Ex-New York Giants GM Dave Gettleman ‘proud as hell’ of Daniel Jones
The New York Giants are returning to the playoffs thanks in large part to quarterback Daniel Jones and the return of Saquon Barkley.
The two former first-round picks have persevered and turned their careers around. Barkley has overcome years of injury problems, while Jones has overcome constant change and an overwhelming supporting cast.
Some see their resurgence as a reflection on former general manager Dave Gettleman, who faced heavy criticism for drafting each. But whether he deserves the credit or not, he’s excited to see them succeed.
“I’m proud as hell, they both persevered and fought,” Gettleman told the New York Post. “You talk about mental toughness, for Saquon to fight through those injuries and not get a contract and have to play a fifth year, he had to have a lot of confidence in himself, show some mental toughness.
“And Daniel, the same. He is on his third system in four years. Of course I’m proud of them. I am very happy for them. It’s not because it excuses me. That justifies them.”
Barkley is one of the favorites to win the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award. And while Jones isn’t in line for any year-end awards, he did get a standing ovation in Week 17 and “MVP” cheers.
Both players have wins against New York, which is not easy to do.
“It’s been proven time and time again, you draft a kid in the first round, you’re the New York Giants or the New York Jets, he better be able to handle New York,” Gettleman said. “Because it is not easy.
“New York is a tough place, and it’s a tough place when things aren’t going right. I’m just proud that they stuck to it and I don’t mind the things that are written and said. I’m excited for those kids. They are good people. Good young men.”
But it’s not just Jones and Barkley who are thriving. Several other Gettleman picks and acquisitions are also leading the charge for the Giants. Defensive linemen Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams, left tackle Andrew Thomas and safeties Julian Love and Xavier McKinney have all contributed.
“Am I happy that the boys are doing well? I’m excited,” Gettleman added. “Daniel and Saquon and Andrew Thomas and Dexter, where do you want me to stop? I’m excited that everyone is playing well. They are maturing as players and training.”
Ultimately, Gettleman says, he never doubted Jones would find his way.
“I have always been confident with the choice. You look at the quarterbacks that have been brought in, that are being drafted, people were just making shots and taking chances. Many GMs and owners accept the media and public opinion. You take a guy with the sixth pick in the draft, if you don’t believe he’s going to be successful, what the hell, what are you doing? I’ve never backed down, I’ve never shook my head and said, ‘Boy, I raised (expletive)’. Not once,” Gettleman said.
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