Mar 252024
Joe Schoen and John Mara, New York Giants (October 22, 2023)

Joe Schoen and John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants President/CEO John Mara and General Manager Joe Schoen separately addressed the media on Monday at the NFL Owners Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

“Certainly, last season was a huge disappointment to me, especially coming off of a playoff year,” said Mara. “I still believe we’re headed in the right direction, and I have all the confidence in the world in Joe (Schoen) and his staff and in (Head Coach) Brian Daboll and his staff.

“I think the communication is terrific. I think the process they go through is great, and I do think we’re headed in the right direction. Obviously, until we start winning games not everyone is going to buy into that. But I happen to believe it… We were 6-11, so nobody was happy with that. I still very firmly believe that Brian is the right guy for us going forward.”

Mara on quarterback Daniel Jones: “I know a lot of you killed Daniel for his performance this year, but we had the perfect storm. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. Guys got hurt. The wrong guys got hurt. Let’s face it, for a while we couldn’t block anybody, and Daniel was getting hit all the time. I still have every confidence in the world in Daniel. Let’s put a better team around him. Hopefully he’ll get healthy, and I think the real Daniel Jones is the one that played in 2022, particularly down the stretch in the playoffs.”

Mara on the offensive line: “It’s ridiculous, and it’s a continuing source of frustration for me. It’s time to get it fixed. We’ve invested in a couple of number one draft picks on offensive tackles. We have a number two draft pick playing at center, and now we have spent some money in free agency. We have a new offensive line coach. I expect us to be a hell of a lot better this year. That was certainly a priority going into this offseason was to get the offensive line fixed. You can’t win in this league unless you have a good productive, consistent offensive line. It’s what we had years ago when we were winning, and we have to get back to that. I think we have the right pieces in there now. We’ll see. Life in football starts on the offensive line. If you can’t block them, you’re not going to win.”

Mara on the possibility of drafting a quarterback: “If (Schoen and Daboll) fall in love with a quarterback and believe that it’s worth pick No. 6, or moving up, I certainly would support that. I let the general manager and the head coach build the roster. We have operated the same way for many years here. If they have a conviction about a player, I’m not going to get involved. I’ll question them about it, make them defend their position, but the only time I’m going to get involved and exert any influence is if I think it’s a conduct issue off the field. That’s happened not with this group, but in the past on very rare occasions. In terms of them evaluating the players, if they have a conviction about a player and want to draft one, want to get one in free agency, then all I want to make sure is that they’re both on the same page.”

Mara on the possibility of Jones and a high draft pick being on the roster together: “Why not let them both compete and let the better man win? Even if we draft somebody, I expect Daniel to be the starting quarterback when the season starts. He’ll still get all the reps in the world, assuming he is healthy, which we think he’ll be ready for training camp. So, I don’t see that being a factor.”

Mara on Saquon Barkley leaving for the Philadelphia Eagles: “It was tough, it really was. Everything he did for us on the field, off the field, he was a class act in every respect. I hated to see him leave. I certainly hated to see him go in the division. On a more personal note, I have 14 grandchildren who have a 26 jersey, and it was tough breaking the news to them, too. Saquon was everything you want a player to be. I hated to see him leave… Let’s be honest, I would have preferred if it was out of the division, but I have enormous respect for him. The people that are criticizing him for doing that to me are way off base. These guys, their careers are so short. I understand you’ve got to take the best deal that’s out there. That’s what he did. He grew up in the Pennsylvania area, so I don’t begrudge him that. I’m not looking forward to having to play against him twice in a year, but I’ll always have enormous respect and appreciation for everything he did for us.”

Mara on the new coaches on the staff: “(Daboll) wanted to make some changes with certain members of the staff at the end of the season. I always believe that you let the head coach pick his own staff. Obviously, you don’t want to have as much turnover as we had, but he wanted to make some changes. So, we let him go ahead and do that.”

Schoen also addressed the press.

“I think we’re still progressing,” Schoen said. “I just looked at this the other day, the 2021 roster when I got here. I went back and looked at that. We’re always evaluating ourselves.

“The first offseason, what could you do to really improve the roster? We didn’t have any money, so it was (quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor), (center) Jon Feliciano, and (guard Mark) Glowinski. As I started going through the decisions we made and where we are salary cap-wise and trying to make sure we’re in good health from a salary cap standpoint building a young foundation.

“It takes time, as much as you want instant gratification, and nobody wants that more than me. I think you have to believe in the principles and in terms of how to build the team, and we’re going on our third draft. It takes time.

“When I look back at the 2021 roster and where we are now, I just think we’re heading in the right direction, and we’ll continue to head in the right direction in terms of bringing in our type of players and what we’re looking for schematically, what (Daboll) is looking at for his offense, and we’ll keep making progress.”

Schoen on outside linebacker Brian Burns: “I view him as a good young player that we’re looking forward to getting in. He’s been in the building for one day, so we’re looking forward to him coming in the offseason program and working hard and doing the best he can to help our defense and help us win games.”

Schoen on the offensive line in 2023 and moving forward: “I think anything that could have went wrong out there went wrong from the opening drive of the season when Andrew (Thomas) does his hamstring and then the next week (Ben) Bredeson gets a concussion and then John Michael (Schmitz) has – I mean, you just go on and on. We go to Buffalo, and (Joshua) Ezeudu does his toe, and then bring in (Justin) Pugh straight off the couch. You start going through it. I mean, there was a time there where I think it was Miami where three practice squad guys were playing for us. Fortunately, I’ve never run into a situation like that before where we’ve been decimated at the offensive line. You’ve seen a lot of the signings that we’ve had, a lot of guys that have played in the league and have started games and have versatility. That’s always going to be a priority. It was a perfect storm last year unfortunately in terms of injuries and then Andrew re-injuring as he was coming back… The offensive line is going to be important. Is it starts there. I truly believe that. We have to be better up front.”

Schoen on Daniel Jones: “I got an update on Friday. He is running on land now. So, he’s off the Ultra-G (anti-gravity treadmill), and he is throwing. Yeah, knock on wood, no setbacks, but he is in there attacking it every day and doing a good job. Every patient is different, and you can’t really predict if swelling is going to occur or if there’s a setback. He’s on the right track right now. Again, we just have to – it’s day-by-day and week-by-week. You just don’t know how he’s going to react as we ramp it up and he starts to do more. Hopefully, there’s no setbacks.”

Schoen on tight end Darren Waller possibly retiring: “I talked to his agent. Darren is going to take time and make his decision. He’s still undecided. I’m not going to get into the details. I’ve talked to him. He is undecided.”

Schoen on the tight end position: “We’re excited about (Jack Stoll and Chris Manhertz). We still have the draft. We don’t play until September. You just have to be patient. There’s ways to acquire players throughout the process. We did it with Jason Pinnock. We got him at the final cutdown. There’s different times of the year when you can acquire players, and we’re going to give Darren his time and I’m going to keep mine and Darren’s conversations between us. But we’re looking forward to the players that are going to be there in April, and we’ll keep building.”

Schoen on Saquon Barkley: “I wish Saquon nothing but the best. You can’t keep them all. He did a lot for the franchise. Walter Payton Man of the Year, a lot of production. I enjoyed working with him for two years and everything he did for Dabs and I in that playoff run. I wish him nothing but the best.”

Schoen on the NFL Draft: “We’ll look at all options, whether it’s going up, back, staying. Ultimately, I think we’ll end up with a good player.”

Mar 282023
Joe Schoen, New York Giants (February 28, 2023)

Joe Schoen – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants President/CEO John Mara, General Manager Joe Schoen, and Head Coach Brian Daboll addressed the media at the NFL Annual Meeting on Tuesday:

  • President/CEO John Mara (Video)
  • General Manager Joe Schoen (Video)
  • Head Coach Brian Daboll (Video)

Safety Bobby McCain, who the Giants signed as a free agent after he was cut by the Washington Commanders, addressed the media last Thursday. The transcript of this press conference is available in The Corner Forum, while the video is available on YouTube.

Mar 282022
Max Garcia, Arizona Cardinals (October 6, 2021)

Max Garcia – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have signed unrestricted free agent guard/center Max Garcia (Arizona Cardinals) to a 1-year contract.

The 30-year old, 6’4”, 309-pound Garcia was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. The Cardinals signed him as an unrestricted free agent in March 2019. Garcia has played in 93 regular-season games with 52 starts. In 2021, he started 11-of-15 games for the Cardinals. Garcia is a versatile performer with starts at left guard, right guard, and center.

For an overview of all Giants’ free agent signings, see the 2022 New York Giants Free Agent Signings and New York Giants 2022 Free Agency Scorecard sections of the website.

The Arizona Cardinals have signed New York Giants unrestricted free agent offensive guard Will Hernandez.

In his fourth year with the Giants, despite a promising rookie season and starting 56 of the 62 games he has played in, Hernandez did not progress as a player. He continued to consistently struggle in pass protection, especially on against twists and stunts. Hernandez was also flagged six times in 2021, with four false starts.

The Giants selected Hernandez in the 2nd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He was named named to Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie Team. After starting every game in his first two years in the league at left guard in 2018 and 2019, Hernandez lost his starting position to Shane Lemieux in 2020 after the seventh game of the season. Hernandez also missed two games in early November that season due to COVID-19. The Giants shifted him to right guard in 2021, and he started all 17 games at that position.

For an overview of all Giants’ free agent signings, see the 2022 New York Giants Free Agent Losses and New York Giants 2022 Free Agency Scorecard sections of the website.

New York Giants team President/CEO John Mara spoke to the media on Sunday at the NFL Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, Florida.

“I don’t think it’s a very high bar to improve over last year, but we’ve got some draft capital,” said Mara. “I think we’ve signed some pretty good players so far. I really like the staff that (Head Coach) Brian (Daboll) has put together. I do think we’ll be a much better team. But I know those words are shallow right now until we actually start playing. Hopefully, we’ll have a better injury situation than we’ve had. We’ve taken a hard look at our practices and what we need to change, and I expect us and hope that we’ll be a lot healthier next year.”

Mara talked about the team’s approach to sign cheaper free agents. “Sometimes, modest is good,” Mara said. “We’ve been in situations where we’ve spent pretty aggressively; it hasn’t always worked out. Sometimes getting guys who are a little less expensive but fulfill important roles for you is the way to go and that is where we are right now. We don’t have a choice, but I think we’ll be in a very good cap situation next year.”

Mara on quarterback Daniel Jones: “I think he’s shown enough when we had the right pieces around him and when we’ve been relatively healthy, he’s shown enough talent to make us believe that we can win with him, I’ve been quoted over and over again about all the problems that we’ve caused for him by the lack of continuity and the lack of stability. We’ve got to help him become a good player, become a better player and hopefully, we’ll do that this year. The head coach and the general manager have both been very impressed with him so far. He’s got everything that you want. We just have to, number one, keep him healthy and, number two, put the right pieces around him.”

On if a decision has been made on picking up Jones’ fifth year option by the May 2nd deadline: “That’s not a decision we’ve made as of yet. That’s a discussion we’ll be having over the next month or so.”

On cutting safety Logan Ryan: “It was a decision that Brian (Daboll) and (General Manager) Joe (Schoen) made and decided that they wanted to move on, so I wasn’t going to block it. I was sorry to see him go. I thought he was a good player. I thought he did some great things for us in the community, but again, the head coach and the general manager make a football decision and I’m not going to block it.”

On the possibility of having to cut cornerback James Bradberry in order to create cap space: “That would hurt, because he’s been a very good player and he has been the consummate professional for us. But the cap situation is what it is, so we’d have to consider all options there.”

On if running back Saquon Barkley will be traded: “We’re not shopping Saquon, but Joe’s the general manager and if he and the head coach want to make a personnel decision and they have a conviction about it, I’m not going to interfere with it. That’s not something that we’re actively looking to do, let’s put it that way… I’m certainly conscious of (Barkley’s market value as a “star”), but I don’t think it’s a major factor. At the end of the day, put the best possible team on the field and build for the future. I like him. He’s been a great representative for us. I still think he’s a really good player. I think he could potentially have a very big year this year, but at the end of the day, the head coach and the general manager make those decisions.”

Jan 312022
Brian Daboll, New York Giants (January 31, 2022)

Brian Daboll – © USA TODAY Sports

Brian Daboll was officially introduced as the new head coach of the New York Giants at a press conference on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Opening Remarks by General Manager Joe Schoen (Video)
Good morning. First off, I would like to thank everybody for coming out this morning. I also, just being kind of my first weekend here, I’d like to start off by thanking all the service workers, the first responders, emergency workers from this weekend. This was my first Nor’easter I’ve been a part of. Obviously, Dabes (Brian Daboll) and I brought the Buffalo weather over here, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank all those who helped keep our community safe over the weekend and cleared the roads for us.

The head coaching search began January 21st shortly after I was hired. (President and Chief Executive Officer) John Mara, (Chairman and Executive Vice President) Steve Tisch, (Senior Vice President of Player Personnel) Chris Mara and myself put together an extensive list of coaches that we would want to speak with. We conducted Zoom interviews, several in-person interviews and we cast a wide net when we did this. After a lot of research on the various candidates, we came to the conclusion that Brian Daboll would be the best coaching candidate to lead the New York Giants in the 2022 season and beyond. Brian has an impressive coaching résumé that includes five Super Bowls and a national championship as a play caller. He’s worked under several well-respected leaders: (Patriots Head Coach) Bill Belichick, (Alabama Head Coach) Nick Saban, (Bills Head Coach) Sean McDermott and several others. Brian’s ability to develop young players, his leadership qualities, his football acumen, his communication skills and his ability to bring an organization together were all traits that really stood out. Without further ado, I’d like to introduce to you the 20th head football coach of the New York Giants, Brian Daboll.

Remarks by Head Coach Brian Daboll (Video)
How’s everybody doing? First, a few things here. Thank you to John and Steve, I appreciate you giving me this opportunity, Chris, who was involved in the interviews, Joe and the support staff. I had a great visit here a week or 10 days ago and just very thankful and honored to be standing up here in this position. I thank the organizations that I’ve been a part of, from ownership to management to coaches to support staff to players. I wouldn’t be here without them. And then to my family, my wife Beth and my six kids and the whole crew right there, I love you guys. I look forward to this next journey.

Got a lot of work to do, that’s for sure, but I think that this is a very enticing job to be able to work with Joe and try to create and build something that’s very special and long-lasting. I’m not going to make any promises or predictions, but, again, just very grateful and look forward to working.

I came up here up on Saturday after I was offered the job. I drove through the snowstorm. There weren’t many people in the building, but one of them was (Quarterback) Daniel Jones. That’s a good thing for a young player. I know he’s excited. We’ve had some coaches in, did a lot of interviews so far. I’m not going to get into who it is, but I’m done with Zoom. It’s been about 40 hours on Zoom the last two days, but we’ve got a lot of work to do. I look forward to it. I look forward to working with you guys (media) and trying to build something special here. Again, just grateful and humbled for this opportunity. So, if you guys have any questions, you get one each (laughs).

Q: Are you planning to call plays? Then also, can you just describe what your offensive philosophy will be?

A: It’s going to be dependent on the players, that’s first and foremost. I don’t think you can – look, each place I’ve been, and particularly I’d say these last four years with (Bills Quarterback) Josh (Allen), we tried to develop a system that was conducive to his skillset along with the other pieces that we added. That’ll be a work in progress. In terms of the play calling, I think that’s a work in progress, too. We’ll see who the offensive coordinator is, who the rest of the staff is and then we’ll talk about that as we get going through OTAs and minicamps, but it’ll be important. That position, that offensive coordinator position will be an important position for us.

Q: There was a report out there a few minutes ago that you’re going to be keeping (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Patrick Graham unless he gets a head coaching job. First of all, is that accurate and then what are your impressions of Pat from afar and also from having worked with him in New England?

A: Yeah, that’s accurate. I’ve had a good relationship with Pat for some time in this league. He’s very diligent. He’s smart. I think the players respect him. He understands different defenses and I have a good working relationship with him. I did when I was back at New England. Certainly, we hope that he has an opportunity to become a head coach. I think that’s everybody’s dream, but selfishly, I would love him to be here. He offers a lot to our program. I think he’d be a great support system for me and I’m hoping that that works out.

Q: One of the first things you mentioned is how Daniel Jones was in the building, just like Joe Schoen did the other day, so there’s a lot of excitement with your hire from fans because of what you did do with Josh Allen. How do we kind of temper those expectations? What should we expect about your impact on this Giants offense and what you can do with Daniel?

