” continued.
The Covid Draft
The man was in love. Fine. We’ve all fallen hard, right?
Thing is, it is possible for people to fall out of love.
Those 19 fumbles could’ve prompted Gettleman to bring Daniel Jones to the coffee shop and give him the ‘ol “it’s-not-you-it’s-me” routine.
Because, in 2020, once again, the Giants owned a high draft pick. At No. 4 overall, the Giants had a chance to draft another quarterback they loved: Oregon’s Justin Herbert. One year prior, the Arizona Cardinals had zero problem cutting bait on Josh Rosen with Kyler Murray staring at them with the No. 1 pick. And like those Cardinals, these Giants were starting over with a new head coach (Joe Judge). Many times, it pays to be bold and start over.
What will sting is that this isn’t revisionist history, either.
Sources critical of Gettleman’s acumen actually say he was on the Herbert train for a while, back to the quarterback’s junior year. If Herbert would’ve declared a year early, like many anticipated, there’s a good chance they would’ve pounced in ‘19. Instead, he stayed in school. Instead, Jones was the pick. Instead… the Giants selected Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas No. 4 overall ahead of Herbert in ‘20. They had seen enough in Jones as a rookie (24 passing touchdowns, 3,027 yards) to try to build around him and that belief cost them a chance at one of the league’s best quarterbacks today.
A quarterback who is capable of rising above any amount of muck around him.
“The truth of the matter is, he was thoroughly evaluated, but they were still in the stage of liking what we had in Daniel or ‘we want to see.’ It’s the worst timing,” one source in those draft meetings said. “It was probably more clear-cut but Arizona wiped away that whole thing real quick for Kyler. It can be done. That would’ve been tough for me if I’m a GM, if I liked a guy like that and knew he was available. It’s hard because, ‘Do I take another quarterback? I’ve got to do something with this offensive line.’ You’re a rock in a hard place. Because you didn’t do stuff with your O-Line prior.”
The team needed meat up front, no doubt.
So, then, the only question was which protector they’d find for Jones. The 2020 draft was loaded with offensive tackles, too. Four were taken in the first 13 picks.
There was heavy interest in Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs internally but the offensive coordinator on new head coach Joe Judge’s staff — former Cowboys head man Jason Garrett — was unbelievably vocal in support of Thomas. Per one source, Garrett was “in love with Thomas” and told everyone the tackle reminded him of the eight-time Pro Bowler he coached for nearly a decade in Dallas: Tyron Smith. Every time Thomas’ name came up, Garrett went off on a “10-minute spiel” about the tackle and insisted that Thomas was more developed than Wirfs, even though Wirfs did hail from the same school (Iowa) that had produced the likes of Marshal Yanda, Brandon Scherff, Riley Reiff and Bryan Bulaga. Arguably no head coach in college football prepares linemen for the NFL like Kirk Ferentz.
Gettleman liked Thomas, too. But it was Garrett who pushed the pick over the top.
Like Shurmur before him, this coach had a lot of sway.
“He was all, ‘Oh my God, I love this guy,’” one source recalls. “I feel like he was pushing him so hard to the point of knocking Wirfs. I don’t think you could knock Wirfs. You could say this one is more your flavor. He’d say Andrew was plug-and-play right now versus Wirfs is not that right now.”
At No. 6, the Los Angeles Chargers took Herbert. At No. 13, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stole Wirfs. Thomas allowed 10 sacks and 57 total pressures, per PFF, through a horror-show rookie season but has rebounded in a huge way this season. Garrett could still be proven right but Herbert is now up to 8,394 yards and 63 touchdowns in 29 career games, while Wirfs may be the best right tackle in the entire league.
Into the second round, the Giants wanted a safety.
Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr. was discussed in the lead-up to the draft. One area scout was extremely high on Winfield after watching him extensively but Gettleman insisted the 5-foot-9, 203-pounder was too small and missed too many tackles. It didn’t matter that Winfield killed it in his interview with the Giants. With great detail, he explained how he tackles right down to his angles and aiming point and, sure, his propensity to fly to the football. That’s why he missed sometimes.
Gettleman didn’t believe Winfield could improve this area of his game in the pros, thus, the Giants instead drafted safety Xavier McKinney 36th overall.
Winfield went 45th to join Wirfs in Tampa Bay and, together, they won a Super Bowl. The swaggering safety flashing a peace sign in the face of Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill remains the everlasting image of the Buccaneers’ 31-9 beatdown. And, for good measure, the presence of Barkley prevented the Giants from even thinking about a potential star in the second round of that draft. Jonathan Taylor went 41st overall to Indianapolis and is now primed to win the NFL rushing title in 2021.
