John Mara

Latest Details On Joe Judge’s Firing

In the aftermath of Joe Judge‘s dismissal from the Giants, new details have emerged regarding his meeting with ownership and their desire for congruency with the new general manager. Judge himself has also spoken publicly for the first time since learning his fate. 

[Related: Giants Fire Joe Judge]

Majority owner John Mara detailed his frustration with the situation in a press conference, detailing why the decision was ultimately made to fire Judge. When asked, Mara admitted that “he has never been this embarrassed by the state of his franchise”, as noted by ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. Mara noted that flashpoints such as Judge’s 11-minute post-game rant after the loss to the Bears and consecutive quarterback sneaks in the regular season finale played a small role in the decision to fire him.

Ultimately, is seems the need for a new GM drove the decision to move on from Judge more than anything else. Raanan notes that “the move to dismiss Judge seems to largely have been made to give the new GM flexibility [in the HC hiring process]”, although the team is not looking at whomever fills the two vacancies as a package deal. Mara used the word “rushed” to describe the hiring of now-retired GM Dave Gettleman in 2017, and stressed that the team’s approach will be more meticulous this time.

Still, there is a clear desire for the new coach and general manager to be “on the same page”, according to a tweet from SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano. He adds that Judge talked with ownership about GM candidates, and that Judge “thought there would be even more discussions, that he’d be part of the process”. Obviously that wasn’t the case, as Mara felt the only way forward was to “completely [blow] it up and [start] all over again”, even though he believes in Judge’s abilities as a coach.

In his first public remarks since being fired, Judge issued a statement which reads in part, “I want to express how truly grateful I am for the opportunity to be the head coach of the New York Giants. Thank you to the Mara and Tisch families, to the organization and incredible support staff and to the fans… It was a privilege to represent these people during the past two years“.

With regards to the other members of his staff, he added, “I also want to express my appreciation to the coaching staff… I am proud to have worked with the group of men we had and grateful for each and every one of them”. He also addressed the players, saying, “To the current Giants players, thank you most of all… I am so proud of you, grateful for you, and I believe in you“.

Judge concluded with, “On behalf of me and my family, we leave New York with the utmost gratitude for the community, the organization, the people and the team. Thank you“. No candidates to replace him have been named as of yet.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dave Gettleman Officially Announces Retirement

It’s official: the Giants are in need of a new General Manager. The club released an announcement that Dave Gettleman has retired from his position as Senior Vice President and General Manager. 

After informing owners John Mara and Steve Tisch of his decision, Gettleman said, ““It was a privilege to serve as the general manager of the New York Giants the last four years and to have spent so many years of my career with this franchise. We obviously have not had the on-the-field success I expected, and that is disappointing. However, I have many fond memories here, including two Super Bowl victories, and I wish the team and organization only the best moving forward. There are many good people here who pour their souls into this organization. I am proud to have worked alongside them.”

In a joint statement, Mara and Tisch said, “We would like to thank Dave for his commitment to this franchise. Dave was integral in building three of our Super Bowl teams, including two championship teams, and we wish Dave, his wife Joanne and their entire family all the best in his retirement.”

It has been widely expected for quite some time that Gettleman was going to step down from his position. As a result, many names have been floated as potential replacements. Perhaps the name at the top of that list is current Assistant GM Kevin Abrams – someone who has been labelled a “strong contender” for the job. On the other hand, many believe that the club will stray from its tendency to promote from within, and that the successful candidate may not have ties with Head Coach Joe Judge.

Regarding the search for a new GM, Mara went on to say that, “We are looking for a person who demonstrates exceptional leadership and communication abilities, somebody who will oversee all aspects of our football operations, including player personnel, college scouting and coaching”. 

The Giants have become the third team with a GM vacancy, joining the Vikings and Bears after they fired Rick Spielman and Ryan Pace, respectively, on Monday. News from the morning, however, suggests that Judge will be staying on – something that had been expected throughout the Giants’ 4-13 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Parsons, McAdoo, Giants

The Cowboys are more than happy that they landed on linebacker Micah Parsons with the 12th-overall pick in this year’s draft. Parsons has started each of his 11 games for Dallas, collecting 67 tackles, nine sacks, and two forced fumbles, and he’s the runaway favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. However, if the Cowboys had had their way, they would have used their selection on a cornerback.