A: We’re going to take it day by day. Look, we’re not going to make any predictions and I wouldn’t do that to Daniel or really any player. I don’t think that’s fair to compare him to another guy that I was working with. He’s himself. We’re going to find out what he does well. We’re going to try to implement a system that suits him and then it’s our job to bring pieces in that help him to be the best version of himself and the best quarterback for us. He’s got the right mindset. He’s got good size. There’s a lot of things to like about Daniel and we’ll just take it one day at a time. We’ll work with him. We’ll help him get better. We’ll help him be a better leader. We’ll help him be everything. That’s our job as a coaching staff and as an organization. It takes everybody. It’s not just me. It’s the rest of the coaches on our staff. It’s the scouts. It’s the support staff. It’s the ownership group. It takes a lot to raise a quarterback if you will and he’s been around the block here these last three years with some different pieces. We’re going to try to give him some stability and just take it from there.

Q: Why are you ready for this now? There’s been a trend of – the two Super Bowl coaches are both young guys, younger. You’re an older guy –

A: What am I? Am I young or old (laughs)?

Q: To me, you’re young.

A: I’ve been doing this for 21 years in the National Football League – did I interrupt you?

Q: Do you think this is right in your wheelhouse of the perfect time for you to get a head coaching job?

A: I don’t know if there’s ever a perfect time. I’ve been doing this for 25 years, 21 years in the National Football League. I’ve been around the block. I’ve experienced a lot of different things. I’ve witnessed different head coaches and how they do things. To sit up here and say that we’re going to do this or we’re going to do that, like look, all I know how to do is work, work with people, try to build a culture, unite a building, inspire players, coaches, support staff, listen, learn and then ultimately develop the people in our building. That’s not just the players. That’s the QCs, that’s the people underneath the head trainer. That’s what we’re going to try to do. Do I feel prepared? Yes. Do I know there will be some obstacles and challenges? Of course. That’s this league. You’ve got to be resilient in this league and certainly here you’ve got to be resilient, right?

Q: Obviously, you interviewed for a bunch of jobs. We know that Miami was interested in you. I’m curious, was this always the top of your list, this job? Or was it like, ‘there’s only 32 of them, I’ve got to take whichever one gets offered to me’?

A: I interviewed here twice, once over Zoom and once in person. I have a ton of amount of respect for John and Steve and Joe and Chris and really the support staff here. Look, this was a dream come true. You’re talking about the New York Giants. I understand the challenges with that. It’s just a great opportunity that was afforded to me and my family and we look forward to it. We’ve been working here for two days. We’ve got a long way to go here. Just a historic franchise and I look forward to being a part of it.

Q: You’ve worked in a lot of places. Joe was talking a lot about being in lockstep and sharing a philosophy with the head coach and GM. What are the benefits of that and did that make this more of an enticing job for you than maybe going into another situation with a GM that you may not have had a relationship with?

A: Look, I think there’s some foundational pillars that help an organization. That’s not necessarily going to make you win. It’s hard to win in this league, as we all know. The leadership group between ownership, management, general manager, head coach, I think, is a really important piece. Those guys have to be aligned. When you’re not aligned, that’s when things start going astray. Again, I’m not guaranteeing that we’re going to do anything. I just think that alignment is so critical because when you’re aligned, you can communicate well with one another and you can develop a plan, and that plan’s going to be important. We’re starting from scratch and there’s a lot of things that we’ve got to get done and after that plan, now we’re looking to bring in the right kind of people. To answer your question, yes. I think it’s absolutely important that we have shared alignment, shared vision, shared core principles and values of the type of people we want to bring in. Let’s not forget, this is a people business, too. There’s Xs and Os, but this is a people business. It’s about leading, it’s about cultivating and it’s about inspiring. I’m fortunate that I was offered this job.

Q: While you said you’re not making any predictions or promises, you did mention that you do have a good idea how this fan base feels. How much pressure does that put on you and Joe Schoen to get this turned around sooner rather than later?

A: I think we’re just going to try to do things the right way. There’s pressure with every job in this business. Obviously, we’re here in New York. We understand the market, but the pressure is going to be put on ourselves, too. We’re going to do everything we can do to, like I talked about before, build an organization, which we feel is the right way, unite the building, inspire some people, listen, learn and develop. If you’re prepared, the pressure is less. We’re going to do everything we can do to try to put together a good product on and off the field.

Q: Obviously, you’re aware coming in of the instability in this position the last six years or so. In the interview process, did you ask for and/or receive any assurances about patience from ownership?

A: No, no. I had a good conversation with them. I think we got to know one another. The NFL is an unstable world regardless of where you’re at, so your job is to do the best you can do, build relationships and try to build a good program. Again, it’s not about me sitting up here, it’s about us collectively as an organization from top to bottom. We had really good conversations, not just with the ownership, but with all the support staff, with the training room, to the equipment, to the video guys. It takes everybody. Again, there’s no guarantees, but if you have people that are in lockstep that are working together toward a common goal that are unselfish, that are humble, I think that’s the start of something.

Q: The Bengals won two games two years ago, four games last year and now they’re in the Super Bowl, so why not the Giants? And realistically, can you be a contender quickly?

A: Right now, I’m just trying to hire a staff. You’re going to try to get me early on that right now. Look, we’ll cross those bridges when we get to it. Obviously, that’s impressive, those numbers that you gave me, but let’s just start crawling before we walk.

Q: A lot of times the hot head coaching candidates are outstanding coordinators, play callers. You’ve certainly done your fair share of that and been successful the last couple of years. When ownership asked you or when we’re asking you, what makes you ready for the other part of this job? The old proverbial leader of men thing, what have you learned over the years with all the coaches that you’ve worked with in that department?

A: I think four to five things that come across the top of my head right now as you ask that question. One, you have to be authentic. Joe spoke to the mentors that I’ve had, and I have, and I owe those guys a lot. But I’ve learned is you have to be yourself in this business. That’s what I aim to do. I’m a people person. I think I’m a good leader and that’s the first thing, to be authentic. The second thing I think that I’ve learned is you have to be consistent in this position. To get up in front of a room, I know it’s an offense because you guys are all the players out there after a bad game and own it and talk to those guys and give them the things we didn’t do well, the things that I didn’t do well on a consistent basis. I think that helps and not riding the rollercoaster, which probably in my younger days I was a little bit on that coaster. Clearly communicating your expectations and standards goes a long way with these men. Obviously understanding what you’re talking about, knowledge of whether it’s offense, defense, kicking game, whatever that may be. And at the of the end day, relationships. I’m a big relationship guy. I love my players and I want to get to know them off the field. I think that’s where it starts. Those five things, I think, are stuff that I’ve learned along the way, and it’s been quite a long journey, 21 years, it seems like 50 years in normal time. Those are some of the things.

Q: I’m curious, it sounds like Daniel Jones has already made a good first impression with you, but I’m just curious the kinds of challenges for a guy who has had so many coaches and voices in his ear already and I guess I would contrast that to Josh, who was sort of a blank canvas when you got him. So how do you see that with Daniel? Do you have to help him unlearn some things perhaps?

A: I think we just start out by building this relationship and when he’s in the building, we take it slow. One of the things that I asked him to do, and I said you can give it to me at any time. He was one of the players that called me after it was announced amongst some other guys and I said, ‘hey, give me some things that you really liked in your last three years or if you did it at Duke,’ and that’s where it’s going to start is some foundational pieces that he feels comfortable with. I think we’ll add good coaches. We’ll have a good support system, and we’ll try to bring in the best players we can bring in. I think this is going to be a day-to-day process. I’m not going to put any expectations on him. I know he wants to do well. He’s got the right mindset. He’s dedicated. He’s a hard worker and I’m looking forward to working with him. We are looking forward to working with him.

Q: You’ve mentioned 21 years and the evolution of yourself as a coach, I’m curious with the way the game has changed or at least evolved, how has your vision of what an offense looks like or even a defense should look like in today’s NFL? How have you adjusted to that over the course of your journey here?

A: I think there’s a core philosophy that you have to have: fundamentals, the ball, situational football and bringing in the right people. I don’t really think – that stands the test of time. The schemes, those are different. Ten years ago, we wouldn’t be sitting up here talking about Josh Allen and all these runs that we’ve done, the RPO game. I think it evolves just like everything else does, and I think you have to have an open mind. The schemes are going to be what the players are best at. We’ve got a lot of work to do to figure that out and really evaluate the guys that we have, so time will tell. We’ll just figure it out.

Q: Any members of your offensive staff or from the offensive staff here that you intend to keep?

A: We’ll get back to you on that. We’re in the process of going through some things here. In terms of the staff, I appreciate the question, there’s still guys on the staff that I haven’t had an opportunity to talk to, so once we get that all ironed out, we’ll get it to you guys as soon as we can.

Q: Do you think the success or failure of your tenure here will be tied to the success or failure of Daniel and the current quarterback or do you think you were hired to build a program and that whether or not that works, you’ll have a chance to build here past that?

A: With all due respect, I’m not thinking two or three years down the line. We’re just going to try to do the best we can, put the guys in good position, establish a culture. But again, I had great conversations with these men that are sitting in the front of the room. I have a lot of confidence in the conversations that we had. Where we are, what happens, I’m just trying to get back to my office as quick as I can here to get going and start hiring people.

Q: Which coaches that you’ve coached under have influenced you and shaped your coaching philosophy?

A: All of them. I think even to this day after doing it for 21 years. Obviously, I was hired by Bill (Belichick) in 2000. He gave me 15 grand to work however many hours there is in a week, that was pretty much all of them, but an invaluable experience. I did that for six or seven years, moved on, worked under guys like (Former NFL Head Coach) Tony Sparano – God rest his soul – (Former NFL Head Coach) Romeo (Crennel), (Former NFL Head Coach) Eric (Mangini), all these guys and then here the last four years with Sean. You take a lot of stuff, right? You would be unwise if you didn’t do that. You sit there and you watch, you learn, you ask questions, not just on scheme but how they’re doing with problem players, what are issues in the building, all these different things. I think the older you get, the wider scope you have. When you’re younger, you’re just trying to survive a little bit. Again, all those guys – Nick at Alabama, two years at Michigan State, but the thing that I’ve learned in my 21 years, and I’d say more these past four or five years is just be true to yourself and be true to the players and the people that you work with because they’ll see right through you if you’re not. I think that’s critical, is to be yourself. I can go on and on about the coaches that I’ve learned from and I’m obviously grateful and humble that I had an opportunity to work for them, but I’m going to be me and take bits and pieces, but what you see is what you get.

Q: Most of the talk has centered around Daniel Jones. What about the rest of the roster? For one reason or the other, some of it being injuries, a lot of guys have been unable to live up to expectations. Can you elevate some of these guys that are currently on the roster now?

A: Yeah, well that’s our job. We’re going to do the very best we can do to allow them to be the best versions of themselves. Not just on the field with scheme and things like that, how we teach, what we do in the training room, the video guys helping out, the support staff, the extra players we’re going to bring in for competition. That’s our job. Our job is to allow these guys to try to be the best versions of themselves and make it highly competitive. They’ll end up deciding whether or not they’re going to help us or not based on their performance, how they act on the field, off the field, the things that we’re going to ask them to do.

This is going great, my four-year-old fell asleep, he did not listen to one word I said (laughs).

Q: You said a few times that being yourself is a formula that works, but as a first-time head coach, when you’ve worked for two of the greatest coaches of all time, is that easier said than done not trying to be like Bill or like Nick Saban in your first job?

A: Well, I’m comfortable in my own skin. Look, I don’t have all the answers. There’s going to be some things that come up that I’m going to have to lean on a lot of people – Joe, the support staff, the coaches. But my personality and how I treat people and my expectations and values, I hold those true to my heart. I was raised by two grandparents, old school, I lost both of them this year. That’s who I lean on. My formative years, 20 something years of – look my grandmother is harder than Bill or Nick could ever be. So, you talk about you lose a game and you want to hear all the people talking, she got me ready for this the best I can.

Q: Your predecessor talked a lot about building a winning culture and there are players in this building who have only had the past two coaching staffs. They haven’t done a lot of winning. What’s the biggest challenge for you to get these guys to buy in and teach them how to win again?

A: I just think build relationships, work together. Again, the type of people we’re going to bring in, coaching staff, support staff, Joe, it’s a collaborative effort. You have to have honest conversations, truthful conversations, and you’re not going to gain trust from a player, I’m not going to sit there and gain any trust from those guys back there by saying, ‘Hey, you’ve got to trust me.’ I think if you have good integrity, if you have good loyalty, I think that leads to trust, which is a foundational pillar for any successful organization, regardless if it’s football or anywhere else. Trust leads to respect and then respect leads to accountability, which is what we all want to be to one another when you’re working for a common goal.

Q: I’m going to go back to the Josh and Daniel Jones thing. I’m curious when you look at that from afar, how similar or different do you see the challenge of getting Daniel right and moving that forward compared to what you dealt with when you came in and you had Josh?

A: I don’t know that answer. Four years ago with Josh, we started together, we had consistency, we had consistency in scheme, we had consistency with the coaches, and it took time to build. It didn’t happen overnight. I wouldn’t do that to Daniel or really any other player, I think that’s unfair. I want to get to really know Daniel first and see what makes him tick and then we’ll take it one day at a time. I know he’s really willing, but to compare where Josh is or Daniel, I don’t think that’s fair to do to either one of those guys.

Q: You talk about trust a lot and a lot of your former players came out and said how much they trust you, forget about as a coach, but as a man. How important is that for you and how did you establish that with your players?

A: Well, I just try to be me. That’s all I try to do. Again, I care about my guys. A coach a while back told me players don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. I care about them. I care about their families. I want to see them do well. I want to see them earn new contracts and make money. I genuinely care about those guys. You’re in this building with the support staff and your coaches more than you are with your family and then the players throughout those six months. There’s got to be a mutual respect and I think if they know you care about them, genuinely care about them, not what you can do for me, and I know this is a results business, I got it. But to me, it’s a relationship business and it’s important that not just the players, but everyone else in the building can work together in a trusting manner. I think I just care about them. I think they feel that. I do a lot of FaceTiming with those guys. We have them over for dinner, my family, my wife. They knew I’d do anything for those guys. At the end of the day, we know we’re in a results business, so that’s what it’s going to come down to.

Q: We talked about Daniel (Jones), there’s another pretty big superstar here on offense, (Running Back) Saquon Barkley. Curious what your thoughts are on him from afar? You were probably a part of scouting him for the draft. What have you seen from him as a player and just your overall thought? I know you’ve had rotational backfields, you’ve had bell cows like (Former Running Back) Jamaal Charles. What are your thoughts on the running back position?

A: Well, first of all, I got to meet him, and he was another one of the players that reached out and called. He was with one of my former players the other night, (Bills Wide Receiver) Gabe Davis, and they reached out to me. Look, he’s a talented player that was selected high in the draft. He came out of a good school, Penn State. My son is a coaching assistant at Penn State, so I try to get all the scoop I can on them. Not a bad word about the young man. Obviously talented and we’ll try to use his skill set the best we can.

A one-on-one interview with Daboll by Bob Papa is also available on the Giants’ YouTube channel (video).

The transcript of team President/CEO John Mara’s post-introductory press conference remarks is available in The Corner Forum. The video is available at

The transcript of General Manager Joe Schoen’s post-introductory press conference remarks is available in The Corner Forum. The video is available on the Giants’ YouTube channel.

The video of Head Coach Brian Daboll’s remarks after the press conference is available at

The Giants said that they would like to retain Patrick Graham as the team’s defensive coordinator. However, Graham has interviewed for the head coaching position with the Minnesota Vikings.

(Graham is) very well-respected in this building,” said team President/CEO John Mara. “The players have a lot of respect for him, as do I. He’s a terrific defensive coordinator. Look, for his own sake, I hope he gets a head coaching job. As Brian said, selfishly, we’d be very happy if he stayed.”

“If (Graham) doesn’t get the Minnesota job,” said General Manger Joe Schoen. “I think he’s still in the mix. Last I’d heard he’s in the mix for that. I’ll tell you what, I didn’t know Patrick Graham and we interviewed him for this head coaching job, I did my research on him and there’s a lot of positive feedback throughout the league, not only in the building but around the league on Patrick. He had been at Note Dame, he had been at New England, Green Bay, Miami. Just spending three hours with him in an interview setting, he’s passionate, very high football acumen, he got me fired up in the interview. He did a really good job, so if he gets that Minnesota job, that’s great for him. Selfishly, I would love to keep him here because I’m fired up to work with him because I think he’s a good ball coach.”

