Quotes (2/27): Gettleman, Shurmur at the Combine

GM DAVE GETTLEMAN

Opening Remarks: Wow. How are you guys doing? How y’all doing? I used to do that down in Carolina, they didn’t believe for one moment that I was from there. Welcome to the Underwear Olympics. It’s good to see everybody. We’re in the roster building season part, there’s no offseason anymore, in case you weren’t aware of it. We’re in the roster-building season, we don’t play until September, I’ve checked the schedule, and so there’s going to be a lot of time to make a lot of decisions so I just want everybody to understand that. Just as a reminder, I’m not going to discuss negotiations, I’m not going to discuss timelines. As far as I’m concerned, that’s very personal between the club and the player, so don’t ask. Don’t waste your time. I’ll say this, it’s a repeat of what I said at my postseason presser – we didn’t sign (WR) Odell (Beckham) to trade him, ok? So I know that’s all over the place, so understand that and that’s all I need to say about that.

Then the other thing, I was here listening to the questions you guys were asking (Head Coach) Pat (Shurmur) and a lot of times we focus on numbers – how big a guy is, how fast a guy is, how strong a guy is, what’s his vertical jump, how tall is he, what’s his hand size, what’s his arm length – there’s all these, just a myriad of numbers, analytics’ delight of numbers. One of the things that we really focus on is instincts. Instincts are very important. You guys were asking Pat the question about the quarterbacks. You can write a laundry list of things you’re looking for and it’s not like you’re breaking new ground, it’s not like you’re splitting atoms, but one of the things that I focus on and my staff and we talk about all the time is instinct. Does he have a feel for the game? Is he a step ahead of everybody else? Instincts and play smarts allow you to play bigger, stronger, faster. That’s a fact of life. If you are a film watcher, when you watch it, try to focus on that – is this guy, does he seem to have it? I spent some time with an Aussie rules pro personnel guy a bunch of years ago and in Australia they say, when I was explaining what I was talking about instincts, he said, ‘So you’re saying to me, do they have the ‘chip’?’ That’s what they call it down there. So, to answer your question about tall quarterbacks, short quarterbacks, rollie-pollie defensive linemen, a lot of it is instincts and play smarts. With all that being said, let the games begin.

Q: Do you feel as though what you just mentioned exemplifies a player like Sam Mills, a player who doesn’t fit all the measurements but finds a way to make the play every time?

A: You do. Obviously, and I’ve said it before, it’s a big man’s game. You can talk about it all you want, the game’s changing and everybody’s going crazy about all the stuff the college guys are doing. Bottom line is it’s a big man’s game. So, if you don’t have size, if you’re missing a PQ – a physical quality, so to speak – you have to have what I call a compensating factor and the compensating factor a lot of times is instinct. Sam Mills was 5’9 – may he rest in peace – was 5’9 in high heel sneakers. He could find the ball. The other day I was watching (Panthers LB) Luke (Kuechly), I was watching Carolina defensive film and I was watching Luke, and I was saying to myself, it’s like he’s in the huddle. It’s amazing. That doesn’t just apply to a defensive player, it applies to every position on the field.

Q: You heard earlier that Pat said Eli (Manning) is back for 2019. You were a little vague on that at the end-of-season press conference. What led you guys to decide that?

A: Well, it’s a never-ending process. We haven’t even hit free agency yet, so like I told you, I had my conversation with Eli back right after the season ended and we are where we are. Like Pat said, there’s a million different models, there’s a million different ways to do this and you could cite a number of models where they had a veteran guy and they drafted a young guy, and at some point in time, the torch got passed and away everybody went, and it was a happy away everybody went. So, there’s still a lot of time to make these decisions.

Q: Is it safe to say you’re not looking for a veteran to (replace Eli)?

A: I can’t say anything like that. I can’t do it. You don’t know what’s going to happen, you don’t know.

Q: So you haven’t committed to Eli?

A: I just told you. We’re evaluating everything and we’ve just got to keep moving forward.

Q: How much does not having a third-round draft pick play into (your evaluation)?

A: It’s really funny. For what it’s worth, we really feel strongly that if (CB) Sam (Beal) were in this draft, he’d be a second-round pick. We feel pretty strongly about that. So while it’s aggravating that we don’t have a third, if Sam steps up and is doing really well with his rehab thing, surgery went well, and so if he’s the guy we believe he is, then we won’t be mad.

Q: Not asking about negotiations, long-term with (S) Landon (Collins), you have a deadline next week, so says the NFL. Will you tag him regardless of negotiations just to make sure you have him for 2019?

