Nov 272023
John Mara, Joe Schoen, and Brian Daboll; New York Giants (November 26, 2023)

John Mara, Joe Schoen, and Brian Daboll – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen addressed the media on Monday (VIDEO):

Good morning, everybody. Hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving. We decided to do this on Monday as well so you guys could enjoy the bye week as well.

So, obviously, not where we want to be right now at 4-8, but I am proud of the guys and the way they’ve continued to battle and compete over the last few weeks. When things are bad, they can go one of two ways, and I’m really proud of the way the guys have continued to come in and compete. We’ve seen some progress over the last couple weeks and the results to show. We’ve got five games left against NFC teams, against four different teams, and we’re not out of it.

With that being said, I know you guys are going to have some questions in terms of upcoming free agents. I’m not going to talk about any of those guys today. That’ll be postseason conversations, whether it’s (running back) Saquon (Barkley), (safety) Xavier (McKinney), all of the guys that are UFAs. We’ll leave that for after the season, those conversations.

Then, with (quarterback) Daniel (Jones), he’s five days off of surgery. He’s in there rehabbing right now. He’s going to attack it. You guys all know Daniel and his work ethic; probably a guy we’re going to have to pull back. But the expectation is when Daniel’s healthy that he will be our starting quarterback. Again, we don’t have a crystal ball in terms of how the rehab’s going to go; different patients respond differently to these surgeries, and then whether there’s going to be swelling in the knee or any setbacks. Nobody has a crystal ball on this, but that’s the expectation moving forward.

With that, I’ll open it up to any questions you guys may have.

Q: You said this obviously is not where you want to be, but when you look at it, what are the biggest factors that have led this season to kind of go in this direction?

A: I would think early on, we had a difficult schedule right off the bat. Three games in 11 days, and two of those teams being atop of the NFC right now, or near the top of the NFC. We started off, very good drive against Dallas there to open the season, we get a false start, a bad snap, a blocked field goal for a touchdown, and it kind of snowballed from there.

Don’t want to make any excuses. We’ve had some injuries. We’ve just got to continue to build the depth and we’ve got to continue to build the team all around so when injuries do occur, we can overcome those and still be competitive when injuries happen. It’s going to happen every year. It happens. It’s football; it’s a contact sport. There’s going to be injuries, and we’ve got to be able to overcome any type of adversity that presents itself.

Q: When you say Daniel will be your starter, does that mean you won’t draft a quarterback next year?

A: No, it doesn’t. I think we’re going to have to do something on the quarterback, whether it’s free agency or the Draft. I mean, just where we are, (quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor)’s contract is up,

(quarterback Tommy) DeVito is obviously under contract, and Daniel, we don’t know when he’s going to be ready. So, just from an offseason program standpoint, I think that’ll be a position that we’ll have to look at. There’re different avenues – free agency or the Draft – but we’ll have to address it at some point.

Q: When you look back, and I know hindsight is 20-20, do you feel the way you constructed the roster benefited the team with depth? I know you went heavy on receivers, maybe a little light on outside linebackers – it could have been because the guys that you wanted weren’t there – but when you look back on that, do you have any regrets on how the roster was constructed?

A: That’s a great question. You’re only afforded so many resources to build the roster. We’ve been here for, I think it’s 22 months and a day. So, you have to decide how you’re going to build it as you build it with the big picture in mind. You can’t do it overnight. What does it cost to go get more pass rushers, financially or draft capital, based on all the needs that you have, and where you are financially or in the Draft?

So, no regrets. Again, we’ll continue to evaluate our process. Were there other players available, other players you could have taken, did you miss on something? We’ll evaluate the entire process at the end of the season, but you can’t do it overnight. Instead of getting a (inside linebacker) Bobby O(kereke), who has been a very good player for us that we brought in in the offseason, do you use that money elsewhere in terms of allocation of resources? I like a lot of the guys that we brought in in the offseason, and we knew this wasn’t going to happen overnight, and it takes time to build it the right way.

Q: Regarding injuries, you mentioned that’s been a problem. I know you guys looked at that in the offseason. What takeaways did you have, are there still things that you can do, and have you identified things that maybe you can do? It might be too late now, but have you kind of said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to change this up for next year?’

A: We’re going to continue to evaluate that. I wish it was one specific injury. It just hasn’t been a consistent. If you could look and say, ‘Man, we have seven guys that have the same injury,’ you could really do a deep dive on what do we need to do to improve what we’re doing in that area, but there hasn’t been a consistent, other than we’ve been injured often. I have a lot of confidence in our training staff and (Head Athletic Trainer) Ronnie Barnes and our strength staff with (Director of Strength and Conditioning Craig) Fitz(gerald).

We’re going to continue to look under every rock for any competitive advantage we can get from sports science, training, strength and conditioning, whatever it may be because it is, it’s hard to go in and compete week in and week out if you don’t have your best players. One of the guys was telling me the other day, going into the season, if you told me (tight end Darren) Waller, (tackle) Andrew Thomas, Saquon and Daniel would play less than 40 plays together, I wouldn’t have been real excited about that, and that’s the reality of how it played out.

Q: What is your evaluation of one, (tackle) Evan Neal, and two, Tommy DeVito?

A: I’ll start with Tommy. Tommy has done a good job as an undrafted free agent. He’s come a long way since he arrived here in May as an undrafted guy. That’s a testament to his work ethic and buying into to the process and (Quarterbacks Coach) Shea (Tierney) and (Offensive Coordinator Mike) Kafka and what they’re teaching him. He’s taken care of the football the last couple of weeks, and he’s done a good job. He’s got some swagger and some presence about him that the players like and they follow him.

Evan got off to a really good camp, had a concussion, missed a couple of weeks, came back, and needs to play better. Evan needs to play better. He knows that. Look forward to getting him back here when he’s healthy, but I think he’d admit there’s some things that he can do better, and we look forward to him continuing to improve.

Q: A couple of things on Daniel: how do you assess how he played at the start of the season, those first five starts, and is there a worry that he has not been able to stay healthy? He’s had some major injuries, obviously. Moving forward with him, how much of an issue is that?

A: Any of these guys coming off the knees, it takes them time. (Wide receiver) Wan’Dale (Robinson), (defensive lineman) D.J. Davidson, (inside linebacker Darrian) Beavers, some of the guys that had them last year for us, it does take time to come back from that injury. Some are able to respond quicker than others; it depends on the patient.

Daniel, early on, again, we got off to that rough start. We had three games in 11 days, there were some injuries after Week 2. On a short week, you’re going to play San Francisco without your starting left tackle, starting guard and Saquon. I mean, that’s a tough task for anybody. You guys have probably seen San Francisco enough this season to know that’s a really good defense. I think does Daniel wish he could have some throws back or some games back or do some things differently? Probably, but it’s a team game. There’s 11 guys out there and everybody’s got to be on the same page and do their job. So, we’ve got to continue to build the team. The quarterback position is important, but it’s ultimately a team game and it’s not all on Daniel by any means.

Q: With Daniel, how realistic do you think it is for him to be back for training camp and for the season, and also, was it just the ACL? Was there anything else that went along with that?

A: I’m not getting into specifics of the surgery. It went well, and then the recovery, like I said, it depends. I’ve seen guys come back in eight months; I’ve seen guys—we’ve got some that still aren’t back that had them a year ago. We’re probably going have to pull this kid back. He’s a hard worker. He’s already in there. I saw him walking across the parking lot this morning holding his crutches in his hands rather than using them. That’s the type of kid he is. He’s going to work very hard. We’ve just got to protect him from himself and make sure he’s doing things the right way and not overtraining. It’s really hard to say, to be honest with you, being in this for as long as I’ve been in it.

Q: How do you plan for it then, not knowing?

A: Kind of what I said earlier. We’re still going to have to address the position at some point because there’s no guarantee he’s going to be back Week 1, and Tyrod, his contract’s up. So, we’ve got to figure out—those will be offseason decisions. As we go through the offseason, we’ll have a little bit better idea of his return to play as he continues the rehab.

Q: There’s addressing the position and there’s using a possible first-round pick on that position. Where are you on that spectrum? If there’s a player that you like there that’s a quarterback in the first round, would you make that choice?

A: We’ll take the best player available. If the best player available for our team is at a certain position, we’ll take it. I mean, we won’t shy away from it. That’s a ways away; the Draft is in April. So, we’re still working through all that and the offseason progress. We have to come up with a plan, like I said, just for the offseason right now. Tommy’s the only one – I almost said Danny DeVito – that’s under under contract. So, we’ll look at all different avenues there.

Q: Why do you still believe in Daniel? How would you answer that?

A: I mean, I’ve seen it. You guys all saw last season. The guy won 10 games. He won a road playoff game for the Giants. You guys saw the preseason. I just think we got punched in the nose early on and we dug ourselves a hole and we weren’t able to get out of it. We’re trying to right now, but we still believe in Daniel and the person.

Q: When you look at your evaluation process, you have your plan, you guys set your plan up in college scouting, when you look through the season and the games you’re going to go to on the weekend. When things happen with the current roster, does that change your process at all? Where you may go, what prospects you may scout, or do you kind of stick to your plan throughout and then assess after the season?

A: You have to be able to adjust. That’s not necessarily our roster. It may be, ‘Hey, this kid at school X, we had really low and he’s playing really well,’ or, ‘This kid was a sophomore, and now he’s a junior, we didn’t know about him, and now, he may come out for the Draft, agents are saying he’s going to come out.’ So, you always have flexibility in your schedule.

I typically make my schedule in August based around where we may play geographically, where it’s easy to get me back up with the team. So, you kind of have an initial top 100, how many of those can you go see, and my staff does a very good job. They kind of give me a 20 must-see, 25 must-see, and I try to see those schools. Starting in August, I’ll map it out.

Q: How much work have you done on the top quarterbacks in this class?

A: I’ve done a lot of work on the entire draft. I’m further ahead this year than last year. Last year kind of being the first in-season as general manager, different schedule than what I’ve had in the past as an assistant GM or director of player personnel. So, I tweaked my process a little bit this year so I can stay up on all positions.

Q: How do you look at Saquon’s season both pre-injury and still being your most productive offensive player? There were some national reports that you still see him as part of your future. Can you address that?

A: Like I said, the UFAs, we’ll talk about after the season. We tried long and hard to get something done with him, and we’ll see what happens in the offseason.

Saquon, I mean, he’s a captain. He comes to work every day. I know there were some questions a couple of weeks ago about still coming to work and the longevity and the tread on the tires and all that stuff. He comes to work every day. He does everything we ask. He’s a great teammate. He’s a captain. Big reason, as you’re going through adversity, I think he’s a big part of keeping the locker room together. I respect Saquon a lot and the way he’s handled himself through this entire process, and I have a lot of respect for Saquon.

Q. Why did you make the (defensive lineman) Leonard Williams trade when you did? Obviously, the deadline, but why did you make it then?

A: Yeah, I think the draft compensation. When Seattle called and offered a second-round pick for a 29-year-old player that was on an expiring contract, we had nine games left. It just made the most sense long-term, in terms of the build.

Q. I just wanted to follow up on Evan Neal, you said he needs to play better, but are you at a point at the end of his second year where you need to think about whether he’s a tackle or he’s a guard?

A: No, I don’t think so. I went back and watched the Alabama stuff; the kid can play. We just got to get him to be more consistent. Like I’ve got a lot of confidence in Evan, he’s a hard worker, it’s killing him right now to be out there. He’s missing some valuable reps in year two, but as soon as he’s healthy, he’s scratching and clawing to get back. We are looking forward to getting him back there, but he knows there is some things he can do better and that’s what we expect from him.

Q. Why did you Saquon unavailable at the trade deadline? Seems kind of a counter to how you operate.

A: Why didn’t I make Saquon? I wasn’t going to move him. We had a conversation about it, it wasn’t even a – I think some of you guys asked a question about that maybe a couple weeks before the trade deadline or the week of and just to eliminate distraction. I think we just said he’s one of our most productive offensive players right now. To move that guy, it just didn’t make any sense and we didn’t take any calls or receive any calls on him.

Q. Where do you think the construction of the offensive line went wrong this year?

A: Andrew Thomas getting hurt the first series of the game of the season. That doesn’t help when you lose an All-Pro left tackle. I think through 11 weeks, we had nine different starting o-line combinations, which is the second-most in 15 years. We have 21 different o-line combinations, which is the fourth-most in 15 years. So, we were down to our fifth and sixth offensive tackles. It’s hard to prepare for that when you have eight or nine on the roster. When you go to camp you are talking about your fifth and sixth offensive tackles being in the fourth quarter of the third preseason game, in reality that’s what you are talking about, so you know we won 10 games with the same offensive line last year, with the exception of (center) John Michael Schmitz (Jr.). We inserted him. (Nick) Gates went on to Washington. I know you had asked about him. And (offensive lineman Jon) Feliciano went on to San Francisco, so we ran it back with the same guys. We thought John Michael would be an upgrade in there, which he’s done a good job for us. And again, as you are building this, was it more weapons for Daniel, was it outside backers, was it corner? We are trying to build this thing, as much as we want instant gratification and instant results, there is an element of patience as you build it and try to build it the right way and you just can’t address everything overnight, and we are going to continue to work on it and I do believe in building it up front and offensive line is important. Probably didn’t play as well as we needed to early on and it’s not all on the offensive line, sometimes it’s 11 guys on the same page, receiver doesn’t run the right route, the quarterback doesn’t get the read or doesn’t pull the trigger. I mean there is several different reasons and then the continuity amongst those five is very important. Whether you’re passing off stunts in games, the communication up there and when it’s a revolving door, it’s hard for the continuity and those guys to gel consistently. I know that’s a long-winded answer, but there is various reasons to some of the issues upfront that we have seen this year, but we’ll continue to address it.

Q. Given the lack of continuity at the line and injuries and stuff, how do you evaluate that and decide what you want to do with it moving forward?

A: Yeah, we have some guys that are up this year, that have started some games for us. Those will be postseason conversations on where we need to address, who do we want to bring back, what does it look like if we do bring some of those guys back and then the landscape of free agency and the draft, so those will be postseason conversations.

Q. How much would you say your voice is heard in terms of the depth chart and who plays and I’m asking that because there is theory out there that (running back) Eric Gray was kind of forced into the punt returner job because the front office used a draft pick on him and didn’t want to see him wasted.

A: I understand where you are going with that. That’s on me. To be honest with you, that’s another – we tried to address the punt returner. We knew it was an issue. In the draft some of the guys we liked went probably higher than where we deemed you would take a guy. Eric had done it at Tennessee, and he had done it at Oklahoma and the coaches were comfortable, we were comfortable going into the regular season based off what we were seeing. I know (wide receiver Jamison) Crowder is having success in Washington, you bring him up – we kept seven receivers; we couldn’t keep eight. Do the math, who do you move on from, from the group if you kept Crowder? So, there was some moving parts in there and that’s me being candid with you and that’s on me, the returner. I’m glad we got (wide receiver) Gunner (Olszewski) here, though. He’s done a really good job for us. And Eric’s got a bright future and we probably put him in a spot that wasn’t most comfortable for him either, but he went out there, didn’t flinch an eye, didn’t bat an eye and did what he could, but again that’s on me, early on. We couldn’t do everything overnight and as much as we wanted to and that was a position we continued to look for and Pittsburgh let Gunner go and we were able to get him.

Q. Is there a part of you that’s – I know you are not focusing on unrestricted free agency yet, but the overall financial health of the team going into this offseason and what you can potentially accomplish in terms of talent infusion because of where you guys are with the books?

A: Yeah, for sure and I think free agency is hard. Obviously, I’d like to draft and develop and sign our own, which we did some of those guys that had been here in the offseason, retained some of the guys that were here previously and we got some good foundational pieces in some of the draft picks that are here, but to hit on a guy like Bobby O, who fits everything that we are talking about – smart, tough, dependable, and a good player. When you are divvying up those type of financial resources outside the building, you got to really make sure you are bringing in the right type of people as well. Their work ethic, the ability to learn the scheme. So, there is some risk in free agency, but we’ll do our homework, and we are in a relatively healthy cap situation, and we can move some things around if we need to open up more, but I think we’ll be judicious in our process in terms of the free agency market.

Q. Do you expect any changes to the coaching staff and what would your involvement be in any decision like that?

A: Yeah, those are all – I know you guys just asked Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll) about that, so those are all postseason conversations and I’ll lean on Dabs on that.

Q. Last year you won 10 games and made the playoffs, do you look at this team as that is what we are or is it more a 4-8 team is what you are right now?

A: Yeah, you are what your record says you are. We are 4-8 right now, unfortunately. There was some close games. Yeah, there were a couple games we wish we could have back recently, but we are 4-8 and we are having some adversity this year, but I’ve got a lot of confidence in the coaching staff. I think we have some young pieces on the roster to build around. I think we are the second youngest team in the league, so some guys are getting some valuable playing time. Again, it just takes time, it takes a couple off-seasons, it takes a few drafts to build it the right way. Trust me, it hurts when you lose and you’re 4-8 and it’s not fun, but you don’t want to lose sight of the big picture and the proper way to build the roster and that’s what we’ve got to stay focused on.

Q. That report said there was a chance (defensive coordinator Wink) Martindale might not finish the season with you guys. Is that something you have to look into? What’s your role in figuring out or getting to the bottom of it?

A: What was the report, I didn’t see – what was the report?

Q. You didn’t see the report?

A: That Wink’s not going to make it through the season?

Q. Jay Glazer from FOX reported that there is a chance that Martindale might not make it through the season and that he probably wouldn’t be back after the year. It was yesterday during FOX’s national broadcast.

A: I didn’t realize he said that he wasn’t going to make through the year. Yeah, I don’t know, I think Dabs just addressed that.

Q. Do you have a comment on it potentially?

A: Listen, there is always going to be noise. There is a lot of noise in this market. It is what it is. I know what we think inside those four walls and that’s what matters. I’ve got a great relationship with Wink, I don’t know where some of this stuff comes from. I’ll yield to Dabs on what he said on that.