As Jon Machota of The Athletic writes, the team’s “original plan” was to select either South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn or Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II. However, those cornerbacks were scooped up at No. 8 and No. 9 respectively, forcing the front office to pivot. They ended up landing on the Penn State linebacker (after trading down), and the organization couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out.

Parsons explained to Machota how he continues to improve throughout his first season in the NFL.

“People always talk about the rookie wall,” Parsons said, “but I just keep climbing and climbing because I’m excited to see what’s on the other side of that wall.

“I love what we have here. I’m just so honored and blessed to represent the star and have an opportunity to be a star here.”

Some more notes out of the NFC East…

  • The Cowboys are dealing with COVID-19 cases throughout their staff, so they’ll be temporarily promoting Ben McAdoo to a coaching role, tweets NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. McAdoo, who had been serving as a “consultant to the coaches” in Dallas, will be in the coaches booth for tomorrow’s game against the Saints. The 44-year-old spent two years as the Giants head coach between 2016 and 2017, and he returned to the NFL last season when he was hired as the Jaguars QBs coach.
  • Guess who else liked Horn and Surtain? The Giants, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, but the Eagles’ decision to trade up (with the Cowboys, no less) to select wideout DeVonta Smith was the move that really threw New York’s draft into disarray. With the organization’s targets off the board, the team ultimately decided to trade with the Bears, with the Giants selecting wideout Kadarius Toney at No. 20.
  • Another Cowboys/Giants connection: Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv writes that the Joe Judge/Jason Garrett pairing in New York was always an “arranged marriage.” Co-owner John Mara was the one who pushed to add Garrett as the team’s offensive coordinator, and the former Cowboys head coach was an “outlier” on a staff that generally had connections to their head coach. Garrett was ultimately canned by Judge and the Giants in late November after the team had collected a league-low 42 touchdowns.
  • Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports opines that the Giants should go all out on Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson this offseason. The writer cites the organization’s draft capital (which, at the moment, includes picks No. 6 and No. 7), Daniel Jones‘ disappointment in New York, and Wilson’s supposed desire to play in the Big Apple. Assuming GM Dave Gettleman is out after the season, this would be a bold way for a new GM to begin their tenure, but the writer believes this would be preferable to rolling with Jones or drafting a quarterback in a weak class.

Latest On Giants GM Dave Gettleman’s Job Status

The Giants have gone 15-33 since Dave Gettleman took over as general manager, but president and co-owner John Mara wouldn’t go as far as to say the executive was on the hot seat.

“We’re all on the hot seat with our fans in particular, we’ve given them too many losing seasons…it’s time to start winning,” Mara told reporters today when he was asked about Gettleman’s spot on the hot seat (via SNY on Twitter). “But, no I wouldn’t say that’s an accurate statement.”

The owner didn’t reveal any specific mandate to make the playoffs, and he hinted that incremental improvements could be enough for everyone (including the head coach and quarterback) to keep their gigs in 2022. However, Mara also acknowledged that the organization can’t take a step back in 2021.

“I gave the same answer last year, I think, but when I walk off the field after the last game, whenever that is, I want to feel like ‘Does this group give us a chance to win the Super Bowl? Are we moving in that direction?’” Mara said (via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv). “If the answer to that is yes, then we’re not going to consider making big changes. If I feel like we’re going backwards, that’s another discussion.”

“I’ll look at that at the end of the season and see whether I think we’re continuing to make progress and moving in the right direction, but I’m not issuing a playoff mandate,” Mara added. “I don’t think those ever do any good. I don’t think I need to say or do anything to motivate the people in this building any more than they’re already motivated. They all want to win.”

The Giants’ six wins in 2020 was their best showing in three years. While seven wins probably wouldn’t be tolerable among Giants fans, it just might be enough for Gettleman and co. to keep their jobs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants “Not In Any Hurry” To Extend RB Saquon Barkley

The Giants have eagerly dished out cash this offseason, but that doesn’t mean Saquon Barkley will benefit from the spending spree. Speaking to reporters, Giants owner John Mara said an extension for the running back isn’t coming any time soon.

[RELATED: Giants Undecided On Saquon Barkley’s Fifth-Year Option]

“We’re not in any hurry to do that,” Mara said (via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano on Twitter). “We fully expect him to be as good as new. … We hope he’s going to be a Giant for life. At the appropriate time, we’ll start those discussions.”

The former second-overall pick quickly established himself as one of the top running backs in the league, averaging 1,734.5 yards from scrimmage and 11.5 touchdowns per season through his first two years in the NFL. However, after missing a handful of games in 2019, Barkley was limited to only two games in 2020 before suffering a season-ending ACL injury.

