Although Dwayne Haskins impressed everyone at last week’s NFL Combine in Indianapolis, he might not be the kind of player that causes Gettleman to depart from his original vision. Besides, he and head coach Pat Shurmur still believe in quarterback Eli Manning.
“Football’s the ultimate team game. And I’ve done studies. If you’re on your back, it’s really hard to complete a pass,” Gettleman said in an interview on SiriusXM Radio. “Once the O-line got settled down this year, in the second half of the season (the offense improved). And you watch Eli, he can still make all the throws.”
No. 10 is the scapegoat for everything that goes wrong with the Giants offense.
He was sacked 47 times last season, a fact discussed ad nauseum on social media and all the talk shows. In spite of that, he had the highest completion percentage of his career (66 percent). Manning’s completion percentage was higher than that of Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Jared Goff, Aaron Rodgers, and Joe Flacco. He had his seventh 4,000-yard passing season with 21 touchdowns to just 11 interceptions (the second-lowest total in any season where he started all 16 games).
The Giants scored under 20 points in five of their first eight games. In the second half of the season, the Giants averaged more than 27 points per game. What makes this truly remarkable is that wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. missed the final four games of the season with an injured quad.
Gettleman realizes successful NFL teams have what he refers to as “hog mollies”. The 2019 NFL Draft is loaded with them. He would be foolish to let one pass by, even if the fanbase and media is calling for him to draft Manning’s successor.
“Listen, if you’ve got a great player in a position and the draft comes up and there’s a great player at the same position right there staring you in the face, you’ve got to take him,” Gettleman said. “There’s going to be a time when that guy’s gone…I’ve got to be honest. I don’t know if I’ve seen the draft this deep in a long time. We have 10 picks right now and I’m thrilled.”
This doesn’t mean Gettleman won’t draft Haskins or another quarterback. He’s not in a position where he can (or should) cave into to fan or media pressure and draft a quarterback just to shut them up, especially when this team can use help in virtually every position group. He does acknowledge the reason for the criticism surrounding Manning.
“In my mind, there’s been this negative narrative on Eli for the last four or five years,” Gettleman said. “It’s part and parcel (to the fact) they weren’t winning. They only had the one winning year (since winning Super Bowl XLVI), and I understand that.”