Q. What have you seen from the relationship between Wink and Dabs?

A: In the twenty-two months we’ve been here, it hasn’t changed.

Q. You said that you had a lot of faith in the coaching staff, what are your thoughts on how Dabs has handled the adversity compared to last year? Must’ve been easy compared to coaching this year.

A: Yeah, it’s easy to lead when you’re winning and you’re out front and you’re running out front, it’s easy to lead. I think as we continue to build this, it’s year two, going through adversity, you find out a lot about people and it’s been challenging for everybody in the building, including myself and Dabs, and how you lead when things aren’t going well, I think, is important. And I think Dabs has done a good job. We are starting an undrafted free agent the last two games and we’ve won two games. It’s not easy to keep everybody together, but there is a lot of those guys in the locker room that are under contract for past this season and understand there is a – we are still in it, it’s 2023 and we’re focused on the Packers, but the big picture as well. To go up in front of that team when things aren’t going well or there’s injuries, or whatever it may be, it’s not easy or you trade a veteran player who is a leader in the locker room, that’s not easy. It’s not easy to do, so myself and Dabs as leaders within the organization are still learning as well, but through trying times I think we’ve found out a lot about the people in the building, the players on the roster and that’ll benefit us going forward.

Q: When Leonard talked in Seattle after the trade, he kind of made comments that when he met with you, the way he framed it, it was almost that you gave him a choice as to whether or not he’d be traded to Seattle. Is that how that played out? What was that conversation like?

A: I understand the question. I’ll keep our conversation between Leo and I. Paul (Schwartz), I think it was you that talked to (agent) Brandon Parker. I think he did a wonderful job articulating and mapping out exactly what happened. I’ve got a lot of respect for Leonard. Again, I’ll keep our conversation between us, and I think Brandon did a good job of walking through that process and how that went down.

Q: So, if Leonard said he didn’t want to go to Seattle, you wouldn’t have made that trade?

A: It’s a hypothetical. I’m not going to get into it.

Q: It’s just counterintuitive to how you really carried your first season, not in the relationship aspect of it, but the idea that the team came to you with a second-round pick. With a draft asset like that, the fact that you would put it in a player’s hand, at least that’s how it was portrayed through the agent and through the player.

A: Yeah, and that won’t happen for everybody. It was just Leo and where we were. These aren’t just—as much as you’d like it to be transactional and fantasy football, like, just drop a player, add a player, drop a player, add a player, there’s a human element to it, there’s a locker room element that you’ve got to think about, the ripple effect. Still a lot of games left, so, that was a very difficult decision on many fronts. Just as many pros as cons.

I’ll just keep Leo and I’s conversations between us, but that’s the human element of this job. What makes sense for this franchise moving forward versus relationships, locker room perception, you’ve got to take all that into account.

Q: Going back to something you said earlier about that you learn about people during adversity and whatnot, what have you learned about yourself and what do you feel you can do better moving forward as you approach these last few games and the upcoming offseason?

A: What have I learned about myself? You’ve got to have a good poker face, because as bad as it eats you up inside when things aren’t going well, people are looking to you for confidence and hope that things are going to get better. I know that because I’ve been on the other side of it. My second year in Buffalo, I think we actually were 6-10 and at this point in Buffalo, we had the exact same record that we have here.

You’re always looking to the leaders. Whether it’s my scouts, the coaches, the assistant coaches, that things are going to get better and they’re going to be okay. You’ve got to go through the building on a weekly basis and, ‘Listen, trust the process, trust the plan, we’re going to get this thing going.’ I’ve got a lot of talented people in the building, whether the personnel staff or the coaching staff. You’re going to go through adverse times in the NFL and you’ve got to understand that things are going to be better and trust the process and it takes time. I believe that the staff in there has stuck together and been strong and they understand where we’re going and what the big picture is, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.

Q: Specifically with the quarterback position, with Daniel, I imagine you know what you have in him. That you know what you believe his potential is or what you see, basically what you’ve evaluated him on the last couple of years and throughout his career before you came here. How do you balance the known with the possibility of acquiring an unknown with a different ceiling with something like that?

A: I’m trying to figure out—so, the known of Daniel? I would say—

Q: Like acquiring another player through the Draft or something like that when you don’t necessarily know what his ceiling is because he hasn’t played in the league.

A: There’s always risk. Look at the past however many years of top 10 quarterbacks. I just went through the 2018 Draft and how many of those guys are starters, how many are with different teams? Some are out of the league that were taken in the first round from that draft. It’s not a position you can just evaluate on film, I don’t believe. You’ve got to get with these kids, you’ve got to meet with them, you’ve got to get around them, you’ve got to put them on the board. Can they learn? Can they process information? You’ve got to talk to the people, especially in this market. Bringing a quarterback into this market, I mean, it’s not for everybody. Not everybody can handle it.

But again, it could be a free agent, whatever, we’re going to have to address it at some point. We have a UFA here that we could always sign back. There’re different ways that we could address the position, but there’s no guarantees, as of right now, that Daniel will be ready Week 1. So, that’s how you’ve got to approach it. Who can we bring in that can maybe help us win a couple of games while Daniel gets healthy, or maybe Daniel will be ready Week 1. There’re just some unknowns right now, and we’ll know as we get closer to free agency where he is in his rehab and how we need to approach the offseason.

Q: You talked about your focus on the bigger picture, and everybody still believes in that. From your conversations with ownership, are they still believing in your vision and Brian’s vision and what you guys are going for even though the season hasn’t been what you wanted?

A: Yeah, absolutely. We have constant communication with the Mara family, the Tisch family, and articulate the plan. They’re on board with it. As much as it hurts to go through this, there are a lot of young players that are getting valuable experience. Another offseason, another draft, we will continue to build it. The communication is very helpful. The fact that (President and Chief Executive Officer) John Mara is here on a daily basis, we can explain the ‘why’, why we’re doing things, how we’re going to do them. They’re in the loop and they’re on board.

New York Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll addressed the media on Monday (VIDEO):

Q: The players are off all week now, is that correct?

A: Yeah. In here for treatment if they need it. Similar schedule to last year.

Q: What considerations will you give over the next week or 10 days to who’s your next game starting quarterback?

A: We’re just getting started here, we’re just finishing up. Still got a little bit to go, finishing up with the coaches on this game and will work as a coaching staff and discuss a lot of things, look at a lot of things and try to fix some things. That’ll be something, obviously, we talk about as well.

Q: Is it as simple as who gives you the best chance to win or are there other things to consider?

A: I’d say we’re just getting started on that process now. We’ll have plenty of meetings here tonight and tomorrow.

Q: In your mind, do you have a list of things that you prioritize that you want to address in the coming week, and do you have enough time to address them?

A: Yeah, yep. I’ve been working on that for the past couple of weeks here as we get going. Once I get done with this, get back up with the coaches – I looked at the game last night and still have a few more things to do with that, then we’ll get on to some of the self-scout and maybe looking at a couple of other things around the league.

Q: I was just going to ask with the quarterback situation, how much do you factor some continuity and sticking with Tommy versus experience?

A: Yeah, that’s something we’ll talk about. We’ll talk about it all.

Q: What about you personally?

A: I’d say we’ll have all discussions collectively about it and make a decision.

Q: What about an update on the health of (quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor) and also (tight end) Darren Waller? What are your expectations for those two guys? Do you expect to see them this year?

A: I’d say they’re getting better. We’ll see where they’re at. I haven’t talked to the medical guys yet, but they’ve been getting better.

Q: Do they have a chance of returning after the bye week?

A: We’ll see. Yeah, we’ll see.

Q: There are so many quarterbacks that are drafted in the first round, second round, third round. In their first year, they can’t even operate in the NFL, and you have (quarterback) Tommy (DeVito), I know it’s not perfect, but he’s functioning. What characteristics did he have that have either

developed underneath you or coming out of school where you’re like, ‘this guy might have something’?

A: It’s an important position to try to develop. It’s a hard position. This guy, like I said, since OTAs he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. I thought he’s had two good mentors in there in terms of players. I think (quarterback coach) Shea (Tierney) does an excellent job with him, (offensive coordinator Mike) Kaf(ka) does a great job with him. Him and I meet once a week. We have since OTAs and discussed a lot of different things. I actually just met with him just now right before I came down here. So, he’s got the right mindset, a lot of work to do. He’s a young, young player, but he’s made some progress and he’s done a good job for us.

Q: One thing with him is he doesn’t hesitate to let it rip downfield. How important is that for a quarterback and just for an offense to be able to get those plays?

A: Yeah. See it, let it go. Trust your eyes. I’d say, be intelligently aggressive. I think he had a little fade adjust to go route and they were playing cover two to (wide receiver Jalin) Hyatt on the left-hand side, high level throw. We were just talking about it upstairs. Exactly what he saw and why he went there. He’s got good field vision. Usually when he comes off the sideline, he can articulate what he sees, which is not always the easiest thing, whether it’s for a young quarterback, even older quarterbacks, but ‘hey, I put it here because I saw this guy move, the safety didn’t open his shoulders, he stayed square, he was at 12 yards. I figured I had a chance to get it in there.’ Most of the time, he sees it the way it is after you’re watching on tape, which is always a hard thing to do or you can come off to the sideline and say, ‘hey, this is why I didn’t do this’ or ‘man, I screwed this up. I should have let this one go or got it out a little quicker.’ I think all the reps that he has had the last couple of weeks has helped him. We’ve just got to try to keep improving them.

Q: When you set out your developmental plan you saw Tommy as a developmental prospect, you couldn’t have foreseen what happened ahead of him at the position. Does it hurt that process or has this acceleration almost helped him come along faster because of what you’ve had to do?

A: I think every situation is different. It was different when I had (Bills quarterback) Josh (Allen), it’s different with Tommy. I think the third guy that doesn’t get a ton of reps out there other than he goes over and maybe throws one-on-ones with the tight ends and running backs at times or he goes over there with (Assistant Quarterback Coach Christian Jones) CJ on a separate time and goes through some of the plays in his head. The meetings that I had – I do that because you got to spend so much time with these other quarterbacks to get them ready. It’s a demanding position and it takes a lot to prepare for a game, so you’re devoting everything you got to the first guy, the second guy and you never want the third guy to feel left out at all. So, I think those meetings that we have have been important. I got to know him a little bit. He gets to know me and now when he’s in there, he’s in there with Shea and Kafka all the time, but we still do our stuff. Again, he’s played only a few games and has a long way to go, but he’s got the right mindset. He’s done a good job.

Q: When you saw the schedule come out, I’m sure you look at where things are and where the bye week is, and you saw how late it was. Did you kind of look at it and say, alright, where are we going to be at that point? I know you look at it the first game, but where do you think you are right now even after the two wins at the bye? This is sort of a reset with the 4-8 record.

A: I just say we take a week to week. Look at the stuff we got to look at this week and get ready to play Green Bay.

Q: Is this a reset do you think for you and the team?

A: It’s a bye, so you do the things you do normally during a bye, get healthy, as healthy as you can, and make sure you evaluate some stuff, try to fix certain things and then come back ready to go and get ready for a Monday night game.

Q: Can you talk about the young players that have developed and really been a bright spot for you? The Hyatts, the (cornerback Deonte) Banks, the DeVitos, the (wide receiver) Wan’Dale’s (Robinson) and so forth.

A: Sure, yeah. I mean, look, those guys – it’s a long season. I think from – even guys like (inside linebacker) Micah (McFadden) and (outside linebacker Kayvon) Thibodeaux, that have played quite a bit of football for us. That’s the objective is to get players in your system that you think have a good skillset, the right mindset and play them and get them to improve and those guys have done a good job. (Tight end Daniel) Bellinger, guys who have played behind. (Tight end Darren) Waller’s out, now Bellinger’s in, so those guys have got the right mindset. I think the coaches work hard with them; they work hard to improve but we still need them to keep improving.

Q: I know you said you haven’t met with medical staff yet but how did you come out health wise?

A: Honestly, right now, I don’t know. I’ll meet with those guys later, I’m sure, after you guys are done with (Senior Vice President/General Manager) Joe (Schoen).

Q: I know you downplayed any friction with (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) yesterday but just in your experience, you’ve been in the league a long time, do coaches have to get along? I’m sure there’s times where there’s different personalities and there’s conflict.

A: Look, you’re in a competitive industry so the people you work with, you’ve got a lot of respect for. Everybody’s trying to get the same thing.

Q: One of the finer points of that report, can you assure that Wink will be here?

A: I addressed what I said last night and I’m going to leave it at what I said last night.

Q: Have you had a conversation with Wink about it within the last 24 hours? Between after the game and today.

A: I’m done with that.

Yeah, I just met with Wink a little while ago. We had donuts.

Q: What prompted you giving him the game ball? I’ve never seen you do that.

A: I’ve done that before.

Q: To a coach?

A: Yeah.

Q: Well, why did you give one to Wink yesterday?

A: Because we had another game of three turnovers and held them to seven points.

Q: I’m not sure if you answered the question. Can you say for sure he’ll be the DC for the rest of the season?

A: Guys, I talked (and said) what I said last night. We’re moving on here. Getting ready to for the bye week.

Q: Do you know if (tackle) Evan Neal is going to play again this season?

A: Do I know? Not for certain but I think he’s getting better so I’m hopeful.

Q: If he’s ready to play, will he return to the lineup?

A: This is stuff we’ll all talk about when he’s ready to play. I don’t think he’s ready to play quite yet but he’s getting there.

Q: What do you look to get accomplished over the last 5-6 games of the season?

A: I’m just focused on these next couple of days and looking at our stuff, things we can improve on, and start some Green Bay prep.

Q: Back to the question about the timing of the bye week, do you have to do different things this bye week as opposed to last year when it was earlier? Because it’s so late in the year.

A: I mean, you have more to look at, but you still look at some of the things that you know you want to place an emphasis on improving. So, it’ll probably be about 10-12 tapes that I’ve set up for the defense and offense to watch and four or five for the special teams that those guys will get started on here shortly. We’ll have a normal Monday, we’ll work pretty late tonight, same thing tomorrow. We’ll see what we can get done and get on to Green Bay.

Q: With the increase of Thursday night games, the extra game that you guys are now playing with Week 18, it seems like this year, more so than others, there have been a significant amount of injuries to quarterbacks and to positions all over. Would you be a proponent of a second bye? Do you believe that could potentially help long term?

A: Never thought of it. Yeah, never thought of it.

Q: Answer on the fly.

A: Never thought of it, doesn’t cross my mind. Whatever you can do to minimize injuries.

Q: Are you going to have Tommy do more work this week even though it’s the bye?

A: Yeah, he’ll have his weekend off and stuff like that but I’m sure he’ll be – I know he’ll be doing stuff, we just talked about it. Again, young player, lot to develop in terms of that position, which is important, and I know he’ll work at it.

Q: Like what? What kind of stuff can he do during that time?

A: Watch tape, get ahead on Green Bay, look at his past two games, talk about plays that he really likes, maybe plays he didn’t like during a game, those are some of the main things.

Q: Players will be back Monday? Next Monday.

A: Yeah, yep.

Q: And you’ll shift the schedule probably because of the Monday night game?

A: Yeah, so right now, tentatively it’ll be – and this is kind of a ramp up too with the training staff. I’ve still got to meet with the medical staff, but this is tentatively. Monday, we’ll kind of get back in, we’ll do a little bit of a walkthrough. Tuesday will be similar to a Wednesday but an additional walkthrough with it. Wednesday will be a Wednesday. Thursday will be a Tuesday so that will be the players day off like we’ve done in the past. Friday will be a Thursday; Saturday will be a Friday. Got all that?

That’s tentatively. I want to meet with (Head Athletic Trainer) Ronnie (Barnes) and the rest of the trainers and make sure and the sports science people but that’s kind of what we have mapped out, starting last weekend to now.

Q: One thing that happened today was (Former Panthers Head Coach) Frank Reich was fired. I was wondering is less than a year –

A: Frank was?

Q: Yeah, is less than a year a fair amount of time for any coach?

A: You’re asking the wrong guy; I’m just trying to do the best job I can. Never like to see that with any of the guys you know.

Q: Is it too late to change anything? Moving forward on how your processes or your practice schedule or anything like that to get the guys through the rest of the year?

A: No, we do that every week. Yeah, every week.

With the Giants in their bye week, there is no availability to the team from November 28 to December 3.

Aug 312023
Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll, New York Giants (August 26, 2023)

Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll – © USA TODAY Sports

The transcript of Joe Schoen’s and Brian Daboll’s press conference on Thursday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

The New York Giants have signed running back Taiwan Jones and offensive lineman Jalen Mayfield to the Practice Squad, meeting the 16-man limit.

The 35-year old, 6’0”, 195-pound Jones was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He has spent time with the Raiders (2011-2017), Buffalo Bills (2017-2018), Houston Texans (2019), and Bills again (2020-2022). Jones has played in 137 regular-season games with no starts, carrying the ball just 53 times for 223 yards and no touchdowns. He has also caught 19 passes for 260 yards and one touchdown. Jones was a special teams captain in Buffalo.

The 23-year old, 6’5”, 320-pound Mayfield was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. He played tackle in college but the Falcons named him their starting left guard during his rookie season when he started 16 games. Mayfield missed all of 2022 with a lower back injury. The Falcons waived him on Tuesday.

CB Aaron Robinson (ACL) remains on the Reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List from the Active/PUP List. TE Tommy Sweeney (unknown) remains on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury (NFI) List.

WR Parris Campbell (rest day), WR Cole Beasley (quad), TE Lawrence Cager (ankle), LB Cam Brown (ankle), CB Cor’Dale Flott (hamstring), and S Gervarrius Owens (hamstring) did not practice.

RB Gary Brightwell (knee) and S Bobby McCain (concussion) returned to practice.

The players are off until Monday, when they return to practice to prepare for the opening game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Jul 262023
Brian Daboll and Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (July 26, 2023)

Brian Daboll and Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants held their first summer training camp practice of the year on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

“Today was really go out there and compete,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll before practice. “There’s going to be a lot of mistakes that’ll be made. We’re going to try to put you in difficult situations; move on to the next play as quick as you can. Support your teammates. Go out there and play as hard and smart as you can. Again, today is kind of page one of the of the 2023 season. A long way to go, let’s just take it day by day and get better each day.”