The 24-year-old is about to enter the final year of his four-year rookie contract, but he has an affordable fifth-year option that’s valued at only $7.2MM. Barkley is also eligible to sign an extension after having spent three years in the league. Despite the modest fifth-year salary, it isn’t guaranteed that the running back has his option picked up. Earlier this month, GM Dave Gettleman didn’t seem to commit one way or the other, hinting that health could be a concern.

The Giants may be dragging their feet with the fifth-year option (and the subsequent extension), but Mara still made it clear that he wants Barkley to spend the rest of his career in New York. This Giants are likely doing their due diligence before committing to any future deals with the star running back.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Coaches, GMs, Schedule, OTAs

After the NFL expanded the Rooney Rule this offseason, it has a “ready list” of minority candidates for head coaching jobs, offensive and defensive coordinator positions and GM candidates, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. Beyond some of the big names — Eric Bieniemy, Marvin Lewis, Todd Bowles, Leslie Frazier among them — coaches like Clemson OC Tony Elliott, Penn State HC James Franklin and Michigan State HC Mel Tucker appear on the HC portion of the list. On the GM side, some first-time candidates include Bills pro scouting director Malik Boyd, Raiders pro scouting director Dwayne Joseph, Ravens exec Vincent Newsome and Chargers player personnel director JoJo Wooden. Former Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson — now the franchise’s pro scouting director — also appears on the GM portion of the list. The Rooney Rule now mandates teams interview two minority HC candidates and expanded the rule to include coordinator positions. Franchises must also open their senior-level executive jobs to minority and female candidates.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • Normal NFL offseasons feature several weeks’ worth of OTAs preceding a June minicamp, but the NFLPA would like a schedule that looks closer to this year’s virtual offseason. Union executive director DeMaurice Smith said “there is absolutely no reason” for the NFL to return to full-scale OTAs, per Sports Business Daily’s Ben Fischer (subscription required). Having seen no decline in performance after this atypical offseason, union president J.C. Tretter agrees with Smith. This would be a stretch for coaching staffs, which have steadily seen their time with players cut back. The past two CBA agreements have significantly limited offseason and padded training camp workouts, and 2020’s COVID-19-altered offseason created steeper acclimation challenges for young players.
  • The NFL has agreed to a formula for its 17th regular-season game, making it increasingly likely this season will be the last one of the 16-game era. In what will be the first shift to the league’s scheduling setup since 2002, the 17-game schedule will feature a fifth interconference game. The schedule will pit an AFC division winner against an NFC division winner, and on down the line within each division, but the extra interconference game will not feature two teams who played the previous year, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. In the event the NFL moves to the 17-game season in 2021, the Chiefs and Buccaneers could not play again next season; the earliest such a regular-season rematch would occur would be 2022.
  • Roger Goodell may well be on board with shortening the preseason slate from four games to two. The commissioner “seemed in favor” of halving the preseason schedule at last week’s owners meetings, according to ESPN.com’s Seth Wickersham, but some high-profile owners are not. Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft, John Mara and Art Rooney II dismissed the idea of going from three preseason games — the new number as of the 2020 CBA — to two, according to ESPN. No vote occurred on the matter, though Goodell discussing the idea publicly points to it remaining an issue going forward.

Latest On Giants’ Coaching Search

Once thought to be the Giants’ No. 1 candidate, Jim Schwartz looks like he will be a bit behind in Big Blue’s search.

The Eagles’ DC received an interview request, but the sides have yet to schedule said summit, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). If nothing transpires by Sunday, the Giants will have to wait until the Eagles are eliminated to meet with Schwartz. Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter) the Giants don’t have a Sunday interview scheduled; he labels Schwartz as being on the back-burner.

While waiting hasn’t been a deal-breaker for some teams in the past, the Giants and Schwartz — attached in rumors for weeks — not conducting an interview before he prepares for Philadelphia’s divisional-round game could cause the team to pivot away from the former Lions boss. The Eagles are not a highly regarded No. 1 seed presently, but in a hotly contested coaching market that’s seen three Giants interviewees also take meetings elsewhere, the team could opt to move forward with other candidates to stave off competitors. Schwartz has met with the Cardinals about their HC vacancy.