It’s early. Thomas and McKinney could still be part of the long-term solution. As one ex-scout adds, there’s a chance that Herbert, Wirfs, Winfield, whoever the Giants drafted wouldn’t have panned out in New York because — by then — the roster was too brittle.
There was another weird twist, too. This was, of course, the Covid draft with teams across the country picking players via Zoom and the Giants seemed to take that paranoia from ‘19 to a new level by boxing out the scouting staff. All seven rounds, the scouts were quarantined on a separate Zoom call where they were not part of any draft discussions.
Quite a change from the past when the Giants encouraged dialogue by going around the room to see what everyone thought before taking a player.
“So, it’s us scouts in there talking,” says one. “And then the higher ups — the director, GM and other higher ups — are in a separate room. When it got close to our pick, we’re like, ‘OK, they’re going to buzz us in any second now.’ And then, right before, they’d buzz us in and say, ‘Hey, guys, we just wanted to let you know we’re going to take such-and-such right here.’ We’re just like, ‘OK’ We didn’t have that little discussion amongst us before a pick. They’d buzz us in, ‘Hey, we’re taking Andrew Thomas.’ That’s how it was.”
The Giants went 6-10 and the season ended with Judge blasting the Philadelphia Eagles for tanking in Week 17.
His team, he promised, would never quit like that.
Then, in Year 4 of the Gettleman Era, the Giants pushed their chips in.
Going all in
He drafted his Hall-of-Fame running back.
He found his quarterback.
He infused the roster with “hog mollies.”
He was on his second head coach — a no-nonsense, ass-kicker that cut his teeth as Bill Belichick’s special teams coordinator in New England.
And, in theory, Gettleman did the right thing next by going full Lloyd Christmas in free agency. Every team with a starting quarterback on a rookie deal should be proactive. The problem is, unlike Belichick, this was the porkiest of pork barrel spending imaginable. Nate Solder, ski mask ‘n all, soon had company.
Wide receiver Kenny Golladay was signed at a whopping $72 million over four years to be exactly what Stefon Diggs is for Josh Allen in Buffalo. He’s the sixth-highest paid wideout in the league and currently ranks 72nd in receiving yards. Oft-injured in Detroit, he has struggled to stay on the field again. (Said one longtime NFL scout: “He’s a straight-liner. Watch his tape. He can’t get off the line of scrimmage. And in four years with Detroit, he played 16 games one season. So you’re going to give all that money to a hurt player who’s hurt now.”)
Cornerback Adoree Jackson inked a three-year, $39 million deal. One league source is adamant the Giants bid against themselves here and easily could’ve gotten the 185-pounder at a much cheaper rate. He played only three games in 2020 and, this season, has one interception, no sacks and zero forced fumbles. (Said the longtime scout: “He would’ve been on the street. They couldn’t wait for him to leave Tennessee. And I got that from one of the Tennessee coaches. Who in the front office is making these decisions?”)
Paying above market has been Gettleman’s specialty. In 2018, the Giants also paid $5.5 million to journeyman guard Patrick Omameh to play seven games. Outside of a massive deal to Leonard Williams — a proven force inside who’s gritting through a severe triceps injury — the Giants’ money seems to go to the wrong places.
Daniel Jones hasn’t been talented enough, or healthy enough, to elevate those around him.
The 2021 draft, Gettleman’s fourth, didn’t exactly go to plan, either.
The player the Giants coveted with their 11th overall pick was electric 163-pound wide receiver DeVonta Smith out of Alabama. He was the first receiver to win the Heisman Trophy since Desmond Howard in 1991 and when the Giants asked coaches at Alabama which of the Jeudy-Ruggs-Waddle-Smith bunch was best, the answer was Smith. Still, he is also historically small for the position. Time will tell if Smith can withstand the physical pounding of the pros. Large corners could take his lunch money for years. He has 53 catches for 741 yards and four scores through 13 games.
The Giants’ problem was that a team in their own division, the Philadelphia Eagles, also coveted Smith and knew they needed to move up to get him.