The following players began training camp on injury or did-not-report lists:

  • Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List: WR Sterling Shepard (ACL), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (ACL), OG Marcus McKethan (ACL), DL A’Shawn Robinson (meniscus), DL D.J. Davidson (ACL), and CB Aaron Robinson (ACL)
  • Active/Non-Football Injury (NFI) List: WR Jamison Crowder (calf)
  • Reserve/Did-Not-Report List: DL Vernon Butler

WR Jalin Hyatt (illness and heat related) left practice early with trainers, but later returned.

DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches suffered a concussion in a car accident while leaving the team’s facility. He is currently in the concussion protocol.

Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The focus of Day 1 of training camp was 7-on-7 and some 11-on-11 red zone drills. The players are not in full pads yet.
  • Bobby Okereke and Darrian Beavers started at inside linebacker.
  • The starting defensive backs were CB Adoree’ Jackson, CB Deonte Banks, slot CB Darnay Holmes, S Xavier McKinney, and S Jason Pinnock.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, QB Daniel Jones scrambled and threw a touchdown pass to RB Saquon Barkley, who made a fully-extended, toe-dragging catch for the score against S Xavier McKinney.
  • TE Darren Waller stood out throughout practice as the defense had problems covering him. Waller made a juggling catch in traffic near the goal line on a pass from QB Daniel Jones. Jones later connected with Waller for two more touchdowns.
  • Both TE Darren Waller and WR Parris Campbell were used out of the backfield.
  • QB Daniel Jones threw a dart to WR Parris Campbell for a touchdown (Jones connected with Campbell on two scores). Jones then threw another dart to WR Cole Beasley on a slant pattern for a touchdown against CB Darnay Holmes. Beasley received a lot of first-team reps.
  • QB Daniel Jones threw a touchdown to a diving TE Daniel Bellinger in the corner of the end zone.
  • First-team offensive line was LT Andrew Thomas, LG Joshua Ezeudu, OC Ben Bredeson, RG Mark Glowinski, and RT Evan Neal.
  • QB Daniel Jones scored on a designed run on the edge of the defense.
  • WR Jalin Hyatt flashed his speed on an end-around for a touchdown.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, QB Daniel Jones threw a touchdown to WR Isaiah Hodgins against CB Deonte Banks.
  • QB Tyrod Taylor threw three touchdowns to David Sills, and one each to WR Kalil Pimpleton and WR Collin Johnson.
  • WR Bryce Ford-Wheaton flashed and caught a touchdown pass from QB Tommy Devito.
  • QB Tommy Devito also threw two touchdowns to WR Jaydon Mickens and another to RB James Robinson.
  • ILB Micah McFadden and S Dane Belton broke up a passes.
  • TE Lawrence Cager also caught a touchdown pass.
  • One caveat with all of the touchdown passes. Some came after the quarterback was forced to hold onto the ball because no one was open.

The transcript of Joe Schoen’s and Brian Daboll’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

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

The New York Giants practice Thursday morning (10:00-11:45AM). The practice is open to the public. Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will also address the media.

Apr 202023
Joe Schoen, New York Giants (December 4, 2023)

Joe Schoen – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen held the team’s annual pre-draft press conference on Thursday. The following is the transcript from the event (the VIDEO is also available courtesy of

JOE SCHOEN: Go ahead and fire away. I’ll let you know if there’s anything new.

Q. Just tell us who you’re drafting, and we’ll leave.

JOE SCHOEN: I wish I knew. I’m trying to figure out. 25 it’s a little bit harder than 5 and 7 to come up with names.

Q. What position group?

JOE SCHOEN: That’s a good question. I mean, there’s depth at different parts throughout the draft at all positions, so it’s hard to pinpoint one.

Again, based on where you’re picking, like if you’re at a certain part of the draft, there may be a run on four or five players in that draft. So, the top of the draft at a certain position, then it’s gone, and now there’s no longer depth at that position. I think there’s position and value across all positions throughout the draft just depending on where you’re picking, but I’m not going to identify one being stronger than the other. Just where the value matches up with where you have them on the board.

Q. What do you think about the idea that especially — in the first round and you don’t have an exorbitant number of first rounders compared to the past?

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, again, I don’t know where everybody else has people on their board. I know we’re going through the process now of who may or may not be there, and we’re pretty confident that there will be a player there that we like.

Q. Do you have 25 first round grades?

JOE SCHOEN: I’m not going to get into how many first-round grades that we have. We have guys in the first round that we like, and we are pretty confident that there will be somebody there when we pick at 25 that we’ll be happy with.

Q. Looking at COVID, an extra year of eligibility, does that help or hurt this draft, given some of these guys are now older prospects?

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, there are more players when we were going through it that are 24, 25 years old that we don’t usually see. You see it sometimes at certain schools. But there are more of those players. We look at each individual case-by-case basis, and if there’s an injury history or they are a smaller school or whatever it may be on the player and does that affect their age or their position. We look at them on an individual basis. Rarely does that come into play and deter us from drafting somebody.

Q. Where do things stand with Saquon (Barkley)? are you still negotiating?

JOE SCHOEN: No, nothing has changed since we talked, whatever that was, three weeks ago, four weeks ago. Nothing has changed since we talked at the owner’s meetings.

Q. How about with Dexter (Lawrence II)?

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, after I talked to Dexter’s representatives this week, dialogue’s good there. So yeah, I’ve talked to him. Again, it’s hard this time of year. We’re deep into the draft and the draft prep so — but yeah, we have had good conversations with Dexter’s representatives, and we’ll see where that stands moving forward.

Q. With Saquon, do you have a next contract offer in your head?

JOE SCHOEN: I’m just going to get through the draft right now. Again, my focus right now is totally on that. So, there’s no rush right now. I just want to get through the draft and step back after that and see what the roster looks like, and then go from there.

Q. Knowing that you’ve said on the record that you want to get something done and you’re negotiating, is it disappointing at all that Dexter chose not to come here, or are you fine with that and that you would rather not be here when you’re going through this?

JOE SCHOEN: What was the quote, “it’s April 17th”? I’m not going to give you that. It’s voluntary. If Dexter chooses not to be there, that’s his decision. Dexter knows how we feel about him, and he knows he’s an important part of the organization, and there’s a business side to it, too. But him showing up for the off-season program is voluntary.

Q. You guys have obviously discussions with Saquon previously and there have been numbers widely reported, and free agency seems to have changed the running back market dramatically. Does that then alter your approach in terms of how much you may or may not be willing to devote to that position in terms of finances?

JOE SCHOEN: When we had the conversations with Saquon, it was known that we were going to get to a certain point, and then we were going to move on and regroup at some other time. So it was before free agency started, so no, that has not really affected anything we talked about.

Q. The tag is obviously a one-year deal — does that impact how you approach running backs in the draft?

JOE SCHOEN: No. There are players at all positions that are in the mix at 25, and I’m not going to rule any position out.

Q. Can you add realistically, add ten more, at least, rookies to your roster or would you like to package some of those to move up, so you have less than ten picks or trade a pick for a veteran player rather than have ten more young guys on an already young roster?

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, that’s a good question, and we’ll see how the draft plays out. I mean, right now we have ten. So, we have go through it, and if there’s somebody we want to move up for we have some extra draft capital to do that. If we want to move back and collect some, we can do that, too. Again, you have to look at the roster, not just today but 2024, 2025, who is coming up. Again, financially there are players making a pretty good chunk of money on our team and some contracts on the horizon potentially. So yeah, those young cost-controlled players for four years that can be contributors, whether that’s a role on offense or defense, four core special teams guys. I think it’s important to continue to build depth and competition, and that’s what we’ll try to do with those picks.

Q. Will you try to trade for a veteran guy like you did with (Darren) Waller?

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, we’ll always pursue any type of opportunity to better the roster, whether it’s trade, draft, late-round, college, free agency, whatever it is, definitely.

Q. How important is it when you look at the roster and the draft, when you look at roster duplication, where you think, for example: We have a smaller slot receiver, we don’t need to get another one; we have this kind of a slot cornerback, we don’t need to get another one; or do you say, no, no, we are just going to get the guys in and we’ll figure it out?

JOE SCHOEN: There’s a little bit of that on offense. I think Dabs, that’s one of his strengths and Mike Kafka, taking the pieces that you have and trying to accentuate what they do best. We have had a really good dialogue with the coaches all week. We’re still doing it. We did it all morning. Certain players, and just going through what their role and utilization will be on the roster, first-down, second-down, third, what’s their fourth-down value. If there’s any discrepancies or questions from our part on what their role will be, we try to clear the air now on that. So come Draft day, we’ve had all these conversations, and again, it’ there’s a certain value, how they will be utilized. They come in different size, shapes, speeds, but we are going through all those conversations right now.

Q. As far as like receivers and things like that, there’s a big group of them — is that somewhere where you say, look, let’s bring them all in and we’ll figure it out?

JOE SCHOEN: Yes, the offense has a very defined plan on how they are going to utilize certain positions, and it makes it easy to go scout players for them. Again, we are going through all those players that you’re talking about regardless of position, regardless of what they look like physically, and trying to figure out what their fit would be with the team and what their role would be.

Q. Knowing that you had the coaches going out and actually getting the pro days, whereas a lot of the last year, Brian was getting the staff together and they weren’t able to get out as much?

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, the coaches have done a tremendous job. They are a big help and big part of the process. I think it’s important to consensus-build throughout the building and again when you draft a player, if the coaches don’t want him, the chances of success a lot of times are slim.

So we like to do our due diligence in all the prospects, and the more you can be around them, I think it puts you at ease when you turn in the card for those prospects that you’ve been around them a lot and you know exactly what you’re getting with your investment.

Q. What about your staff? Again, you were just coming in and getting everything together and making changes, how much more comfortable are you with the changes that you’ve made and are they that much different than what you did last year?

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, it’s great, more time on task. Going through more situations with these — some of the personnel, whether it’s Brandon Brown (Assistant GM), Tim McDonnell (Director of Player Personnel), Dennis Hickey (Assistant director of player personnel); Chris Rossetti, our pro (scouting) director came in from Miami. So going through kind of a cycle, a personnel cycle whether it was draft, free agency or whatever it may be, you kind of get to know strengths and weaknesses of your scouts. So yeah, again, after going through it for a year, I definitely feel more comfortable this year going into it than a year ago.

Q. Going back to Buffalo for a second, in 2020 when you drafted Gabe Davis what traits did you prioritize and how did you protect a fourth-round receiver to be a starter in the league?

JOE SCHOEN: With Gabe it started with his makeup. He was off the charts with the way he learned, the ability to move him around, his work ethic, checked all those boxes, and he was a very productive receiver at Central Florida. Again, that was the COVID draft. I remember I was in my basement when that happened. It’s not always what you can see on film, and I think that’s why we go and spend so much time with these kids is to try to figure out what’s the makeup. Because when you get to this level everybody’s good; what’s going to give you the competitive advantage. Why is a fourth- or fifth-round player going to make it: Is it their work ethic; is their tireless pursuit of being great, whatever it may be, you try to identify those traits through this process, whether it’s bringing them in on 30 visits, going and seeing them. We talked to a bunch of coaches this week around the country, whether head coaches, position coaches or coordinators and getting as much information as you can on why this kid can be successful, and Gabe was one of those players.

Q. What have you learned about the top of this wide receiver class throughout this process and those interactions?

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, it’s a good group of receivers draft the top of the draft, depending how you have them ranked. Everybody’s got different strengths and weaknesses, and again I think there’s a lot of talented players in the draft. And it goes back to what I was just saying with Pat’s question is identify what’s going to separate those guys from the pack and what makes them great. Again, every year I think there’s 20-plus receivers that are drafted, and how many truly go on to have success, you know, that’s what we’re trying to figure out.

Q. How do you determine who you bring in for Top 30 visits and what’s the value of that to you?

JOE SCHOEN: Some of its elimination. Maybe we need to confirm there’s some uneasiness with a player and confirm they are not a fit, or how will they pick up our system; our offense is very complicated. Or sometimes it can be medical; if they are non-combine to get the medical. There are varying reasons for why we bring players in. But again, it’s a great opportunity not to just to get them around myself and Daboll and the coaches, but the rest of our support staff, training staff, strength staff, nutrition, whatever it may be. It’s just good to be around these players as much as you can.

Q. You talk a lot about the alignment for a full year with the coaches and scouts and the division. How different is your board this year because of that alignment than maybe a year ago where you didn’t have that hundred percent alignment? Do you think about that and how much does that shape where you guys are going forward?

JOE SCHOEN: I wouldn’t say we weren’t aligned a year ago. It was just trying to get a grasp on how the players were going to be utilized in Wink’s system. So, I wouldn’t say we weren’t aligned. We ended up, there’s consensus building, but there’s definitely after going through a full season and a training camp and seeing it applied, how he’s going to utilize players. There’s a better comfort level, not just myself but even Dabs. Dabs had never worked with Wink, either; as we’re going through it, how he’s going to utilize players first down, second down, third down. So yeah, there’s definitely a better comfort level this year, but I wouldn’t say we weren’t necessarily aligned last year.

Q. I didn’t mean that necessarily. You’ve talked about Wink and knowing what Wink and just knowing what Wink wants and how that changes maybe the way you scout players.

JOE SCHOEN: Absolutely.

Q. So for you as a scout at heart, how does that change what you’re looking for you may look at a certain guy because you — have what you may think overall?

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, we’ve had to retrain a little bit how we look at different positions or the value we put on them based off Wink’s system, and I think that’s what’s most important is what is the value for the Giants and how do we see them and how they are going to be utilized, which we are still having those conversations. We definitely had to retrain how we think about some things at different positions and what the value of those traits are that we covet and where those align in the draft. But definitely feel better going into it this year in terms of what exactly he’s looking for.

Q. Where in this process have you spoken directly with Saquon?

JOE SCHOEN: Nothing’s changed since we talked at the owner’s meetings. There’s nothing new. I haven’t talked to him.

Q. When you draft at the back of the draft, where you are this time, how do you define what a successful draft pick, five years from now when you look at a player, how would you define success?

JOE SCHOEN: We like to look at the play time over three years. Usually, it’s over three years what their play time is, their contribution, whether they developed into a starter, that’s obviously a hit; if they turn into a good starter, that’s good. That’s what you strive for. But there’s also role players and there’s really good special teams players that you value.

So again, it’s their role. It’s their fit on the team, their contribution over that four-year period, but usually after three years you know if they are a contributor or not and there’s going to be different types of contributions.

Q. You mentioned changing positions — what position have you personally changed your outlook the most on the way you evaluate?

JOE SCHOEN: It’s really the front seven. It’s just a different defense than I’ve been in. It’s really the front seven.

Q. Is there a danger to that? You’re building a team for the next three, four, five, six, seven years. Wink may not be here; he almost went this off-season. Is there a danger to drafting for a coach?

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, it’s actually something that Coach Parcells told me a long time ago. He told me, “Coaches come and go. You need to draft good football players.” Yeah, you don’t want to get too pigeonholed into scheme-specific, because then, you’re right, if Wink gets a head job a year from now and you bring somebody else in that runs a totally different defense, you a scheme-specific player. Part of our job is to balance that. Like is this guy, again, add value. Like, he’s only going to fit this one scheme. And yeah, Wink’s got a really good chance to get a head coaching job. If he moves on and we change things up, then yeah, you definitely have to balance that and be aware of that.

Q. You obviously have your starting quarterback locked up but are you somebody who would like to have a young developmental quarterback on the team and also, I say that because there seems to be a thought around the league that Brock Purdy has changed, maybe reemphasized the idea that teams — you pick day three quarterback and see what happens going forward?

JOE SCHOEN: I would just say right now we are happy with Tyrod. Tyrod is the backup. I think we are in good shape right there.

Q. You don’t have a third quarterback, right?

JOE SCHOEN: We had Davis Webb last year. We’ll continue to look whether it’s a veteran free agent or somebody in the draft or post-draft, whoever it may be. Yeah, we’ll have three quarterbacks in camp.

Q. Where do you see your O-Line? Are you comfortable where that is right now?

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, I think we have 14 offensive linemen under contract right now. So no different than the owner’s meetings, what I told you guys.

Q. Do you remain optimistic that Saquon will be on the field for you at the start of the season? From the outside looking in, it doesn’t seem like an obvious resolution.

JOE SCHOEN: You have to ask him. I’m not sure. I don’t know what his plan is. I haven’t talked to him in probably three weeks.

Q. From your experience before you got here, talking about Buffalo, you were on the road a lot there, scouting prospects, and I know when you go to pro days and stuff, you’re not just looking at guys who are in that current draft. Curious, now, in this process, are there guys, do you go back to your notes from two years ago where guys may have stood out to you when you were on campus, someone may have said something to you, and has that factored into your evaluation of guys that are now available to be drafted?

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, for sure. I actually went through some of my books. There are some guys in this draft that I know I wrote in Buffalo. I meant to call Brandon and get some of those. I can’t find them. Yeah, definitely, I was on the road a lot more. Probably see 50 schools a year when I was in Buffalo. When players do go back to school that are now in this draft it is helpful because you have a previous exposure to the player if I wasn’t able to get out and see them this year. There were definitely some definite benefits to the amount of work that I was able to do in Buffalo. It’s still paying off.

Q. On Dexter, when a position’s market keeps resetting in the off-season, how do you balance as a GM not letting that dictate what you pay but also trying to properly pay the player?

JOE SCHOEN: We have a formula that we have in place in terms of coming up with the value of players based on various factors. So, you know we stay true to that when we are coming up with value, whether that’s free agency, contract extensions, whatever it may be. We have a formula that we like to stick to.

Q. Enter that equation —

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, same deal. Any time you’re paying a player, whether it’s inside the building or outside the building, we come up with a value of what we think is fair. You create a case on why you see the value is where it is. Again, takes two to get a deal done.

