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August 22, 2019

John Mara thinks Gettleman, Shurmur have Giants heading in the right direction

August 14, 2019

John Mara will believe in Dave Gettleman to a certain point. And that point will turn pivotal after this season.

“We need to win some games. I want to feel like at the end of the season we’re moving in the right direction,” the owner said Tuesday. “I’m not going say it has to be a minimum number of games we have to win or we have to make the playoffs. I want to feel when I’m walking off the field after the last game of the season — whenever that is — that this franchise is headed in the right direction. That’s, to me, the most important thing.”

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Even after last season’s 5-11 disappointment and Gettleman’s controversial offseason decisions, Mara said the Giants are on the upswing and his confidence in the GM never wavered.

Mara repeated Tuesday that he’s happy with Gettleman’s two draft classes — which were highlighted by running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones — but understands the public will be skeptical until it translates to victories.

Mara also brought up Gettleman’s well-known confidence in the face of criticism.

“I think the best thing for me about (Gettleman) is that he makes decisions that he feels are in the best interest of the organization and he doesn’t give a damn what people think about it, be it the media, the fans or anybody,” Mara said. “He has the courage of his convictions and you have to have that. And he set about to try to rebuild this team and change the culture a bit in the locker room.

“Our last two draft classes are pretty strong. And that’s what gives me confidence going forward. I think we’re moving in the right direction. Until we start winning games, it’s tough to sell people on that. But it’s what I believe.”

John Mara sets a loose ultimatum for Dave Gettleman (l.) and coach Pat Shurmur (r.) and says he was on board with drafting Daniel Jones (c.) in April. (Julio Cortez/AP)

Gettleman ditched two of the Giants’ best players on defense — Olivier Vernon (via trade) and Landon Collins (free agency). But his tenure is defined by three other decisions — drafting Barkley instead of Sam Darnold, signing and trading Odell Beckham, and drafting Jones at a position much higher than most had the QB pegged.

The Giants have only employed six GMs in their 72-year history.

“I’m not very patient, I take the losses pretty hard, but I understand that you have to make decisions that are in the best interests of your team in the long run and not worry about the short term as much,” Mara said. “It doesn’t make it any easier when you are losing these games, but I understand what he is doing. I think he has us headed in the right direction.”

Mara echoed that line when asked about coach Pat Shurmur.

“I’m not satisfied with winning five games, but I think he has us headed in the right direction,” he said.

Mara, who hadn’t spoken with the media since prior to the draft, said he approved picking Jones but also hopes he doesn’t play as a rookie because it means Eli Manning is successful.

The owner added he was impressed with Jones during their pre-draft interview, but ultimately relied on the confidence of Gettleman and Shurmur.

“For me, if the general manager and the head coach have a conviction, then I’m going to let them go with it,” he said.

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