Howie Roseman, the ultimate GM survivor, jumped up to No. 10 overall and took Smith right in front of the franchise that was ridiculing him back on Jan. 4. The Giants panicked by trading back to No. 20 to take a poor man’s DeVonta Smith in Florida’s Kadarius Toney. They did pick up a 2022 first-rounder from Chicago in the process but the obsession with these receivers also allowed another division rival to land the best player in the entire draft. At No. 12, the Dallas Cowboys simply took linebacker Micah Parsons and, now, Parsons could become the first rookie to win Defensive Player of the Year since Giants legend Lawrence Taylor in 1981.
The salt never stops pouring into the wounds of Giants fans.
Sources involved with this draft note that the Giants did give Parsons a high grade but that the team might’ve been a tick spooked by Baker’s demise and/or worried about Parsons living close’ish to home. (He grew up in Harrisburg, Pa., about three hours from East Rutherford, N.J.) Nobody questioned Parsons’ talent at Penn State. He had 109 tackles (14 for loss) in 2019 before opting out of the 2020 Covid season. But there were some red flags. Parsons and others allegedly hazed former teammate Isaiah Humphries, per a lawsuit.
Any hesitancy here boggles the minds of those who’ve since left the Giants’ personnel department.
One former scout isn’t shy. He sees Parsons haunting New York for years.
“You’ve had every other swinging dick in New Jersey and you’re supposed to have the strongest support network of any NFL team — use it! You’re supposed to procure talent. That’s the job. So, you took a fast, raw player (Toney). It took Florida four years to figure out where to play him. And he’s hurt all the time, too. And he had a slow start because he couldn’t learn the playbook. So getting another first-round pick, yeah, they’re valuable but who’s doing the picking?”
As always, the Giants had another shot at a quarterback, too. Locked into the mindset that Daniel Jones was the answer — like Manning years past — New York never seriously considered taking a quarterback… though one person did speak up. Whenever the Giants did discuss this QB class, one source says the team’s quarterbacks coach made it abundantly clear that he “absolutely loved” Mac Jones. Jerry Schuplinski was an assistant with the New England Patriots from 2013 to 2018. After all of that time around Tom Brady, he gave Jones a high first-round grade. Alas, no substantive discussion was had on the matter so the Giants traded back to take Toney, thus allowing those Patriots to draft Brady’s successor at No. 15.
Hanging onto Manning too long cost the Giants and, now, history could repeat itself.
Whoever’s GM in 2022 must decide if Jones warrants a fourth year as the starting quarterback, chase a veteran via trade or dive into what’s regarded as a weak quarterback draft class. Jones is heading into the final year of his four-year, $25.6 million rookie contract and the Giants have until May to pick up the fifth-year option for 2023. As we reported last offseason, Russell Wilson wants to add billionaires to his Rolodex and own an NFL team one day. What better city to live in than NYC? With the NFL Headquarters right on Park Avenue? I wouldn’t be surprised if Roger Goodell wanted Wilson to be a right-hand man of sorts. No player has a better relationship with the league office than Wilson (with his wife, Ciara).
Count on the Seattle Seahawks quarterback wanting out again this offseason after his first losing season. One league source believes Wilson would want to go to the Giants; another longtime exec says “hell no.”
So, who knows? It’s not an ideal predicament.
For now, Judge’s public faith in Daniel Jones is strong.
“They’re stuck. They’re going to be bad for a while,” said one former NFC executive. “This crop of QBs isn’t good and this is the year they have two first-round picks. They finally do something right. They’ve got the picks but nobody to take.”
Once again, early signs indicate that John Mara will promote a familiar face from within his trusted circle to general manager. Fans clamoring for an outsider to run this team probably shouldn’t hold their breath. Kevin Abrams is in his 23rd season with the franchise and, reportedly, the “strong contender” to become GM once Gettleman, uh, retires. Considering he’s tight with ownership, those departed personnel men Go Long spoke to expect Abrams to be the guy, too.
“Not an outsider,” said one source familiar with the team’s inner-workings. “There will be no, ‘This guy is an independent thinker.’ There’s absolutely no way they’ll do that.”
Another source familiar with the franchise’s inner-workings points to GMs like Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore, Brian Gutekunst in Green Bay and Brett Veach in Kansas City. All three have been immersed in the sport in totally different ways their entire life. Newsome was a Hall of Fame tight end. Gutekunst’s father, John, was a college coach from 1967 to 2017. Veach, a receiver at Delaware, cut his teeth as Andy Reid’s assistant in Philly and worked his way up. He says that while Abrams is a good person — which many would consider a massive upgrade over his predecessor — he’s mostly been a “dollars and cents,” salary-cap guy behind the scenes. Not a scout to his core attending college games every weekend.