Schoen says the team will retain the services of Vice President of Football Operations/Assistant General Manager Kevin Abrams. It is not clear yet if he will retain those titles. Schoen said Abrams has offered to give up those titles if needed to lure other candidates to the front office.

Kevin’s been really good,” said Schoen. “I’ve been here for eight, nine days and just going through the process of sending in consents for coaches, notifications, if we’re moving on from people, just getting the feel for the building. He’s been a tremendous resource for me. I will continue to lean on him. Again, he and (Director of Football Operations) Ed Triggs do a really good job in their roles and I look forward to continuing working with both of those guys… Oh, yeah. Yes (I expect him to stay).

Kevin’s very humble and selfless. If for some reason we decide that we need that Assistant GM title to get somebody up, he’s offered that up. We haven’t crossed that bridge. Again, I’m going to continue to assess everybody in the entire organization before I make any decisions on moving on or changing titles. Kevin’s been an outstanding resource for me thus far. He’s very smart, he knows the league, he knows the rules, he knows the ins and outs. The biggest thing for me is while we’re trying to find assistant coaches or I’m trying to find my scouting staff to know that the operations part is taken care of and I can give Kevin something and he can run with it because he’s done it. He’s got contacts in the league, he’s got agent relationships, so I’ve been very impressed with Kevin thus far.”

Peter King of NBC Sports is reporting that General Manager Joe Schoen told him that the New York Giants will have to cut $40 million from their 2022 salary cap. “When we first got to Buffalo, we had $55 million in dead cap money we had to manage,” said Schoen. “We had a plan there, and we’ll have one here. We may have to make some decisions that hurt, but I do not want to kick the can down the road with the cap. I want to get it fixed.”

Jan 262022
Joe Schoen, New York Giants (January 26, 2022)

Joe Schoen – © USA TODAY Sports

Joe Schoen was officially introduced as the new general manager of the New York Giants at a press conference on Wednesday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Opening Remarks by Team President/CEO John Mara (Video)
When Steve (Tisch) and I began this process several weeks ago, we set out to find an individual with a vision, experience, character and leadership skills to build the New York Giants back into a team that consistently competes for Super Bowls. We believe we found that person in Joe Schoen. We spoke with nine very qualified candidates, each of whom had strong general manager traits. In the end, it was Joe’s body of work, having started his career on the ground floor in the NFL and working his way up through the ranks to become the assistant general manager of the Bills while helping to build one of the best teams in the league that made him the right choice for us. Joe’s work ethic, evaluation skills, leadership traits and his ability to communicate with everyone in the building make him just what we need to build this team back into one that our fans can once again be proud of. It is my honor to formally introduce for the first time the new general manager of the New York Giants, Joe Schoen.

Remarks by General Manager Joe Schoen (Video)
First off, I’d like to thank everybody for being here today. I’d like to start off by thanking John Mara, Steve Tisch, (Senior Vice President of Player Personnel) Chris Mara, the entire Mara family and Tisch family. It’s truly an honor to be named the next general manager of this historic franchise.

I don’t take this job lightly. I fully understand the responsibility that comes with being the general manager of the New York Football Giants. I would tell you this, throughout the interview process it became very clear early on John’s and Steve’s passion for bringing a winning football program to the tri-state area. I was assured that I would be given every resource I needed in order to do that, and I promise you that I will do everything in my power to build a team that will make you proud on the field and off the field. We will look at every avenue to upgrade the roster, add depth, competition and bring the right type of people into the organization. We are currently in the process of hiring our head coach search. The relationship between myself and the next head coach will be integral. We will be aligned in our plan and vision in how to build the organization and the franchise and build a winning team. We will build a strong foundation, which will allow us to sustain success over time.

There are several people that I’d like to say a quick thank you to. I’d like to start off by saying thank you to (Bills Owner and Chief Executive Officer) Terry and (Bills Owner and President) Kim Pegula, the entire Pegula family, (Bills Head Coach) Sean McDermott and (Bills General Manager) Brandon Beane, the entire Bills organization, Bills Mafia. I would also like to thank the players, the Buffalo Bills, for buying into the culture, the process and giving their all on a day-to-day basis and being true pros. I will miss everybody at One Bills Drive. Without Terry, Kim, Sean and Brandon, there’s no way I would be prepared to embark on the journey that I’m about to embark on. I appreciate all of them for showing me what true leadership looks like. To Brandon, I can’t thank you enough. Not only were you an outstanding boss and mentor, but also a best friend. I will dearly miss you, Hayley, Tyson and Wes.

I would like to thank my family, my wife Marie, daughter Sydney, son Carson and Harper Grace, my three-year-old. I appreciate all the sacrifices you guys have made over the years in allowing me to chase my dream. To my kids, I know this is dad talk and you get sick of me preaching to you, but if you do the right thing, you get good grades, you treat people the right way, you can truly achieve anything you put your mind to. I’d like to thank my parents for showing me what hard work looks like, pushing me to be the best version of myself and never allowing me to settle for average. I would also like to thank my in-laws, Ed and Jan Boone, Gary and Maryann Froneberger. With the hours we work in this industry and the trips on the road and being away from home, you were always there to lend a helping hand.

A few mentors I would just like to mention: first off would be Dan Randolph. He was a coach of me in elementary school, middle school, high school and he said something to me that resonated when I was very young: ‘If you learn how to work as hard as you can every time at everything you do, you will not know how to work any different way,’ and that resonated with a fifth-grade basketball player from Elkhart, Indiana. I wouldn’t be here today without that advice. My high football college Phil Teegarden, high school baseball coach Dick Siler, high school basketball coach Steve Johnson. I would like to thank my college football coach Nick Mourouzis. Then, a few mentors that were very important to me in shaping my professional career: Jack Bushofsky, (Washington Executive Vice President of Football and Player Personnel) Marty Hurney, (Vice President of College Personnel and Assistant General Manager) Jeff Ireland, Bill Parcells, Dan Henning, (Bills Senior National Scout) Dennis Hickey, (Dolphins General Manager) Chris Grier. And a few head coaches that I worked with that were very impressionable to me: John Fox, Tony Sparano and Joe Philbin. A couple of dear friends of mine that I’ve also learned a ton from over the years and helped shape me into who I am as a professional: (Titans Vice President of Player Personnel) Ryan Cowden, (Panthers Senior Personnel Executive) Jeff Morrow, (Bills Senior Personnel Advisor) Brian Gaine, (Seahawks Senior Executive Advisor to the General Manager) Alonzo Highsmith and (Panthers Assistant General Manager) Dan Morgan.

Again, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be here. I’m excited to get the new head coach in here. We’re going to roll up our sleeves and we’re going to start building towards the 2022 season and beyond. With that, I’ll open it up to questions.

Q: When we spoke to Brandon the other day, he talked about aligning everybody, coaching staff and general manager and front office. I’m wondering how you plan to do that structurally and if there are any changes you’re anticipating making here upon your arrival.

A: That’s a good question. I’ve been in those seats over there before when a new general manager or new head coach comes into the building, and I’ve been one of those guys that were sitting there. Brandon Beane was sitting there before when a new general manager came into Carolina. I’m a true believer in giving everybody an opportunity. If you’re a hard worker, you’re a good person and you’re going to buy into the process, then you can work with me. I’m not coming in anticipating any changes and I’m not going to make any statements where ‘We’ve got to do this.’ We’re going to implement our process. Everybody is going to be evaluated. Right now, I can tell there’s a lot of good people in that building that I’m looking forward to working with.

Q: Looking at your personnel that’s here now, is it a tear it up or is it tweaking? How would you view it?

A: I’m not a big tear it up, rebuild – I think you can truly build a roster when you can compete for today and build for tomorrow. We’re going to do the draft, free agency. Whatever avenue we can, we’re going to continue to build a competitive roster and we want to see progress. We’re going to continue to build with the long-term in mind as we build it, but I think you can compete today and still build for tomorrow.

Q: You inherited a quarterback that was drafted sixth overall in 2019 and obviously he has a lot on film. Could you talk about what you see in (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones)? Is this a guy you believe you can proceed with?

A: I’ve looked at Daniel and once the new staff gets in here, we’re going to get together – offensive coordinator, head coach, the entire staff – dive into the film as a group and look at what Daniel does best and we’re going to try to allow him to put his best foot forward. Again, I’ve looked at him. I wasn’t here in the past, so I don’t exactly know what he was told to do, but I do know this, I know he’s a great kid, he’s been in this building the last two days, I’ve talked to him. There’s not anybody in this building that’s said a bad word about his work ethic, passion, desire to win. I think you’ve got to have those traits as a quarterback, and the kid has physical ability, he’s got arm strength, he’s athletic, he can run. I’m really excited to work with Daniel and, again, when the new staff gets in here, we’ll build an offense around Daniel to accentuate what he does best.

Q: What particular qualities are you looking for in the next head coach?

A: That’s a good question. First off, leadership. You’ve got to be able to lead the team. I think you have to be able to put together a good staff. I think it’s imperative that you have coaches that have coached in the NFL that have a proven track record. I think you’ve got to be able to develop players. We have (nine) draft picks. It’s going to be important that some of those young players may have to be major contributors for us in 2022, so the willingness to play young players. I think intelligence is important. I think being progressive in your approach to coaching, whether it’s with analytics, when to go, when not to go, when to punt. I think you’ve got be open to all that stuff. You’ve got to be open to sports performance, strength and conditioning. You’ve got to listen to the experts in their field. Those are some of the major qualities that I’m looking for as we move forward.

Q: With regard to the head coach, a lot has been made – obviously, you know your two coordinators in Buffalo very well. What’s the importance of your next head coach having head coaching experience, if that is important at all? Can you speak specifically to what (Bills Offensive Coordinator) Brian Daboll brings to the table?

A: All of our candidates bring a different skillset to the table. I’m not concerned if they’ve been a head coach before or if they haven’t. I’m concerned with getting the best head coach for the New York Giants. If they’ve had previous coaching experience, fine. If they don’t, that’s fine. Again, Brian Daboll I’ve worked with, I know (Cowboys Defensive Coordinator) Dan Quinn, I’ve got a lot of respect for him. Brian Flores is coming in. I know a lot of people in Miami, and I’ve got a lot of respect for him. Specifically on Brian, he’s got good qualities just like the rest of the candidates, so I don’t want to speak on anything specific on him. But, again, it’s going to be imperative that it’s somebody that’s in lockstep with me that I can work with, we can have constant communication and we’re going to be aligned in our vision as we build a football team.

Q: You just talked about analytics in reference to coaching, but it factors into what you guys do in the front office, as well. How much of that – I know it’s a hot button word – but how much of that is behind what you do? How much is it, hey, sometimes you’ve got to ignore the numbers a little bit and think outside the box?

A: That’s a good question. I think we use ‘data innovation’ here instead of ‘analytics’ since it is a hot button. But I believe in it. Any tool that can help us win games or give us a competitive advantage, we’re going to continue to push the envelope and find out what those are. To me, if it’s going to help us in the draft process with the evaluations or the free agency process with the evaluations or contract value and who do these players compare to, if it’s going to help us with our practice schedule to keep guys healthy, keep guys on the field, if guys are running too much or working too hard or there are signs you have to be open-minded to the information. It’s a piece of the puzzle. It’s not going to drive the entire process, but it’s another tool that we need to use in order to get whatever competitive advantage we can and make the best decisions we can for the New York Giants.

Q: You had a lot of success in Buffalo helping to turn them back into a playoff contender. What experiences can you rely on that you got from there to help the Giants get back into the playoffs?

A: The biggest thing is an entire building working toward a common goal. A lot of good people in that building, you got the right people in the right seats, they understand the process, and everybody knew what the end goal was. On a daily basis, everybody bought into the process and over time, we built a very good culture because everybody bought into the process. To me, getting the right people in the right seats with the right common goal in mind and working towards that, that’s what we had in Buffalo.

Q: In any interview, you interview them and they interview you. When you came into this building and talked to the Giants people here, what do you sense from them? This team has done a lot of losing. You’ve been a part of an operation that’s done a lot of winning. What did you sense from this group, either desperation or just the need to turn things around quickly? There are two banners behind you there that said this team used to win a lot of games.

A: Again, I wasn’t here in the past, so I can’t speak on that, but like I said in my opening statement, in the interview it was John, Steve and Chris, and you could feel their passion and desire to do whatever it takes to get back and get two of those. So that, along with being given all the resources to try to build the team, that was very attractive to me. The history of this franchise, ever since I’ve been in the NFL – I started in 2000 and in 2001, I was in Carolina and John Fox came in 2002, he came from the Giants. He always put the New York Giants in high regard and that’s the reputation around the NFL. This is a very good job. So again, my relationship and communication with John, Steve and Chris on the interview, it felt right, it felt right for me and my family and we’re going to be given the resources to do what we need to do, and it checked all the boxes for me.

Q: When we talked to Brandon Beane, he said one of the similarities you had mentioned to him just in passing was the salary cap and how when you guys got to Buffalo it wasn’t a healthy salary cap. Obviously here, it seems like the salary cap needs some work. What were your thoughts on that coming in? Was that a concern of yours and how do you fix it?

A: It’s a concern and it’s real. (Vice President of Football Operations/Assistant General Manager) Kevin Abrams and I haven’t talked about it yet. We looked at it, we’re going to get together at the end of the week or first of next week to start formulating a plan, but we’re going to have to get below the salary cap. Obviously, we’re going to have to clear some money, but, again, when the new head coach gets in here, the new staff, we’re going to get together, we’re going to watch the film, we’re going to evaluate everybody, we’re going to talk to the support staff. Who are the guys that kind of fit the vision that we’re looking for? Who are the guys that are going to buy into the program? Then, we’ll make educated decisions once we have more information. There are going to be difficult decisions that are going to have to be made.

Q: Does ownership expect you to compete for a playoff spot this year? Was there a timeline of expectations discussed as far as how long it needs to take you and the new coach to get this team winning again?

A: That’s a good question. It’s really just about progress. We need to see progress, we need to see the team getting better, we need to see competition, we need to see the offense get better, we need to see the defense get better. We want to see progress throughout the entire football operation is what we’re looking for. We’re not going to make any playoff statements or anything like that. We just want to see progress and see that we’re building to something in the future and we’re going to build the foundation as soon as we can.

Q: Do you have full autonomy to make this coaching hire? There have been reports that you and ownership prefer different candidates. We know, obviously, after you interviewed, but before you took the job there were calls made to certain candidates to reach out and make sure people would interview. Obviously, it’s a process, but do you have full autonomy ultimately to make the hire?

A: That’s a good question, too. Ultimately, it’s going to be a collaborative effort between John, Steve, myself. We’re going to come together, we’re going to talk about the candidates. If we’re different in certain areas, we’ll continue to do our research, we’ll continue to make our calls. Ultimately, it’s going to be a collaborative effort between ownership and myself.

Q: Will you have sort of a measuring stick? Over the past 10 years there’s been so much change here every two years. What will you do to keep the consistency to get that progress or the measuring stick of that progress you’re looking for?

A: Again, it goes back to we’ve got (nine) draft picks, so you’ve got to draft well. I believe in drafting, developing and then retaining our own. I think that’s the way to build and supplement the roster with free agency. This is a draft that we’re going into, again, with (nine) picks and it’s going to be very important that we have a sound process going through the draft, that we know these players not only as football players but as people and to make sure they’re going to be doing the right things for us. Again, it takes time, it takes time. It’s not going to happen overnight. Again, we mentioned the salary cap situation. There’s going to have to be some difficult decisions made and there are going to be some voids. You can’t fix it overnight, but, again, we want to see progress that we’re heading in the right direction, and I think that’s the most important thing as you’re building the culture, that you do bring in the right type of guys, you start winning some games and you’re ascending in the right direction. I’m not going to put a wins and losses on it, but we want to see progress.

Q: When it comes to your journey, I know you talked about the job and the importance of this place, but for you, it’s been a run in the NFL for different jobs, different experiences. Why was this the right time for you? Does a moment happen where you think to yourself, ‘You know what, I’m ready for this leap?’ Did it happen earlier and just the opportunity came? I’m curious from that perspective, why are you ready for this next chapter in your journey?

