NEW YORK GIANTS TO PLAY GREEN BAY PACKERS IN LONDON…
While the full 2022 NFL regular-season schedule will not be released until May 12th, the NFL announced on Wednesday that the New York Giants will play the Green Bay Packers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England on Sunday, October 9th. This will be the third time in franchise history that the Giants have played a regular-season game in London. The first was in 2007 against the Miami Dolphins and the second in 2016 against the Los Angeles Rams.
JOE SCHOEN HITS THE AIRWAVES…
New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen was interviewed by the following media outlets on Wednesday:
GIANTS ROOKIE MINI-CAMP ON MAY 13-15…
While the 9-week offseason program that began on April 4th continues, the New York Giants will hold a 3-day rookie mini-camp on May 13-15. Those in attendance will include the team’s 11 draft picks, signed undrafted rookie free agents, and tryout players.
On the final day of the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected:
TE Daniel Bellinger (San Diego State University)
S Dane Belton (University of Iowa)
LB Micah McFadden (Indiana University)
DL D.J. Davidson (Arizona State University)
OG Marcus McKethan (University of North Carolina)
LB Darrian Beavers (University of Cincinnati)
Sy’56’s Scouting Report on TE Daniel Bellinger: Senior entry from Las Vegas, NV. Three-year starter than earned Honorable Mention All-Mountain West honors in 2020. Bellinger has the tool set and ability to play the traditional Y tight end spot. While his skill set is more receiver-friendly, he does show enough upside and ability to create impact as a blocker. He plays a twitchy, sudden game and understands his role well. Bellinger may not have the man-strength quite yet to have a big role, but he should fill the back end of a depth chart early on. He is a plus-athlete with some sneaky upside to him when it comes to getting open and making things happen after the catch.
*It would not surprise me one bit to see Bellinger sneak into the end of round two. The triangle numbers are really solid, and he didn’t drop a single ball over his last two seasons. I just wish he got more looks in the passing game at San Diego State. He will likely be a year two guy at earliest because he had a hard time with defensive linemen in the Mountain West. I think NFL guys will eat him early on.
Sy’56’s Scouting Report on S Dane Belton: Junior entry from Tampa, FL. Two-year starter that earned All Big-10 honors in both 2020 and 2021, first team in 2021. Belton played a hybrid safety/linebacker role that saw him involved in the box more often than not. He has a sturdy, strong frame with plus-power and straight line speed. He factors well in pursuit sideline to sideline and had a high success rate as a tackler. Belton started to turn a corner as a junior in coverage. He showed quality ball skills and plus-body control out of his breaks. He shows minimal wasted motion once he made up his mind. He can get into trouble when trying to forecast routes and throws, as he seems a step behind mentally and shows tightness in his hips laterally. He projects as a nickel or dime safety that can creep up toward the line and he will be a weapon on special teams.
Sy’56’s Scouting Report on LB Micah McFadden: Senior entry from Tampa, FL. Three-year starter that earned honorable mention All-Big 10 honors in 2019, first team in 2020, second team in 2021. Also a third team All-American in 2019. McFadden is a well-put together, quick and sudden linebacker that flies all over the field and brings a high success rate as a tackler. He can defend the inside run with stout power and will get to the sideline against the outside running game. He excels in pursuit. McFadden does have the occasional lapse in concentration and will over-pursue his intentions, leaving him vulnerable and top heavy. He does not factor well in man coverage, as his hip tightness and eager mentality can be easy to toy with. He projects as a solid special teamer that could develop into a rotational inside linebacker in a 3-4 front.
Sy’56’s Scouting Report on DL D.J. Davidson: Fifth year senior from Mesa, AZ. Took an additional year off between high school and college. Three-year starter that earned second team All-Pac 12 honors in 2021. Davidson will best project to a zero-tech in a 3-4 front. There, his natural power and ability to two-gap will be used most effectively. In an even front, he will not offer much as a pass rusher, but he could fit into a situational role as well. Davidson can play with quick feet in addition to a hard-to-move presence against the run. He has a natural sense to feel blocks and flow to the ball. He needs to work on lower body bend and techniques so his pad level can be better. The lack of leverage wins will eat him up at the next level. Davidson needs to fully buy into fixing his body and skill set for a couple years before he can be trusted.
Sy’56’s Scouting Report on OG Marcus McKethan: Fifth year senior from Barnwell, SC. Three-year starter that has the body of a tackle but played right guard all three seasons. Two-time Honorable Mention All-ACC. McKethan looks like a tackle prototype with elite girth and length from head to toe. His power and lockout game are enough to stop professional defenders in their tracks right away. The issue with him revolves around reaction time and bend. He does not keep the feet active post-engagement and he will always struggle to win the leverage battle. McKethan is a project that a team will want to develop in undrafted free agency most likely, as the holes in his game are both hard to fix and far away from being pro-ready.
