Darius Slayton (307593)
Credit: Bill Moore photo

Three days after the Giants lost their preseason opener to the Jets at MetLfie Stadium, John Mara and Dave Gettleman, the franchise’s co-owner and general manager respectively, met with the media to discuss their views on the team’s state of affairs.

The 12-7 defeat isn’t significant in the broader assessment of where the influential duo believes the Giants should be at the end of the regular season, which is playoff bound. The team has been in only one postseason game since winning Super Bowl XLVI (46) in 2011. Their last appearance was a 2016 wild-card game defeat––38-13––to the Green Bay Packers. From that day, the Giants have gone 3-13, 5-11, 4-12 and 6-10 in the four succeeding seasons.

Mara, Gettleman and co-owner Steve Tisch have entrusted 39-year-old head coach Joe Judge to lead them out of the depths of the NFL standings. Judge was hired in January of 2020 to fill the vacancy left by the firing of Pat Shurmur, who in his two seasons as Giants head coach––2018 and 2019––was 9-23. Judge’s Giants finished four games under .500 a season ago, but the former New England Patriots special team’s coordinator displayed the requisite leadership skills and competence required for a challenging reconstruction project.

“I’m convinced we have the right guy at the helm,” said Mara regarding Judge. “Even when you have a bad stretch, you still need to maintain a level of patience.” How long Mara will be patient with the development of quarterback Daniel Jones is yet to be determined. Jones, who like virtually every established starting quarterback throughout the league sat out the first preseason game, is a critical component to how far the Giants will go in the upcoming first-ever 17-game NFL regular season schedule.  

The 24-year-old product of Duke, drafted sixth overall in 2019, is in his third year, a season that will weigh heavily into whether he’s offered a lucrative, long-term contract by the Giants. Contextualizing what’s at stake, quarterback Josh Allen, taken No. 7 by the Buffalo Bills in 2018, had a breakout third-year campaign last season, finishing second to the Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers in the league MVP balloting. Allen subsequently signed a six-year, $258 million extension with the Bills two weeks ago.

“We believe in Daniel,” said Gettelman, in response to a question as to whether the Giants secured an additional first round pick in next year’s draft in a trade with the Chicago Bears on the first night of this past draft to potentially acquire their future starting QB in the event Jones does not elevate his level of performance.  

“And we’re excited to see what he’s going to do in the second year of [head coach Joe Judge’s and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett’s]… system”

Gettleman maintained Jones is still making the transition from collegiate football to the pros and that the team will have a more definitive read on him this winter.

“Our game is different from the college game. It’s very different,” said Gettleman, who was hired to be the GM by Giants ownership in December 2017 after they terminated the previous general manager Jerry Reese. “He’s got all the physical skills. He’s got all the mental skills…I think we’ll have a pretty good idea when the season’s over.”