A: We’re still evaluating.

Q: How important is it to have him back?

A: Like Pat says, you always want good players on your team. Here’s what everybody has to understand - you’ve got 53 players on your club and you’ve got a salary cap. You don’t have 53 silos. Decisions like this can’t be made in a vacuum. You can’t do it. So, it’s a process.

Q: You talked about your film study with Eli. I’m curious about what you saw when you looked back that maybe you didn’t see live, and if that’s driving you toward your decision process?

A: The short answer is yes. You want a little more than that? (Laughter) The short answer is yes. Really and truly, like Pat said, we came in and it was a whir, and we evaluated the team as best we could, made decisions, move forward, and feel strongly we made some good strides. At the end of the day, we saw what Eli was capable of once we gave him help. He still can make big-league throws, he can still make the NFL throws, and it’s, I say it all the time, it’s the ultimate team game. It is, because 10 guys do everything perfect and an offensive lineman falls down, the guy gets whacked. So to answer your question, we looked at Eli and we feel good about him.

Q: Philosophically, though, and Pat talked a lot about this earlier when everybody’s playing at a high level and playing better around him, but is that feasible in today’s NFL where you need the quarterback to have everything perfect rather than a quarterback who can make the people around him better?

A: I didn’t say he needed everything to be perfect. What quarterback doesn’t?

Q: Brady? (Inaudible) Mahomes?

A: Well, you’re talking about a 38-year-old guy against a 21-year-old pup. Here’s what I’m going to say, and I’ve really been thinking about this. I got a headache, that’s why I hurt myself, I think. I’ve really been thinking about this: The narrative around Eli for the past four years, five years, since I was gone, was really negative. The narrative’s been negative. There’s an old saying, ‘tell a lie enough, you believe it.’ The narrative is so negative that when you take that position, most people struggle getting off that spot, most people struggle saying, ‘I’m going to look at this with fresh eyes.’ So for example, when you evaluate pro players, every year’s a new year. When you evaluate him, it’s a new year. Yes, before he was at this level, but that doesn’t mean when you look at him that he’s automatically at this level or at this level. You’ve got to take everything for what it’s worth at that time and I think that the narrative has been negative, and I don’t think it’s been fair.

Q: The narrative has been negative because the results have been negative.

A: Part of it, it’s going to go hand in hand. We live in a blame society, that’s what we live in. I got in a car accident and it’s his fault. No, maybe you ran the stop sign. Everybody’s pointing fingers, no one wants to take responsibility. It’s part of it. Like I said, it’s the ultimate team game. You don’t win it yourself, you don’t lose it by yourself.

Q: With all that being said, at the end of the season you were pretty clear about knowing your situation at quarterback, your 38-year-old quarterback.

A: Yes, we do.

Q: Is the perception that you’re sticking with Eli and, for all intents and purposes, kicking the can down the road to not have to make another decision at quarterback fair?

A: No, it really isn’t. It really isn’t. Free agency hasn’t played out, the draft hasn’t played out. I don’t think it’s fair. Listen, I have this crazy idea that my responsibility is that every decision we make is in the best interest of the New York Giants. I think I said this before, (Panthers Head Coach) Ron Rivera used to kid me, he used to say, ‘Wait until you have to cut one of your draft picks’, because when I first got to Carolina I didn’t know any of those guys so I had to make moves and you do what you have to do. When the time came, I picked and chose who we paid money to. I’m going to do the same thing here. These decisions are not made with my heart, they’re made with my head and with the experience I have. I’ve been lucky. I’ve been around a few Super Bowl teams. I know what it takes to build one, I know what it should look like, and at the end of the day, no, I don’t think it’s fair.

Q: So, conceivably, you could see Eli Manning back on your roster for this year, and another quarterback -- whether it’s a veteran or a rookie -- challenge him at that spot or for the future?

A: Yes. You can’t be afraid to draft over a player. You’re in the draft, you’ve gone through free agency, you’ve got all your stuff going, and you’re sitting there and you’ve got a good player at a position and a young kid comes up at that spot staring you in the face. You can’t be afraid to draft him just because you’ve already got one. The more competition you can create, the better your team will be. And you have to create competition at every position. You have to, because if you don’t, unfortunately human nature sometimes takes over and the guy gets a little lazy and he thinks is anointed, and all that other stuff. Does that make sense?

Q: Have you ever got to that situation where you look at Eli and think that because he hasn’t had any competition, or do you think bringing in competition might actually bring his game to the level that you’re expecting?

A: Absolutely, it’s very possible that that’s going to happen.

