Giants’ Tisch: ‘Joe is the kind of exceptional leader we sought to oversee our football operations’

The Giants have hired former Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen as their head of football operations, the team announced Friday.

Schoen has spent the last five seasons as the Buffalo Bills’ assistant general manager. He was the first of nine candidates to interview for the Giants’ general manager position, and now he has the job.

“We are pleased and proud to name Joe as our general manager,” said Giants president John Mara. “Throughout our search, Joe impressed us with his ability to communicate a progressive and comprehensive vision for our team.  His philosophy and collaborative approach to building a roster and coaching staff align with what we were looking for in a general manager.”

The 42-year-old Schoen replaces Dave Gettleman, who was the GM for the Giants for four seasons before announcing his retirement in early January. In addition, the Giants fired head coach Joe Judge at season’s end.

“Joe is the kind of exceptional leader we sought to oversee our football operations,” said chairman Steve Tisch. “We will do whatever it takes to support Joe’s vision and strategic plan for success. We are excited to begin this next chapter with Joe as our general manager.”

On Tuesday, Schoen visited the Giants’ headquarters, the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, where he met in person with the three executives as well as other members of the team’s front office and toured the facility.

“Steve and I were both impressed with all nine candidates,” said John Mara. “We came away from this process feeling like all nine will be a general manager in this league at some point. We just felt like Joe was the right fit at the right time for us.”

Since joining the Bills in 2017, Schoen has teamed with general manager Brandon Beane to make Buffalo a regular postseason participant and current championship contender. The Bills, who won their second straight AFC East title this season, visit Kansas City Sunday for a divisional playoff game.

“It is an honor to accept the position of general manager of the New York Giants,” said Schoen. “I want to thank John Mara and Steve Tisch and their families for this tremendous opportunity. And obviously I am grateful to Brandon and the Bills for the experience I have had in Buffalo.

“Now, the work begins. My immediate focus is to hire a head coach, with who I will work in lockstep with to create a collaborative environment for our football operations. We will cast a wide net, it can be former head coaches, first-time head coaches but, more importantly, it has to be a person who possesses the ability to lead an organization and the ability to motivate and develop players. On the personnel side, we will begin to evaluate our roster and prepare for the draft and free agency. Our goal is to build a roster that will be competitive, have depth, and most importantly, win football games.”

Since Schoen became Beane’s top associate and they hired coach Sean McDermott, Buffalo has earned a postseason berth in four of five seasons, advanced to the 2020 AFC Championship Game and usurped six-time Super Bowl champion New England as the AFC East’s best team.

Beane and Schoen have acquired the large majority of the players that have fueled Buffalo’s successful run, including quarterback Josh Allen, wide receiver Stefon Diggs, running back Devin Singletary, tight end Dawson Knox, linebacker Tremaine Edmonds and safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer.

Schoen has 20 years of scouting and executive experience in the NFL. Prior to moving to Buffalo, he spent most of the previous decade in the Miami Dolphins’ front office, including the last four years as the team’s director of player personnel.

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Giants’ Mara: ‘We will hire a general manager and that person will lead the effort to hire a new head coach’

The New York Giants fired head coach Joe Judge, the team announced Tuesday.

The Giants were 4-13 in 2021 and ended the season on a six-game losing streak.

In two seasons, the 40-year-old Judge had a 10-23 record.

On Monday, senior vice president and general manager Dave Gettleman announced his retirement following a 35-year career in the National Football League.

“Steve (Tisch) and I both believe it is in the best interest of our franchise to move in another direction,” said team president John Mara. “We met with Joe yesterday afternoon to discuss the state of the team. I met again with Joe this afternoon, and it was during that conversation I informed Joe of our decision. We appreciate Joe’s efforts on behalf of the organization.

“I said before the season started that I wanted to feel good about the direction we were headed when we played our last game of the season. Unfortunately, I cannot make that statement, which is why we have made this decision.

“We will hire a general manager, and that person will lead the effort to hire a new head coach.”

Added Tisch, “It is an understatement to say John and I are disappointed by the lack of success we have had on the field. We are united in our commitment to find a general manager who will provide the direction necessary for us to achieve the on-field performance and results we all expect.”

Before joining the Giants, Judge was the special teams coordinator for the New England Patriots and spent eight seasons in the Patriots’ organization.

After the way this season ended for the Giants, Judge being relieved of his duties is not surprising.

