Giants co-owner John Mara told reporters Monday that he wanted to give Gettleman “a chance to finish what he has started” — including organizational changes that Mara said aren’t well known.
“We’ve made a lot of turnover in our scouting area, we’ve completely changed our grading system in how we grade college players, we’re deeper into analytics and technology than we’ve ever been before, and that process is ongoing,” he said.
Those changes were also something Gettleman noted Tuesday.
“We have completely redone our scouting situation, how we look at college personnel, how we look at pro personnel,” he said. “We are in the process, we have hired four computer folks, software, and we are completely redoing the back end of our college and pro scouting systems.”
The general manager scoffed at analytics in 2018, after he selected Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the second pick in that year’s draft. At the time, he pushed back when a reporter asked a question that touched on analytics and the value of running backs, calling it “a crock.”
“At the end of the day, a great player is a great player. … He’s a touchdown maker, he is a touchdown maker. He is a threat to take it to the house every time he gets his hands on the ball,” he said. “Like I said, I think a lot of that’s nonsense. I think it’s someone who had this idea and get into the analytics of it, and did all these running backs, and went through their — whatever.”
Gettleman doubled down this year.
“If that makes me a hater of analytics because the analytic people say [you can plug and play whomever at running back], you can’t!” Gettleman told Sports Illustrated at the time. “If that’s the reasoning, that I’ve become a doddering old fool that hates analytics … that’s okay.”
On Tuesday, though, Gettleman claimed he had been “kidding around” with those remarks in 2018.
“In terms of the analytics and devaluing the running back and this and that,” he said, “Saquon’s special, and that’s what I should have said. Saquon’s special. He’s an outlier. We are committed to being forward thinking.”
Gettleman also told reporters that the Giants had actually spent the past years improving the analytics side of the organization and said he had recently met with “a big analytics guy.”
“I’m going to learn from my mistakes. I never stop asking myself the question: ‘What could we have done differently? What could we have done better?’ That question never stops getting asked,” he said. “I always ask that question. We evaluate, we reevaluate, we go backwards and forwards with it. And that’s what I’ve got to do. I’ve got to talk to other GMs, inside and outside the industry, and continue to grow.”