Perspectives: Why the Giants Hope for Better Results Despite Duplicating Last Year's Free Agency Approach
Last week, Giants cornerback James Bradberry, in his introductory conference call with reporters, revealed that the Giants “came out of nowhere” to make an offer, a revelation that some found surprising.
In reality, it shouldn't be a surprise, not when one considers that Giants general manager Dave Gettleman drafted Bradberry in Carolina and likely had more information on him than another general manager who might have been contemplating an offer.
This brings me to what appears to be a common practice in the Giants' free agency strategy this year. With few exceptions, every one of the signings has a past connection to either the general manager or someone on the coaching staff.
You'll recall this was an approach the Giants took last year, especially on defense when the Giants kept reuniting then defensive coordinator James Bettcher with players with whom he had coached in Arizona when the Cardinals had a top-10 defense.
Sadly for Bettcher and the Giants, the approach didn't work. While there are numerous reasons behind that, based on the team's play down the stretch, the most significant factor might have been the reliance on guys to pick up here they left off while in Arizona.
Think about how many times the back seven, for example, late in the season, looked as though they had no clue what to do in coverage. How many times was a big play given up because someone was out of place or didn't know what to do?
How many times were we left wondering just what it was going on in the classroom? Were the coaches explaining every nuance of a scheme, for example, or were they cutting corners?
We don't know the answer since we weren't int the classroom, but judging by the product on the field, it's a fair question to ask.
There is a lot to be said for coaches who are teachers, which is why new head coach Joe Judge put such a heavy emphasis on that quality as a requirement for his new staff members. Teachers not only help get their pupils ready for the tests they're about to face, but they also recognize what their pupils can and can't do.
In football, that translates to not forcing a square peg into a round hole, another fault of the Giants coaching staff last year.
The teaching element that Judge's staff will bring was likely a factor behind reuniting several of the coaches with players they coached with another team, be it at the NFL level or college.
Let's also consider the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak might have played in free agency.
Gone are the days when a prospective high-profile free agent would arrive in town for a visit that would often begin the night before with dinner and then continue into the next day.
While some of this communication was no doubt done via video conferencing, it's just not the same thing as a face-to-face meeting.
Yes, some teams have rolled the dice on players that have no prior connection to the front office or coaching staff. But how many of those teams have general managers who are in a make-or-break season as far as his future with the team is concerned?
This Giants team has won just 12 games in the last three seasons--one more win than the 11 they posted in 2016, their last winning season. Another year with five or fewer wins likely won't bode very well for Gettleman's future.
That's probably why the Giants are also hoping that coaching helps show team ownership that the arrow is pointing up.