A: To me, it was the right fit. You know, again, it’s the New York Giants. This is the New York Giants and I’m standing up here as the general manager, so that was always really cool to me, the fact that I even interviewed. It’s a historic franchise. To know you’re ever ready, I don’t know if you’re ever ready for this job. There’s no manual that you can go to. A couple years ago COVID came and you’re the general manager and we get emails on Friday night and now you’ve got to cut your staff down to 70 in the building. Again, there’s no manual, you got to be able to problem solve. It’s not just sitting in an office scouting. The best thing that happened for me was working for Brandon Beane because he didn’t come up the traditional scouting path. He can scout and he can evaluate, but he was also a director of football operations, so he dealt with the salary cap, he dealt with the training room, he dealt with sports performance, he dealt with the entire football organization. He put me in his hip pocket and taught me that side of the business that I didn’t necessarily know. Again, I could be picky — there’s only 32 of these things — but I did have – you know, Buffalo has a good roster, they have a young quarterback. I knew if I didn’t get a job, I was in a good situation, but this was a job I wanted. After that first interview on Zoom, I called my wife and said, ‘That’s a job I want. I want to go get that job. It’s right for us.’

Q: Speaking of Brandon Beane, he said of you, ‘He’s dependable, he’s never going to let you down.’ But Beane’s never seen the Giants in disarray, so how are you not going to let the fans down because this is a disgruntled fan base at this time?

A: I’m guessing whatever you do, somebody is going to be disappointed. Regardless, somebody is going to be disappointed from what I’ve seen. All I can tell you is I’m going to work as hard as I can, I’m going to get the best people in the building, I’m going to try to get the best players we can that are going to make everybody proud on and off the field. I think I believe in our process, I believe in my process and the process we’re going to implement here. I believe in the head coach that we’re going to hire. Again, we’re going to be in lockstep in the vision and we’re going to see it through. Again, we’re going to do our best. People are naturally going to be disappointed. Again, we were in Buffalo, it didn’t happen overnight. We went 9-7, Cincinnati had to make a play so we could get in the playoffs. Year two, we were 6-10 and it took until year three where we finally made the playoffs. Again, it’s going to take time. It’s not going to happen overnight.

Q: You talked about, and you’ve mentioned it a couple times with the head coach, a shared vision. What is that vision? What do you see happening here?

A: Again, what we’ll do is get together as a staff, be very clear with your defined rules that you want in each player. That makes it easier for all the scouts to go find those types of players. We’re going to want to be smart, tough and dependable. We’re going to want guys that want to do the right things – team players, selfless in the approach for a championship. We’re going to have a concerted effort through free agency, draft or whatever it is to get the right types of guys in here that have the DNA, that have talent, that have character and that have the right habits. I think if you have enough of those guys that also have talent, you’re going to have a good football team.

Q: When you inherited this team, obviously you knew the record and you knew the record for the last few years and probably the outside perception that the roster wasn’t very good. But I’m curious when you looked at it, did you evaluate the roster and think, ‘There’s more here than maybe the record indicates?’ Or is the task really as big as it looks from the outside?

A: I think when everybody was on the field together, I think there are some pieces. You watch that New Orleans game, that’s a game I reflected upon where some of their better players made good plays down the stretch. I do think there are pieces in place. Again, I think you add a young foundation through the draft. Again, I want to see progress. Obviously, there are some positions that are a little bit more devoid of talent than others. So again, we’re going to look to add talent across the board, and just to see progress and put a competitive team on the field next year is very important.

Q: In roughly about five weeks, you have free agency. In April, you have the draft. How much can you bring from Buffalo which will prepare you for those things coming up shortly?

A: Fortunately, I was able to get on the road quite a bit this year. In Buffalo, I’d already seen rounds one through four on our board, so I’m at a good spot on the college draft. I was working towards free agency. We were going to have some money over there. I probably need to catch up a little bit on free agency, but my first priority is we’ve got to get the cap down this year. Again, there will be tough decisions as I mentioned earlier, but I’m in good shape from the draft. Again, it’s a condensed timeline. When Brandon and I got to Buffalo, it was in May, so there’s 90 guys on the roster. You’ve really got to know the guys and go through camp before you made any type of decisions where it’s accelerated now because it’s January and I’ve got to make those decisions shortly. Once the staff gets here, we’ll evaluate the roster, and we’ll make the decisions accordingly. But I’m in good shape in terms of the draft. We’ll see what our needs are and start diving into the free agency.

Q: Obviously, you know the history here in terms of the last couple coaches here, two years and out. There has not been continuity. I’m curious, you’ve been a part of a good continuity situation in Buffalo where you’ve had a chance to build with the same coach. Can you address the importance of that? And when you were speaking with John and Steve in the interview process, did you get a feel for them of how important that is to set this thing back on track, so to speak?

A: I think it’s important to any organization and I think if you polled 32 teams, continuity is important. We referenced that 2018 draft where (Bills Quarterback) Josh (Allen) and (Ravens Quarterback) Lamar Jackson, they’ve had the same head coach, same offensive coordinator. Some of those other quarterbacks that were picked high, there was no continuity. Learning some of these offenses is like being dropped in a foreign country and not speaking their language. It can be totally opposite of what you had. I think continuity and, again, when I mentioned what I’m looking for in a coach, the ability to build a good staff is important. But also yes, the continuity is very important because it’s going to be hard to develop players if you’ve got one coach and three different years you’ve got a different coach. It’s hard to truly develop the players if there’s constant change. I think continuity is very important and it is a reason that teams have success.

Q: There’s been a lot written lately in the media around here about the way that the front office functions and I’m just curious, you talked about process, you talked about resources. When push comes to shove, do you have the authority to make changes in the front office if you see them as necessary?

A: Yes, if I see fit. Like I said earlier, I don’t think that’s fair to the people in the building. You give them a fair opportunity. If you haven’t had success around here, I don’t think it’s necessarily because of some of the people in the building. Maybe it’s the process. They’re not the final decision makers. Everybody’s going to be evaluated. I don’t think you have to make wholesale changes. Again, I was in those seats before when there’s change and there’s some really good people in that building and there’s some really good teammates that I had on former clubs when a new staff came in and you’ve got a chance to put your best foot forward. I’ll evaluate everybody and I’ll make decisions down the road. I don’t think you have to come in and just change everything. It’s about implementing my process and how we want to do things. Again, if you work really hard, you’re a good person and you’re a good teammate, I can work with you all day.

Q: I’m curious to see what impact Bill Parcells has had on your career and your life and whether he offered any unique advice on this job because of his connection to the team?

A: Yeah, he told me it’s the best job in the league. That was what some of the advice he gave me when I talked to him. I could go on and on about Coach. I know why he was such a good coach because he understood personnel and he understood the X’s and O’s and he was a great teacher. I got him probably on the back nine of his career. He was a constant teacher, always talking to me. I’ve said this several times, he would say, ‘You know what Tom Landry used to tell me, Joe’ – I’m just a young scout and you’re on the edge of your seat, like Tom Landry told Bill Parcells and he’s getting ready to tell me. All the stories he has, he understood personnel. Philosophically, maybe he’s a little bit different. He hasn’t evolved to where maybe the game is today, but I learned a lot from him just how to build a roster, what to look for in different positions, what to look for in head coaches. You better know what you want on your roster because coaches are going to come and go. It’s just the volatility of the industry. I love Coach to death. He’s been awesome to me. He still calls me every now and then. I can pick up my phone and call him and he’ll answer. He’s not afraid to call on a Monday after a game and give his two cents on the roster and what we need when I was in Buffalo, so a ton of respect for Coach and I love him to death.

Q: You mentioned 2002 and you’ve always held the Giants in high regard. I’m wondering what from an outside point of view now that you’re here has always led you to believe that this place has so much attraction and obviously the championship banners that you mentioned? Now, I guess is this still surreal for you to be standing up here? You said this is a job that you wanted, but having those conversations with Parcells and knowing that ‘I finally got it done and I’m standing up here.’

A: It’s definitely surreal. It still hasn’t quite hit me because we’ve been go, go, go, interviewing coaches, meeting people and trying to implement some of the processes. I don’t think it’s totally hit me yet. It’s all I know. It’s all I’ve done since I graduated on a Saturday and started with the Carolina Panthers on a Monday, so it’s been football since the day I graduated from college. I love to work hard. I’m looking forward to building a team. But just what was always said to me about the New York Giants was the ownership is amazing, there’s great people in that building, they treat people the right way and they want to win, and they did. They have won. I look forward to putting my stamp on the team and building a team that will be able to sustain success year in and year out and we compete for championships. I’m going to be given the resources to do that and ultimately that’s why this was the right job for me.

Post-Press Conference Remarks by Team President/CEO John Mara
Q: So what did you think?

A: I thought he (Joe Schoen) handled himself well. No surprises, just what we expected. He’s got a lot of poise and that was one of the things that attracted us to him.

Q: Poise and what else attracted you to him?

A: Well, I think the body of work. He started at the very bottom, worked his way up. His role in helping build the Buffalo Bills to where they are right now, he’s seen how it should be done. We’re in a similar situation to what they were in four or five years ago. I think all those things. I also think he has really strong communication skills and is going to be able to unite the building. The communication hasn’t been the greatest in the building over the last couple of years, and I think with (Senior Vice President and General Manager) Joe’s (Schoen) addition that’ll get straightened out.

Q: This might be splitting hairs a little, but you said the GM would hire the coach. Joe said it would be collaborative, so who really has the final say?

A: It’s a collaboration. Listen, he’s not going to hire anybody that we don’t want and we’re certainly not going to hire anybody that he doesn’t want. But ownership always has the final approval over any decision like that. That’s just not going to change.

Q: Is it fair to say though that he has more say than the previous general managers in that regard?

A: No, I don’t think so. Our system has always been the same. We rely on the general manager. We rely on his advice, but at the end of the day, ownership has to approve it.

Q: I asked him about this, the continuity issue just to get off of this train that you guys have been on here –

A: I’m dying to get off of this train. I hate being in the position that we’re in right now. I want continuity. I want somebody who’s going to be in the building for a long period of time. I don’t want to do another one of these press conferences for many, many years. Yes, that is a big consideration.

Q: You announced when (Former Senior Vice President and General Manger) Dave (Gettleman) retired that the new GM would oversee the head coaching staff. So is it fair to say that the new coach will be reporting to Joe?

A: Yes. That is fair to say. That’s the structure that I believe in with the head coach reporting to the general manager.

Q: Could I ask you about the process? Obviously, every GM who has come in here has said that he has a process. How is Joe’s process as he’s outlined it to you going to be different?

A: I just think his vision in how to build a team combining all the analytics and sports science and how to build a staff and different roles for each person on the staff, how he wants our scouts to act, how he wants our pro personnel department to act. I just think all those things, there’s a lot of thought that went behind that. They’ve obviously had success with it in Buffalo and we need to make some changes in how we do things around here and that was one of the big reasons why we wanted to bring somebody in from the outside that can look and see what we’re doing, see what we’re doing well, see what we’re doing poorly at and just change things to a point where everybody’s on the same page moving forward.

Q: Obviously a new GM and a new coach, those are big changes, but do you think deeper changes are needed, like more of a shakeup within the organization?

A: I think I’m going to let Joe take a look. He’s only been here for a few days. As he said, he wants to evaluate everybody. I’d like to see him do that. I think you could see some additions to our staff at some point in time, but that’ll be his call and I think he’ll do that after he’s had the chance to really evaluate more people in the building.

Q: You’ve been in all the interviews for the head coaches. First of all, is Joe really the point man for that?

A: He is. I told him that I want him to take the lead in that. You outline it any way you want. I’m going to ask questions from time to time, which I have, as has (Senior Vice President, Player Personnel) Chris (Mara), as has (Chairman and Executive Vice President) Steve (Tisch), but Joe is taking the lead in those interviews.

Q: And the two Buffalo guys, I mean, he knows them quite well.

A: Yes, he does.

Q: Is it hard to think that one of those guys could be very likely the favorite as a head coach?

A: Listen, I feel very good about the candidates that we have. I’m not going to call anybody the favorite right now.

Q: You mentioned the candidates, are they the only candidates or are there others?

A: I would say we’re concentrating on the ones that we have right now. I’m not going to rule out the possibility of somebody else entering into the mix, but right now I think we’re pretty comfortable with the group that we have.

Q: Did you offer a timetable at all to try to get this done with a coach?

A: I want to make sure that we get it right as opposed to giving you a specific timetable. But I would hope that by the beginning of next week we will have made a decision.

Q: What timeline of expectations have you talked to Joe Schoen about for winning? Are you looking at this as a process long-term?

A: I’m looking at this as a process. I haven’t told him, ‘Joe, we better make the playoffs next year, otherwise you’re out of here.’ I’m not making any statements like that. I want him to build the thing the right way and give us a chance for sustained success. I’m not giving him any specific demands for next year. Just build the team the right way.

Q: And you don’t expect a quick turnaround? You just want this thing –

A: I expect us to be a heck of lot better than four wins next year, but again, I haven’t given him any specific number that he has to achieve. Get the right coach, build the right program and let’s see some progress at the end of the season.

Q: You mentioned the coach and GM needing to be on the same page with communication and having a working relationship. One of the candidates you’re interviewing (Former Dolphins Head Coach), Brian Flores, reportedly had a power struggle with his GM in Miami. He wanted more power. What is your comfort level with that, and will there be some hard questions?

A: That’s certainly one of the things that we’re going to ask Brian. I discussed it with him briefly when I spoke to him a week ago, but we’re going to spend some time on that when he comes in tomorrow.

Q: What did you say? What did he say in his response?

A: I’m not going to go into that. It’s obviously something that we’re going to have to discuss.

Q: When you hear (Pro Football Hall of Famer) Bill Parcells said that this was the best job in the league, did that resonate with you at all?

A: It does, it does, because a lot of you out there think it’s one of the poorest jobs in the league and I get that from the turnover we’ve had recently. But I think Bill knows that we treat people the right way and I think he knows how badly we want to win. I think that’s what was behind that statement. There was no shortage of interest in this job, let me put it that way.

Q: The NFL currently only has one black head coach, and the Giants have never had one. I’m curious if that weighs on you as you’re making the decision.

A: It’s certainly something I’m aware of. At the end of the day, we want to get the right person and I think we have a good, diverse group of candidates right now. We’ll make a decision based on who we think is going to be the best person to lead us in the future. It was very important that we have a diverse group of candidates.

Q: (General Manager) Joe (Schoen) seems to have really strong support for (Quarterback) Daniel Jones, talking about building the offense around him. Is that a reflection of the entire organizational support for him even after last year and the injuries and everything else?

A: I want Joe and the new head coach to make that evaluation. We do feel that Daniel can play. We’ve done everything possible to screw this kid up since he’s been here. We keep changing coaches, keep changing offensive coordinators, keep changing offensive line coaches. I take a lot of responsibility for that, but let’s bring in the right group of coaches now and give him some continuity and try to rebuild the offensive line and then be able to make an intelligent evaluation of whether he can be the franchise quarterback or not. I have a lot of hope in Daniel, and I know how badly he wants it. I know how the players feel about him. We are certainly not giving up on him by any stretch of the imagination.

Q: Joe (Schoen) kept using the word ‘lockstep,’ him and the head coach being in lockstep. We haven’t talked to Steve (Tisch) in a while. I’m just curious, are you guys in lockstep? What’s that relationship like?

A: Steve and I have a great relationship. We talk all the time. We are in lockstep. We were both very high on Joe from the very beginning since that first interview we did, and we’ve been in agreement on every candidate so far. Our relationship is better than ever.

Q: You mentioned you’ve talked to Brian Flores. Reports said that you reached out to him. I’m curious what the purpose was for that?

A: I reached out to him because he was on…all the candidates that we interviewed for General Manager, he was on each of their lists. I see he’s been interviewing elsewhere, I just wanted to let him know that before you make a decision, just know that we have interest in you. Make whatever decision you feel like you need to make for you and your family, but just know that we do have interest in you. Once I get the general manager search done, we will be back to you, so that was the purpose of that call.

Q: I know you don’t get involved in personnel decisions unless there’s a legal situation, you said that on your Zoom a couple of weeks ago. I know there’s a lot of decisions that need to be made at quarterback. Could you rule in or rule out potentially trading for (Texans Quarterback) Deshaun Watson given his sexual assault allegations?

A: We’re not trading for Deshaun Watson.

Q: Why not?

A: There’s so many reasons why we wouldn’t do that. Cap-wise, we couldn’t afford it. But more importantly, with the allegations that are out there right now, that’s just not the right fit for us.

Q: You said you keep lists all the time, how long was Joe on your radar?

