How much of recent NY Giants culture problems lie with Dave Gettleman?

Dave Gettleman General manager of the New York Giants (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Dave Gettleman General manager of the New York Giants (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

NY Giants GM, Dave Gettleman, has come under fire recently after multiple players have gotten into legal trouble.

We all know the bill of goods we were sold when Dave Gettleman took over as GM of the NY Giants at the end of that disgusting 2017 season.

I’ve tried my best to stay quiet on Gettleman since my blow up at the 2019 trade deadline – where the supposed ‘rebuilding’ team not only didn’t acquire any draft picks, they parted with valuable ones under questionable circumstances — at best.

I had begun to be labeled a ‘Gettleman hater’, and in turn, some questioned my motives and written work as just being blinded by my rage for Gettleman — and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t get to me.

His main premise was that the previous regime had cultivated a ‘losing’ or ‘unsalvagable’ culture problem that led to the losses on the field.

He, in fact, told us that he would rid the team of the bad apples and lead the NY Giants back to glory, and he would do it by bringing in good people that also happened to be good football players (paraphrasing).

And man, did he try, but it has not worked out well so far in the win department – even though I actually do like where the direction of the team is headed, mainly due to him nailing the Daniel Jones pick (I also could just be so used to losing by now that any momentum seems like enough).

The GM – who is on his last legs as we head into 2020 – is now finding out that’s a lot harder to do than it sounds (winning without any ‘bad apples’), and that you might end up looking really bad if you not only lose but lose while the perceived culture you were building is crumbling around you.

That is what is now happening to Dave Gettleman and the NY Giants, as clearly – and most importantly – we have not seen the wins on the field during his first two years, and now, we’re seeing players being arrested and other problematic issues.

Now, everyone’s favorite (former) NY Giants players enters the chat — Odell Beckham Jr.

We all remember what the dirty little secret behind that trade – that really wasn’t even a secret – was; that Odell was the ringleader of the bad culture brigade, and that he had to be let go to cleanse the team of his unethical behavior that was, in turn, having a negative effect on the team due to him being the face of the franchise.

In fact, he even quipped a few weeks after that trade when being asked if the team still had a culture problem, “not anymore.” This was the first time we saw Gettleman take pride in the fact that he was ridding the team of the perceived bad apples while thinking he was making gains on turning the NY Giants into a franchise with winning culture.

But no, another 5 win season in 2019 that Odell had nothing to do with saw him point another finger at a player that was leftover from the previous regime.

Despite gloating – while getting fleeced in the Odell Beckham trade (dead money and all), but that’s a topic for another day – that he had finally solved the problem, now Janoris Jenkins using a hurtful slur to a fan online and being cut for not apologizing, THAT was it.

A payer, by the way, that the savvy New Orleans Saints seem to have no problems paying huge money to help their team win in 2020. That’s what separates the elite franchises from the mediocre, knowing how to balance just the right amount of talent with culture, something we haven’t yet figured out here.

And onward the can is kicked.

This brings us to where we are now, and I’m trying my hardest to keep the scope of this column narrow, so excuse me if I’m a little jumpy.

But, after a few shaky weeks in December in which Gettleman’s job was seriously on the line, he was retained despite the horrific results on the field, while head coach Pat Shurmur – and many others – were scapegoated.

So, you better believe that there is more pressure on Dave Gettleman now than there ever was before, and the two recent arrests of NY Giants players have really turned up the heat even more.

The dirty little secret in the NFL is that you’ve gotta make some character concessions when it comes to players if you want to win; ask the 2019 Super Bowl Champion Chiefs and Tyreek Hill about that one.

But what Dave Gettleman has failed to realize is that you can be somewhere in the middle. You can be against having guys like Tyreek Hill – who has been accused of horrific actions of violence against a child – but still have a couple Odell’s around (wouldn’t that be nice for the win column), who may be fiery and a little bit out there, but they aren’t committing serious crimes and are helping the team on the field.

That’s brought us to this juncture that will be a serious test for not only Gettleman, but new head coach Joe Judge, as culture has been continued to be the buzzword into the new coaching regime – that’s something the two seem to be in lockstep about.

The NY Giants’ handling of both DeAndre Baker and Aldrick Rosas will be very telling in terms of them putting their money where their mouth is, but the truth of the matter is, the best way forward might actually be to retain the talent — that is if winning is the main goal.

So, are these recent NY Giants culture problems Gettleman’s fault, or not?

I like to think I take a pretty strong stance on just about everything, but even after that long soliloquy above, it’s hard to answer this question with just a short ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

But you’d be remiss to not understand how serious it is that DeAndre Baker had major red flags coming out of college, maybe not armed robbery serious, but serious enough that many teams had taken him off their draft boards.

Not Dave Gettleman and the golden culture NY Giants, though.

Stunningly, despite constantly stating how important solid culture is, Gettleman never even met with DeAndre Baker during the draft process, despite many in his own office warning him that this kid could be a real bad apple.  

So what was it? Did that first losing season take such a toll on him that he decided he would just this once, dip his toes into the water that the rest of the NFL swims in? Maybe.

Or maybe he just ‘trusted his gut’ like he always says he does and thought the red flags were overblown and that this team needed a high-level talent infusion, and fast; now that, he was right about.

It’s important to note that Baker’s legal case is still very much in the early process, and it looks much messier for the hopes of the prosecutors that want to convict him than it did in the beginning. In other words, the Baker problem could all turn out to be nothing.

I still think that’s a longshot, but it is a possibility and Gettleman could end up being vindicated if there was anything you think he deserves to be vindicated for in that matter (I certainly do, especially when talking about a first-round draft pick that the team gave up multiple mid-round picks to move up for).

Aldrick Rosas, too, had prior character concerns, as this most recent DUI – with a side of hit and run – was his second DUI.

Was Dave Gettleman supposed to give up on a promising kicker because of a DUI he got when he was in his early 20’s?

That theory, I’m out on. I’m not putting any blame on him for Rosas, although what happens going forward is what needs to be examined closely.

So here we are, almost three years into Dave Gettleman’s tenure as GM, and this team still seems just as far away from winning as it did when he took over.

That is the biggest issue everyone should take with the GM, but it’s impossible for me to not admit that it makes the losses extra aggravating due to Gettleman’s holier-than-now stance on culture and how he’s going to run his team.

The bottom line is, this team could use a lot more Odell Beckham’s – guys that are eccentric but are damn good football players with a burning desire to win – than Blake Martinezes, who may add much to the ‘culture’ department but likely won’t make much of a difference in the win column.

To wrap all this up, my answer to the initial premise of this piece is that Gettleman should get some flack for players he chose to acquire or keep around are getting in trouble, but he should get even more flack for the lack of wins.

He really did seem to change his tune at his December press conference, and he better keep changing it and get with the times fast, because there aren’t too many NFL teams winning with a bunch of choir boys.

Next. 5 Giants with the most to prove in 2020. dark

At the end of the day, all of us NY Giants fans want is wins. If Dave Gettleman can deliver them to us in year three, all will be forgiven.

If not, he deserves to go due to his broken model and lack of success.