The Giants needed to overhaul the organization, and they have done that in the last two days.

Giants’ John Mara: ‘I certainly think we’re a lot better on paper’

For the New York Giants, a team that has had a lot of success over the years, including two championships in the last 20 seasons, the past four years have not been so good. Last season, the Giants were 6-10, but because they were in the NFC East, they finished one game behind the first-place Washington Football Team. 

 Over the last four seasons, the Giants are 18-46 and have not made the playoffs since 2016.

On Tuesday, Giants president, co-owner, and CEO John Mara addressed the media, and according to Mara, he would like to start winning at a high level again in New York.

“I want to see us make progress and become a winning team again,” he said. “We’re overdue on that, and we spent a lot of money in free agency. I think we’ve had a couple of really productive drafts; now it’s time to prove it on the field.”

On paper, Mara thinks New York is better than last season.

“I certainly think we’re a lot better on paper; I’d like to see us show that on the field now and win more games and make the playoffs,” he said. “I mean, that’s my expectation every year coming into the season. Obviously, we’ve fallen far short of that the last four years, but I think on paper, I’m pleased with where we are, but I want to see us win some games.”

This is GM Dave Gettleman’s fourth season with the team, and during Gettleman’s first three seasons in New York, the team has won only 15 games. When asked if Gettleman is on the hot seat, Mara said the following.

“We’re all on the hot seat, with our fans in particular,” he said. “We’ve given them too many losing seasons; it’s time for us to start winning. But no, I wouldn’t say that. I wouldn’t say that’s an accurate statement…

“Let’s see what happens, let’s see what happens during the season. Let’s see what kind of progress we’ve made. Let’s see if we’ve won some games, and we’ll address that after the year.”

New York is still trying to determine if QB Daniel Jones is the guy to lead the team beyond this season. For Jones, who is entering his third season with the Giants, the first two seasons have been a mixed bag. You saw some good, and you saw some bad, especially with the turnovers. However, Mara still believes in Jones.

“Obviously, we want it, we need to see more wins, but I do have a lot of confidence in Daniel,” Mara said. “One of the things that gives me that confidence is the way that the coaches in this building feel about him. They love him. They love everything about him; we just have to win some games now. I like everything that I see on the field with him. I like his leadership; I like his work ethic; I like the way the players respond to him. We just have to win some games now.”

The Giants were solid near the end of last season, especially on defense, and entering his second season, head coach Joe Judge appears to have a plan. However, there are still questions, mainly on the offensive line and at the quarterback position. Based on what Mara is saying, it appears the pressure is on Jones and the whole organization to make the playoffs this season, and in the NFC East, that could be possible. However, that won’t matter if the Giants are not better in 2021.

Giants’ Mara on Barkley: ‘I certainly expect him to be a Giant for a very long time’

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley was looking to have a big season in 2020. The third-year back has been over one-thousand yards in each of his first two seasons, and he was hoping to be better this season. Before the start of the season, in 29 games, Barkley rushed for over 2300 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground. In addition, Barkley has over 1200 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

However, in Week 2 against the Bears, Barkley’s season ended after he tore his ACL. As Barkley works his way back from the injury, he is in line for an extension. 

The two running backs that got paid recently were the Saints’ Alvin Kamara(15 million per season) and the Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey(16 million per season).

Will Barkley get paid like those guys?

It should be interesting to see what the Giants will do with Barkley. If New York does not extend Barkley, he can become a free agent after the 2021 season. However,  if the team picks up his fifth-year option, Barkley would be under contract for the 2022 season. After that, they can use the franchise tag to keep him in New York through 2023.

Coming off an ACL injury, Giants co-owner John Mara expects Barkley to return to form and be a big part of the team for a long time.

“It was brutal to watch him go down in Week 2,” Mara said about Barkley on Wednesday. “He’s such an important part of this team, not only for what he does on the field but the leadership and all of the intangibles he brings to us off the field. That was really a gut-punch. Listen, I’m still happy that we have him. I think knowing him, he’s going to come back stronger than ever and be a big part of this team next year. In terms of what the time table is, it’s hard to predict that right now. I know our medical people are very pleased with the progress he’s made. I certainly expect him to be a Giant for a very long time.”

If Barkley had stayed healthy and put up big numbers in 2020, he would have most definitely gotten paid, but now things are uncertain. However, if Barkley comes back the same guy, he’s probably going to get paid. It just might happen a year later than he thought.