Q. Is Bijan Robinson the best back in this class, and how do you feel about running backs in the first round?

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, I think there are several good backs in the draft. And again, if it’s a good player and a team decides to take them, and they have success for their system, then I don’t think you can go wrong with taking good football players. I don’t want to pigeonhole myself into saying I would never take a certain position in the first round. It’s a good running back class. It’s got some depth to it, and Bijan is a good player.

Q. When you’re constructing your roster, how much of your decision-making is impacted by your own system but combating what division rivals and competitors do well?

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, I think you always have to look at that because that’s the ultimate goal is to win the division. When you are building your team, you obviously want to give the coaches what they want in order to run their schemes and execute their schemes at a high level. But you also have to look at the division, I reflect on when I was in Miami, and they had Gronk all those years. You’re looking for some sort of linebacker that can match up and cover Gronk, and it was just impossible to find somebody that could do that. So, if there are players or schemes, or whatever it may be throughout the division, you’re always looking at that and studying and seeing how you can maybe counter one of their strengths.

Q. One of your traits is you’re able to separate emotion from team building, but when you have a player that’s been a good Giant but maybe financially or when team building resources, it doesn’t make sense, do you find you’re good at separating those two things, and if so, where did you learn that trait?

JOE SCHOEN: Not really. No, it’s tough. Again, these guys are around, they work hard, and we had a heck of a season last year and you become close with them, and it’s hard. But there is — you have to separate it. I’m not going to say I’m good at it there’s a human element on both sides, for them and myself. But there is a business side to it. And yeah, again, in a perfect world there’s no salary cap, and you can make everybody happy and pay everybody. But you know, that’s something I haven’t been through before. Last year, we didn’t extend anybody from our roster. It was signing some people outside the building. After going through a season with the players, and then this next step of the process whether it’s extending or players leaving the organization, yeah, the human element, that part stinks because you do like all these guys, and you know they put in a lot of work for you, and you know, again starting this time last year. So it’s tough to separate the business end and the human element. The way Dabs and I are around the building and getting to know the players, maybe we do that more than most. But you do become attached for sure.

Q. Your philosophy on trading up, curious what your philosophy on that is? Would you be hesitant to dip into next year’s draft class?

JOE SCHOEN: I’d be open to any of that. I’m never going to rule it out. If it’s the right player and the value aligns, I’d move up. If it was a future pick, I would do that, too. Last year, just where we were financially, we needed as many depth pieces as we can. So, moving back a couple times last year just made sense. It got us some more bodies that — so that was a little bit of the thought process that went into that.

Q. How much has the big play receiver changed in the sense that when I was younger, it was a big guy who could run fast and catch a 40-yard pass. Now is it somebody who can attach 15-yard pass and make it a 40-yard pass?

JOE SCHOEN: That can be part of it. I think both of your comments are correct. If you have got a guy that can take the top off and throw the ball down the field and goes up and gets it like a Randy Moss, then you’d love to have that; or if it’s Steve Smith in Carolina, you throw a slant, and he can take it 80. Any time you can generate yards after a catch, I think that helps you. You don’t have to do the 15, 16-play drives. Maybe now it’s six because a guy had a 50-yarder in there. I think all those things are important when you’re looking at the receiver.

Q. The center better position in this draft — you don’t have anybody on your roster that has extensive experience as a starter. How important is it for you to add to that position in the draft whether, whatever portion of the draft and what do you think of that group in particular?

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, I think there’s some depth in the draft, but I don’t think we have to. Again, we have these meetings. As soon as the Eagles game was over, that week, we had meetings and we went into the off-season: If we can’t get Nick (Gates) back; if we didn’t get (Jon) Feliciano back, what does it look like. You know, talking with the coaching staff and the personnel staff, there’s people in house third page are available candidates for that: You know, Ben Bredeson, Jack (Anderson), Shane Lemieux, JC Hassenauer we just signed a week ago. So there’s guys that there that have played center, have played games, and you know, it will be good competition.

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 082023
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (August 11, 2022)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones addressed the media on Wednesday, the day after he signed a new 4-year, $160 million contract with the team (VIDEO):

Q: There’s a lot of different aspects that go into a contract. What was most important to you about the way this was structured? Was it the average value? The length? The guaranteed (money)? Take us through your thoughts on that a little bit.

A: There’s several really key components to it. And I think going in, it wasn’t really one thing or the other. I think it was the overall deal and how it worked together and how they balanced each other out. So, I don’t think there was one thing that was overidingly more important than the others. I think it was more about the balance of the deal and putting all those things together in the best way we could.

Q: How did negotiations work for you? I don’t think you were sitting down at the table with (senior vice president of football operations & strategy) Kevin (Abrams) and (general manager) Joe (Schoen). How did the communication work as far as you with your agents, your new agents? Can you take us through what that process was like?

A: I was certainly communicating with them a lot and talking to them, getting updates after their conversations with the Giants. And I was keeping pretty close touch with all that. I thought they did a great job.

Q: Was there ever a point where you thought it might not get done? Joe Schoen told us last week that he saw you in the facility on Monday, and he kind of told you, ‘This is your first negotiation. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.’ Did it get worse before it got better?

A: Yeah, it’s my first time going through it. There’s certainly an emotional component to it as well, and we went up to the deadline, as you know. But it was good. I think there were probably some points where you had more confidence and some points in time where you had less confidence. But I wanted to find a way to work it out, and that was the goal. It was very much my mindset, and I’m glad we did. I’m thrilled to be back.

Q: Obviously, your contract is your contract. And you’re entitled to go for as much as you can, but how cognizant were you of what you get maybe takes from others? And you and (running back) Saquon (Barkley) were linked here as far as franchise tags and things like that?

A: In a situation like this, you’re trying to do what’s best for you and your family while also balancing being part of a team and understanding the goals and vision that we have as a team and as an organization. That was certainly important to me throughout the deal. And I think we found a way to do both those things and to do it the right way for both sides. That was certainly important to me. Saquon – I’ve said it, he means a ton to me as a teammate, as a friend. And he means a ton to us as a player. So, I won’t talk about his business. But that was a piece of it, too.

Q: There have already been, this morning, columns that said, ‘Oh, Daniel’s paid like a franchise quarterback. Now he needs to prove that he is one.’ Do you feel any added pressure, added responsibility, with the new deal?

A: I’ve always felt that responsibility. And playing this position, especially for a team like the New York Giants and this city, you have that responsibility. And I take that very seriously. It certainly doesn’t change. I certainly do feel that, and it’s my goal to earn that every day and in the offseason while we’re preparing for the season and when we get to the season, doing my best and preparing this team to win games and me to put us in a position to do that. Yeah, I take that responsibility very seriously.

Q: You obviously have mentioned, seemingly everyone has mentioned, how close you guys got to a deadline yesterday. From your perspective, emotionally, did you take any time after you got that, ‘Okay, it’s agreed upon,’ and thought about what this process was like? I can’t imagine it’s been easy, especially the last week or so?

A: I certainly did. Yeah, just super grateful for the opportunity and grateful to the Mara family and the Tisch family. And just to be part of this organization has meant a ton to me. It’s been an honor to represent the team. Just very grateful for that and grateful for all the people that helped me get this opportunity along the way: my family, my friends, teammates, coaches, everybody. So, definitely took some time to think about that. I talked to a lot of people. I haven’t talked to everybody yet. Just very grateful.

Q: People always admire the way you’re able to stay even-keel. Was it more challenging to prevent your emotions from getting involved here and riding a bit of a rollercoaster, especially down the final minutes or final hours of what was going on here?

A: There’s certainly an emotional component to it. And you feel the pressure of the deadline. I think we all felt that. And I did as well. I wanted to be here, like I said. And I’m glad we got it worked out. It was always my goal to get it worked out. I’m glad we did.

Q: How did you celebrate this? And how was coming to an agreement on something like this different than being drafted?

A: I had dinner last night with some friends and my agents. Just grateful to have the opportunity to be back. I think it’s similar to being drafted. It’s an opportunity to play, but also an opportunity to go earn it and to prove it and continue to improve as a player and win a lot of football games. That’s my goal, and I’m tremendously excited about the opportunity. But there’s certainly a lot of work to do going forward, and I’m excited for that part of it, too.

Q: Was it at all strange to be in these intense negotiations knowing that no matter the outcome, you were still going to be a Giant? And why is it more valuable to you to be on this long-term deal than on the (franchise) tag? One of the things, you might have lost Saquon if you didn’t get a deal done. But why was that so important to you?

A: Well, I think it’s better for the team. It gives us a little more flexibility, and that’s an important component to it. I wanted to be here. I wanted to find a way to work it out so that it was good for both sides, and it worked. And it allowed us to have an opportunity to do what’s best for us going forward. So, I think that was a key component to it. I think we did that.

Q: I think the question when you mentioned dinner is did you pick up the check then after signing that kind of deal? Was that an expectation there at that point?

A: (Laughs) Yeah, I picked up the tab.

Q: The numbers that were thrown out there throughout the process, there were some big numbers thrown out there, how much did you hear that? And how important was the $40 million mark for you?

A: I think I saw some of that. There was plenty of numbers thrown out. Some may have been true; some may not have been true. It’s a negotiation. That’s part of it. But I’m glad with where we ended up, and I’m excited about it. I’m excited for the opportunity. I think it’s a great deal for both sides and allows us to do some things going forward and continue to grow and improve.

Q: Was that $40 million a benchmark number for you at all? Or was that an exaggeration as well?

A: I think, as I said earlier, it’s more about the deal as a whole – each piece of it fitting together in the best way it could.

Q: Since this was your first time, you obviously have a lot of contacts around the league. (Former Giants quarterback) Eli’s (Manning) in the building. Did you talk to any quarterbacks or any players who have gone through this before for the first time to kind of get a feel for how things would go? Or did you pretty much rely on what your agents had to say?

A: Yeah, I spoke to Eli before the process started and a little bit during. And he gave me some good advice. I think his message was just that things, they’ll work out how they’re supposed to. One day, you’re going to feel good about it. One day, not as good. But just to keep working. Like I said, we had the goal the whole time to get it worked out. So, I’m glad we did. But he gave me some advice. I leaned on my agents and my family, certainly.

Q: Did you talk to any other players that have gone through this, whether it be teammates, veteran teammates, guys you played in college with or anything like that to get some advice?

A: Certainly, my current teammates and some guys who have been through it. I would say I leaned heavily on my agents and my family.

Q: Where were you physically when you found out the deal was done? How did you find out? Do you remember what time it was?

A: I was in the building. I think it was 3:53 or 3:54, something like that. It was right up next to the deadline.

Q: Who did you find out from? Did your agent call you or just find you in the hallway? Or how did that happen? Were you in the room?

A: They told me. My agent told me where it was, and I accepted it. So, it was exciting. Like I said, very grateful, very appreciative about the opportunity.

Q: Why was it important for you to change agencies? And did you feel like the time it took for you to do that put some pressure on both sides to kind of make it happen in a short amount of time?

A: I’m certainly very grateful and appreciative of CAA and have some really strong relationships with those guys. I just thought this was the best thing for me going forward to work with Athletes First. And it was great working with them. I think we worked hard these last few weeks to get it done. And I don’t want to speculate on how it would’ve gone if it was different. You never really know. But we got it done, and we’re here. We’re excited about it. I’m excited to be back.

Q: Did you have any conversations with the Giants about going out and getting a number one receiver, adding to the receiving corps? Was part of you committing here long-term a commitment and a belief that they were going to go and further upgrade your weapons in the passing game so that you could go and earn it and prove it?

A: I think that’s a question probably for Joe (Schoen) and Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll). So, none of that was discussed specifically. We were focused on my deal, and I was focused on my business and getting the deal done. And I’m excited about it.

Q: Was there ever a moment – during the season, after the season, during these negotiations – where you had to say to yourself, ‘I might not be a Giant long-term,’?

A: I think it was always my goal to be back here and to be here long-term. I’ve really enjoyed being here. I think it’s a special place. It’s a special organization to be a part of. So, it was always my goal and my hope that we’d find a way to work it out and that they’d bring me back. I’m excited about that. I think you go through times where you’re more confident, times where you’re less confident. But it was always my goal and hope to be back.

Q: I heard what you said toward the beginning about Saquon, but you’ll forgive me if I ask you yet another question about Saquon Barkley. Is it your expectation that you’re handing off the ball to him in September and he’s a teammate and he’s also happy with everything going on with the Giants? You know him better than most.

A: I’ll let Saquon speak for himself. He’s meant a ton to me as a teammate, as a player. He’s a tremendous part of what we’re doing. So, he’s a big part of this team. I’ll let him speak about his business. He means a lot to me. I’ve loved playing with him.

Q: I assume it’s taken weeks or months to get this contract together. Did they tell you how long it’s going to take to dot all the ‘I’s and cross the ‘T’s until you can finally put your signature on it? Or have you done that yet?

A: Yeah, I signed it last night.

Q: Do you have any part in how much your cap hit will be? Or is that something you leave to Joe and the agents or whatever?

A: I think that’s something that I let them figure out. I’m not an expert with any of that stuff or how it all works. So, I let them handle that.

New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen addressed the media on Wednesday to discuss quarterback Daniel Jones as well as other team personnel issues (VIDEO):

Q: Now that everything is done, could you bring us inside the negotiations a little bit? Obviously, it went up to the deadline. It was a lot of talks in the last week or so. What were the sticking points, and what brought it over the goal line?

A: It started roughly, I think it was three weeks ago today, when Athletes First, their group flew out here. We had a dinner initially. They were actually in the building Thursday, Friday, for a couple of days. We started our initial conversations then. And then we kind of went remote after that up until the Combine. So, we were in constant communication with them. I use that ‘It’s going to get worse before it gets better.’ We started off; we were far apart. Then, just over the days, weeks, hours, we eventually got closer. It pretty much came all the way down to the finish line, I think. Literally, it was like 3:54. The deal got done. And there was a lot of moving parts to it. But without getting into the details of the sticking points and whatnot, I thought for the most part, at the end of the day, we’d get a deal done. Again, I said it all along that franchising him wasn’t best for the franchise and it wasn’t best for (quarterback) Daniel (Jones). So, at the end of the day, I was pleased to get it done. It definitely went up to the wire.

Q: You talk a lot about walkaway numbers and lines in the sand. Did you have to slide that at all as the clock was ticking yesterday? Or did you hold firm at whatever that number was in your mind throughout the process?

A: All the way to the end, you’re not going to get everything you want in a negotiation. Rarely is that ever going to happen. I think that goes for both sides. There was give and take. People were standing firm on what was most important for each side. At the end of the day, each side had to give a little bit. That’s why it went down to the wire. We’re happy we were able to get it done.

Q: You came in here with Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll) and were evaluating everybody and certainly did not have to fall in love with Daniel Jones as a quarterback. You didn’t draft him. By giving him this deal, are you saying that you feel you can win a Super Bowl with him?

A: Yeah, that’s the goal. Everybody’s goal is to win a Super Bowl. I think Daniel, he played well his rookie year. He played well for us this past year. I think the coaching staff has confidence in him. As an organization, we have a confidence in him. We’re going to continue to build the team around him. That’s the ultimate goal.

Q: Would you say that this contract is about what he can do rather than what he has done? Because around the league, a lot of people look at this and say, ‘Daniel Jones – $40 million a year? No way.’ And they just recite numbers that show he’s not a $40 million a year quarterback. So, why is he?

A: We can’t worry about what people are saying outside the building. All we care about is inside these walls. And we’ve got a very talented, experienced coaching staff and a very talented personnel staff, I believe. And what matters is what we think inside this building. That’s how we’re always going to make decisions. We’re not going to worry about the outside noise. And we’re going to be convicted in what we’re doing. It’s a well thought out process, and we’re happy with the decision that we made. And we’re happy to move forward with Daniel.

Q: Did you put any pressure on yourself as the process moved along – the idea that you knew what you wanted to accomplish, and you knew what you didn’t want to happen? As it started getting closer, did you have to dig in and maybe learn a little bit about yourself in this negotiation as far as how to handle it, how to deal with the emotions? We just asked Daniel whether that was on the other side of the table or not? From your perspective, what did you come away with down the stretch of this negotiation?

A: I think the quarterback deals are always going to be the – I talked to a couple of general managers at the Combine. The quarterback deals are the difficult ones. I went through one a few years ago with (Buffalo Bills quarterback) Josh (Allen). I learned a lot from how (Buffalo Bills general manager) Brandon (Beane) handled the situation. (Senior Vice President of Football Operations & Strategy) Kevin Abrams did a great job. (So did Director of Football Operations) Ed Triggs, (Football Operations Assistant) Charles Tisch, (Football Data & Systems Coordinator) Max Kirin, (Director of Football Data & Innovation) Tyseer Siam. They all did a great job whether it was stats, where we were going with our incentives, contract structure, whatever it was, the negotiating part. They all did an amazing job. Last year, we didn’t have a lot of money. So, this is kind of my first time going through a major deal with the team and the negotiating team that’s here. And they did a phenomenal job. So, there was some learning there back and forth. I know I’m stubborn. I know I like to dig in. Some of that came out, probably different sides of me that those guys hadn’t seen. But my experiences that I had in Buffalo, I leaned on some of that. Again, it was a deal we wanted to get done. So, you have to be willing to be flexible with these deals. That’s how we eventually got it done – just being flexible and doing what’s best for the franchise. I was at peace with whichever way we went with it at the end, whether it was franchise (tag) or getting the deal done. But ultimately my job was to do what was best for the franchise and keep that in mind. I think where we landed was best for both parties.

Q: Did you guys have kind of a drop-dead time where you said, ‘You know what? We can’t be messing around knowing that Wi-Fi goes down and the tag doesn’t go into the league office.’ We had that fax issue years ago with (former Broncos defensive end Elvis) Dumervil, I think it was.