Q: Is adjusting Eli’s $23.2 million cap something you’d consider?

A: You have to look at everything, I’m not going to lie. I’m not saying I’m going to do anything (laughter). I’m just saying it’s my job. It’s my job to take everything into consideration.

Q: On Odell’s: (Inaudible)

A: You guys got to write about something, I guess. Speculate all you want. I’ve already made my statement on that.

Q: Do you expect Olivier Vernon to be on the team this year?

A: Again, we’re in the evaluation process. I hope I’m with the team this year.

Q: Why were you comfortable trading Eli Apple?

A: Why was I comfortable trading Eli? Because of the value we got in return. We thought it was in the best interest of the New York Football Giants.

Q: Did you pay attention to him after (he was traded to the Saints)?

A: You have to. Again, shame on me if I don’t check my hole card. So, yes I did.

Q: Being around a few Super Bowl teams, you haven’t drafted a franchise quarterback-

A: Me personally? No. I’ve been spoiled as hell.

Q: So you have been spoiled?

A: Are you kidding me? (Jim) Kelly, (John) Elway, (Eli) Manning, Cam Newton -- not bad, huh?

*Q: On what you’ll do now and if you’re confident he’ll be the right guy to have a major impact on the Giants in the next few years: *

A: It’s really funny. I have one of the best consiglieres of all time. I talk to Ernie (Accorsi) all the time and what Ernie did for the Giants, it would be a dream for me to do the same thing. Does that answer your question?

Q: Inaudible - On scouting (Justin Herbert) and his decision to go back to college: How do you try to weigh this year’s (draft class) versus next year’s?

A: It’s an interesting question. I think at the end of the day, you can’t say to yourself, ‘I’m going to get him next year.’ You evaluate the Q’s, and you take the guy when you believe he’s the guy and it’s at the right spot. You can’t worry about the future because now someone else is going to say, well, in two years there are a couple college quarterbacks that are coming out that are really amazing. Who knows? I look at the NBA, and everybody says, ‘you’ve got to tank. We’re going to tank and we’re going to get this great player.’ What NBA team has tanked and it’s worked because they think they’re going to get (a player)? (Response: the Sixers) When they win a championship, we can have a discussion, but until that happens, it hasn’t worked. So at the end of the day, if the right guy is there at the right time who we think is the right guy, we’ll pull the plug.

Q: But in assessing this year’s class of quarterbacks-

A: Which is just at the very beginning of the process. You’ve got Indy, you’ve got the workouts, we’ve got private visits, we’ve got interviews. You can’t line them up now, and if anyone has them lined up now, God bless them. They’re smarter than me.

Q: You mentioned doing what Ernie did would be a dream for you. We know you won’t reach for a quarterback but you already gave up future draft picks, traded up so to speak, even though you have Eli. Would you be comfortable making that bold move if you have the guy you want?

A: No guts, no glory, kid.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR

Q: On the return of Eli Manning:

A: I fully expect him and again, you’re going to ask me about particular players, Dave will tell you – you’ll speak to him later – I’m a body collector. I want to keep all the players we had and add a lot of new ones. I really feel that way about Eli.

Q: On your involvement in the evaluation process:

A: I’m intimately involved in it, both the free agents and then obviously the draft players. It’s very collaborative, we all want to hear what everybody has to think about every player and every situation. We talk about it frequently with ownership and we just try to make the best decision, and if it’s a matter of this player is no longer going to be here, let’s get a guy that’s better. That’s what we’re trying to do.

Q: You talk about being a body collector, and obviously there’s a couple quarterbacks that could be on the board at (the sixth pick). What do you look for in a young quarterback and what do you value out of a rookie quarterback?

A: I think they’ve got to have the traits you’re looking for to play the position. Times have changed, quarterbacks come in all shapes and sizes. Then you obviously have to watch them play. They need to be productive, they need to make good decisions, they’ve got to know how to throw the ball accurately, throw the ball on time, they’ve got to lead their teams to victories, and they’ve got to do all the things necessary to play the position. That’s what we look at. We evaluate all the quarterbacks every year regardless of whether it’s perceived we might be looking for one. 

Q: On your evaluation of the Vanderbilt quarterback (son, Kyle Shurmur):

A: The Vanderbilt quarterback – well, I’m extremely proud of him. He’s made great decisions. He did an excellent job in high school giving himself the opportunity to go to a place like Vanderbilt, graduated in three and a half years, helped them win games. He’s a good player.

Q: There was a quote you said last year about preferring taller guys. That’s made headlines the last couple of weeks. How does that fit in with (Kyler Murray)?