A: Honestly, not until fairly recently, and I started doing a lot of research I would say six or eight weeks ago, maybe a little longer. Just looking at the different teams that I have a great deal of respect for and looking at their personnel and Buffalo has done it the right way. So, I started making calls about Joe and others. I’m still trying to find somebody out there that will say something negative about him, and I have not found that yet. Everybody I’ve talked to about him raves about his work ethic, his evaluation skills, his communication skills. All those things that we’ve said before were really impressive. Interview with General Manager Joe Schoen (Video)

The Giants will meet with Buffalo Bills Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier for a second time on Friday. This meeting will be in person at the team’s facilities. The first interview was held virtually last Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Giants completed their in person interview with Patrick Graham, who served as the team’s defensive coordinator for the past two seasons, on Wednesday. The Giants will also interview Brian Flores on Thursday at the team’s facilities. Flores was head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2019 to 2021.

The number of candidates the Giants have interviewed or will interview currently stands at six. The other three are Buffalo Bills Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll (interviewed virtually last Friday and in person on Tuesday), Cincinnati Bengals Defensive Coordinator Lou Anarumo (interviewed virtually last Sunday), and Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn (interviewed in person on Monday).

Jan 122022
John Mara, New York Giants (January 9, 2022)

John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports

According to various press reports, the list of potential candidates for the vacant general manager position is now up to nine. The first round of interviews will be conducted by team ownership virtually via Zoom. Those involved in the interview process include team President/CEO John Mara, team Chairman/Executive Vice President Steve Tisch, and Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Chris Mara.

Wednesday interviews:

  • Joe Schoen, Assistant General Manager, Buffalo Bills
  • Adrian Wilson, Vice President of Pro Personnel, Arizona Cardinals

Thursday interviews:

  • Quentin Harris, Vice President of Player Personnel, Arizona Cardinals
  • Ryan Poles, Executive Director of Player Personnel, Kansas City Chiefs

Others who the Giants are reportedly interested in interviewing include:

  • Ryan Cowden, Vice President of Player Personnel, Tennessee Titans
  • Monti Ossenfort, Director of Player Personnel, Tennessee Titans
  • Adam Peters, Assistant General Manager, San Francisco 49ers
  • Ran Carthon, Director of Player Personnel, San Fransisco 49ers
  • Joe Hortiz, Director of Player Personnel, Baltimore Ravens

New York Giants President and Chief Executive Officer John Mara addressed the media on Wednesday (video):

Opening Statement: Good afternoon, everybody. I thought in light of the events that have taken place over the last couple of days that I would give you the opportunity to ask some questions, so let’s get it right into it and get started.

Q: You made two big changes this week – changes again. Why should Giants fans believe you will get it right this time?

A: Well, I haven’t given them any reason to believe that. It’s up to (Chairman and Executive Vice President) Steve (Tisch) and me to make the right choices going forward to earn back their trust. That is not going to be an overnight process. That’s going to take some time, but it starts with getting the general manager pick done correctly and then with hiring the right head coach. That’s going to be a process that we’re going to have to earn their trust again. As I said, that’s not going to happen overnight.

Q: How much do you look at these interviews for general managers and head coaches as package deals, as bringing one guy in with his coach?

A: There are no package deals. We want to get the general manager ideally done first and, obviously, we’ll talk about the candidates for head coach, but it’s not going to be a package deal. I want to go through a complete process here, interview as many people as possible. I don’t want to rush into anything – we made that mistake in the past. I want to make sure we get to see as many candidates as possible, ideally.

Q: Do you feel like you guys have made bad choices and you’ve identified wrong candidates or in some ways is this a failure of your process that you’ve gone through?

A: It’s probably all of the above. We haven’t necessarily made the right choices. I think looking back on our process, I wish it had been a little more extensive, that we had seen more people and maybe taken our time a little bit more with it. We’re going to try not to make that mistake this time.

Q: What is your confidence level in your ability to make the right choice? A lot of these choices the last few years have not been proven to be successful. Everything starts and stops with you. Do you feel you’re capable of making the right choice this time around?

A: I do and, obviously, I don’t expect a lot of people to believe that given what’s happened over the last few years and I’m going to have to earn their trust again. But I feel very good about the group of candidates for the general manager position that we have scheduled right now. I think any one of a number of them would make an excellent general manager, so I am confident that we have the resources to make the right choice here.

Q: I’m just curious your reaction to being in your building watching the Cowboys game where a lot of Cowboys fans showed up. Then, against Washington not a lot of fans showed up, period. How much did that impact you? As kind of a corollary, you said you rushed it a little bit last time. Do you think that there was a little bit of comfort in that it had been so long since there was a succession of front office stability since 1979?

A: Obviously, you don’t like to see visiting team fans in your building, but that’s just the way the NFL is right now. We had a lot of fans in Miami, a lot of fans in Tampa. Now, certainly it’s exacerbated by the fact that we had a poor record this year, but certainly it’s not a pleasant sight that you want to see. And, yes, we’ve gone through this process far too often in recent years after having a lot of years of stability and it’s not a fun process at all. There is nothing more painful to me than making that long walk down the hallway to tell somebody, particularly a good person like Joe (Judge), that we’re making a change. It’s gut-wrenching for me. It’s been gut-wrenching every time I’ve had to do it. Obviously, I’ve had to do it far too often lately. That’s why we’re in this process again and we’re going to get it right this time.

Q: I’m curious if there was a last straw for Joe Judge and where – if anywhere – does that 11-minute address where, as you well know, he took some veiled shots at your former coach and also a division opponent, obviously?

A: Obviously, I wasn’t thrilled with that particular press conference, but I can’t say there was one specific act that was the last straw. It was just a culmination of things. We just got to a point where I thought we had dug ourselves a hole so deep that I didn’t see a clear path to getting out of it unless we completely blew it up and started all over again with a new general manager and a new head coach. I still think that there is a really good head coach inside of Joe Judge. I just felt like given where we are right now on the verge of bringing in a new general manager, we have to give that person the flexibility to bring in the head coach that he wants. I think that was a large part of the decision here in making a change. I just felt like we really needed to just start from the ground up again.

Q: It seemed when you hired Joe, he came in and gave you a presentation which wowed you. In 20/20 hindsight, do you need to take a step after you listen to these guys and look at more closely what they’re saying?

A: Well, I think that’s a fair comment, but we did here. We did a lot of research on him as we do with all of our candidates. He did do an excellent job in that interview. Sometimes, some people interview well, some people don’t, but you have to do more research than that. I thought our process at that time was pretty thorough. We had spoken to a number of people about Joe. Listen, I still believe that there is a good head coach inside of him, but I just felt like given where we are at the moment – and certainly, certainly that is not all due to him – given where we are right now, I felt like we needed a clean sweep.

Q: For those of us old enough to remember, the back-to-back quarterback sneaks sort of brought back the memories of the (Former Giants Quarterback Joe) Pisarcik fumble and that period of time, which is obviously not a pleasant memory for you. Did that sequence really make this situation, as far as bringing him back, completely untenable? How much did that play into it?

A: Obviously, those weren’t my favorite play calls in the world. I wish we had run that back when Pisarcik was here, but that was just one minor factor in the overall scheme of things. Obviously, not what I was looking for watching the game, but you can point to any number of play calls that any of us could have second-guessed. That was a bit of a surprise, let’s put it that way.

Q: As a reference, you’ve fired a lot of people over the last couple of years, but what do you say to the fact that your brother is still Senior Vice President of Player Personnel, your nephew is Co-Director of Player Personnel and there’s a perception that there isn’t really accountability for family members who have had prominent roles during this stretch?

A: Well, that perception has been created by you and others and the reality is that, in terms of my brother, my brother spends most of his time doing evaluation of college players. His grades go into our system and he participates in the draft. All personnel decisions in this building – and this has always been the case – have been made by the general manager and the head coach. When they agree on a personnel decision, they come to me with it and as long as they’re both in agreement, I okay it. The only times I would possibly not do that is if there was an off the field conduct issue. (Senior Vice President of Player Personnel) Chris (Mara) is a very skilled evaluator, but he does not have any authority here other than the fact that I will go to him on occasion and ask him about players. (Co-Director of Player Personnel) Tim (McDonnell) is probably the most respected guy we have in this building. The coaches, front office staff, the general manager go to him and ask his advice on players because he is a good evaluator. He’s worked his way up from the bottom and he’s earned his stripes. He does not have any authority here. The personnel decisions have always been made and will always be made by the general manager and the head coach. If they agree on a draft pick, on a UFA, then I’m going to okay it 99.99 percent of the time. The only time I will raise an issue about it is if there is a conduct issue. I’ll question them about it, I’ll make them defend their positions and I’ll make sure that they’re on the same page, but at the end of the day if they’re in agreement, then that’s the decision we’re going with.

Q: You’ve done one interview; you have all these other ones you’ve lined up. How desirable is the Giants GM job when there’s no cap space, the offensive line needs work, the pass rush needs work? What is the feedback you’ve gotten? Do you feel like your job is desirable, especially at quarterback – I didn’t even mention quarterback. The quarterback situation is not solidified. How desirable is the job do you feel?

A: All I can tell you is based on the number of inquiries that I have had from prospective candidates; we’re not going to be able to interview even 20 percent of all them. This is a very desirable job. We happen to have a lot of draft capital coming up. I think this is an organization that people want to work for, so I’ve been heartened by the fact that so many people have expressed an interest and including people who are very talented and who have a legitimate shot at getting the job. We haven’t been turned down by anybody yet.

Q: If I can just follow up on your answer before about Chris and Tim and everyone, and also then ask you how you guys came up with the list of GM candidates – but I’m curious, do you think that them being part of ownership doesn’t though hold maybe more sway than if it was somebody else?

A: More sway in terms of what?

Q: In regard to when they make a recommendation on a player. I know it just goes into the system like everyone else, but they’re not anybody else. They’re actually part of ownership.

A: I do not think it holds any more sway. That has not been my experience here. I listen to them, but there are many voices in this building. But the only two voices at the end of the day that matter are the head coach and the general manager. They make the final determination. They listen to them because they recognize their evaluation skills, but there are other people in the building who have evaluation skills as well and who have voices as well. But they do not have undue influence on the final decisions that are made here. They absolutely do not.

Q: How did you come up with the list for GM candidates and who is involved in that process?

A: I mean, that’s something that – I’ve said this before – I’m always conscious of personnel around the league. I always keep a list of possible head coaches, possible general managers. I look at the successful teams, at what they’re doing. I have a lot of people around the league that I talk to whose opinions I respect. At the end of the day, Steve and I put together the list.

Q: Is this your lowest moment in your [inaudible] with the Giants? Is this as embarrassed as you’ve been about the franchise?

A: Honestly, I would have to say yes. Yes, it is. I kept thinking during the season that we had hit rock bottom and then each week it got a little worse. Honestly, I’m not proud of saying this, but if I’m going to be 100 percent honest, I would have to say the answer is yes.

Q: You say Chris doesn’t have any authority, but he was one of only three people along with yourself and Steve interviewing your first GM candidate. Do you think you, Chris and other family members need to take a step back from the football operations and dramatically change the way you operate on a daily basis in order to see this fixed?

A: Well, what we need to do is hire the right general manager to oversee the football operations and that’s what this process is about. You make it sound like we’re having undue influence on the football operations here. I’ve said this repeatedly, for whatever reason you guys keep asking me about it, it’s the general manager and the head coach that are the most important people in this building in terms of making personnel decisions. Chris is in those interviews because he’s part of ownership and I value his opinion; I value his skills and I want him in there. At the end of the day, I’ll listen to him, but it will be Steve Tisch and myself who make the final decision.

Q: In the past, you’ve admitted that there were some mistakes made in the 2018 and 2019 off-seasons. I’m curious if you regret bringing Dave (Gettleman) back these last two years and why you feel that it was the right decision to let him close out the season as your general manager as opposed to getting a head start on things.

A: Well, listen, I thought that at the end of last season, we finished 5-3, I thought that the arrow was pointing up, I thought we were moving in the right direction. I thought that the communication at that end of the building was good and for whatever reason, things went haywire this year. Everybody got hurt between training camp and the early part of the season and things just went downhill from there. We reached a point where I just think we need to hit the reset button and get a fresh start. That’s why we made the decision that we did.

Q: You said in the past that stability is always a goal for you and your franchise, which obviously hasn’t been the case over the last few years. I’m wondering if you think that that will be a concern among the candidates for coach and GM about how much you really are willing to commit to their plan? Also, if you feel like you need to force yourself to be a little bit more patient this time around and endure the down parts a little bit better?

A: I certainly think that it will be a factor that some of these candidates will consider and that’s something that we’re going to have to overcome in these interviews. In terms of forcing myself, I wanted to do that very badly this year, but I just didn’t see any end in sight. I just thought that we had reached a point where I didn’t see a clear path to making significant progress and just thought, as I said before, that we needed to hit the reset button.

Q: Will the new general manager have full authority to hire whichever head coach he wants without any say from you? And will he have full authority to do whatever he wants with (Quarterback) Daniel Jones without any say from you?

A: He will lead the search for head coach, but those decisions always are subject to final approval by ownership. In terms of Daniel or (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) or anyone else you want to ask me, that’s going to be between the general manager and the head coach.

Q: Why did you let Dave Gettleman retire instead of firing him later in the season to get a head start on the general manager search?

A: Well, it would not necessarily have given me a head start. The only people I would have been allowed to speak to would be people who are on the street right now. Quite frankly, our top candidates are people who are all employed right now, so it really would not have given us any advantage. I didn’t see any need to do that earlier than when he announced his retirement.

Aug 172021
John Mara, New York Giants (July 29, 2021)

John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants held their 15th full-team summer training camp practice on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

In an effort to reach the current 85-man roster limit, the New York Giants terminated the contracts of running back Alfred Morris and safety Chris Milton. The team also placed cornerback Jarren Williams on Injured Reserve with a quad injury.

The Giants also traded cornerback Isaac Yiadom to the Green Bay Packers for cornerback Josh Jackson.

The 6’1”, 190-pound Yiadom was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. The Giants traded a 7th-round pick to the Broncos for Yiadom in early September 2020. Yiadom eventually won the starting corner spot opposite of James Bradberry, playing in all 16 games with 10 starts (58 percent of all defensive snaps). He finished the year with 46 tackles, 0.5 sacks, five pass defenses, and one forced fumble.

The 25-year old, 6’0”, 196-pound Jackson was drafted in the 2nd-round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Packers. In three seasons with the Packers, Jackson played in 42 regular-season games with 15 starts, including five in 2020. Last year, he was credited with 24 tackles and two pass defenses.

The Giants signed Morris to the Practice Squad in late September 2020 and the 53-man roster in November 2020. Morris ended up playing in nine games for the Giants with no starts, carrying the ball 55 times for 238 yards (4.3 yards per rush). The 5’10”, 222-pound Morris was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He has spent time with the Redskins (2012-2015), Dallas Cowboys (2016-2017, 2019), San Francisco 49ers (2018), and Arizona Cardinals (2019).

The Giants signed Milton in March 2021 after he was cut by the Tennessee Titans in February. The 5’11”, 190-pound Milton was originally signed as undrafted rookie free agent by the Indianapolis Colts after the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent three seasons with the Colts before being signed by the Titans after he was cut. In all, Milton has played in 55 regular-season games, with one start, accruing 35 tackles, two pass defenses, and recovering one fumble.

The 5’10”, 187-pound Williams was signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. The Giants signed signed Williams in early August 2020 after he was waived by the Cardinals. He spent most of the year on the Practice Squad, but did play in two games exclusively on special teams.

TE Kyle Rudolph (foot) and CB Aaron Robinson (core muscle) remain on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.

WR Kenny Golladay (hamstring), WR John Ross (hamstring?), WR Dante Pettis (unknown), WR Austin Mack (hamstring), and S Montre Hartage (unknown) did not practice on Tuesday. 

RB Saquon Barkley (knee), WR Kadarius Toney (unknown), OLB Lorenzo Carter (calf), and OLB Elerson Smith (hamstring) were limited.

Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Giants held a light practice in shorts and upper pads.
  • RB Saquon Barkley wore a red, non-contact jersey during 7-on-7 drills.
  • QB Daniel Jones was very sharp in practice, throwing multiple touchdown passes to a variety of receivers.
  • WR David Sills caught three touchdown passes from QB Daniel Jones, including one time beating CB James Bradberry.
  • WR Darius Slayton made a nice catch in the corner of the end zone against CB Adoree’ Jackson on a well-thrown pass by QB Daniel Jones. Jones connected with Slayton on two more touchdowns.
  • In team drills, WR Sterling Shepard made a twisting, leaping touchdown catch on a pass from QB Daniel Jones.
  • WRs Alex Bachman and Matt Cole also caught touchdowns.
  • LB Tae Crowder intercepted a deflected pass from QB Daniel Jones.