Sy’56’s Scouting Report on LB Darrian Beavers: Fifth year senior from Cincinnati, OH. Spent 2017 and 2018 at Connecticut before transferring to Cincinnati. Four-year starter between the two programs. Second team All-AAC in 2020, first team in 2021. Was also a Butkus Award Finalist in his final season. Beavers brings a unique tool set to the table and it was used all over the front seven in college. He primarily lined up off the ball, but he saw over 250 snaps along the edge on-line over his three years at Cincinnati. The heaviness in his hands and overall ability to play both stout and fast should get the attention of versatile defensive schemes. He does not play very sudden and there are too many inconsistencies with his tackling and aggression in space. There won’t be a fit for him in every scheme but at the same time, he can bring versatility to a multiple-front defense that others cannot.
*I have in my notes from the 2021 season that Beavers “…looks like an old school Steeler or Patriot…” Some make the mistake that Baltimore (Martindale/Ryan) went after the same personnel. I don’t agree. Martindale wants a bit more speed and twitch in his linebackers and even though Beavers tested OK with times, he doesn’t always play fast. I will say this though: He is an alpha. Beavers is a mean, powerful dude and he did line up all over the front seven. That said, he was not a very successful outside rusher.
Media Q&A with General Manager Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brian Daboll (Video):
JOE SCHOEN: Daniel Bellinger was our first pick today, tight end out of San Diego State. A guy that we liked, size, speed, athleticism, should be able to help us on special teams, was in Senior Bowl, was at his pro day, too, and a guy we’ve liked throughout the process.
Dane Belton, another guy we liked, the versatility in the player, he’s got ball skills, he can play from depth and down in the box, can pay nickel.
So the common theme you’ll hear is versatility on a lot of these guys.
Micah McFadden from Indiana, another guy with very good size, speed. He was a captain, he’s athletic. I think he’ll help us out. He can play inside, outside, and he’s a good blitzer as well. Again, another versatile piece.
D.J. Davidson, see him more as a nose, out of Arizona State, be a good depth player that has some upside. We are excited about working with him inside, again, trying to add some depth up front there.
Marcus McKethan, another guy obviously we spent some time with, the North Carolina kids. Huge human being. Very good size, length. Again, some versatility, he’s played tackle and he’s played guard. Again, going to add depth and competition to the roster. We’ll probably start him at guard, but he does have tackle flex.
Darrian Beavers is another guy that we really liked, versatile piece, he played inside and he played outside. I was at his pro day. He did some stuff as an outside rusher and that looks like something that may be part of the package. Like his versatility to be inside, outside, and play on special teams.
Excited about the young men that we added today. Again, everybody is going to come in here and compete, no matter where you were drafted, and these guys are no different, so we are excited about the players we added.
Q. A few of the guys said that they had 30 visits here, the tight end had dinner with Brandon Brown. Did you identify these guys early and then honed in on? How does that process work?
JOE SCHOEN: Typically, that’s what happens. When I first got here, the first meeting with the scouts was in February. So we kind of identified players that we were interested in and then who we needed to get around a little bit more.
A lot of these guys — not to show my hand in the future, but you guys are good at tracking this stuff — but, yeah, we want to feel comfortable with the individuals as well as the player, and I think pretty much all these guys we spent significant amount of time with, whether it was coming here or going to see them.
Q. What did you think of your first draft? Anything surprise you?
JOE SCHOEN: Have to reflect on this tomorrow and throughout next week. It’s just different. You come in with a whole new staff, so you have a process in place, but where you used to look for answers when you had questions, you’re looking to different people, different scouts in the room that you haven’t worked with, and our staff did a tremendous job. The coaching staff did a tremendous job.
So just still getting to know our roster as it is. Again, not being around a lot of these guys for a while, getting to know the new coaches. That’s just all that will come with time in working with each other. But overall, it was a good process, and I really enjoyed it.
Q. Joe, did this go very much like you’ve been accustomed to the last four years in Buffalo and other places, or did you have to adjust this year?
JOE SCHOEN: It went pretty much how I would plan it to go. The only difficult part was with the players being in here two weeks early with the next head coach. So our schedule when we typically would have had an uninterrupted meetings for a week or two with the coaches involved, those days were a little choppy. We had to move our schedule around.
Overall, the process will stay the same that we had this year. It will start now. May and June, we’ll already start looking at the players for next season, and our scouts have already gotten a list of the Top-5 UFAs, Top-5 players from their areas. Next week, I may take a week, but we’ll start looking down the road what the players look like through free agency and the draft next week.
Q. You have a pretty big class with 11 players. Do you anticipate bringing in many undrafted free agents — how big of a class do you anticipate?
JOE SCHOEN: As soon as the Draft is over and we can start working on that, we will. We still have – defensively, I think is where we are going to have to add. Again, when we got here, where the roster was, we had to add a lot of pieces, and there’s only so many resources. So we did the best we could this weekend, and we’ll continue to do that in free agency.
Again, players might have gotten drafted over somebody else, so what that means is maybe next week there’s going to be some cuts and may be some veterans that are on the street because they drafted over players on their current roster. We don’t play until September. Our location in the claim order, the final cutdown will be important or as players are cut.