A: That came up. One of our guys was saying, ‘I don’t trust the Wi-Fi. We’ve got to get this in.’ So, that was real. We tried to propose like, ‘Hey, noon deadline. Let’s agree to something by noon and then that way we don’t have to scramble at the end.’ And that didn’t happen. We went all the way to the deadline. We were scrambling. We were prepared. We had several emails prepared, depending which way everything went. Fortunately, I think the best-case scenario came to fruition.

Q: Obviously, with you guys extending Daniel, you were able to franchise tag (running back) Saquon (Barkley). So, I was just wondering where things stand right now with him. Are you guys still negotiating? How are those negotiations going? Is there hope you might be able to get something long-term done with him as well before the new league year begins?

A: I’m going to talk to Saquon today. I talked to him yesterday before we put the franchise tag on him. Again, we’ve had deals out, whether it’s the bye week or recently. We’re going to continue to negotiate. We love Saquon. He’s a good teammate. He’s a captain. He’s a hell of a player. So, right now, he’s under the franchise tag. As we build the team and continue with our offseason plan, we’ll do what’s best for the team. We’re still mapping that out.

Q: Daniel said he was in the building yesterday when the deal went down. I was wondering if you were able to talk with him after, what those conversations were like and now that it’s finally settled, what it was like to kind of see him in that atmosphere and that environment.

A: I think it was a big relief for everybody. It was stressful enough over the three weeks as we’re going through the process. But then with the time crunch at the end, it was just added stress on top of it all the way up to the deadline. I think there was a sense of relief on all parties afterwards, gave some big hugs. Then I ran off to do the other things that we needed to do before four o’clock. Again, he was here late last night to sign the deal. I think there was just a lot of relief on both sides.

Q: For the fans, you can sit around, and you can say, ‘The Giants went into free agency with $48 million – or whatever the number is – in cap space.’ For the average guy, you’re going to think, ‘Well Daniels is getting $40 (million). Saquon is getting $10 (million). Do you have anything for anybody else?’ Can you explain to them how there is money available for other people?

A: Yeah, with the salary cap and the signing bonus, again, where we were, the way we did Daniel’s deal with the signing bonus, that spreads out over four years. And then his P5 is $9.5 (million) this year. And then the proration of the signing bonus, which I think was $36 (million), so that’s where we have money there. Everybody looks at the $40 (million) number, but that frees up some money. We’ll see what happens with Saquon. The franchise number is just over $10 (million). If you extend him, and there’s a signing bonus involved, you can free up more cap space. There’s more people. (Defensive lineman) Dexter Lawrence is a guy we’ve started talking with his representatives. He’s on the fifth-year option. You can lower that number with a signing bonus. So, the signing bonus allows you to spread the money over the length of the contract up to five years, and that’s how you’re able to lower the yearly amount that counts against the cap.

Q: And it leaves you money for everybody else?

A: Yes.

Q: You mentioned that you’ve had conversations with Dexter Lawrence’s reps, but I’m just wondering: with Daniel having fallen into place, Saquon a tag in place now, where do you stand with decisions regarding (wide receiver) Kenny Golladay? Is he a pre-June (cut) or a post-June (cut)? And also, what about (defensive lineman) Leo(nard Williams), who I think you’d mentioned you were looking to maybe do something with him?

A: Those are ongoing conversations. We got back from the Combine late Sunday night. Athletes First was here on Monday. The meetings that I’ve had this morning are usually done the Monday after the Combine. So, it was kind of a ‘wait and see’ until we knew where we landed with Daniel and Saquon. And now that we’re there, now we’re really going into strategy meetings leading up to Monday when we can start negotiating with free agents. Kenny – we’ll see. There’s a good chance that we just take the hit this year. We already have some money that’s dead money in 2024. Just to get through this past season, we had to do some financial moves and actually kick dead money into 2024. So, if we can take our medicine this year, I think that’ll help us in 2024 and get out of the business of having a lot of dead money in any year.

Q: The advantage to making Kenny a post-June 1 (cut) is that you don’t get to use the money after June 1, but you get a lot more. And you of course have a spillover to the following year when the cap goes up. Might that be an option for you to consider, considering that will give you enough to get you through 2023, plus if you want to extend somebody, now you have a nice little cushion?

A: That can be said for next year if you’re sitting there with $17 million in dead money, and it’s 12 months from now, (you might think), ‘Gosh dang, I wish we would have just taken our medicine last year. We’d have more money.’ And we have (tackle) Andrew Thomas who’s a good player, (safety) Xavier McKinney – there’s other players on the roster who you may want to extend, or you may want to go outside the building. So, if we have the financial flexibility just to take our medicine and take on the dead money this year, that may be better. But those are all decisions that we’ll make moving forward. We’re having those meetings now and going through what the best-case scenarios are. We still have until Wednesday to make that decision.

Q: Now that you have Daniel under wraps, and I’m going to presume Saquon, how do you go about making this offense better and making this team better around what is now your franchise quarterback?

A: There’s several avenues. Now we have some financial flexibility this year. This morning, we’re going over the free agent market. I know people want to talk about offense and the receivers a lot, but we’re still building a team in all three phases. We’re going to look to upgrade offensively, defensively and our special teams unit. So, it’s nice, again, to have the draft capital that we have, the financial flexibility we have to really start building this thing. I don’t want to say this starts the build, because we made some moves last year and through the draft and some waiver wire claims that are still going to be here. But this is finally where we have flexibility and draft capital, second draft class. And we can really start building this thing knowing that we have Daniel in place.

Q: You inherited somewhat of a mess last season. Is there a way you would be able to explain to us how much better you feel about the organization right now and its flexibility in some respects?

A: (Laughs) I’ll give you a good example. We were just talking about a player. I won’t name the position or anything. We were like, ‘Yeah, we’re guessing his market might be $2.5 (million),’ and I was like, ‘We can afford that. It’s only $2.5 (million). We can actually afford it.’ We’re not shopping for minimum players anymore. So, even players like that that can be really good depth players will make us that much better. So, just having the flexibility now to be creative, go get players at maybe a little bit higher value, but also being able to sign, whether it’s tier three players, two, one, however you do it. We can map it out, and there’s players that we can go procure now that maybe we weren’t in the past. So, this offseason we’ll build a bit. I still believe in building through the draft. And we can sign guys in free agency to help the roster. I still think with Daniel and Dexter coming down the road and some of the other players, you’re still going to need to build through the draft because I think there’s going to be some players who will be making good money on our roster. So, it’s still going to be important.

Q: Did you hear from anyone in Buffalo congratulating you? You went through that with Josh, obviously. And now you have your own situation.

A: Yeah, I had a few. A lot of those. And talking with Brandon (Beane); I talked to him last night. I watched him go through this, but until you actually go through it, you don’t realize the stress, the pressure, the back and forth and sleepless nights and how much it weighs on you. I told him I totally understand now those mornings when he came in and he looked like hell because he wasn’t sleeping. And I knew exactly where he was.

Q: In the eleventh hour when you said both sides had to stand for what they wanted most and then concede some things. As Daniel ends up getting $40 million – getting his guaranteed money – what do you feel like the team got in concessions that were important to you guys at the end of the day?

A: I don’t want to get into the details of it, but we came to a spot where what was important to them and what was important to us, we came to an agreement. They got what they wanted, and we got what we wanted. And there were some concessions on other things that maybe weren’t as big of a priority. So, we hashed that out all the way up to the end. And I think where they gave and where we gave, I really do (think that) the best deals are won when both parties are happy at the end. I think that’s the landing spot we came to.

Q: (Safety) Julian Love looks like a guy who you now have to turn your attention to. Wondering if you have any optimism that that will get done or if you feel that there’s still a gap there with about a week to play with here?

A: That’s a good question. We’re going to reach out to our UFAs today. Kevin Abrams did an amazing job, Ed Triggs, those guys did awesome, Charles Tisch. We’re going to start reaching out to the agents today, kind of seeing where they are, where we are. We’re going to see if we can get something done before Wednesday, when the new league year starts. We’ll be in constant communication with those guys over the next few days.

Q: How involved or not involved was (President and Chief Executive Officer, Board Director) John Mara in this deal actually happening, at the end getting done? How involved was he in the process?

A: John Mara, (Senior Player Personnel Executive, Board Director) Chris Mara, (Executive Vice President, Chairman of The Board) Steve Tisch, I got a text chain with them. I called them. I talked to them. I kept them abreast since the beginning of the process we started three weeks ago. So, phone calls or text chains just keeping them abreast of what was going on.

Q: How much time do you guys think that you and their side put in in the last two or three days? I know they came out here Monday. Did you guys pull an all-nighter that night? How long were you working on it? Were there points where you guys separated and were like, ‘Man, I’m not sure we’re getting there,’?

A: We were here late Monday night, back in early Tuesday morning. It was on our mind that last 72 hours – I’d say the last three weeks because we’ve been in constant communication. But them being here physically, we met with them nine straight days up to the end, in person. Nine straight days of meetings; that’s a lot of time, whether it was at the Combine or when they were here. So, a lot of time. It got a little dicey as it was getting close to 3:30, 3:40. There was part of me that was like, ‘We may not get to the finish line.’ Again, the last four or five minutes, we tied a bow on it, luckily.

Q: You said both sides kind of stood ground on what was important to them. I’m curious: what was important to you when you went into this deal? What did you want to get out of it – a big picture?

A: I wanted to know we had our quarterback here and it wasn’t a franchise tag type of teal. So, to me, that was a worst-case scenario – putting the franchise tag on him. But I also knew I had that as a tool. So, the deal had to make sense for the franchise, both short-term and long-term. That’s what was important to me. The fact that we didn’t have to put the franchise tag on him and the way the deal was structured and the years, I think both parties were happy at the end.

Q: When a new regime comes in – you and Dabs came in last year – this is not how this usually goes when there’s a quarterback in place that there’s a question about. I’m curious if a year ago you thought you’d be here today – signing Daniel to a long-term contract and when you really thought that that’s the direction that you wanted to go.

A: I would say if I thought I was going to be here a year ago, I would’ve done the fifth-year option. But again, I knew from doing work on Daniel coming out of the draft, the type of person he was. From everybody in the building, the type of person he was, his work ethic. He has all the physical tools. He’s athletic. He can make all the throws. Just the situation he was in, I do think you have to look into that. Year two and three, what he went through. The talent that was around him, the injuries. There’s a lot that went into it. But being around Daniel for the last 13 months and seeing him play and the fourth-quarter comebacks and winning a playoff game on the road, there’s a lot of positives that a 25-year-old young man just displayed throughout the season. And the upside, I’ve got a lot of belief in our staff and Daniel’s work ethic and their relationship that will continue to grow, and Daniel will continue to get better. If he’s just at his floor right now, I’m really excited about what his ceiling is going to be.

Q: You mentioned Saquon, but he had said as soon as the season ended that if he was tagged, he would not be happy. Do you get the impression right now that he is not happy? Or have you alleviated that by saying, ‘We’re still working here, Saquon,’?

A: I haven’t talked in-depth with Saquon yet. I’m going to talk with him today. That’s negotiations. We had some deals out there, and we tried to get a deal done with him and his representatives. And we couldn’t. I think both parties knew at the end of the day that this was an option, and if he’s frustrated, I can understand some of that. We could be frustrated as well that we weren’t able to get a deal done. I love Saquon. He’s a good player. He’s going to be a part of this team going forward. We’ll see where it goes from here.

Q: How much of an impact, now that you do have some money to go out and spend, how much of an impact do you think free agency, outside free agents, can have on improving your team this offseason?

A: At certain positions, I think it’ll have a major impact, depending on where we go and the price point. Again, we can’t negotiate until Monday. So, we’re not really certain where some of these players are going to be from a financial standpoint, contract years and those types of things. So, we’ll be fiscally responsible with the moves that we make. Again, I think when you’re signing people outside the building, you’ve got to make sure you’re right on the character, the medical. It’s not like the draft where we can go to the Combine, and we can do physicals on these guys and see where they may have previous injuries and what those look like. You don’t get to interview them and go to their schools and all that stuff. So, we’ve got to be diligent with our research on the players and also, like I said, be fiscally responsible with where you pay these guys. So, we’re going to do our research. I think we’ve got some players targeted that will make impacts if the contract structure is right. And again, if not, we have plan B, C and D if we need to go there.

Q: Just following up on (a previous question) about Julian. You had said last week, ‘Some guys have been released. Let’s see where the safety market is going.’ How do you feel about, without naming any names, this free agent safety market?

A: I think there’s some depth there. I really do. When you’re looking at the markets, I think you really need to look at the draft, too. Let’s say it’s a deep safety market in free agency, and there’s some really good safeties in the draft, well then sometimes that suppresses the market. We’ll take all that into account. If a player and their price gets out of hand, we also know what the landscape of the draft looks like. There’s different avenues where you can acquire players. Again, we’ll make sure that we’re aware of all those.

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

Joe Schoen – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen addressed the media on Tuesday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana (VIDEO). Schoen also answered questions from fans (VIDEO).

ESPN is reporting that the Giants will release wide receiver Kenny Golladay on March 15, the first day of the 2023 League year. Depending on whether the Giants choose to designate him a pre- or post-June 1st cut, they can “save either $6.7 million or $13.5 million against the 2023 cap, respectively. However, the latter option will kick dead money into 2024.

Golladay will go down as one of the worst free agent signings in NFL history. The Giants signed Golladay as an unrestricted free agent from the Detroit Lions in March 2021 to a 4-year, $72 million contract. According to Spotrac, he received over $40 million of that contract in his two years with the team, playing in 26 regular-season games with 18 starts, catching just 43 passes for 602 yards and one touchdown. He had only six catches for 81 yards in 2022, as mediocre receivers easily passed him on the depth chart. He also dropped four targets on the limited chances he did get.

The 6’4”, 214-pound Golladay was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Lions. Golladay broke out in 2018 and 2019, catching 135 passes for 2,253 yards and 16 touchdowns. Golladay missed 11 games in 2020 with hamstring and hip injuries. He finished with just 20 catches for 338 yards and two touchdowns in five games.

The Indianapolis Colts have hired New York Giants Assistant Offensive Line Coach Tony Sparano, Jr. to be their new offensive line coach. The Colts hired away Giants Running Backs Coach DeAndre Smith earlier this month. The 56-year old Sparano joined the Giants last year after serving as assistant line coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2017-2020) and Carolina Panthers (2021).

For a complete listing of the coaching staff, see the New York Giants Coaching Staff section of the website.


Jan 232023
Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen, New York Giants (January 11, 2023)

Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brian Daboll addressed the media on Monday (VIDEO):

Joe Schoen: I just want to start off by thanking the Maras and Tisches. I’ve been here about a year, and thank them for giving us all the resources we needed throughout the season since the day we got here to build the best team we could last season along with any type of resources we needed. I would also like to thank everybody that works under this roof that contributed to not only the culture but their particular job responsibilities throughout the season. There’s tremendous energy in the building right now, a really good culture. I’m just really happy with everybody’s efforts throughout the year. I want to thank them for their efforts.

With that being said, I would say it was a good season for us in many different ways. When you come in when I did in January, you’re trying to get to know the roster, trying to get to know the players. Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll) had a very good plan in terms of the offseason, the OTAs, to bring the players together and start to develop that culture and comradery amongst the team. I thought that carried over to our fast start early in the season. The start we got off to was good. I think some of the positives were some young players got to experience success that maybe they haven’t in the past and how you handle that. And we had a little bit of a lull, I would say, after the bye week, and also allowed some of our young players to learn how to overcome adversity and steady the ship. And we did that down the road and were able to win a playoff game. A lot of young players were able to get playoff experience. So, all in all, a lot of those lessons learned throughout the season will hopefully continue to help us moving forward. The foundation has been set, and I think some of those experiences that the players were able to go through this year will just allow us to build moving forward. With that being said, I’ll open it up to questions.

Q: Do you plan on re-signing (quarterback) Daniel (Jones)?

Schoen: We’d like Daniel to be here. Again, he said it yesterday – there’s a business side to it. We feel like Daniel played well this season. He’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do. Again, there’s a business side to it. We haven’t went down that road yet. We still have to have our meetings with our staff late in the week, and we’ll devise an offseason plan. We haven’t had those meetings yet, but we would like to have Daniel Jones back.

Q: Having said that, when did you know? You and Dabs came in and had to do your due diligence and see what you had in Daniel (Jones) and everybody else. When did you make the decision, both of you guys, ‘This guy is our guy to move forward with,’?

Schoen: I don’t know if there was necessarily an ‘Aha’ moment or anything like that. We just continued to evaluate him throughout the season and what the coaches were asking him to do. And he was executing the game plans. Dabs and I communicate on a daily basis – not just Dabs and I, but the offensive staff and what they’re asking him to do. He continued to improve throughout the season. I don’t know the exact date or time when we’re like, ‘Daniel is our guy,’ but we’re pleased with how he played this season.

Q: Obviously you need a new contract with (running back) Saquon (Barkley). Is that somebody, also, you also would like to keep, and is the franchise tag a possibility?

Schoen: Again, this is a special team to me. It was my first year. We’d like to have all the guys back, I really would. But there’s a business side to it. There’s rules that you need to operate under in terms of the salary cap. Saquon, he’s a good player. He’s a great teammate. I loved getting to know him this season. He’s a guy we would like to have back. It’s just, again, we haven’t had our end-of-season meetings yet. We’re less than 48 hours after that game. Everybody is going to step back, take the emotion out of it, evaluate the roster and then we’ve got to operate under the salary cap. How are you going to divvy up? How are we going to create the roster? What are the priority positions, and how are we going to move forward? We would like to have Saquon back if it works out.

Q: Do you think you overachieved as a ball club, and do you think having sustained success is really what you’re going for most of all here? And is there a possibility that a team, if they did overachieve, could take a step backwards along the way to getting where you want to go?

Schoen: That’s a good question. I wouldn’t say we overachieved. I think Dabs did a good job, along with his staff, of like, ‘Focus on the process and not necessarily the results.’ They came in on a weekly basis and focused on the process. They saw the dividends came on Sunday. I think there was a lot of good football players on our team. I think there were a lot of good teammates. Maybe we weren’t the most talented, but we did have a good team. Guys cared about each other. The culture was good, and the process we had in place – again, I think the dividends showed on Sundays.