The transcript of John Mara’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at

The transcript of Dave Gettleman’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at

    Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at

    A video clip compilation of the media sessions with the following New York Giants assistant coaches on Thursday is available at

    • Quarterbacks Coach Jerry Schuplinski
    • Running Backs Coach Burton Burns
    • Wide Receivers Coach Tyke Tolbert
    • Offensive Line Coach Rob Sale
    • Defensive Line Coach Sean Spencer
    • Linebackers Coach Kevin Sherrer
    • Defensive Backs Coach Jerome Henderson


    Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at

    With the New York Giants traveling to Cleveland, there is no media access to the team on Wednesday. The Giants will hold joint practices with the Browns on Thursday and Friday.

    Jul 272021
    Joe Judge, New York Giants (September 14, 2020)

    Joe Judge – © USA TODAY Sports

    While New York Giants rookies, quarterbacks, first-year players, and rehabbing injured players reported to team facilities last week, the rest of the team reported today at East Rutherford, New Jersey. The first summer training camp practice will be held on Wednesday morning at 9:30 AM. Practices are not open to the public this year.

    Right now, our players are still completing their physicals,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “We’ve had some team meetings in terms of some of the medical meetings and some of the logistics that go along with reporting day. Then, this afternoon, we’ll transition back over to football and get ready for tomorrow’s practice.”

    The following players remain on various PUP and reserve lists:

    • Reserve/COVID-19 List: LB Blake Martinez and S Joshua Kalu were placed on the list today.
    • Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List: RB Saquon Barkley (knee), TE Kyle Rudolph (foot), RT Matt Peart (back), OC Jonotthan Harrison (hamstring), LB Oshane Ximines (hamstring), and CB Aaron Robinson (core muscle)
    • Reserve/Non-Football Injury (NFI) List: LB Reggie Ragland (hamstring), LB Ryan Anderson (back) and RB Sandro Platzgummer (hamstring)
    • Injured Reserve: RB Taquan Mizzell (hamstring)

    WR Kadarius Toney was officially removed from the Reserve/COVID-19 List today.

    “(Toney is)  with us today in the building, so he’s back with us. We have a number of (COVID) guys for different reasons that we’re actually going to take them a little bit slower,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “Obviously, coming off of that protocol as we learned last year with the number of players on our team throughout the season, we’re going to go and move them around the field and make sure that he’s ready to go, then we’ll start integrating with our team. We’re not going to go ahead and rush anything to get in the process. He’ll be in the meetings with all of our players. He’ll be able to go out there and operate in some of the – some of the meetings we get a little bit more on our feet. But in terms of practice itself, we’re not going to do anything with him on the field with the team until we know he’s fully ready to go. His timetable will be different, I’m sure, than a lot of the guys last year that we learned from. One thing we really took away from last year was these things are all very specific to each person, what their symptoms were or what their exposure was, but that time away from training is what’s critical.

    I’d say, with all the guys that are on PUP, we just took the approach of anybody who’s not 100 percent from day one that we’re going to put them on the PUP list. This wasn’t anything unique to one player, just an approach we’re taking with every player. With the PUP list, we can pull them off at any point. We’re optimistic with all the players that are on it currently, they’re all working with our training staff and making a lot of progress. I’m not going over any one person’s individual injury at this moment, but I’ve got a lot of confidence in the way that he’s working and going day by day.”

    The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at

    Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at

    The New York Giants practice Wednesday morning (9:30-11:30AM). Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media.


    Mar 312021
    John Mara, New York Giants (December 13, 2020)

    John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports

    New York Giants President and Chief Executive Officer John Mara addressed the media on Wednesday (video):

    Q: I know we talked before the season last year about off the field issues and how do you evaluate prospects and what have you moving forward. I’m curious about the challenges in draft season under these circumstances when you’re not getting the time that you’d like to vet prospects face to face. From your perspective, how do you guide the personnel department, the coaching staff, in terms of taking chances on players that may have red flags?

    A: It’s a little more of a challenge for sure, but you’re still allowed the Zoom interviews and those are helpful, and you can certainly do your own background work on these guys – you can do your research, you can talk to their college coaches, to people that are on the football staff. All of our scouts have connections at different schools, so there’s still a lot of research you can do with these guys. It’s certainly not as good as talking to them face to face in your building, but it’s something that all the teams have to deal with, so it’s doable. I thought last year we did a good job with it and we got some really quality people.

    Q: What is your expectation for the cap in 2022?

    A: Not sure yet. That’s going to depend on a lot of things – certainly will be higher – but that’s going to depend on a lot of factors including whether we’re going to have a significant number of people in the building this year and in all of the buildings around the league. It’s too early to make any projections on that.

    Q: How much did the spending this offseason kind of bake in the fact that you are expecting a jump if not next year, then in the future?

    A: Well, we’re desperately hoping that we’re going to have more revenue to work with and that the cap will be a little bit higher because, yes, we did obviously spend a lot of money and we pushed some money into future years to be sure to create some additional space. Certainly, we’re hoping that our revenues will be up and we believe that they will be, given the rollout of the vaccines and whatnot, but we’re certainly a long way from making any predictions on that yet.

    Q: You saw [Head Coach] Joe Judge up close this recruiting cycle. What did you sense? You guys really wanted to get these big players in the building, which is kind of like a throwback to years ago. What did you see from your whole operation, especially from Joe, once you got these guys in the building? You know what he is in certain things, but maybe not as a recruiter. Kind of assess his recruiting style a little bit.

    A: I think the word I would use is ‘thorough.’ I mean, even before guys came into the building he did a lot of background checks with former colleagues of his, other coaches around the league or college coaches that he has a relationship with, so he knew a lot about these players before they walked in the building. [WR] Kenny Golladay, for example, I mean Joe went to dinner with him the night before and then had him in the office the next day for an extended period of time, really got to know him, so I think it was a very thorough process. We had a number of people in the building sit with these players, specifically with Golladay and [CB] Adoree’ Jackson, so we got a pretty good understanding of what they’re about and that, to me, was a big advantage. It’s much more difficult to do this when you can’t get the guys in the building and you have to make a commitment to a large amount of money without getting a chance to eye them up and talk to them and get a feel for them. I was happy that we were able to do that this year. It made it easier to give the final okay to say, ‘Yeah, go ahead, get the thing signed.’

    Q: Last year, there was a lot of preaching about patience, rebuilding, the process here kind of with a long-term view, but the kind of spending you guys did recently in free agency puts a lot of pressure on this year. Do you expect to make the playoffs this year like spending this kind of money would seem to indicate? And what accounts for maybe the shift from a long-term, rebuild view to so much emphasis on 2021?

    A: You know, I think you have to seize the opportunities when they present themselves to you. The big money that we spent recently were on two young players that we think can be here for a while. And in terms of whether I expect to make the playoffs – look, I go into every season expecting to make the playoffs. Unfortunately, I’ve been wrong the last five years, but I always expect us to make the playoffs and expect us to be in contention at some point. In terms of the money we spent this year, I mean, there were opportunities that presented themselves, particularly at positions of need with quality players and guys that we did a lot of research on, so we took advantage of the opportunities and hopefully they’ll pay off.

    Q: How involved has Steve Tisch been recently? Has he been involved in these owners’ meetings? How has he been involved in this free agency cycle, this offseason, etc.?

    A: He’s been involved in the owners’ meetings and I’ve had a number of conversations with him, as have other people in the building, so he’s been fully aware of what’s been going on and has given his opinion. He has continued to be involved, yes.

    Q: Hey John, you’ve mentioned a few times in the past, talking at the end of the season about telling fans to be patient. What message does this free agency spending spree send to your fan base?

    A: Well, I think it’s just that we’re committed to doing whatever we have to do to put a winning team on the field. As I’ve said before, there were opportunities that presented themselves to add quality young players that were highly regarded, that we think can make an impact and also were positions of need, so we took advantage of them. I think you can’t do that every year, but when the opportunity presents itself I think you have to seize it and I think that’s what we did this year. We think it will pay off, but time will tell. We’re certainly not a finished product by any stretch of imagination. We need to add some more pieces in the draft, but I do like the direction that we’re going in.

    Q: The media kicker comes into effect with the adding of the 17th game for next year’s salary cap, correct?

    A: That’s correct.

    Q: On the international marketing plan that you all just approved, what is your general sense of what that opportunity is? Is that more appropriately characterized as sort of an incremental, experimental thing or do you think there’s real revenue in the short term for the league and teams in this plan? And then also, where are the Giants looking, if anywhere, overseas?

    A: We’re having some discussions about that. I don’t see us jumping into that right now – we’re more focused on the opportunities in our local market – but I do think it is a long-term revenue opportunity for the league and for clubs, no question about it. Our focus right now is on our local market, on getting people into the building, getting our inventory sold and improving the team. Will we look at that at some point in the future? Yeah, I would say that’s possible, but that’s not our focus right now.

    Q: What are the benchmarks you need to see from [Quarterback] Daniel Jones this coming year and how tied is [General Manager] Dave Gettleman’s future to the future of Daniel Jones and his development?

    A: Well, I think they’re kind of two separate questions. Listen, we think the world of Daniel in this building, I think I’ve said that publicly before, I know our coaches feel very strongly about him. We want to see him take the next step. I don’t have any specific benchmarks other than let’s win some more games. I think he will have a better team around him this year than he’s had in previous years, so we certainly expect him to take the next step, but I’m not going to put any specific benchmarks on him right now. I just want to see him continue to improve because I do think he has what it takes to be a long-term winner in this league.

    Q: How much of the spending, especially on Kenny Golladay and then bringing in [Wide Receiver] John Ross, was motivated around facilitating him taking that next step?

    A: Well, I think that’s part of it, for sure, but you have two guys – Golladay has obviously put up some great numbers in this league and John Ross is somebody who has some unique speed and we think maybe we might hit on him as well. So I think surrounding Daniel with more weapons was certainly a priority coming into this offseason, but that would be true no matter who the quarterback is. You always want to put as many weapons on the field as possible. It’s becoming more and more of a passing league, and we saw an opportunity to add some guys who have some unique talent and hopefully it’ll pay off for us.

    Q: I know this team means everything to you, it’s been in your blood for your entire life. What would it mean to you personally to turn this thing around in a meaningful way and to get this team headed back for a Super Bowl?

    A: Obviously, it would mean the world to me. It’s been a very difficult four or five year period for us and I’m tired of the losing and of having the postseason press conference trying to explain what went wrong and why I think we’re making progress. It’s time for us to start winning some more and that’s one of the reasons we spent the money we did. I do think we’re making progress here. We’ve added more players, it’s definitely a better locker room than we’ve had in a while and I think Joe has done a terrific job instilling a certain culture here. The players believe in him and the fans seem to believe in him, too, so I think we’re moving in the right direction. But, obviously, it’s been brutal the last few years and we’re looking forward to turning it around and not having to make excuses for why we haven’t done it.

    Q: Your personal belief in Joe as the best coach for this team?

    A: I think I said it at the end of the year. What he was able to do last year as a brand new head coach in this league at his age and not having any offseason program or any on-field activity, no preseason games, you just jump right into Week One, and we only won six games, but I just sense a different feeling from the players. They believe in his message and in his program. You can see that in team meetings, you can see that on the practice field, you could see that in their effort, so now is the time to just start winning more games. I think he showed us a lot last year, so now it’s time to take the next step.

    Q: Hey John, the last time you guys spent like this in free agency obviously was 2016, which led to a playoff berth, but obviously didn’t work out great in the long term. Why do you believe this is different this year? And because of that 2016 experience, did you have to be convinced to be big players in free agency?

    A: My feeling whenever we go into a free agency period – and I tell our people this – I don’t care how much money we spend or how much cash we spend, just make sure it’s the right guys that we’re bringing into the building. Make sure it’s the right guys and that’s why being able to bring Kenny Golladay and Adoree’ Jackson into the building and for our people to have that much access to them and to do the research on them was so vitally important. It made it, quite frankly, an easy decision to me. My only concern is, what’s the cap effect and how is it going to hamstring us in the future? We think we’ll be able to manage that going forward, but the critical thing for me was bringing them into the building, having the thorough process that we had, all the research that was done on them and then having the conviction of so many people in the building about those two individuals, and [Tight End] Kyle Rudolph as well and also the other guys that we signed.

    Q: You guys have been known to be one of the more traditionally conservative teams medically with guys. A lot of the guys you signed this offseason, they missed a lot of games the last couple of years. How did that factor into your decision this offseason to make all those splashes and do it with guys that, quite frankly, missed a ton of games last year?

    A: That was certainly an important factor and that’s why it was so critical that they take complete physicals and that we have our medical people take a good look at them and make sure that they were over whatever injuries they had and were able to be healthy players for us in 2021. I was satisfied at the end of the day that we had done that. I was convinced, particularly in Kenny’s case and also in Adoree’s case, that they were healthy and would be expected to contribute fully in 2021, but that’s a huge thing when you’re laying out that kind of money. You have to make sure that these guys are healthy. We believe that they are and time will tell.

    Q: Was this your plan? You had three big-money signings, over $100 million in guarantees. Was that the plan going in or did you sort of pivot at some point?

    A: It wasn’t necessarily the plan coming in. We knew we had some room to operate with, we knew we had some needs. We wanted to see who was going to be available. If the right opportunity presented itself, then we’ll spend the money. If not – the one thing we said at the beginning of the process is we’re not going to spend just for the sake of spending, it has to be the right opportunity, it has to be the right individual. I think in all the cases, they were the right individual, so it made it a much easier decision to give the okay to go ahead and spend the money. But I can’t say we came in expecting to spend $100 million or whatever the final figure was. I say it in every year, just make sure it’s the right guy, it’s the right individual, it’s the right fit, they’re healthy and that we can manage the cap situation going forward, and I think we’ll be able to do all those things.

    Q: Would you like to get something done contract-wise, ideally with [Running Back] Saquon [Barkley] this offseason or do you want to see how he responds from his knee injury first?

    A: I certainly think we’re not in any hurry to do that. We fully expect him to be as good as new. I mean, if anybody is going to spend 100 percent of his efforts to rehab, it will be Saquon just knowing what type of motivation he has and desire he has. But we’re not in any hurry to do that at this point in time, particularly after the money we just spent. But listen, I said it at the end of the season and I’ll say it again, we hope he’s going to be a Giant for life and at the appropriate time we’ll start those discussions.

    Q: You talk about wanting to win and you’re expecting to win more. If this team does not produce more in 2021, will Dave Gettleman be your GM in 2022?

    A: I’m not going to speculate on that right now, let’s just see how the season plays out. I have more confidence going into this season than I’ve had in previous years, so hopefully given the money that we spent, given the draft we expect to have, we’ll have a better team on the field this year.

    Q: [Minnesota Vikings Defensive Lineman] Dalvin Tomlinson obviously left, homegrown guy, captain. [Washington Football Team Safety] Landon Collins left a couple years ago, homegrown guy, captain. Do you worry about what that sends the locker room about guys doing things right and not getting extensions? To that end, [Safety] Jabrill [Peppers], [Tight End Evan] Engram, Saquon are up for extensions. Do you need to be proactive about getting those guys signed?

    A: I do worry about that, I really do. I loved Landon Collins and Dalvin Tomlinson, those were two great players and they were great people in the building. It broke my heart to see them go, but at the end of the day you have to make a cold hard business decision, can you afford to devote that much cap space to this particular player? But I am very cognizant of the message that it sends out, but you can’t pay everybody. We do have some important players that will be coming up for extensions pretty soon, so that is something that’s always in the back of my mind. Listen, that played into the decision not to trade those individuals either when the trade deadline came around and we’re still fighting to salvage the rest of our season. Maybe it would’ve been a better idea to try to trade one of them and pick up a draft pick. One of the things I was concerned about was the message that it sends, but I think players for the most part understand that you just can’t pay everybody and you have to make some very tough business decisions. But those two in particular were two of the toughest ones that we’ve had to make for many, many years and they were particularly upsetting to me because I hated to see those two guys walk out of the building.

    Q: Hey John, you mentioned in the article with Ian [O’Connor] in the New York Post earlier this week that you were even on the phone with Kenny recruiting him a little bit. I’m curious as to how you would characterize your role this year in free agency versus years past.