A: I think you’re digging into something. Obviously the player has to be productive, and as I just mentioned, quarterbacks come in all shapes and sizes. Russell Wilson won a Super Bowl. I think you’ve got to look at the total player, look at his productivity, and you’ve got to look at whether he fits and then we as coaches will use their skillsets to the best of their ability to try to get the most out of him and help you win games.

Q: On what are you going to be looking for from Kyler:

A: We’re going to try to get to know him and watch him compete, try to find out who he is as a person and a player. Some of the quarterbacks we got a jumpstart on because of the Senior Bowl, but Kyler is a young player that I haven’t met yet. It’ll start with, ‘Hey, how ya doin’?’

*Q: Does the baseball alternative scare you with Kyler? *

A: No. That’s going to run parallel with our decision making of whether we like him or not. 

Q: On how important it is to get the next quarterback in line with Eli coming back at 38 years old and on the last year of his contract:

A: We’re always trying to and, again, there’s all these narratives and the next franchise quarterback, replace this guy and do all this, and we’re trying to make our team better. We certainly, it’s no mystery Eli’s closer to 40 than he is 20. That’s no mystery and certainly we’re going to do the very best we can to get the best players, especially the one that’s playing quarterback.

Q: How do you scout the AAF guys?

A: We’ll watch the games. I haven’t had an opportunity to see much, I’ve kind of been following it and I’ve got some good friends that are involved in that league. It’s a league where guys are getting an opportunity to develop, especially at the quarterback position and some of the skill player positions. I don’t know much about the games yet, I haven’t had a chance to watch many of them or really any of them, I’ve just seen segments of games. Yeah, we’ll evaluate it and it’ll give us an opportunity to see these guys develop.

*Q: In relation to Kyler Murray: How small is too small of a quarterback?  *

A: I don’t know what’s too small. Russell Wilson’s 5’10, we haven’t seen Kyler be measured yet, but when you watch him on tape he’s an outstanding player. For a sub-6’0” player, he only had five balls batted down. That’s why I say you’ve got to look at the player and how he competed, how he helped his team win games, how he moved his feet – you’ve got to look at all of it and then factor it in and decide if that player’s for you.

Q: On your position on changes to instant replay:

A: I don’t know. I feel like this is a human game, played by humans, officiated by humans. We’ve done a lot to help get things right and I think there’ll be conversations about making sure that that continues to happen and try to find ways. I don’t know how the language would read to expand it, but I think what’s interesting about all of it is if something’s wrong, we all want to find a way to make it right. I think that’s initially what replay was all about. We’ve got a lot of very smart people, much smarter than me, trying to figure out what’s the best thing. The good thing is we talk constantly about trying to make changes and improvements, and I’m sure we’ll do something.

Q: More on evaluating quarterbacks (inaudible):

A: You look at the core traits, and that’s why I say this, that once you’ve seen that they’re a really good player, you’ve got to determine whether they’re a very good decision maker. That crosses over into all areas of their life, because we all know what we’re looking for from the face of our franchise. And when the game is over, they ask a lot of people what happened, but every week, they ask the head coach and the quarterback what they think. That player is thrust into a position of leadership and being the face of the franchise, so decision making is important, accuracy, timing, all of those things, and I think we’re looking for all that.

*Q: On once you get Kyler Murray’s measurables (inaudible):  *

A: No, we’re going to look at the player and decide whether he’s the guy that we want to be with the Giants.  

Q: What’s your initial assessment of the overall quarterback class?

A: I’ve watched, there’s a lot of really good players playing quarterback this year that we’re evaluating. Nice try, I’m not going to sit here and evaluate them for you.  

Q: Strong class? Stronger than last year?

A: I don’t know. There were a lot of good quarterbacks and I think there’s a lot in this year’s draft as well.  

Q: Are there any important thresholds for quarterbacks?

A: Some of the numbers are important. We’re obviously looking for things that are elite in a player and, again, they come in all shapes and sizes.

Q: Have you talked to (S) Landon (Collins) in the last week?

A: Yeah, I’ve spoken to Landon throughout. He’s been in the building rehabbing and working out, but I haven’t since the report. I think it was reported with way more drama than what actually happened, but yeah.

*Q: Do you expect him to be on the team next year?  *

A: As I mentioned earlier, I want all our players back, but beyond that, it’s free agency. This is the wrong time for me to be commenting on any of that.  

Q: Are you aware if there have been active negotiations with Landon Collins?

A: I am aware that he’s a free agent and I’m aware of the fact that there have been conversations.