 

Giants’ Tisch: ‘We understand how frustrated our fans are’

The Giants today announced they have dismissed head coach Pat Shurmur after two seasons.

The team also confirmed that general manager Dave Gettleman will remain in his position.

Team president John Mara and chairman Steve Tisch revealed those decisions this morning, about 14 hours after the Giants concluded their 2019 season with a 34-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and a 4-12 record.

The Giants were 9-23 in 2018-19 and have not won more than five games in any of the last three seasons.

“Steve and I have had many extensive discussions about the state of the Giants,” Mara said. “This morning, we made the very difficult decision that it would be in the best interest of the franchise that we relieve Pat of his duties. The last three seasons have been extremely disappointing for the organization and our fans. Pat has been a successful and highly-respected NFL coach for 21 years and he is not solely responsible for our record. But we came to the conclusion it is best to have a fresh start with the coaching staff. We very much appreciate how much Pat has done for this franchise. He is a man of character and integrity and the team has conducted itself with pride and professionalism.

“As owners, we take full responsibility for our recent poor record. It is our goal to consistently deliver high-quality football and we will do everything in our power to see that there is a rapid and substantial turnaround.”

Added Tisch, “The last two seasons have been a continuation of what has been a very difficult and disappointing period for our franchise. It is never easy to part with someone the caliber of Pat. But John and I came to the conclusion that we need a new voice in the coach’s office and made the decision to bring in new leadership.

“We understand how frustrated our fans are. They expect more from us and we expect more from ourselves. Our focus now is on developing and improving our football team so that our fans can enjoy the winning team they expect and deserve.”

Mara and Tisch believe that Gettleman is the best general manager for the team. His first draft class included running back Barkley, the No. 2 overall selection who set numerous records in his debut season and was selected the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. In addition, his 2018 draft choices included Will Hernandez, who has started all 32 games in his two seasons at left guard, linebacker Lorenzo Carter and defensive tackle B.J. Hill.

This year, the Giants drafted 10 players, including Jones, who started 12 games and established numerous franchise rookie records, including 24 touchdown passes. Jones is expected to be a fixture at the game’s most important position for many years.

The 2019 draft class also included Darius Slayton, a fifth-round selection whose eight touchdown receptions tied him for first among NFL rookie wideouts; Dexter Lawrence, who started all 16 games; linebackers Oshane Ximines and Ryan Connelly; and defensive backs DeAndre Baker, Julian Love and Corey Ballentine.

“Dave Gettleman is our general manager in 2020 and hopefully for many years after that,” Mara said. “We believe he is the right person to lead us going forward. Dave has a long record of success. We think he’s capable of putting a great team together and he’s going to get that opportunity. To the extent we need to make changes in personnel or the way we do things, we’re going to discuss that.”

“Although our record didn’t reflect it this season, we believe Dave has assembled a strong nucleus of young players that will help us compete for championships in the future,” Tisch said.

Shurmur was named the 18th head coach in Giants history on Jan. 22, 2018.

The Giants finished their first season under Shurmur with a 5-11 record, a two-game improvement over their 2017 record.

Twelve of the Giants’ 16 games that season were decided by seven or fewer points, tying them with Philadelphia and Pittsburgh for the most in the NFL. The Giants were 4-8 in games decided by seven or fewer points. The eight losses in such games were an NFL high. The Giants held a fourth-quarter lead in four of those games.

The Giants began the 2019 season 2-2, with the two victories coming in Jones’ initial starts after Shurmur decided the rookie would replace 16-year veteran Eli Manning as the team’s starting quarterback. But after defeating Washington on Sept. 29, the Giants tied a franchise record by losing nine consecutive games and falling to 2-11. They did not win again until Dec. 15, when they beat the Miami Dolphins. That was the second of two games in which Manning substituted for Jones, who was sidelined by a sprained ankle.

Mara and Tisch said they will immediately begin their search for a new coach. They did not identify any candidates.

“The search will be extensive,” Mara said. “We understand this a very big decision for our franchise. We’ve had three losing years in a row and, quite frankly, we have lost some standing as an organization. When you have three losing years in a row as we have, you face a lot of criticism. A lot of it is deserved. It’s up to us now to turn that around and get back to where I think we should be.”

Courtesy: Michael Eisen