Former New York Giants defensive captain Justin Tuck is not happy about many of the comings and goings of his old team, but he at least understands them.
The two-time Super Bowl champion and Ring of Honor inductee knows Giants general manager Dave Gettleman well and understands that football is a business, but doesn’t agree with every move Gettleman has made thus far in his quest to transform the Giants back into winners.
“I love Landon (Collins),” Tuck said on Monday at the Newark Mentoring Movement’s annual charity golf outing at the Bayonne Golf Club. “That’s probably the one that I’m most pissed about.”
Collins was allowed to walk away this past March in free agency, signing a six-year, $84 million contract with the rival Washington Redskins. Tuck can be “pissed” all he wants — like many other Giant fans are about the decision — but the bottom line is that Gettleman did not see the value in committing that much money to a safety.
“Listen, I know Gettleman well. I know how he likes to build teams — or at least what his thoughts around that is,” Tuck said. “He’s putting his stamp on it. Regardless of if you like it or not, this is what it is.
“And I think one thing the Giants have done very, very well in their past is building through the draft. You can tell that’s kind of been the focal point. If you look at history, the great teams that have been in the Giants’ past didn’t come from us making splashes in free agency. It came from having guys come in and learn the Giant way and being there for 10-11 years. I thought that started again last year with Saquon (Barkley).”
Gettleman is in year two of his tenure and has drafted some very interesting and valuable players, ones that figure to shape to future of the franchise. He waffled when suggested that Collins and other players such as Odell Beckham Jr., Eli Apple and Damon “Snacks” Harrison were banished or sent packing because they were outspoken.
“I don’t know if that’s really right or not,” Tuck said. “I was very talkative. Antrel (Rolle) was very talkative. Michael Strahan was very talkative. But I guess the only difference in the two is we were part of teams that won, so that afforded us the opportunity to be very talkative.”
That’s right. Those teams won. Plus none of the players Tuck mentioned were ever considered a distraction. Social media wasn’t as prevalent back then, so we’ll never know how they would have handled that dynamic.
The Giants are changing the culture and Tuck is all for it. He understands it takes all 53 players moving in the right direction to win.
“I think culture’s more important,” Tuck said. “If you look at what the Patriots have done, outside of at the max five guys on that football team, anybody outside Boston doesn’t know 85 percent of that football team. But what they’ve done is they’ve brought in the right people that’s pulling the rope the same way.
“And when it comes to that, you don’t need the most talented team. Trust me, the most talented team I’ve been on didn’t win a Super Bowl (the 2008 Giants). I remember Philly having that year where they brought in what seemed like every All-Star that ever played the game. They didn’t win the Super Bowl. So at the end of the day, it has to start with culture, it has to start with the leadership of the football team. Obviously you need talent. Don’t get me wrong. You definitely need it. But I don’t necessarily know that it’s more important than the other two.”
The culture is changing and so are the faces. Let’s see if they are the right faces to turn this ship around.