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Giants are searching for a winning combo

By GARY MYERS

New York Daily News

Dave Gettleman is playing the part of George Young with Matt Patricia on the verge of being cast in the role of Bill Belichick.

Are they just stand-ins or can they produce at even a fraction of the level of Young, who put together the first two Super Bowl championships teams for the New York Giants, and of Belichick, who has won five Super Bowls with the New England Patriots after winning two as the Giants defensive coordinator?

The best lineup in Giants history: Young as the general manager, Bill Parcells as the coach and Belichick as the defensive coordinator.

Young is likely to get into the Hall of Fame in 2019. Parcells was inducted in 2013. Belichick will get in in his first year of eligibility following the 5-year waiting period once he finishes coaching.

The Three Amigos — well, truth be told, the relationships were contentious between Young and the two coaches and even between Parcells and Belichick — shared the same smash-mouth philosophy.

Run the ball, stop the run, get to the quarterback.

The Giants had their greatest period of sustained success in the Super Bowl era from 1984-90 when they won two titles and made it to the playoffs three other times. Those teams were built around defense.

If Gettleman can step right in and be Young and Patricia can grow into a mini-Belichick with a better personality, then the Giants will have hit a home run.

Patricia and Gettleman met for the first time on Friday. Gettleman had some ground to make up on the Lions, whose GM Bob Quinn overlapped 13 years with Patricia in New England. They are good friends, but Gettleman and Patricia come from similar family backgrounds and hit it off.

Giants vs. Lions: Four Super Bowl titles vs. zero Super Bowl appearances. A team with a history of success vs. a team with the tradition of playing on Thanksgiving.

Patricia has enjoyed the benefit of having Tom Brady as the Patriots’ quarterback to take pressure off his defense. He has been on the Patriots staff for five of Belichick’s seven Super Bowl appearances and three of the championships. The biggest margin in any of Belichick’s seven Super Bowls was the six points they won by after scoring a touchdown in overtime last season to beat Atlanta. In other words, their most lopsided victory came in the game they trailed 28-3 with 17 minutes left.

Patricia found ways in the last two Super Bowls for his defense to come up with big stops. Rookie free agent cornerback Malcolm Butler made the biggest interception in Super Bowl history against Seattle three years ago.

“In terms of team building, I’m old-fashioned. Offense scores points, defense wins championships,” Gettleman said. “There’s been six match-ups, I believe, in the Super Bowl of No. 1 offenses versus No. 1 defenses and the defenses have won five of the six. So, I truly believe in that.”

There’s no disputing Belichick’s coaching tree has been as disappointing as Secretariat’s offspring. But don’t forget in Eric Mangini’s three years with the Jets, he made the playoffs once and had two winning seasons, including his third season when the Jets were 7-2 and finished 9-7 because Brett Favre’s arm was falling off and he wouldn’t come out of the game.

Mangini did not get fired because of the Jets’ record. Woody Johnson canned him because Mangini kept him out of the loop on the inner workings of the football side of the building.

Gettleman reminds me so much of Young, an old-time brutally honest football guy. Young was the virtually unknown right-hand man to Don Shula in Miami when he was hired by the Giants on Valentine’s Day 1979 and introduced at a press conference at Gallagher’s in midtown Manhattan.

All he did was end the most humiliating era in Giants history when they failed to make the playoffs from 1964 until Young’s second year in 1981 — an agonizing 17-year stretch of futility — and acted as an intermediary in the War of the Roses squabble between Wellington Mara and his nephew Tim Mara. The Giants don’t have that problem now with John Mara and Steve Tisch, but the football part is just as bad. Big Blue lost their way in 2017 and I think Gettleman is well aware of what has always been Big Blue’s identity, and he wants to get back to it.

Patricia doesn’t remind me of Belichick because nobody reminds me of Belichick. But he’s extremely bright like Belichick. Patricia is literally a former rocket scientist, so mid-game adjustments as defensive coordinator are not an issue. He made enough changes after a rough start this season that the Patriots’ defense is no longer threatening their ability to win another title.

“He can command a room,” one source said Wednesday.

That is one of Gettleman’s priorities for the head coach. Patricia is also a hands-on coach, so he will be involved in everything.

“I really believe that the head coaching job is a CEO position. It really is,” Gettleman said. “You look at the great head coaches and I’ll tell you right now, there ain’t a dumb one in the group. They’re all leaders. They all know how to lead men. And, that’s what you need. You need intelligence. You need leadership and on the assumption that you hire an intelligent guy, you’re going to have a guy with vision. Those are critical components you’re looking for. There’s a million pieces to it.”

I’ve thought the Giants would be better off with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. They need a state-of-the-art coach for either Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen and for however many years Eli Manning will play.

Ben McAdoo was supposed to be that guy. That’s why he was promoted in 2015 to replace Tom Coughlin. Handling the two most important jobs was too much — head coach and OC — and the Giants should not risk repeating that mistake.

Patricia will have to hire a really good offensive coordinator — he has a Patriots history with Alabama’s Brian Daboll, who just helped win a national championship with a freshman QB playing the second half.

After Parcells left following the 1990 season, the Giants hired five consecutive offensive head coaches: Ray Handley, Dan Reeves, Jim Fassel, Coughlin and McAdoo.

If the Giants close the deal with Patricia, they can live with the bushy beard. But he should leave the Goodell clown T-shirt at home. Not even Belichick has been seen in public wearing one.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

 

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