Q: When you say you want Daniel (Jones) back, ideally would you like that to be a long-term deal or a multi-year deal?

Schoen: We’re going to get into all that. Again, it takes two. Both sides have got to have those conversations. We haven’t crossed that bridge yet. There’s tools at our disposal. Again, we’ll go through several scenarios. It’s kind of like I mentioned it last year, maybe it was at the combine, with the ‘if, then’ scenarios. You got to go through all those because you don’t know how things are going to fall because it’s negotiating. This is why you love the draft – you turn in the card, and they’re yours. You know what the contract structure is; you know the years. This is where there’s two parties involved, and it’s going to be time consuming. We’ll get together as a staff. We’ll talk through the different options and have those discussions when it’s appropriate.

Q: When do you plan to start those negotiations with the agents about extensions? Is there any urgency to get it done before that tag deadline to lock one of those guys in?

Schoen: We haven’t discussed that yet. Again, we’re going to meet as a staff on Thursday. We’ve got all-star games coming up. The last couple days have been a lot of – we did exit meetings yesterday with the entire football team, each player individually, working on calendars as we move forward the next couple weeks, so we mirror personnel calendars with the coaches. We’ll have those meetings on Thursday, and those will continue through the weekend.

Q: With Saquon (Barkley), how do you view running back positional value versus he’s also, other than Daniel (Jones), your best playmaker?

Schoen: Listen, Saquon has done everything we’ve asked him to do, and he’s a good football player. Again, the positional value – we’ll get into how we want to build this team and allocate our resources. That’s what it comes down to. Again, he’s a good football player. He was durable for us this year; he played well. And again, he’s a guy that we would like to have back.

Q: In terms of the (salary) cap, would you like to do something to lower (defensive lineman) Leonard Williams’ cap number?

Schoen: We haven’t discussed that yet. I like his quote yesterday; I just saw that before I came down here that he would be interested in taking a pay cut. You guys did a good job on that, whoever asked him that. He didn’t mention that in the exit interview with us.

Q: You redid the deal, and the numbers are really high. It’s not like you have no cap space, but what’s your comfort level with a number that high in general?

Schoen: We’ll talk about that. Again, there’s several options. We’ve got to go through the entire roster, we have a lot of UFAs (unrestricted free agents). We have guys that are good players that have contracts on the horizon. That’s all part of the planning that we’ll go through. And again, we just got to talk about how we want to divvy it up and prioritize different areas. And if we need to open up money, we won’t rule that out.

Q: Joe just said, ‘We may not have been the most talented, but we were a team.’ Do you now look ahead, after your first year, and think, ‘Okay, now we are one of the more talented teams, we can do a lot more with this,’?

Daboll: You know me; I take it day by day. I think it’s year by year. Every team is different. Just because you won one year doesn’t guarantee you anything the next year relative to what players you have, what players you don’t have. You take a look at last year’s playoff (teams) – I think seven of them didn’t make the playoffs the following year. Two top seeds had losing records. I think our goal will always be just get better each day, try to put the best team we can together, work at it each day and not get too far ahead of ourselves. I appreciate, like Joe said, all the people that had a hand in this year. Obviously, it didn’t end up where we wanted to end up. But it took a lot of work. It took a lot of energy. It took a lot of people in all areas of our building. The offseason started the day after we lost, unfortunately. That’s where we’re at. We’ll do the best job we can of building up our team the best way we can, our organization, and then going out there and taking it day by day.

Q: Joes said that he wants Daniel (Jones) back. Obviously, you guys have talked about this a lot. Why do you want Daniel back and why do you think he can take this team, get another trophy for this team? Do you think he can?

Daboll: I’ve said it all year; he’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do as an offensive staff. And he’s done a really good job with operating and executing our offense. I think he’s made strides in a lot of different areas. Certainly, we can all make strides in more, but he’s been a good leader for us, played the quarterback position well for us. I’m happy we had him.

Q: How much does it change everything in regards to the team building that you have the quarterback, assuming you’re able to re-sign him, and you don’t have to find a quarterback or draft a quarterback and you can use those resources elsewhere?

Schoen: I don’t think it really changes. It doesn’t really change what we are going to do. We’ve still got to draft well. We want to be in good cap health. We’re in a unique situation in that we have some players that are upcoming that were drafted here previously before we came here that played well. Again, it just comes down to how we want to divvy it up. Again, the money and the resources that we have along with the draft – we’re still trying to build this thing so we can sustain it.

Q: But in Buffalo, you had to trade up to get (Buffalo quarterback) Josh (Allen), right?

Schoen: Every situation is different. I know you want to make the parallels with here and Buffalo. We made the playoffs the first year. I mean, every situation is unique and different. There were different factors that played into that. And again, I think Daniel played well enough this year. We’d like to have him back. And again – we have some difficult offseason decisions to make and how we are going to go about those. So, I look forward to getting to work on that here by the end of the week.

Q: On Saquon (Barkley), when you try to determine his financial value – how much do you factor in character and contribution to culture as opposed to talent when it comes to that evaluation?

Schoen: If that wasn’t important, we probably wouldn’t be approaching him. So, that’s kind of a starter for us – if you’re a good teammate, you’re a culture fit for how we want to do things. That’s where we go to those players. We don’t factor in – when you’re making comps (comparisons), it’s hard to put a value on that. It’s important, but you can look at how many yards, touchdowns, Pro Bowls, games played, games missed. Those are more markers that we can establish value on. We wouldn’t approach him or look to sign a guy if they didn’t fit our culture if we didn’t think so.

Q: How close were you with him (Saquon Barkley in bye week conversations)? How close were you with him, and did you consider yourself close when you had that conversation?

Schoen: We had productive conversations. We were off on the value. Again, we said we would circle back up at the end of the season and continue those conversations, but that time of year, we weren’t really that close I would think.

Q: When you talk about you have to make decisions when allocating resources, does it give you any pause that you see these big second contract for running backs kind of haven’t panned out, generally, across the league?

Schoen: I wouldn’t say all of them haven’t panned out. But there’s a risk to any big contract. Anybody can go out there and get hurt at any position. I think that’s risk-reward. The good thing about, I feel, extending people in-house (is that) you know their work ethic. You know their durability. You know their injury history. You know how they train. You know how they practice. So, in terms of eliminating some of the margin for error, it’s a known commodity.

Q: You’ve seen what a team can do when they bring in a top-flight wide receiver. You guys did that with (wide receiver Stefon) Diggs at Buffalo and (Eagles quarterback) Jalen Hurts with (Eagles wide receiver) A.J. Brown. If Daniel Jones is the quarterback, whoever’s under center, how much of a priority is it to get a wide receiver that you can prepare to continue that evolution?

Schoen: I think we want to continue to build the entire team. Again, I know a number one wide receiver can be important, but there’s some number one wide receivers that are home right now. You can go through this past weekend; you can go through a couple of weekends ago in the playoffs. A number one receiver doesn’t guarantee you anything. I think it’s important that we continue to build the team, and there’s multiple positions where we want to upgrade throughout the offseason. So, yeah, I’d love to have a number one wide receiver. But we’ve got to place value on everything we do, and if it makes sense, that’s something we’ll look to do.

Q: Who are your biggest weaknesses? What do you think your weaknesses are?

Schoen: We’re going to go through that with the coaches. Again, we’re going to talk through all that. Again, we’re going to step back, take the emotion out of it, evaluate the roster. We’ll come up how we want to approach the offseason and where we need to improve.

Q: What do you make of your rookie class, your first draft, and just your entire rookie class? What do you think about it, and was it what you wanted it to be?

Schoen: I like the guys we brought in. I think there’s some ups and downs, which you’re always going to have with rookie classes. (Outside linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux), he got injured in that Cincinnati game in the preseason and then kind of got healthy throughout the season and hit his stride. (Tackle) Evan (Neal), same deal – had some ups and downs and battled through injury. (Wide receiver) Wan’Dale (Robinson) was really coming along. He had over 100 yards through three quarters in the Detroit game, so, he would’ve been a big-time contributor, especially down the stretch, if he would’ve stayed healthy. So, a lot of big contributions without going through everyone.(Cornerback Cor’Dale) Flott made some big plays, made a big play in the Minnesota game. Has a high ceiling; we’re excited about him. (Offensive lineman Joshua) Ezeudu started some games and then got injured. When these guys get healthy next year, I think that’s going to provide depth. And some of those guys are going to compete for starting spots. (Tight end Daniel) Bellinger, we thought, had a really good season. Again, he got injured. I think they all got injured except for (inside linebacker Micah) McFadden at some point unfortunately. (Safety) Dane Belton, same deal. When he was out there, he played well. Had two interceptions for us. (Defensive lineman) D.J. Davidson, unfortunately, had an ACL in London but was a contributor in a rotational role. (Inside linebacker Darrian) Beavers. in the preseason, he was competing to start at Mike. Excited to see him when he comes back. And then, (offensive lineman) Marcus McKethan was having a really good camp for us before tearing his ACL. So, when healthy, I think there’s going to be some really good contributors out of the class and then some other guys that will be really good depth players for us. But smart, tough, dependable players that we’re happy we have.

Q: Has (defensive lineman) Dexter Lawrence done enough to earn another contract?

Schoen: I would say Dexter’s done enough. Again, we want all of our guys back. We want them to be here for a long time. Dexter played well, and we’ve got him under the fifth-year option. And that’ll be part of our end-of-season review in terms of how we want to approach that. But yeah, Dexter played really well, great person, great teammate. Happy he’s here.

Q: You have him under contract, but I presume you’ll sit down and talk with him about it, right?

Schoen: If you presume. Well, we’re going to talk about it here in the future and then again, it goes back to we have certain cap space, and we have certain tools at our disposal. We’ll figure out how we want to utilize them.

Q: Now that you have that cap space – now that you are a little bit more financially healthier, significantly more financially healthy than you were last year – do you plan on being aggressive in the free agent market? Is that somewhere where you’re going to now look to really infuse this roster with talent that way?

Schoen: We’ve got some guys that are good players that are currently UFAs. These are known commodities in-house that we know intimately from being with them for a year. And we’ll see who we want to bring back throughout these meetings and what their market value is going to be based on our analysis. Again, if we can bring some of our own back, we will, mixed with guys outside the building. We’ll look at that. Ideally to me, the known commodities that are good football players that you know, that’s going to be our priority first. And then we’ll look outside the building, if we need to, to supplement the roster.

Q: In some ways, is taking that next step a bigger challenge for a football team, i.e., going from a playoff team to a true contender, is that a bigger step in some way?

Schoen: You’re saying from?

Q: From where you were, in a difficult situation to making the playoffs, is it harder to go to the next step? From being a playoff team to truly contending for a title?

Schoen: I think what Dabs said, each year is different. Each team is different, the players that we lose, the players that we bring in. Again, we like our process, whether it’s free agency, draft, waiver wire. In terms of improving the roster, we’re always going to look to do that. I’ve got a lot of confidence in our coaching staff and the personnel staff that we’ll continue to improve the roster any way we can. And again, every season is different.

Q: Do you think ownership still has patience for a long-term build and process? Or do you think your success this year may have accelerated expectations from ownership?

Schoen: We haven’t really talked specifically about that. I’m in constant communication with (President and chief executive officer) John (Mara), (senior player personnel executive) Chris (Mara), (chairman and executive vice president) Steve (Tisch) about what we’re thinking, what the plan is and where we are. That hasn’t come up.

Q: Was it challenging at all this year for you that you had your plan set, and if ownership wanted it accelerated, did you kind of have to hold firm on some of the things that you believed in and not accelerate the plan based on what you were seeing in the standings, record wise or even on the field?

Schoen: I think it goes back to almost my opening press conference. We wanted to see progress. The question was, ‘What’s a successful season?’ We wanted to see progress, and I think you saw that throughout the season. Again, credit to my personnel staff. They were relentless in terms of eating up the waiver wire, waiver claims and practice squad. Did a really good job. But again, to your point, we had to honestly evaluate the roster, whether it was the trade deadline or not. I don’t believe in the ‘You’re one player away.’ I think it’s truly a team game. And that’s where we were and the holes that we had. I thought it was best just to stay pat where we were. We have nine picks going into next year’s draft. We do have a little bit more financial flexibility. As a group, we thought that was the best thing to do.

Q: You called the loss to the Eagles ‘a crash landing.’ How do you balance the success of the regular season with the disappointment of that playoff game in evaluating the entire season?

Daboll: I think you just take a step back. You give the coaches some time to evaluate the players, and then we’ll have time to evaluate the things that we’ve done, whether that’s scheme, personnel, decisions. You just take a step back. Unfortunately, I’ve been involved in eight playoff losses. So, 24 wins. Each year’s a different year. It’s different than it was 30 years ago. Each year, you come in here in April 17 for the offseason program, and when you ask the new guys to stand up, it will be dang near half the room. So, what we’ve tried to build is our foundation – how we meet, how we practice, how we prepare, how we travel, our mindset going into games. You have guys that have been on the roster on the roster that are coming back and that can help facilitate that with the new players that are coming in because every year’s a new year. The team we had this year will be different next year, but that’s just the NFL. So, how you build the chemistry with the team is important. It starts in April. You’re glad you have some of the players that you’re going to have coming back, but certainly, you’re going to have a lot of new players, whether that’s draft picks, free agents, different guys. And everybody’s got to come together again and start building the team for the next season.

Q: Do you anticipate any changes to your coaching staff? Do you have to always prepare for the potential of replacing a coordinator if they get a (head coaching) job?

Daboll: Like I’ve said all season, I’ve had a lot of confidence in our guys. They’ve done a great job, and women, on our staff. When you have these interviews that come up, and I’ve been part of them the last three seasons, you always have to have a plan because you never know what’s going to happen if (defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale) gets a job, if (offensive coordinator Mike) Kafka gets a job. So, you have to go through the whole process. The good thing about being here for the second year is that you have a lot of people in place that again, to go back to what I said about the players, that know how we do things. So, as I’m sitting up there with (director of coaching operations Laura Young) LY and going through calendars and OTA practices and when the offseason starts and self-scout, we do a lot of things. Last year was the first time we all did it together. This will be the second time. So, a little bit more smooth.

Q: Do you think there’s a big gap between the Giants and the two teams that remain standing in the NFC?

Schoen: Yeah, I know Philly more intimately. And, yeah, I would say yes. There’s a talent gap there that we need to close, and to me, it’s the NFC East. I mean, we were 1-5-1 against the NFC East. If you win the division, the rest takes care of itself. So, that’s always going to be a goal of ours: to close that gap and be NFC East champs. That’s the goal, and that’s what we’re going to work towards.

Q: You had a lot of restrictions on you when you came in last year, financially, with putting together a staff. Things are a little more stable now going into this offseason. How much have you been looking forward to this offseason and really getting your hands on this roster and doing it the way you’ve wanted to do it?

Schoen: I didn’t want the season to end, I’ll tell you that (laughs). Dabs saying ‘a crash landing,’ that’s right. Still driving in this morning, it still hurts. But you just have more flexibility. There were times in season where there were maybe some veteran players that we wanted to sign that would’ve helped us, but we just weren’t able to do it. That part stings throughout the season because we could’ve helped the roster, but just didn’t have the flexibility. Yeah, to have financial flexibility, nine draft picks, to be able to devise a plan where you have a little bit more flexibility and resources, I’m definitely excited about that.

Q: For both of you, picking up on the Philly theme, with the two competitive games between the two of you, how much did the trenches – how much did the line of scrimmage – matter in both of those games where it certainly seems like Philly has more guys at that level, more of a rotation at those levels, to some degree, and just were better in that part of the game?

Daboll: I think you asked that after the game, too. They have a good defensive line and good offensive line. Everything starts up front. We certainly could’ve done a better job, too. But give them credit. They have good players on both sides of the ball. I think we have good players, but they just played better and did better than we did.

Q: How was that dinner with (wide receiver) Odell Beckham (Jr.)? And is he a player you’re going to revisit going into the spring?

Schoen: Dinner was good, and we’re going to consider, again, when we have this offseason meeting, every position, who’s available. Who are the players who are potential – that we could sign? Again, we’ll devise the plan from there. That’s kind of where we are right now.

Q: What’s your opinion of this free agent class in general?

Schoen: The UFA class? Again, you can look at it today, and it’s going to change by the time we get there because a lot of the times the good players that are UFAs end up staying with their teams. So, we’re working through that now. We’ll start our free agent meetings next week, devise a plan in terms of the players that maybe we want to target. But there’s definitely some players out there that would help us.

Q: Do you think free agency is more of a tool to build a team than it was maybe five, 10 years ago?

Schoen: It can be. It can be if you get the right guys and they’re durable because typically when you’re signing outside your building, you’re paying those guys a little bit of money that if they stay healthy and produce at the level, then yeah. It’s definitely a tool that we’ve used before. Obviously, the draft and develop, like I was saying earlier with players in your system already, in your building, you know them. You can’t really do a lot of research on some players that are with different teams, or you don’t know their work ethic or injury history. So, again, I think when you’re making those financial decisions, you’ve got intimate knowledge of the players, I think there’s less margin for error, in-house.

Q: Is (safety) Julian Love – I know you’re not going to go down the whole list – but he’s a guy, culture, you know him, he stayed healthy, he did a lot of different things. Brian (Daboll) said some good things about him. Is he a guy you look at and say, ‘Yeah, he’s important,’?

Schoen: Again, we’d like to have a lot of these guys back. It’s just as we go through this and we talk to the representatives, he’s a guy – I know he mentioned it yesterday – that we talked to in the bye week. And we weren’t able to get something done with Julian. Julian knows how we feel about him. We had a good exit interview with him yesterday. Again, as we start to get into the offseason planning, we’ll talk to the coaches. We’ll see where he fits in. And if we can get something done, that’ll be good.

Q: (Wide receiver) Sterling Shepard – the role he could have going forward. He’s been a guy that’s been around forever. Brian talked about him and the fact that he’s had an effect on the team culture.