Big Blue has already met with Steve Spagnuolo, Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia and Pat Shurmur, whom Raanan notes (on Twitter) interviewed Saturday. The Giants still plan to meet with both Eric Studesville and Steve Wilks early next week, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv tweets. The Carolina DC would be eligible to meet with New York’s representatives after the Panthers-Saints game, whether his team wins or loses.

Dave Gettleman, John Mara and assistant GM Kevin Abrams are meeting with the HC candidates, per Vacchiano (on Twitter), who adds co-owner Steve Tisch will meet with candidates as the team moves closer to a final decision.

Giants To Interview Interim GM Kevin Abrams

Giants interim general manager Kevin Abrams confirmed he will interview for the full-time job, reports Newsday’s Tom Rock.

A longtime assistant to former GM Jerry Reese, who was fired on Dec. 4, Abrams is expected to meet with owners John Mara and Steve Tisch some time next week though Abrams only confirmed it will take place before the season is over.

One piece of information that gives Abrams a leg up on the competition is the fact New York hasn’t hired a GM from outside the organization since it tabbed George Young in 1979. Abrams joined the Giants 15 years ago and has worked prevalently with the salary cap, though he claims, “I wasn’t raised to be a cap guy; it was just the opportunity that was given to me.”

Shortly after the firing of Reese, who had served as GM since 2007, the MMQB’s Peter King talked with several NFL executives who named Minnesota’s George Paton, Green Bay’s Eliot Wolf and Philadelphia’s Joe Douglas as three of the top new candidates from around the league. He also mentioned former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli and Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta among the veterans who could surface in the search.

Latest On Giants’ Coach, GM Search

Ben McAdoo‘s stint in New York was short and ended without a championship, but he did make history in his own way. McAdoo was at the helm for just 28 regular-season games, giving him the lowest total by a Giants head coach since 1930 (as noted by Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, via Twitter). In that season, Benny Friedman spent two games as a co-player-coach.

Starting today, the Giants are officially looking to fill vacancies at head coach and GM. Here’s the latest out of New York/New Jersey:

  • Giants owner John Mara says his “very strong preference” is to have a separate head coach and GM. However, he does not rule out a dual role if the right candidate emerges (Twitter link via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY).
  • Mara says that both interim hires (GM Kevin Abrams and head coach Steve Spagnuolo) will be interviewed for the full-time jobs (Twitter link via Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com). Personally, I don’t think the odds are in Spagnuolo’s favor, even though he is well-regarded by the organization. After a disastrous 2017 season, it seems more likely that the Giants will opt for a reset when it comes to the next head coach.
  • Reese was not responsible for the firing of Tom Coughlin and subsequent hiring of McAdoo, Kinkhabwala tweets. When Coughlin was fired, Reese advocated for two candidates over McAdoo.
  • Former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi has agreed to serve as a consultant in the GM search, Mara announced (Twitter link via team). The owner added that it is possible that a GM hire will be made before the season is through, noting that the team already has some names in mind (Twitter link via Kinkhabwala).
  • Mara says that McAdoo is the one who initially came up with the plan to bench Eli Manning (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson).

Giants Owner John Mara On Eli Manning

The Giants’ decision to bench Eli Manning on Sunday ignited a firestorm of controversy in the football world. On Wednesday, owner John Mara addressed reporters directly to discuss the future of the team’s quarterback position as well as the job security of head coach Ben McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese. Here’s a look at the highlights with all links going to Twitter: John Mara (vertical)

  • Mara says the Giants “obviously have some decisions to make this offseason” when it comes to the head coach and GM positions (link via Tom Rock of Newsday). Some say that McAdoo has lost control of the locker room, as underscored by the team’s saga with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie earlier this year. Meanwhile, Reese has been criticized for failing to build the team through the draft in recent years.
  • Mara is adamant that the original plan was for Manning to play on Sunday, but perhaps not for the whole game (link via Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com). However, he says he understands why Manning wasn’t on board and admitted that it probably could have been handled differently.
  • I don’t think you should be writing his obituary just yet,” Mara said when asked about Manning’s future in New York (link via Raanan). Still, the Giants have a big decision to make before March 14th, the date that Manning’s $5MM roster bonus comes due.
  • Mara says he first suggested to Reese a week or two ago that it might be time to look at other quarterbacks (link via Raanan).
  • Any suggestion that the Giants are tanking is “complete [B.S.],” Mara says (link via James Kratch of NJ.com). A reminder: The Giants are 2-9 and will start Geno Smith under center on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.