*Q: On comparing last year at this time to this year: *

A: Yeah, you bring up a good point. I stood up here last year and Dave, too, was very new. Dave was with the organization for many years and then was away for a few, so we were very new in the process listening to what those that were at the Giants were telling us about the players, but we have a much better view in our eyes of what our team is all about. We took over a 3-13 team, I think we made strides this year. We certainly are not good enough in really any area, we know though specifically those areas that we need to get better and I think that’s what that first year can do for you.

Q: To clarify, you said there have been conversations (about Landon Collins), do you know if you guys have extended an official offer on a multi-year deal?

A: I wouldn’t ’t talk about that. This is the business time of year. I know that there’s been conversations. Now, what those conversations are, I would never tell you.

*Q: When you’re looking at prospects, is it the consistency of their unique traits that make them a full prospect, or just a good college player?  *

A: At all positions, yeah, there is. There’s things we’re looking for, and really as a coach, we go back to – we watch the tape, we watch them do what they do. There’s a lot of players where you turn the tape off and you say, ‘Darn, that guy is a really good football player.’ Then you go and look and maybe his measurables aren’t to what the standards might be, but you still love the player and you want to work with them. Then there’s other guys who have the elite measurables and you go watch the tape and you go, ‘Eh, he’s ok.’ That’s where it becomes a little bit subjective and that’s why getting to know the player, getting to know whether he’s going to be a good teammate, if he appreciates what it means to have relationships with coaches, that’s why all this is important because we get to know the player a little bit more intimately.  

Q: There was a lot of talk last year on how instrumental you were in getting Odell Beckham to buy in even when he didn’t have his contract. A year into this, where does your relationship stand with Odell?

A: I think it’s good, I really do. I’ve communicated with him frequently in the last few weeks. It’s unfortunate he wasn’t able to finish the season, but it’s good, it’s solid. He’s like many of our other players, he’s off living, I think, in California now, but he travels quite a bit. He does a great job of staying in shape and look forward to having him back.

*Q: Are you considering trading Odell?  *

A: I wouldn’t talk about that, but I’m looking forward to having him back here in April and moving forward with the rest of the guys.

Q: On whether or not you think there’s a difference between a quarterback that has it or not versus something that can’t be taught in quarterbacks:

A: There is. I think you can say, ‘OK, this guy has got it.’ I’ll go back to what I was saying about measurables, some of these guys have really good measurables or put up really good numbers but might not have as good a feel for the position as some other guys. That’s why this is really an important process. You’ve got some small college guys that played well and then you have guys who played on the big stage that have done a good job, but some of their success is based on the fact that they were playing with great players. That’s what’s really interesting about this is trying to predict and then pick the one that’s going to have success.

Q:  On evaluating the potential development of a player:

A: I think it’s a little bit subjective, but you look at the young man and you just kind of look at him and say, ‘OK, this guy’s got potential to grow and get better’. I think at this stage, all the players do to some degree, but some certainly have more room to grow than others.

Q:  On picking a new quarterback to learn from Eli Manning:

A: The decision to pick that player has got to be independent of that, but I think that’s going to be a great thing to happen to a player if that happens. I’ve spoken frequently about what I think of Eli and how he handles himself and how he prepares, and really everything he does behind the scenes, and I think a young player would greatly benefit from that. We all want to learn from somebody that’s done it – players, coaches – and he’s done it at a very high level and so being in a room with him I think would only help that player.

Q: You said your goal is to win as many games as possible. You also said that Eli is closer to 40 than he is 20. How do you balance a potential quarterback versus a guy you can plug and play?

A: I think the plug and play vs. the guy that – you’re still looking to play the best guy. I’ve been in situations where Sam Bradford started the first game. I was in another situation where Donovan McNabb didn’t start until Week 8. In fact, Doug Pederson was the starter. You’ve seen in Kansas City where (Patrick) Mahomes really didn’t play the first year, so there’s a lot of different models for that, speaking specifically to the quarterback.

Q: In relation to changes to the offensive line:

A: Oh yeah, we’re trying to get better in all positions and running parallel with that is all the things that everybody has questions about.

Q: How big is mobility while looking at a quarterback?

A: I really value a guy that can move around because it doesn’t mean he’s a runner, it just means he has a way to clean his feet in the pocket or scramble when necessary. Typically, if you’re going to have long drives and do it on a consistent basis, somewhere in that drive the quarterback has to do something with his feet to keep a drive alive or get a first down. Even guys that are not considered mobile, it might be subtle movement in the pocket. That mobility, I think, is very important. I think it’s essential really for a quarterback to have great success.

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