Schoen: Love Shep. He’s awesome; juice guy all the time. He’s one of my favorites here. We’ll continue to monitor his rehab, coming off the ACL. He had the Achilles before. He’s been a tremendous resource around here for us. He’s a guy that we’ll talk about as well at the end of the week and continue to communicate with the training staff, (senior vice president, medical services/head athletic trainer) Ronnie Barnes and those guys, on where he is from that standpoint, when he’ll be healthy enough to play. Again, that’s something we may or may not entertain.

Q: Did your guys’ opinions on (safety) Xavier (McKinney) change because of the circumstances of his injury and how that happened? You saw him as a cornerstone moving forward. Did that change at all?

Schoen: Not for us. He’s a young man that made a mistake. To me, really initially, it wasn’t about football. It was more about his wellbeing as a young man. And we’ve got younger kids. Dabs has some older than mine. But we all make mistakes. And we’ve got to learn from it. For us, it was just about supporting Xavier through that. He fought to get back. Football was secondary when we got the call. I’m just glad that he was able to play again. He’s a great kid that we look forward to working with.

Q: With respect to free agency, how married are you to what you believe a player is worth and your walk-away number compared to sometimes when you’re in negotiations and the market value can exponentially change how much a player is going to get?

Schoen: That’s something our staff, they do a great job, and we talk about it all the time: ‘What’s the walk-away?’ We come up with a walk-away, and you have to be comfortable because, I’ll use the term I use around here, if you shop hungry, you overpay. It’s a bad deal, and then you get buyer’s remorse. It’s important in free agency to come up with the proper value – where you see them as a staff and the value and where it fits into your salary cap and your team. And then, I think it’s smart to have a walk-away number.

Q: Do you view Daniel (Jones) as a quarterback who can help you win a Super Bowl?

Schoen: We’re happy Daniel’s going to be here. We’re happy he’s going to be here. Hopefully we can get something done with his representatives. And that would be the goal – to build a team around him where he can lead us and win a Super Bowl.

Q: You’re saying he’s going to be here next year?

Schoen: We’re going to have these offseason meetings here at the end of the week, and we’re going to talk about it. And then with the resources we have, we’re going to talk to his representatives and hopefully be able to get something done to go off the first question.

Q: You were 22-59 before you got here. The Giants were 22-59 the five years that preceded you guys getting here. Why do you believe this team turned the corner this year?

Schoen: That’s a good question. A lot of factors. Again, I said it in the first press conference. The cupboard wasn’t bare. There was some talented players here – really good coaching staff. They did a really good throughout the season as we continued to, whether it was draft, free agency, waiver wire, improve the roster, our practice squad. We were able to create a good culture where the players were able to be themselves. And the coaching staff did a good job of maximizing the talent of the roster on a weekly basis. So, a lot of credit goes to Dabs and his staff.

Q: From your vantage point, what do you view as the reason for the injuries in the first half, early season? And have you already commissioned and kind of studied your evaluation of how to improve that?

Schoen: We’re working through that, specifically the rookie class. Is it the young players coming in, the onboarding process? Are we doing that right? We’re going to turn over every leaf to figure that out because healthy players give us the best chance to win. We had some ACLs this year. We had some MCLs, stingers. So, we’ll do a deep dive in the offseason and do whatever we can to try to improve that, that way we can be the healthiest we can.

Q: At what point do you close the book on 2022? Or is it something that’s fluid and that you’re constantly working on last year, building towards the future?

Schoen: It’s pretty much closed. It’s pretty much closed other than evaluating the roster off of the 2022 season. But we already kind of know what lies ahead. We talked to our UFAs and everybody yesterday. So now it’s, to me, All-Star games are coming here. You’ve got the East-West games, Senior Bowl, Combine meetings, free agency meetings. There’s no vacation. We’ve got to keep moving forward and devise that plan for the offseason.

Q: (A previous question) mentioned Dex, but there are other guys with one year left who seem like reasonable extension candidates. Do you simultaneously negotiate with them? Or are the UFAs the priority because they don’t have a year left?

Schoen: UFAs will probably be the priority early on, but we’ll also factor those in. We’ll look at it holistically, who’s under contract for ’23, ’24 and so on. Again, we’re not just planning for the 2023 offseason. We’re looking down the line of ’24 and ’25 as well. What’s on the horizon? How will this affect us moving forward? So, we’re going through a bunch of different scenarios, and we’ll continue to do that at the end of the week and throughout the weekend.

Q: How much further along are you in the process, looking ahead to the next season, coming off of what you just did rather than last year? Joe, I think you just got the job two days ago a year ago. Dabs hadn’t been hired yet. Do you think that is an advantage that you can actually move towards 2023 with everything that you have at your disposal rather than trying to catch up?

Schoen: Yeah, we talked about it the other day. Once we got through the exit interviews yesterday, we’ve pretty much been through a calendar year – a football calendar year together. So, the coaches’ evaluations of UFAs, the coaches’ evaluation of our roster, All-Star games, we’ve been through all of this stuff. So, the process is in place. Everybody here right now has been a part of that. So, there’s clarity in terms of what we want from our staff, what Dabs and his staff want from us. So, the transition into this offseason will be much smoother.

Q: There’s been a lot of time talking about, ‘Are you going to sign him? Are you going to sign him?’ Is there anybody you said, ‘Look, you’re not coming back,’?

Schoen: (Laughs) No, we didn’t have those conversations yesterday. No, we didn’t. That’s a good question, though.

Q: That gap that exists between you and the Eagles and the other Super Bowl contenders, given your roster and cap situation, do you think it’s possible to close that gap in one year? Or is it likely to take longer than that?

Schoen: We’re going to try to do the best we can. We’re always going to try to build a better roster, players, whatever it may be, whatever it is – resources around here. Anything that we can do that’s in the best interest of the franchise that’s going to make us better, we’re going to do. You can’t put a timeframe on that, but we’re going to be relentless in the pursuit of building a championship team here.

Q: How much is different this offseason because you came in last year and you basically just cleared the deck? You didn’t make any big signings. You’re going to potentially commit to guys, big money, long term. You’re going to sort of define your tenure. How do you view that? Is that a big difference?

Schoen: Obviously, the resources that are available are different than last year. I think, again, the advantage of being around the players for a year, you know who they are. You know how they work. And again, just having more flexibility, it’s different from that standpoint. As for defining my tenure and all, I’m not really worried about that. We’re trying to do the best we can with what we have to build a championship team where we can sustain success.

Q: As a team, what do you feel like you guys especially need to be to be a better team? Not to name the players or anything, but just as a team, what are the areas do you feel like you need to improve?

Daboll: That’s kind of what Joe talked about. We’ll dive into that as a coaching staff here. We’ll spend a lot of time on self-scout and process and things we can improve on, whether that’s night before meetings, whether that’s practice, whether that’s situational play calls, techniques, drills. I think you close the chapter on last season, but you need to figure out some of the things that you need to do a better job of. There certainly will be probably a significant amount of things that we sit back and say, ‘Boy, we could’ve done this a little bit different or improve on this,’ and take a deep dive into it. Take your time doing it. And then once you get back on April 17 and start going through it, you try to implement those new things or corrections that need to be made or scheduling differences.

But again, every year is such a new year – at least the 20-plus years I’ve been in the league. Again, half the team is usually different. So, you don’t just collect talent. You try to build a team. And that’s what we talk about all the time. There’s certainly players that will be out there – whether it’s free agents, whether it’s draft picks – that are talented players. But it’s how you put together the team, how the team responds to adversity, how it comes together in the offseason, leading up to training camp, the things you do in training camp – all the things that you go through each season, that’s what defines a team early in the stages and how you handle a lot of different things, the coaches, the players, the support staff. It’s just a new year. Every year is a new year. Like I told the guys when they left how much I appreciated their work and their commitment to the team, but unfortunately, you’re all not going to be here. You wish you could just bottle it up and then bring it back April 17, and the people in the seats are there and everybody has kind of worked together, been through some tough times. But that’s not the case.

So, however many new people are here, you’ve got to put them into your system. You’ve got to bring them along. You’ve got to build team chemistry. And every team that I’ve been part of has been different. Not one team is the same. So, that’s the beauty about this league is every year it’s a new year for everybody. There’s only four teams playing – the four best teams in the league. They’ve all earned it. So, every team that is not holding that trophy at the end of the season, it’s a stinger. So, you’ve got to try to figure out ways to do a better job the next season. But it’s such a new year. Every year is different. Every year that I’ve been part of has been different. I’ve been part of a Super Bowl team and then didn’t make the playoffs the next year. So, how we build our team and how we build the organization and continue to grow, I think all those things are important. But the team itself, that’ll all come together throughout the months of April, May, June, July, August, right into the regular season like this did.

On Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, and Carolina Panthers announced that they completed their respective interviews with New York Giants Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka for their head-coaching vacancies. In addition, the Colts also announced that they had interviewed Giants Defensive Coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale for the same position.

In addition to the 11 players the Giants have already signed to reserve/future contracts, the Giants announced they have also re-signed TE/FB Chris Myarick to a reserve/future contract. Myrarick spent time on both the 53-man roster and Practice Squad this season.

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Joe Schoen, New York Giants (October 2, 2022)

Joe Schoen – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen spoke to the media on Tuesday to discuss the state of the franchise at the mid-way point of the 2022 NFL regular season (VIDEO):

Schoen: Good to see all you guys. We haven’t talked in a while. Sitting up here 6-2 after eight games, so I’m excited about that. I’m pleased with the way things are going internally; the coaching staff, personnel staff, the entire organization just has been on the same page throughout the season this far, which I’m very pleased with. Again, we’re 6-2. We’ve done a lot of good things. I think everybody would agree that there’s still some meat on the bone and areas where we can improve. But we’ve got nine games to go, and it’s a long way to go. But I’m pleased with where we are right now. Obviously, we made a move with (wide receiver) Kadarius (Toney) last week. I’ll just echo what Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll) said on that. It’s a move that was made – best decision for the organization for where we are and probably just leave it at that. There’s really not a lot more for me to add on that. Just excited and happy for the coaching staff. I think they’ve done a hell of a job with the amount of players we’ve had come in and out of the building since the start of the season, whether it was due to injuries or just trying to upgrade. They continue to answer the bell and get those players ready. Some of those guys went out there and played meaningful snaps for us and helped us get to where we are today at 6-2. So with that being said, I’ll just open it up to questions for you guys. I’m sure you’ve got a lot.

Q: What was today like, and how close did you get to maybe doing something?

A: Again, today is the end of it. It’s the trade deadline. These conversations are ongoing. I’ll go back to some of the players that have been mentioned in the media. We had talks in August with teams about some of those guys that met some of the parameters that we’re looking at. So, there were some conversations. And part of my job and our personnel staff is to assign value to players. Whether it’s in free agency, what you’re going to pay a player, what round you’re going to put a player in the draft, if you’re going to trade for a player, what value are you comfortable with? We had several conversations with teams on multiple positions, and the price point didn’t match up. And things just didn’t work out. But we were active with phone calls trying to improve the roster, which we’ll continue to do.

Q: The picks that you got for Kadarius, were they always going to be banked for April, or was there a possibility of using them in the following week?

A: If something made sense in regard to the position, we explored a lot of opportunities. We’ve been on the phone a lot the last few days. Not just the last few days – these calls again have been going on for, I’ll go back to August on some of these players that we had identified under certain parameters. You know, years left, contract structure, where we were in terms of salary cap that would make sense for us and just the value. You’ve got to have two to tango on these deals and just different value between the other team and where we were just didn’t work out for us.

Q: How much was wide receiver a target of these conversations you were having, and how do you feel about the group you have going forward?

A: Wide receivers were part of the conversations, but again so were, I’m not going to go into every position that we were talking about. We were just trying to add good players whether it was front line or depth players. The problems is there’s a lot of teams that are still in it where we are in the season. So, not a lot of teams are sellers; teams are banged up. There’s not a surplus of players that are available. It’s a small pool. It only takes one team to outbid you or go higher. Where we are receiver-wise, again, the guys that have played had good games, bad games. Jacksonville – we’d like to have some of those back and some of those drops. But (wide receiver) Kenny’s (Golladay) hopefully coming back soon. Fingers are crossed he’ll be back for Houston. It’ll be good to get a look at him again. I’m hopeful for him against Houston.

Q: How did you balance you guys having six wins right now and feeling like you might need to add to capitalize on your start versus keeping the big picture in mind and what you’re trying to accomplish?

A: When we made the Toney move, we talked to the captains and let them know we’re always going to win. Daboll and I are super competitive and we’re always going to try to do what’s best for the organization. But again, you just can’t be reckless with those draft picks and the future capital, where we are as we build this thing. Again, there’s a lot of players that are here that we like. Some were here before I got here that have done a really good job for us and are good players. Just being smart, we didn’t want to be reckless with it. Again, if there was an opportunity where we could make a move that could help this year, we were definitely open to it.

Q: If you think back to where you were before the game in Nashville, what you thought about putting this team you have together to now sitting 6-2, has your opinion of what you have here dramatically changed because the team is 6-2? I mean, (it’s) probably not what you thought was going to happen after eight games. Do you look at it and say, ‘Oh geez, we’re a lot better’ or are you kind of still keeping it at what you thought before?

A: I think I said this to you guys in August: It’s going to be an overreaction after Week 1 one way or the other way. It takes four to five weeks, I think, to truly figure out who your team is. What I’ll tell you about our team is there’s a lot of tough dudes that care about each other and love football. I thought we had some tough guys, I knew we had some competitive guys. I knew we had some good players, just you never know how those guys are going to gel. And when adversity strikes, what’s that going to look like? (Quarterback) Daniel’s (Jones) got five fourth-quarter comebacks. It’s a team effort, but the guys are resilient. They don’t give up; you guys have seen the games. We get into the fourth quarter, and we’ve been able to come out with some wins. I think the talent is the same. I think the way they’ve gelled, it’s a little bit of an unknown leaving training camp. You just didn’t know how they were going to react in the heat of battle. I think they’ve done a good job. They’re fun to watch, and they compete for 60 minutes. I’m really proud of the guys.

Q: You mentioned Daniel. What have you seen from him over the start of the season? How has that maybe changed your evaluation?

A: I think Daniel’s done a good job. Those ‘got to have it’ moments, third downs, fourth quarters when you’ve got to have it. And I think he’s answered the bell in a lot of those situations. He’s the same guy he was the day we got here in terms of – it’s their time off, and he’s in here at 7:30 this morning having breakfast. It didn’t surprise me a bit. So, he’s a gym rat. He’s always around, and I think he’s done a good job leading the team this year.

Q: What have you seen from (running back) Saquon (Barkley), and do you see him at this point as more than a running back, as maybe your team’s best playmaker like (San Francisco 49ers running back) Christian McCaffrey?

A: Saquon’s a great kid; he’s tough. He’s obviously talented. It’s a team game. I think him being healthy this year, you’ve kind of seen who he is and what he can do, whether that’s catching the ball or running the ball. Again, it’s credit to the offensive line and the receivers blocking for him. And he’s taken advantage of those opportunities with his God-given gifts too and helped us a lot. So, I’m pleased with where Saquon is.

Q: So, Daniel and Saquon – obviously neither has a contract after this year. How much did that weigh on you? You only get one franchise tag, and they’re both playing very well.

A: There’s nine games left, so it’s an ongoing evaluation for everybody on the roster, not just Saquon and Daniel being UFAs (unrestricted free agents). Obviously, those are two important players to where we are right now, but it’s a constant evaluation. We still have nine games left.

Q: How open are you to potentially extending one of them or taking care of one of them or both of them before the season is over?

A: Yeah, we’ll have those meetings this week. We’ll talk about it if we want to (do something). We had to get through the trade deadline today and those conversations. We’ll kind of circle up with some strategy meetings as we move forward on contract extensions and if we may or may not do anybody. If I did, this would be the week. I would want to entertain it during the bye week, and then I probably won’t do anything after that. I don’t want anything to be a distraction to the players or organization. So, if we do something, it would be probably before Monday with any of our guys. I’m not saying him, but when we have those conversations.

Q: You obviously said going back to August, you’ve had these conversations about players on other teams and the idea of assigning values. The closer you got to the trade deadline and the more you guys kept winning – the idea that you’re sitting here at 6-2 –was it any more difficult for you to not veer from the course you’ve set right now? Whether it’s changing value or putting more emphasis on adding to this team because of where you’re at now?

A: Yeah, absolutely. You have to step back and honestly evaluate the roster, too. You can get caught up in the, ‘Hey, we won the game,’ but we were also down 17-3 in the game at some point. You’ve got to step back and look at it for what it is. Again, there’s several positions where you look at it and maybe you don’t have a lot of depth or maybe we’re a little bit older or what’s best for the future in a three-to-four-year window – you’re always analyzing that – or what’s just better for this year. We had conversations with other teams for guys with expiring contracts this year. Again, obviously the value being a little bit lower with guys that expire next year or are in a contract for two years. So, you take that all into account in all the positions when you’re making these calls. But again, there’s not this surplus of players that are available if that makes sense.

Q: Is it any more challenging to think for the future when your quarterback situation is so unsettled? Like if you had Daniel signed for five years, would that change things – the fact that you don’t know what that position’s going to look like next year?

A: No, I don’t think so because, again, if the value we assign to a player or position matches up with something we’re comfortable giving up for that player, I would have done it now. And Daniel’s up. It’s not going to change if he’s under contract for five years. We’ll still look to be aggressive to upgrade the roster if we have the resources and it makes sense.

Q: You said you’re going to have strategy meetings this week to talk about possible extensions for some guys. Have you made a decision on Daniel that you would like him to be here beyond this year?

A: We’ve got nine games left. I mean for all these guys, it’s going to be a continuing evaluation. We’ll talk through it – what the market looks like. We’ll have those meetings, but it’s going to be an ongoing evaluation. We’ve had Daniel for eight games.

Q: Your team was 6-1 before this. The stats say 6-1 teams make the playoffs 85, whatever, percent of the time. Should this team make the playoffs now, you think?