    A: I would say pretty much the same. I let the football people do the work on that, do the recruiting. One of the things we did a little bit different this year is we had some players involved in the recruiting effort as well, which I think was very effective. But I did call up Kenny and tell him how I thought he’d be a great fit for our organization. I talked to him about the resources that we have here to help him develop not only as a player, but as a man and I thought he could really be helpful to us. So, I did a little bit of recruiting with him, but I think by the time I got to him it sounded to me like his mind was already made up, so I’m not going to take any credit for that. I think our staff did a great job in that recruitment process and we were happy to get it done at the end of the day.

    Q: Did you feel any more urgency once you made that decision that you were going to go to certain lengths to get a little bit more involved?

    A: Actually, Joe had asked me at some point to make a call to Kenny in particular, which I was happy to do and would’ve done anyway probably, so I did feel some sense of urgency. We didn’t want to lose him. We thought he’d be a vital piece to what we want to accomplish going forward. To have a receiver with that skill set alongside the guys we already have we thought would be a huge piece for us. It also takes pressure off of us going into the draft. We don’t have to take a receiver in round one or round two, we can sit there and just take the best player available when it comes to our spot. I think that’s another reason why it was so important to us.

    Q: Hey John, what do you and your organization need to do to have a full house of fans at games? I know Roger Goodell mentioned yesterday he’d like to see all teams with full houses next year?

    A: I think we’ve been in close communication with the Governor’s office here. I’ve had a number of discussions with them and we’ll continue to work closely with them as the vaccinations continue to roll out. Hopefully, the positivity rate will decrease in future months, but we’ll be guided by certainly the Governor’s office. We’re hopeful of having a full stadium next year, that would be a huge plus for our players, for our fans and for our organization, and obviously that is something that we have to work with the Governor’s office on. As I said, we’ve been in close communication with them for the last year really, going back to last March.

    Q: The owners voted unanimously to give [Washington Football Team Owner] Dan Snyder a debt waiver to buy out his limited partners. I assume no bank is going to loan him a lot of money if there’s a material judgement pending against him. How confident are you that the league won’t find any wrongdoing in his handling of the front office issues there?

    A: I really don’t have an answer for that. I’ve not been involved in that process. I’m just glad it was settled between Dan and the minority partners so that they can move ahead, but I don’t have any comment on that investigation. I’ve not been a part of it and I don’t have any information on it.

    The Arizona Cardinals have signed New York Giants unrestricted free agent quarterback Colt McCoy. The contract is reportedly a 1-year deal.

    McCoy easily won the back-up quarterback spot for the Giants in 2020 and ended up playing in four games with two starts, completing 60.6 percent of his passes for 375 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. The 6’1”, 212-pound McCoy was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He has spent time with the Browns (2010-2012), San Francisco 49ers (2013), and Washington Redskins (2014-2019). The Giants signed McCoy as an unrestricted free agent from the Redskins in March 2020. In 11 NFL seasons, McCoy has only started 30 games, 21 of which came with the Browns in 2010-2011. 

    Jan 072021
    John Mara, New York Giants (December 13, 2020)

    John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports

    New York Giants President and Chief Executive Officer John Mara addressed the media on Wednesday (video):

    Opening Statement: Good morning everybody. Let me just start out by saying how proud I am of our staff, our entire organization and particularly our players for the way they handled this past season. The effort and patience and discipline and sacrifice that everybody went through, not seeing their families and all of the protocols that kept changing seemingly on a weekly basis. We were able to get through and play the whole season with relatively few bumps in the road, and that was no small feat.

    In terms of the season itself, looking back a year ago, I can tell you that we’re very pleased with the selection that we made at head coach. I thought Joe (Judge) did a very good job considering what he had to deal with. When you think about it, here you have a brand new head coach at 38 years of age and look what he was asked to deal with: a pandemic, no offseason program, no minicamps, no preseason games, virtual meetings, protocols that kept changing, and he loses his best player in Week 2. I thought he showed great leadership and great adaptability. Nothing seemed to faze him during the year. If something had to change, he just made the change and went from there. I thought he showed real leadership, grit and determination the entire time. I thought he represented our franchise very well, the way I want our head coach to represent our franchise. I thought he established a great foundation and a great culture here. I know that culture word is overused, but I think it’s so important and I think we have the beginnings of a very good culture here. I also thought that he and Dave (Gettleman) worked very well together. All of our personnel decisions I thought improved significantly this year. They were able to agree on basically every decision that we made. I thought our draft was solid, our free agency moves were solid, and I think we have the foundation for something that could be very successful going forward.

    Obviously, I’m not pleased with the number of games we won. I’m disappointed that we couldn’t do better than 6-10. But I do see progress in the building here. I think that the quality of people that we have in the locker room has improved a great deal. I think we have some great leaders down there. I think we’ve established a basis for a foundation that can have continued success going forward. I’m excited about the future of this team. I think the fact that we went 5-3 over the second half of the season gives me some reason for encouragement. I’m obviously disappointed we didn’t make the playoffs. We had every opportunity to do that only needing one more game, and we didn’t get that done. But I think what I wanted to see this year was some progress and some reason for some optimism going forward, and I did see that and that’s what I’m optimistic about what we can do in the future. With that, I’m happy to take whatever questions you have.

    Q: Back in September, you didn’t want to put a win total on this season. You cited a vision that you wanted to create with Joe and obviously what you just said in your opening statement. I’m curious how much of it is a leap of faith compared to what you’ve done in the last couple of years following losing seasons? How much is it tangible? Is there tangible evidence that you’ve seen beyond the record that you could describe as to why you’re as confident in this season, maybe more so than you were in the last couple years?

    A: I think it’s both of that. I think there’s always a certain leap of faith when you’re coming off a season when you only won six games. But just the quality of the players that we have in the locker room, the fact that they all seemed to buy in to Joe’s philosophy and Joe’s message. The effort was really good all year long, the discipline was really good all year long. I just think there’s a different feeling in the building now then there has been in a number of years, and I think that’s why I’m optimistic going forward.

    Q: You didn’t actually come out and make an announcement today that Dave Gettleman is coming back as general manager. Is that because that was not a decision that you made, it was just something that was naturally happening? Why is Dave coming back for another year as general manager?

    A: He is coming back if you want a formal announcement about that. I don’t think there was any particular reason why we didn’t make any formal announcement. I think the way Dave and Joe worked together, I thought our personnel decisions were really sound this year. I feel better about our roster than I have in years, and I think the two of them working together have started the building process with something that can have sustained success going forward. I just didn’t think that making a change at this point in time was something that was going to be beneficial. I said they worked really well together, and I’m really pleased with the players that they brought in here. I think that gives us a chance going forward.

    Q: Is there any change to the structure at all? Or this is the same structure that it’s always been? There was some speculation of Joe’s going to have a lot more power now or something.

    A: It’s the same structure it’s always been. The general manager and head coach collaborate on personnel decisions. What I’ve been really pleased about is, now they haven’t agreed 100 percent of the time. My father used to have a saying, ‘if you both agree all the time, then I don’t need both of you.’ I haven’t had to intercede on one occasion to break any ties. They managed to talk it through and work it out, showed good communication and at the end of the day, the decision that gets made is the New York Giants’ decision. It’s not Joe’s decision or Dave’s decision. They collaborate really well together, and that’s one of the reasons why, again, I’m optimistic about our future.

    Q: I know you’re happy here with the progress and optimistic about the future, but my question is how long do the fans need to wait for a winning team to emerge?

    A: Hopefully not too much longer because I can’t wait too much longer quite frankly. I’m tired of sitting up here at the end of the year trying to explain what went wrong and why I feel optimistic about the future. I want to do it after a winning season. I do believe that we have the right people in the building, we have a much better locker room than we’ve ever had before, and I think there’s reason for optimism. I feel good about the way the personnel decisions were made this year. We have some opportunities now in the draft and in free agency to improve the roster even further. I think if our fans continue to stay patient with us, that they will see a winning team pretty soon.

    Q: I have two questions related to the NFC East. The first is did you reach out to Eagles ownership at all, either before Joe said what he said or after about how they handled their last game? The second one is in evaluating your season, did you have to take into account the reason you were playing meaningful games in December was the rest of the division struggled so much? You guys would have been four games out of first in any other division.

    A: The answer to your first question is no, I did not reach out to the Eagles organization either before or after. The reason we didn’t make the playoffs is we didn’t win enough games. We had to win one more game to get into the playoffs. That’s on us. We can’t blame that on anybody else. I’m very conscious of where the division was this year, what the final record was. But I think you’ll see a much stronger division next year. Listen, we didn’t win enough games, but I do feel like we’re making progress. Some people may dispute that, and time will tell if I’m right or not. But I believe very strongly we did make enough progress to warrant staying the course with the people we have in the building.

    Q: I have two questions also. The first is what was the season like for you watching games in empty stadiums and in your empty stadium?

    A: It was a very strange feeling, and not a good one and not one I hope to repeat. Just coming into our stadium and not feeling any energy from the crowd I think was pretty difficult. Hopefully that’s not going to be the case next year. It was an eerie feeling each week walking into, really every stadium you’d walk into, even those that had limited capacity. It just didn’t feel the same. It’s just not the same having your fans there to support you. I think the players feed off that energy, and not having that I think hurt us this year.

    Q: My second question is Joe has obviously expressed his conviction about Daniel (Jones) as the quarterback moving forward. Do you share that and why?

    A: I do share that. I think Daniel before he got hurt was playing really well during that winning streak that we had. Then he got hurt, I think it was in Cincinnati, and then he wasn’t quite the same for the next few weeks. I thought he played very well this past Sunday, and also played well in the Baltimore game. Our coaches, all of them, are very high on Daniel, and I feel the same way. I think he has what it takes to lead us to where we want to go.

    Q: I just wanted to circle back to the decision with Dave real quick. I understand you say you’re seeing progress with him and Joe, but what do you say to fans who say in his third year, you guys won six games, then in three years, you won 15 and they just feel that’s not enough progress?

    A: I can understand that and there’s no defending the record. There’s no defending that at all. We haven’t won enough games. But listen, we made some miscalculations in 2018 with some of our personnel decisions. But I think the last two years, particularly this past year, we’ve seen significant improvement. I just felt like to break that up now and bring in somebody new from the outside was not going to be beneficial for us. I think Dave and Joe work very well together. Our personnel decisions I think were very sound, and I have every reason to think that will be the case going forward.

    Q: You mentioned 2018, this notion has kind of been out there that there was a mandate from ownership that you had to make one more run with Eli (Manning). Is that true?

    A: That’s absolute nonsense. We have never made any such orders or directions whatnot. I want the general manager and the coach to agree on the roster and the players that should be on the roster. I’ll give my opinion, but I want them to have a conviction about it going forward. Listen, we definitely made some miscalculations in a number of areas in 2018. But it was never any direction from ownership one way or another.

    Q: Is there any kind of contract extension going on with Dave, or are you leaving his contract situation as is?

    A: I don’t comment on people’s contracts and how much longer they have or anything. I’m not going to start by doing that now.

    Q: If you consider this year progress, then what is your barometer for progress for Dave as general manager and for your team in 2021?

    A: Well, I’d like to see our team win more games. I’d like to see us get back into the playoffs, but I’m not ever going to set a minimum number of games that we have to win or make any kind of determination like that. Again, I want to feel at the end of next year that we’ve taken a significant step forward. It’s not another six-win season or something like that. We need to win more games. But I’m not going to give you a required minimum.

    Q: How did you weigh or count the facts that mistakes that Dave has made as GM, including DeAndre Baker, Golden Tate, I’m not going to list all of them, but do you connect those mistakes with your 6-10 record this year from the previous two years? Why do you not think that’s an indictment of the general manager?

    A: You used the word indictment. We made some miscalculations in 2018, and I think we, to a certain extent, paid for that this year by not having some of those players available. No question about it. I thought in 2019, things got a little bit better. Certainly, this past offseason, I thought the personnel decisions that we made, both in the draft and in free agency, were significantly better. I like the combination that we have here right now. I didn’t see any reason to break that up.

    Q: How much did you even contemplate making a change at general manager?

    A: I really didn’t contemplate that. Listen, when you go through a season, any season, your feelings change from week to week depending on how you’re doing. I certainly didn’t feel very good midway through the season when we were sitting there at 1-7. I kept thinking that I’m seeing a team that’s practicing hard, I’m seeing a good attitude out there, nobody’s quitting, but where are the results? Where are the results? Then we started to win a little bit in the second half of the season and things started to look a little bit better. I just like the feeling we have in the locker room. I went to more team meetings than I ever had in the past. Players are so attentive and so tuned in to the message that’s coming from the head coach. It just seemed like we were on the right track. Now we just have to win some games to prove that we’re on the right track. We did a little bit better in the second half of the season. Then Daniel gets hurt, and I think that certainly hurt us a little bit. I think the fact that we did go 5-3 in the second half of the season gave me some reason for some optimism about what we have in the locker room. Obviously, we need to do better going forward.

    Q: How much did you factor in, you obviously would have probably felt differently I would assume if you were in another division. I think every other division winner won 11 games. Obviously, you were in the division race until the final week. How much did that kind of factor into your overall feeling for the team?

    A: It really didn’t. We were 6-10, we didn’t deserve to be in the playoffs at 6-10. We would have taken it, but we didn’t deserve to be there. I think the fact that we started to win some games in the second half of the season, and some of the younger guys that we brought in here were starting to play and show some talent. It was really the overall feeling that we’re making progress as opposed to whether we were playing meaningful games or not. We were playing meaningful games because our division is what it is. But I think it was more of a factor our younger players and some of our new players we brought in here were showing why we either took them in free agency or picked them in the draft. I think our talent level finally started to show itself a little bit. Now we’re far from a finished product. There are a lot more pieces that we need here. But I think we’re in much better shape now than we were a year ago.

    Q: Just to keep on the topic of Dave, a year ago when you said his batting average had to improve, it was viewed as if it didn’t, you would consider a change. I know you just said you want to see another significant step forward. Is Dave’s status still essentially year to year, or have you seen enough now where you’re thinking more long-term with him?

    A: Everything in this business is year to year. I’m not going to speculate on that. I think his batting average certainly improved this year. Our personnel decisions I thought were very sound this year and gives us some reason for optimism going forward. I’m not going to get into contractual situations with either staff people or players at this point.

    Q: Given his age and obviously retirement is coming at some point with him, is there any internal succession plan under consideration or is that something you just put off until he actually does retire?

    A: Listen, you’re always thinking about things like that. But there’s nothing that I’d want to comment on publicly at this point.

    Q: Obviously, the defense had a pretty good season. But the offense finished 31st in scoring, 31st in yardage. I think it was the highest scoring year in NFL history. How do you feel about where the team is at in terms of that, being kind of behind the curve when it comes to being able to compete with teams?

    A: I think we certainly need to help our offense a little bit this offseason, be it free agency and the draft. I think we need some more pieces there. Part of the problem that we had is we had a brand new offensive line with new guys playing new positions, they had never played together before, we had no offseason, we had no preseason games for them to get to know each other and get the feel for playing with one another, and they struggled, particularly early in the year, no question about it. I thought they started to play better in the second half of the season. But there’s no question that we need to help our offense going forward and add some more pieces. That will be a priority for us.

    Q: You asked fans to be patient again after missing the playoffs three years in a row under Dave Gettleman. It seems like even dating back to 2018, some of those decisions were short-sided decisions, and some of the decisions that were made in the draft, you only have three players left each in 2019. How do you ask fans to be patient when (audio cut out)?

    A: (Jokingly) The sound went out about halfway through that question and I had nothing to do with that. I’ll try to answer. The first part of the question was how do I ask fans to be patient. I feel like that’s the only thing I can ask them to do right now. I feel like we’re making progress. I think that given the fan mail that I’ve received, which tends to peak during the losing streak and then after we win a couple of games, it tends to die down. I think most of our fans believe we’re making progress. There are always going to be fans that are going to be critical, and rightfully so. I do believe we’re making progress. I am going to ask them to be patient again. I know it’s a tough ask, I know they’re tired of me saying that. But I am sincere in the belief that we are making progress here.

    Q: What was it like for you to watch your team play 14 full games without Saquon (Barkley)? How do you look at decisions that are going to have to be made in the relative near future, not immediately perhaps but in the relative near future, about his tenure with the organization?

    A: It was brutal to watch him go down in Week 2. He’s such an important part of this team, not only for what he does on the field but the leadership and all of the intangibles he brings to us off the field. That was really a gut-punch. Listen, I’m still happy that we have him. I think knowing him, he’s going to come back stronger than ever and be a big part of this team next year. In terms of what the time table is, it’s hard to predict that right now. I know our medical people are very pleased with the progress he’s made. I certainly expect him to be a Giant for a very long time.