There is no substitute, he believes, for actually seeing games with your own eyes.
So far, the biggest move this team has made is fire Garrett as OC. A total rebuild will be required.
Years of mistakes have been exposed in 2021 and injuries are no excuse.
Whereas a Baltimore Ravens team utterly decimated by injuries climbs out of a 24-0 hole to nearly beat Cleveland and comes within a 2-point conversion of beating the Green Bay Packers with Tyler Huntley at quarterback, the Giants barely put up a fight with Mike Glennon. Whereas the Pittsburgh Steelers nearly overcome 27-10 (Los Angeles Chargers) and 29-0 (Minnesota) deficits on the road, the Giants have been embarrassed. Other teams use cliches like “culture” and “next man up” and back it up, but Judge’s Giants have not in 2021. Despite assembling what’s believed to be the largest coaching staff in NFL history, the Giants still make elementary in-game mistakes. At least three coaches oversee the offensive line, yet the broken Solder was left 1-on-1 against Joey Bosa on a fourth-and-9.
Sure enough, the premier pass rusher sacked and stripped Glennon, and the Chargers took a 37-7 lead.
The sad state of the franchise is most evident up front where the hog mollies roam.
One longtime NFC scout first reels off the linemen up front in New England. With the smallest left tackle in the NFL (Isaiah Wynn), a 2016 sixth-rounder at left guard (Ted Karras), a 2015 undrafted free agent at center (David Andrews), a fourth-rounder at right guard (Shaq Mason) and a 380-pounder at right tackle he calls “lazy and unmotivated” (Trent Browns), the Patriots traveled to Buffalo, faced a defensive line full of first- and second-round picks “and kicked their ass.”
Since taking over, Gettleman has stressed the offensive line. Yet what does he have to show for it? Trading defensive tackle BJ Hill for center Billy Price was a failure. Hernandez may be one of the strongest humans on the planet, this scout says, but falling in love with another Senior Bowl hero backfired. One little move from a defensive tackle, he says, and Hernandez is so stiff, he whiffs.
Then, there’s Solder.
“You have three first-round picks and a second-round pick and you can’t run the ball with supposedly an All-World running back.”
No, Gettleman can’t say with a straight face that he leaves the Giants a better team than when he found it. A bad O-Line is still bad. Judge had this team fighting with its back against the wall for a hot minute last year, but the shine is wearing off. He’s now 10-20 as the head coach. After that Chargers loss, Judge offered up a 1,687-word diatribe for six-plus meandering minutes on why he believes the Giants are building a foundation. The rally cry did not inspire as the Giants were smacked around by Dallas.
Problems cut deeper here. With ownership. They clutched to a beloved two-time Super Bowl champ too long, hired a friendly face and, maybe worst of all, remained tone deaf through it all.
But, hey, enjoy that Pepsi.
Read Part III right here.
Miss one of our peeks behind the curtain before? Here are a handful of similar stories we’ve run…
Inside Jerry’s World: A multi-part look at how the richest sports franchise in the world goes 25 years without a championship. It’s not pretty.
The Fight for Erik Kramer’s Life: First, he was depressed. After a series of tragic events, Erik Kramer decided to take his own life. He pulled that trigger… miraculously survived… and things only got wilder.
Inside the Chicago Bears’ quarterback desperation: The Bears were certain they’d land Russell Wilson. They did not but they sure kept swinging.
Rising Tide: How Coastal Carolina built a national power.
Long Reign: Three specific tipping points triggered a potential Kansas City Chiefs dynasty.
The Packers have a plan (it’s genius, too): Why everyone ripping the team’s 2020 draft is wrong.
Will the Vikings finally rise under Mike Zimmer?: It’s not looking that way, no. We get to know the real Vikings head coach.
The Pressure is on Josh Allen: The quarterback the Bills’ owner wanted was Patrick Mahomes. Allen was the consolation prize. Our debut two-parter digs into it all.
I was thinking I was done with this team and this article(s) may have pushed me over the top. BTW, I subscribed here just to read this two part article and I think I may just hang around for a while. Well done by the writer.
In John Mara's defense, he learned how to F up a team from his old man. All of the ineptness and total lack of concern for the fans is making me wonder why I follow this team. I haven't purchased a Giants Jersey since Eli's 2011 Super Bowl. I encourage all Giants fans to stop feeding the owner's bank account and send a hard and clear message by not attending the final games and to follow my lead and not purchase anything with a NYG logo. That is the only way to turn this thing around.