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Trenches are top-of-mind as Dave Gettleman gets to work


GM Dave Gettleman discussed his offseason goals and expectations on WFAN:

During his introductory press conference, Dave Gettleman made it clear the Giants need to fix their offensive line. "Let's be honest," he said. "Let's not kid each other."

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But how does a new general manager do so with a free agent class perceived to be lacking in that department? His answer to that and every other position is the same. It's all in the film work.

"The bottom line is you've got to get into the film and you've got to dig it out," Gettleman said Tuesday on the “The Afternoon Drive with Carlin, Bart and Maggie” on WFAN. "Listen, there are always guys there that can play that have been underlooked. I'll tell you about – how about this one? Tom Coughlin gets in here, it's '04, we need a center, and we sign Shaun O'Hara. Shaun started three games [at center in the previous two years while playing mostly guard], that's it. … You watch the film and you get convictions. And I like to think that was a pretty good hit. So it isn't necessarily you have to sign the stars and whatever. You've got to work at the evaluation process. You've got to grind through tape because there are guys there. There always are."

Gettleman, a 30-year NFL veteran who spent four seasons as general manager of the Carolina Panthers after 15 as a personnel executive in the Giants organization, made his career with a clicker in his hand.

That's also how he found Michael Oher in Carolina. The veteran tackle was cut by the Titans in February of 2015 and played in Super Bowl 50 with the Panthers in February of 2016.   

"I tell the story and I'm not exaggerating, when we looked into Michael Oher after he got cut by Tennessee, I watched 28 games on him from '12, '13 and '14, and it took two and a half days of just watching him," Gettleman said. "That's what you've got to do. I got a conviction, we signed him, and we don't got to the Super Bowl without Michael Oher playing left tackle. It's about the film work. It takes time. You've got to be objective. You can't look at it with any emotion. It's business. Every decision we make here is going to be in the best interest of the New York Football Giants."

The position behind that offensive line is not entirely emotionless, however.

For the first time in a long time, the Giants have a level of uncertainty at quarterback. Eli Manning turned 37 on Wednesday, and the team holds the No. 2 pick in the draft after a 3-13 season.

"I'm going to study the tape on Eli," Gettleman said. "I'm going to look at it chronologically. I only was able to watch a couple of Giant games front to back, and one of them happened to be Philadelphia — the second Philly game. The guy that I saw that day was the guy that helped put two rings on my fingers."

In that game, Manning threw for 434 yards, his fourth-highest total in 228 career outings, including postseason.

"I'm going to have to talk with Dave Gettleman and see what their direction is and see what they want me to do," Manning said in a later interview on WFAN. "Obviously, I want to play for the Giants, and if I have the opportunity and they want me to be here and to play, that's what I want to do. Whatever they choose for next year and the future and everything that's gone on, hey, I understand it. I'm 37 years old. How many more years do I have? You've got to have a plan. I just hope I'm part of the plan."

In the coming weeks and months, that plan will become known.

The Giants are set to begin interviews for their next head coach, and before you know it, free agency will open in March.

"The whole purpose of free agency is to set up your draft," Gettleman said. "In the ideal world, you never go into a draft saying I've got to have a [fill in the blank] – whatever that 'a' is. You don't want to be in that spot because now you're shopping hungry. So we'll use free agency. There's always the trade route. There's always the waiver wires. So you've got to do your film work. It's not pretty, it's not easy, but you've got to get it done. That's what you do."

That same philosophy is applied to players coming out of college, quarterbacks or otherwise.

"When I finish my film work, that's going to tell me which way to go [with the No. 2 pick]," Gettleman said. "It's all about what happens between the white lines. You can talk about this guy. You can talk about that guy. It's what's going on between the white lines. The film, again, it's not pretty. It's not a quick view."

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