A: We’re just focused on Houston. It’s week-to-week. We’re 6-2. We’ve got nine games left. A lot can change. We’re one week at a time with this group. I appreciate the preparation; they’ve had a good week at practice every week. They’re pros – the work they’re putting in. And I think the results are showing on Sunday because of the preparation that they’re putting in during the week.

Q: Excluding Daniel and Saquon, are there guys that you would like to get extended this weekend?

A: There’s some guys that we’re going to talk about when we look at our UFAs and some of the guys that we could potentially extend. We’re going to have those conversations. Again, you’re balancing; we’re eight games in. There’s nine to go. Certain players will maybe want to play it out and see if you can up your value or take guarantees now. There’s a lot that goes into it. We’ll focus on that stuff later on in the week as we go through it. Some people may not have an appetite for extensions. Like I said, they may want to hit free agency and the open market. We’ll see; we’ll go through all of our UFAs, the guys with expiring contracts, and talk about them later on.

Q: Was your cap situation, a limited amount, any problem in terms of wanting to maybe make a deal that way if you had more cash to do it, you could’ve done it?

A: There were a couple of players where it just wasn’t going to work out. Financially, we couldn’t do it; and the team wasn’t going to buy down the money, or if they did, they’d want a higher pick. And it just didn’t make sense for an expiring contract. Again, there were a lot of scenarios, a lot of different players that we talked about. It just couldn’t come to landing the plane on some of them where both teams agreed on the compensation.

Q: Now that the trading deadline is passed, is the cap situation for the future now to the point where you think you can do more things next year?

A: Yeah. When the season is over, I think we will be in much better shape. Will we get through the season without having to push a little bit more down the road? We’re not trending that way. These practice squad elevations cost you; these players going on IR (injured reserve) cost you money. I’m crossing my fingers that we don’t have to do it again, but we’ll see. Again, we got nine games left. I would like to not have to convert any more money. That was a last scenario from when I got here, we just had to do it. Regardless if we do, hopefully it’s minimal and we’ll still be in good shape going into 2023.

Q: Did the rest of the NFC East play an impact at all with four teams now in contention with the playoffs? Did that impact you at all in terms of the moves that you could potentially make?

A: There’s some good teams, yeah. There’s some good teams in the NFC East and the NFC in general. Just always trying to upgrade the roster. That’s always in mind – winning the division. Where we were and where we can improve, I’m always going to look at that.

Q: Obviously when (wide receiver) Odell Beckham Jr. dropped in here a few weeks ago, it created a bit of a stir. Do you have any interest in him? He’s a free agent, you can talk about it.

A: I had no idea he was in the building until he was out of the building. Obviously, he’s been a good player. He’s a guy we would consider and talk to when he’s healthy. I think he did the ACL in February, so, not sure really where he is physically. Yeah, any player to upgrade the roster, we’re going to consider and have conversations with their representatives.

Q: What would you say to the idea that he would like to come back here if that were the case?

A: Does he? I don’t know. You tell me. You guys probably talk to him more than anyone.

Q: Say he does.

A: That’s a hypothetical. He’s a good player from when I evaluated him, if he’s healthy. If a player is healthy and they would help us win football games, we would pursue them if they fit what we’re looking for.

Q: What was ownership’s opinion of staying relatively quiet, especially on the buying front at the deadline here?

A: Yeah, Dabs and I are in constant communication with ownership on everything we do. I’ve kept them in the loop on all the conversations we had and what we were looking for. They were supportive in everything we were doing. They’ve been abreast of everything.

Q: We’ve asked you a lot of questions about buying. Besides Kadarius, did you have other offers? Did people call to see if you were selling anybody else? Did you have to resist anything to keep this team together?

A: That’s a good question. We got a call on one player on Monday. It was a hard ‘no’.

Q: Which player?

A: I’m not going to say which player. It was a good player.

Q: On Kadarius – why now versus maybe just nine more games, then revisit after the season?

A: It was the best decision for the organization. Again, Dabs and I talk all the time. I know he mentions that to you guys. We talk about everything and at the end of the day, it was best for both parties.

Q: What do you say to the idea that you’re 6-2 now, and the totality of it all is that you got rid of a player, and you didn’t add any players when you’re 6-2?

A: Yeah, I don’t disagree – I understand the train of thought there. This particular move was the best for the organization. And we’ll continue to look, and we’ll continue to add players to the roster, the practice squad. Again, the rookie class – I’m proud of those guys. We’re number four in rookie playtime right now. I think we’re getting a big contribution from those guys. They’ll continue to get better. We did a study. I think this is a testament to the coaching staff, not to go off on a tangent on that. We lead the league with 12 players that were not here (before) September that have played offensive and defensive snaps for us. Whether that’s (linebacker) Jaylon Smith, (cornerback Fabian) Moreau, (guard) Tyre Phillips started at right tackle. A testament to our coaching staff; we’re bringing in new players and they got to stay here late hours and get these guys ready to play. A lot of these guys have played winning football for us. Again, the pro scouting staff has done a great job as well identifying these players, upgrading the practice squad and those players have filled in admirably and helped us get to where we are. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that. We didn’t add one, but the coaching staff has done a great job with what we’ve been trying to bring in to backfill some of the roster.

Q: On the Kadarius subject – he says he’s healthy, right? He’s going there, he’s healthy now and he hinted that he wasn’t injured here. What do you say to that?

A: He was going to practice on Thursday, so I don’t know. I guess he was healthy. He was going to practice on Thursday.

Q: You talked to us a lot before the season. You said there’s some good players, and there was a gap between the number of good players and the number of not so good players. I’m just wondering when you look at this point in the season – are you at all surprised with where you are?

A: Again, it’s hard to tell early in the year, is my point – just trying to figure out who the team is and who they’re going to be. We got some fighters on this roster and as a whole, as a collective on game day – the 53 (on the active roster), the practice squad – they competed their tails off. and they played well together – complementary football. Again, maybe early on in the year, the middle class of the roster maybe wasn’t where I thought it should be, we’ve upgraded a little bit and the next-man mentality up with the injuries that we’ve had. Again, back to the coaching staff, and the pro scouting staff, have done a great job of bringing players in that have answered the bell when their number was called. (Cornerback Nick) McCloud is out there against Green Bay. McCloud and (cornerback Justin) Layne comes in and makes a play. Again, one guy was in Pittsburgh in training camp and one guy was in Buffalo in training camp and they’re making plays for us in the fourth quarter. I think we’ve upgraded the backend of the roster and those guys have stepped up when the opportunity called.

Q: You know Brian (Daboll). You’re probably the main reason why he’s here. So, you have a lot of faith in him. Has he done more in this first half of his first season as a head coach? How would you assess that? Obviously, you had confidence in him, but is there even more there?

A: I think Dabs has done a great job. I think kind of what you’re seeing now – he’s a good leader. He’s done a good job. I think he did a phenomenal job with his staff. (Offensive coordinator) Mike Kafka has done a good job. TMac (special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey) on special teams. (Defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale), having a veteran defensive coordinator that has played in games, playoff games, whatever it may be and handled that side of the ball – he’s done a good job. I think Dabs and I have great communication; that’s where it starts. We’re constantly talking about not just 2022 but beyond – how different roster moves will affect us, looking into the future but also laser-focused on today. I think he’s done a good job, and his staff has done a really good job. Again, I go back to how difficult it is for these players that have been here all spring and August, it’s tough enough for them to know the playbook, but to bring in new guys and two weeks later they’re playing on Sunday – again, that’s very difficult to do. And this staff has done a good job of that. I’m happy with Dabs and his staff.

Q: What do you think is the most impressive part about what he’s done? Is it game day-coaching? Is it the off-field leadership? What’s impressed you most?

A: I would say both. That’s what you look at. There have been a couple of times – one or two times – with 10 guys on the field. The clock management, the time management in games, I think, has been very good. Those are things that he can control in-game; I think he’s been really good. And yeah, leadership, being himself – he’s not trying to be anybody else. Dabs today is the same guy that I worked with the last five years and the same guy that I worked with in Miami. He’s not trying to be somebody else. He’s very comfortable in his skin, and he’s got very good leadership. Not just amongst the team but the staff and the entire organization.

Q: When the staff came together, you ended up having a coordinator from Kansas City (Mike Kafka), coordinator from Baltimore (Wink Martindale) and then a heavy Buffalo influence. Have you been able to see those three winning cultures come together, and what is that like in a room? Does it ever get discussed – all three places?

A: Yeah, it is. Before we played Baltimore, I picked Wink’s brain on Baltimore because historically, year-in and year-out, they’re competing for playoffs and championships. Same thing with Kansas City. (Kansas City head coach) Andy Reid and (Baltimore head coach John) Harbaugh – those are very good coaches that you look up to and respect. Just coming from a winning culture, knowing what it’s supposed to look like, the way you lead meetings, the way you practice, the way you do things. I think those are all characteristics they brought with them.

Q: Do you believe the style (in which) you guys are winning is sustainable over 17 weeks, every game kind of being (that close)?

A: 6-2.

Q: There’s nine more weeks. You think it’s sustainable?

A: Recipe or not, it’s working. I think, again, there’s nine games left. There’s things we know we can improve on. You can’t coach effort. You can’t coach toughness, and our guys have been tough. They’ve been competitive. They’ve been resilient. They’re playing their butts off. They’re preparing right. Some weeks, there’s just going to be negative matchups. No matter where I’ve been, there’s some games you play, you’re like, ‘That’s their good against our not so good.’ And it’s going to happen. Or some weeks, you just don’t have it. It’s the NFL; there’s a lot of parity in the league. And we’ve been able not to beat ourselves. We turned it over a couple of times in Seattle, but there’s 11 minutes left in the game, it’s 13-13. That’s where we’ve been a lot this season. We’ve made more plays than the other team. So again, I’m really proud of where the guys are and the way they’re playing and the way they’re approaching their craft. Again, whether it’s sustainable or not, I think we’ve got some good players here. I’m looking forward to the final nine games.

Q: How much different do you feel about your (roster)? You know, you had eight games, basically half a season, to see them. How much different do you feel about the roster as a whole? Do you feel like you have more building block players now than maybe previously?

A: No. I don’t think so. I think I feel the same about the guys. Again, to me, it was just about how everybody came together. It’s still forming, and we’re trying to evolve in different parts of the game. I feel the same. The players I thought were good players have proved to be good players. Some of the backups have maybe exceeded my expectations, which is good. Again, a testament to the coaching staff. (You) kind of see how it was. We’ve come together really good – played complementary football.

Q: You don’t hear the word franchise before every position, but (you do hear) franchise quarterback. The other position is franchise left tackle. I’m curious: What do you think of (tackle) Andrew Thomas’ development because there’s a lot of metrics out there that say he’s the best in the NFL?

A: I think Andrew’s been really good. Again, you’re looking at a left tackle. He’s got feet. He’s got length, balance, body control. I think Andrew is playing at a high level. I can go on and on about all the strengths. The weakness box is going to be close to empty. He’s good; he’s even a better person. I’ve really enjoyed working with him.

Q: Has your winning adjusted the way you are scouting prospects, like targeting where you’re going to be picking, how much research you maybe are doing on certain guys versus time you’re not spending on others?

A: That’s a good question. We basically have a top 10 report that I get weekly, and it’s by position. So, I’m trying to attack that entire thing. If it’s a left tackle, it’s alright, I’m still going to see the guy. Just because we’ve got Andrew Thomas – or Evan Neal’s at right tackle – I’m still trying to see the top 100 prospects, if I can, in person. So, it won’t affect how I’m scouting or who I’m going to see.

Q: When you say you rely on the coaching staff to develop players, I would imagine there are levels of talent of those players. You go to whatever guys have been picked in the first round, you say, ‘Okay, go develop Saquon Barkley.’ Well, you might develop him a little bit different.

A: (Laughs) It’s a great coaching.

Q: It seems like this staff has been able to develop on several levels – players who are here, maybe got a clean slate to be here, players that have been brought in. How valuable can that be in building a roster when you know you can rely on your staff to build up the players that are actually here?

A: That’s something (former head) Coach (Bill) Parcells used to say to me: ‘The quickest way for a head coach to get fired is not develop young talent.’ And Dabs and I are aligned in that. Like, the importance of – we saw in Buffalo with some of the young players that are contributing for them. And I’m constantly on him about, ‘Hey, we got to get this guy more playtime’ in order to keep developing these guys, and the coaches have bought into it. It helps when Dabs and I are aligned in that in terms of the young players developing. Again, there’s going to be growing pains. I mentioned it earlier, very few rookies are instant coffee when they come in the building, and it takes time. They have to go through growing pains. The good thing now is we’re winning some games. They’re getting valuable playtime while being able to make some mistakes. We’re still able to win some of those games, which will pay dividends in the long haul. So, I’m a firm believer good coaches are the ones that can develop young players.

Q: Since you’ve been here, I assume you could have walked down your block, and nobody would’ve known you. Now that this team is 6-2, has your life changed in any way?

A: I got asked that question earlier: ‘What was the weirdest thing that’s happened to you since you’ve been with the Giants?’ (This question is) kind of along the same lines. I was at Lowes with my wife not too long ago, and I felt like this guy kept looking at me, and I’m like, ‘What the hell’s going on? Why’s this guy creeping around?’ I’m in the next aisle, and there he is again. (He’s in) the next aisle. And finally, he came up to me and was like, ‘Are you Joe Schoen? Can I get a picture with you?’ And it was in Lowes, and I thought it was kind of creepy. And then I realized that it’s hard to get used to being out and being recognized. I’m not used to that. I haven’t gotten used to that. But it’s a lot better than booing or cussing you (laughs) or throwing things at you. It’s been great so far. That’s hard for me to get used to for sure.

Sep 012022
Blake Martinez, New York Giants (August 29, 2021)

Blake Martinez – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have terminated the contract of inside linebacker Blake Martinez. The team also claimed offensive lineman Tyre Phillips off of waivers from the Baltimore Ravens. ESPN is reporting that Martinez’s release was a mutual decision by both parties.

In addition, as expected, the New York Giants re-signed three vested veterans who they cut yesterday in temporary roster-juggling moves. In order make room for the four players the team claimed off of waivers on Wednesday, the Giants had terminated the contracts of TE Tanner HudsonOG Max GarciaDL Nick Williams, and ILB Austin Calitro. Three additional roster spots became available as soon as the Giants were allowed to officially place OG Shane Lemieux, OLB Elerson Smith, and CB Rodarius Williams on short-term Injured Reserve.

Since all four players who were cut were vested veterans, they did not have to pass through waivers. Hudson, Williams, and Calitro were the players who were re-signed to the 53-man roster. Garcia was signed to the Practice Squad.

The Giants also waived TE Ricky Seals-Jones (toe) off of Injured Reserve with an injury settlement.

The Giants placed Blake Martinez on Injured Reserve in late September 2021 with a torn ACL in his left knee. He only played in three games and finished the year with 23 tackles. The Giants signed Martinez as an unrestricted free agent from the Green Bay Packers in March 2020. He had a major impact on the defense in 2020, starting all 16 games and playing in 97 percent of all defensive snaps. Martinez finished the season with a team-high 151 tackles and also accrued nine tackles for losses, three sacks, six quarterback hits, five pass defenses, one interception, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. The 6’2”, 237-pound Martinez was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Packers.

The 25-year old, 6’5”, 330-pound Phillips was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Ravens. In his first two years in the NFL, Phillips has played in 22 regular-season games with 13 starts, despite suffering an ankle injury in 2020 and a torn ACL in 2021. He has experience playing both guard spots and right tackle.

The Giants placed Seals-Jones on Injured Reserve on August 23rd with a toe injury that he suffered early in training camp. The Giants signed Seals-Jones in March 2022 as an unrestricted free agent from the Washington Commanders.

As previously reported in yesterday’s update, the Giants signed 15 players to their 16-man Practice Squad on Wednesday. On Thursday the team added six more players and released five from the Practice Squad.

Signed to Practice Squad:

  • WR Kalil Pimpleton
  • OG Max Garcia
  • OG Wyatt Davis
  • DL Henry Mondeaux
  • LB Charles Wiley
  • S Tony Jefferson

Released from Practice Squad:

  • WR Jaylon Moore
  • OT Roy Mbaeteka
  • OT Garrett McGhin
  • CB Darren Evans
  • S Nate Meadors 

Garcia was cut by the Giants from their 53-man roster yesterday.

The 23-year old, 5’9”, 172-pound Pimpleton was originally signed by the Detroit Lions as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2022 NFL Draft. The Lions waived him on Monday. Pimpleton has experience returning punts.

The 23-year old, 6’4”, 315-pound Davis was originally selected in the 3rd round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Davis spent time on both the 53-man roster (6 games with no starts) and Practice Squad as a rookie. The Vikings waived him on Tuesday.

The 26-year old, 6’5”, 280-pound Mondeaux was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New Orleans Saints after the 2018 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Saints (2018), Kansas City Chiefs (2019), and Pittsburgh Steelers (2019-2022). The Steelers waived him on Tuesday. Mondeaux has played in 26 NFL games with two starts, accruing 21 tackles and two sacks.

The 24-year old, 6’2”, 251-pound Wiley was signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2022 NFL Draft. The Ravens cut Wiley on Tuesday.

The 30-year old, 5’11”, 211-pound Jefferson was originally signed as undrafted rookie free agent by the Arizona Cardinals after the 2013 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2013-2016), Ravens (2017-2019, 2021-2022), and San Francisco 49ers (2021). The Ravens cut Jefferson on Tuesday. Robinson has played in 104 regular-season games with 66 starts. However, he has not started a game since 2019, when he tore his ACL mid-season. Robinson has only played in six regular-season games since 2019.

The transcript of Joe Schoen’s and Brian Daboll’s press conference on Thursday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee), and OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf) did not practice. RB Sandro Platzgummer also missed practice with a concussion that he suffered in the preseason finale.

TE Daniel Bellinger (concussion) participated in non-contact drills.

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

The players are off from Friday through Sunday. Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will address the media via Zoom on Monday.