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.”

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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