    Q: This year with no fans and everything, how much of a hit did the Giants take as an organization, and how much did the league take?

    A: Well, it was a huge financial hit for us this year, no question about it. We did suffer some pretty significant financial losses, but it’s not going to affect our ability to be active in free agency or to do what we have to do to improve the team. Hopefully this is a one year thing and we’ll be able to have fans back in the building next season. I don’t think there’s any guarantee about that, but we’re optimistic that particularly as these vaccines get rolled out, people will start to feel comfortable about coming back into the building again. That would be a big boost to our players, I know that, being able to play in front of fans again.

    Q: Is there any way you have to reach out to get more money, or is that not a problem at this point?

    A: We’ll be ok. We’re not ready to put a padlock on the door just yet. I think we’ll survive just fine. It’s been a tough year from that point of view. But listen, there are people all over this country that are suffering. I’m not out here complaining or anything. We’ll be fine as an organization going forward.

    New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman addressed the media on Wednesday (video):

    Opening Statement: Good morning everybody. I hope everyone’s holiday season was joyful and that your families are all safe and healthy. I want to take this time to thank all the people who made the 2020 NFL season happen. There’s so many people behind the scenes whose tireless efforts, the players, the coaches, football ops folks, enabling us to get this done. First, I want to thank ownership for allowing us to do what was financially necessary to allow us to operate as close to the norm as possible. Given a new head coach and some of the situations that other people had. We were able to go over to MetLife (Stadium) and have as normal a training camp as we could. I can’t thank ownership enough for that. Specifically, in our building, I want to thank Christine Procops, Bill Heller, Justin Warren, Victor McLoughlin, Jerry Meade, Kevin Abrams and of course Ronnie Barnes. Their efforts enabled our season to happen as close to normal, whatever that is now, as possible. We owe them all a debt of gratitude. Our football team made quality strides from beginning to end. We certainly have areas to improve upon. Joe (Judge) and his staff had a very productive year. Now as we enter our roster building season, we have full realization there is more work to do.

    Q: We just got off with John (Mara) obviously and he kind of echoed some of your sentiments, but also pointed to 2018 which was obviously your first year as General Manager. He said as an organization you guys have acknowledged some miscalculations that you guys made. Have those miscalculations set you up for success now because of what you learned from what you did back then? Do you feel confident that the lessons learned in the last couple years have put you guys in a position to succeed?

    A: I’ll tell you this, we’re always learning. The short answer to your question is yes. You’re always going to learn. I go over every final decision we make. I review it in my head over and over again, good or bad, oh by the way. I review it over and over again because you certainly don’t want to repeat mistakes. You do that and you have to be honest with yourself. You have to debrief, and you have to be brutally honest with yourself. As I’ve already admitted, ‘18 was not a stellar year, personnel-wise. We’ve learned from our mistakes. Our processes are better. I think this past year showed the fruits of that, both in free agency and in the draft. I really believe strongly we’ll continue in that way.

    Q: Can you be specific about the things you saw in Joe Judge this year? What was your reaction to his reaction to what went down in Philly on the last night of the year?

    A: The bottom line is, with Joe, is his big picture view and then the follow up on the attention to detail. That’s what’s really critical. He starts at A and gets to Z. That is huge, that is really huge. Obviously, he is a very bright guy. That’s what really sticks out in my mind. Just the big picture and the attention to detail. No detail is too small, the old saying, ‘the devil is in the details’. He and his staff, he is really tuned into that. As far as what he said the other day, he said what he said. At the end of the day, it is what it is. Obviously, it’s about playing 60 minutes. It’s about giving the fans their money’s worth. It’s really how you live your life. He said what he said and it’s time to move on.

    Q: What does Dave Gettleman – almost 70 – how long do you want to stick around for?

    A: It really is dependent upon the Lord how long I stick around for. We’re all day to day, by the way, in case anybody missed that point. I feel fine, I feel good, I’m excited. I just want to keep going. I don’t know where this retirement stuff came from. I have no idea what that’s all about. There are probably some people that… at the end of the day, I feel great. So, let’s keep going.

    Q: Do you feel like you have the ability to keep your defensive line intact or will you have to make a decision on one or the other there?

    A: The toughest thing for us right now frankly is we don’t know what the cap number is going to look like. That’s a problem. We’re not going to know for a while. That’s going to dictate obviously how you operate. We’ve got cap space, we’ve got room. You never have as much room as you want to have. We’ve got cap space, we’ve got room to do the things we feel like we need to do initially. A lot of it is going to be about the drop it’s going to take. How far of a plunge is it going to take? We don’t know. They’re talking 175, who knows. We’ll plan and then once we know the number, we’ll get moving.

    Q: Your team had one win against a team with a winning record this year and was outscored 73-26 during a three-game losing streak in December. I guess for fans who aren’t seeing what you call quality strides, where would you say the quality strides are?

    A: Well I think first of all the culture piece. I know it’s talked about but it’s important. You have to learn how to win, you have to know how to win and we’ve made progress there. The locker room is terrific. We’ve got great leadership. We’ve got a young club, a new young team. I understand that. At the end of the day, this is an important offseason, roster building offseason for us. We’ve got some solid pieces. We’ve built up the lines. We’ve done some things. We have to continue to get good players and part of it is getting playmakers, because that’s what you’re referring to. This is a goal of ours obviously for the offseason.

    Q: I was going to ask you about the playmakers but you kind of addressed that a little bit. Let me you ask about Daniel (Jones). Where do you see him two years into his tenure as Giants quarterback?

    A: Obviously, he flashed last year. He had some big games and played well. Then he had games that weren’t so great. This year, early in the season he was struggling with his ball protection. We all know that. The second half of the year unfortunately he had that blip with the hamstring. He finished the season very strong. He played well against Baltimore despite getting chased all over the place to a degree. Made some big-time throws. Really and truly, it may sound trite, but obviously the last game of the year was a playoff game for us. It really was. We have to win that game to force Washington to win their game. Daniel played very well. He made a couple of big-time throws. Protected the ball for the most part. The one pick was off of Evan’s (Engram) hands. He’s done a lot of really good stuff. He’s made of the right stuff mentally and physically. Again, we’re talking about a young quarterback who has had two different offensive coordinators in the NFL. Two different systems. Obviously, he had a different one at Duke so he got three different systems in three years. I thought he got beyond the hamstring the last two games and he played well. We have complete confidence in him moving forward.

    Q: You mentioned you feel good and you want to continue but I have to ask you about the conditions that the pandemic brought on. Obviously, your job changed or how you did the job I should say. I’m wondering how did that affect your energy and have you thought about that moving forward?

    A: For everybody, I don’t care if you’re a football GM or you’re a carpenter or whatever. This pandemic is a load. It is a flat load. It makes everything an event. You have to consider everything. You have to consider going to the grocery store. You have to consider just everything, absolutely everything. Everything is an event. It takes energy from everybody. It took energy from you guys. There were days you’re looking at four walls. You can’t come to practice, you can’t do this, you can’t do that. It puts a mental load on you. I feel good, I feel strong. I had my 24-month review with my lymphoma doctor. He says you’re as healthy as a horse. Let’s just keep moving, so I’m ready to rock.

    Q: Two-part question, number one, thanks for doing this. When you mentioned Daniel a few minutes ago, the idea of three offensive coordinators in three years and the potential teams asking to talk to Jason (Garrett) that you might have to go to a fourth, how does that affect the evaluation process? Also, with hindsight being 20/20, when you look back at how the injury was handled, would things have been better served if you had held back another week and maybe not played him against Arizona?

    A: You can always look at everything – in hindsight, you can reevaluate everything and take a look at it. We felt good about it. We felt that he could protect himself and that he could do the things he needed to do and that’s why he played against Arizona. I really understand what you’re saying, but we felt strong. Obviously, we had the conversation with Ronnie (Barnes) and his staff and we felt good about it. During that week of practice, he moved around pretty darn good. Being as it may, we’re fine with that decision. He didn’t do any more damage. It is what it is. As far as the potential of Jason leaving, of course it makes you a little antsy. Just imagine, anybody, any of you guys, having your fourth editor in four years. It’s the same thing. It’s no different. We’ll adjust and adapt and do what we have to do and obviously anything we do moving forward, Daniel is a big part of it. We’re certainly conscious of that piece, to answer your question.

    Q: I know you’re a trenches guy and the game is won upfront and you like defense, but the team just didn’t score enough points. It’s obvious. 20, 17 points a game just can’t win in the NFL. What do you say to address that? How much of it is you having to study everything that happens on offense. I know there was no Saquon (Barkley), the offensive line and everything, do you look at everything and say we need to find better players to score more points coming up?

    A: You can never have too many good players. Bottom line. That’s a stock answer that every GM is going to tell you. At the end of the day, we need to find playmakers. That’s all there is to it. I’m not sugar coating it. If you talk about philosophically doing roster building, it’s the Q (quarterback), it’s the big men allow you to compete. On offense, it’s play makers. We have to be very conscious of it. We’re going to find the right guys to help Daniel get us over that hump.

    Q: I have a big picture question for you. Obviously, there is a lot of talk of progress today, but how disappointing is it for you that after year three, you guys haven’t topped six wins and you only needed to get seven to make playoffs this year?

    A: Of course, it’s disappointing. It’s disappointing not just for me personally, but I’m disappointed for the organization. I’m disappointed for the players and the fans. Sure, it’s disappointing. Listen, last time I double checked, it’s about winning. I’m very disappointed. I guess the best thing I can say is – John said in 2018 we didn’t have a stellar year, didn’t have a stellar roster building season, it’s affected us. We’re on the right track right now. We’ve done some really good stuff the last two years. We’re going to fix this. We are going to fix this.

    Q: You’re going to enjoy this question because it’s worded a lot differently than it would have been last year. Leonard Williams, the season he had – do you almost wish you had gotten something done with him last year rather than giving him the franchise tag because it certainly seems like the price went up this year?

    A: It doesn’t make a difference – you’re killing me either way. At the end of the day, I’m not going to discuss contracts, negotiations, did we do anything last year or did we not? No, the bottom line is we are where we are. Leonard deserves a lot of credit for how he prepared this year. Sean Spencer working with him as the D-line coach, the scheme that Pat (Graham) had for him, you know? As I said to you guys, before, he was a – I don’t even remember when he was taken, he was a top five pick – number two or four or something like that. There was a reason that happened, you know what I’m saying? Leonard did a great job. He did a great job of working his fanny off. Again, the atmosphere for our players – one of hard work, you can have fun, you can enjoy yourself and Leonard did a heck of a job and his position coach, Sean Spencer, Pat Graham and Joe. The bottom line is he thrived in our atmosphere. I’m ecstatic. It’s like I tell players all the time, ‘I only want you to be successful and I want you to make me cry when it comes to negotiations’.

    Q: I know you just said that, ‘We’re going to fix this,’ but fans are saying in three years, we’re at 15 wins. How much does it have to be now? At what point do the wins have to come?

    A: Obviously, they have to come soon. The idea is to win. Like I said, a lot of things have happened. We’re definitely on the right track. I’d like to believe finishing – starting at the 1-7- we finished 6-10. We finished 5-3 over the last eight games. There are a lot arrows pointing up for us. We’ll have a good season, a good roster building season right now and we’ll feel a lot better. We’re getting there.

    Q: Your top priority when you came, well at least one of them, was to rebuild the offensive line. I’m curious after three years, where are you in your estimation with that rebuild of the offensive line?

    A: We’ve got some really nice, young pieces. Nick Gates stepped in there. He’d never played offensive center before. We drafted Will (Hernandez) and Shane Lemieux. You have (Kevin) Zeitler and Andrew Thomas who acquitted himself very well when he had that rough patch and then he got himself rolling again. I think this offensive line can compete. You can cherry pick here, cherry pick there, in terms of which game you want to pick and how the offense did. The offensive line showed very good progress. They’re big, they’re young, they’re strong and they’re tough and smart. This O-Line has a chance to be pretty damn good.

    Q: You know a thing or two about evaluating talent. How would you evaluate the job you did this year as GM?

    A: I don’t want to evaluate myself. We made some really solid progress. I know everyone is tired of hearing it. Joe and I worked together very well and it was thrill. It was fun. He’s collaborative, communicative, we’re on the same page. As John said, we don’t agree on everything, but if we’d agree on everything, as John said, he doesn’t need both of us. The bottom line is that we had a good solid year. We hit on free agency. We hit on draft picks as of right now. Again, I always say that you know about a draft three years later. You can really quantify and evaluate on what you’ve done. We had a lot of those young kids step in and help us and show us that they’re legitimate NFL players. They have legitimate NFL talent as long as they continue to blossom and improve and progress. So anyhow, for what that’s worth, what we’ve done here in the three years that we’ve been here, is about sustained success. That’s what it’s about.

    Q: You and John had both made several references to 2018 as a mistake. It seems like you’re calling 2019 in the draft and free agency a success. I was wondering if you actually feel that way? What do you think in 2019 were the team moves that set you up so well for this year?

    A: You have the quarterback. You have Dexter Lawrence. There’s a start. Obviously, we had no clue that Deandre (Baker) could get in that kind of issue. It’s just a constant build and a constant blend and we feel like the last three years have been solid personnel-wise.

    Q: Do you look at the last couple drafts at quarterback for example, there are guys like Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert who look excellent and score a lot of points. Then this year, at offensive tackle, Andrew had a rough patch, whereas, some people would say some of the other guys played a little bit better. I was wondering if you look at not taking several players at those two positions and looking at what you have. Do you reconsider whether you made the right choice?

    A: You guys are going to call me doubling down, I’m very happy with what we’ve done with Daniel and Andrew Thomas. I’m not even going to blink.

    Q: You mentioned off the top, a lot of people top be thankful for that you guys have reached this point in the season because there was a lot of uncontrollable factors. Did you scale back any of the expectations this year because a pandemic was happening? This was the first year of no preseason game etc.

    A: No, not really. This was a crazy year obviously. Like I said at the top, ownership financially supported us. We were one of the few teams in the league that was able to work out of a stadium and be socially distanced properly, have the locker room space, everything that we did over there. It allowed us to have as close to a normal preseason as you could have. Not having the preseason games obviously hurt, it hurt everybody. Our situation wasn’t any different than anybody else. Nobody had preseason. When you have a really young team, that creates issues when you’re trying to figure out what you have. Not having the preseason games was difficult. At that point in time, everybody is trying to negotiate the protocols. Things were changing constantly. I just thought ownership gave us the ability to do some things and it was really important that we do that for Joe and the staff. We came back from Indianapolis last year, the first week in March. Ronnie Barnes came to me three times and said, ‘Dave this is going to be really bad, really bad’. By then it was I believe in Italy, it hit there. Ronnie told me, Ronnie said, ‘Dave this is going to be bad’. I walked down the hall to (Director of College Scouting) Chris Pettit and I said, ‘Chris get ready for us to draft remotely. Get ready for our meetings’. I walked down to Joe and I said, ‘Joe you’re not going to see your players until August, I’m telling you. That’s what we have to plan for’. Thank God for Ronnie for having that foresight. I felt like we were ahead of the curve with a lot of the things we did in terms of how we were set up for training camp and how we were set up when got back here. That’s where Victor McLoughlin, our buildings guy, and Justin Warren, our IT guy, just did an unbelievable job. Getting us set up to be able to do things remotely and be spaced out and all the other stuff. We actually had setups for all the coaches that we installed in their homes so if something happened, they could work remotely. That paid off for us. There’s a lot of things that people behind the scenes warned us about and we heeded their warnings and it enabled us to do what we did. No, we didn’t scale back any expectations.

    Q: You talked about how the salary cap may hit one of those air pockets. I’m just wondering how creative will you have to be in maybe reworking contracts? Making do with what you have, and have you talked to guys like Nate Solder and things like that and figure out what’s his status going to be next year?

    A: We haven’t started that. I haven’t had that conversation with Nate. The season just ended Sunday here and it’s Wednesday. The bottom line is until we have a good idea of what the number is, what the number is going to be, we’ll plan as best we can. Obviously, we know who our UFA’s (unrestricted free agents) are. We’ll get moving and we’re going to have to make some decisions on a number of players. That piece is going to be interesting to work with and work through. We’re going to make the best decisions we can for the New York Football Giants and for our fans.

    Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at

    • LT Andrew Thomas (Video)
    • LB Blake Martinez (Video)
    • CB James Bradberry (Video)
    • CB/S Julian Love (Video)
    • S Xavier McKinney (Video)