The roster is never finished. It won’t be finished during the season, and we’ll always be looking to upgrade.
Q. Doesn’t seem like you found a replacement for James Bradberry in this draft class. At some point, does the contingency plan to keep him become the plan?
JOE SCHOEN: We are going to work on that. We have had some conversations. I’ve talked to his representative. We’ll see where that goes. I don’t have a definitive answer on that right now, but we are working towards some contingency plans.
Q. When would you like to have an answer on that?
JOE SCHOEN: I’m not going to put a timeline on it as we are working through this. So I don’t know how long it will take, but we are working through some things.
Q. For years, people were saying fix the offensive line. Since you two have been here, I think you’ve brought in six free agents, drafted three guys, you have guys coming back who have been hurt, you have veterans. Do you have enough bodies?
JOE SCHOEN: I think so. We’ve got some big bodies, too.
I think I told you guys at the Combine, we had maybe five healthy bodies, offensive lineman, on the roster, and that’s my point. There were several holes, and we didn’t have a lot of depth throughout the roster.
So start there, start up front, let’s see the best version of Daniel Jones we can, and it starts by hopefully keeping him on his feet. And that’s going to help Saquon and that’s going to help the receivers because he’ll have more time to get him the ball. I think we upgraded the offensive line, which hopefully we did. We’ll see how the competition in training camp goes. But, yeah, I’m happy where we are with the depth overall.
Q. When it comes to the war room, when you were setting up who is in there, how many guys, the way the whole setup is, here in years past they have had coaches, coordinators. Did you put into the process who you wanted in there, why it was important to do certain things?
JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, I definitely wanted to be inclusive with the group. Those guys did a lot of the work. We had our pro department in there, too, so they could see the process and some professional development to see how the process works. And our pro scouts also sat in on some of the college meetings.
I’m a firm believer in that, we talk out loud, we have conversations, try to think big picture the best we can. And if I can surround myself with as many of those people as I can, it’s just going to bring ideas and we’ll all be better.
As for the setup of the room, I may want to change that a little bit. There was a different board this year, and I kind of like more of an open area in the middle, I’m a big pacer, where I can go to the scouts and talk to them. That’s something we’ll work on next year.
But as for the coaches, you may not have seen them, but they were in and out, coordinators, position coaches. If it came down to two guys on defense, Wink may come in, or Kafka came in a few times for the offensive guys.
Q. I was going off the other night when you said you had not seen Wink yet.
JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, I had not, and specifically that night, because it was 5 and 7, it was back to back, so without having any commotion or distractions in there, we thought that was the best way to do it, and they kind of knew what we were going to do anyway.
Q. Do you anticipate making any changes to the personnel staff, subtractions, additions?
JOE SCHOEN: I haven’t even thought about that yet. I’m about ready to fall asleep on this microphone.
Q. In Buffalo, you concentrated on developing offensive lineman as well as drafting or acquiring starters. So have you brought that same kind of plan to the Giants, and is that where some of these picks are coming into play?
JOE SCHOEN: Really across the board, we have a really good coaching staff, and I think X’s and O’s are very important as a coach, but also developing players. And Bobby Johnson has a very good track record from my time with him, as does Dabs and Shea Tierney. You bring in guys in that are wired the right way and have traits, they are all hands on deck in terms of developing these guys. That’s just the O-line, but the defense, we have some good coaches over there, too. A lot of these players have upside.
Again, once you get in the second and third round, those players are in the third round for a reason, or fourth round for a reason, or sixth or seventh, when you take those guys, they are there for a reason. Nobody’s perfect. So the best we can do in terms of developing those guys and accentuating their strengths is what the coaching staff will try to do.
Q. What were you trying to accomplish in your first draft, and how successful were you with the goals that you came in with? I know things change as you move along.
JOE SCHOEN: Versatility, I mentioned earlier. Guys that have versatility, we wanted to add depth at competition to the roster, which I think we did. Again not every guy is going to come as a starter. It takes time. Guys have to develop. And Pat’s question, just develop and good coaching. Over time, you have to have depth players and frontline players. I think the idea was to get the best we could. Defensively, the guys with versatility. And offensively, as you’re around Brian, you’ll see, he’ll take the pieces and whatever we have and develop the offensive scheme around those pieces that we have, and Wink kind of adheres to the same philosophy.
Q. A big picture, team building question. Where do you stand on the theory of building a team to compete in the division against the teams that you’re going to be facing twice a year for the next — forever year?
JOE SCHOEN: You have to pay attention to that. There’s a lot of good D-Lines in our division, and I think that’s where the emphasis on the offensive line early on was important to us.
Yeah, we definitely always — I was in Miami forever, and they had Gronk there for awhile, how are you going to defend this guy, when they had Gronk and Hernandez. So you’re always paying attention because you have to play that team twice a year. And the ultimate goal is to win the division, and the rest will take care of itself is. Yeah, we’ll always be looking at that.
Q. When a guy like McKethan has some flex but mostly plays guard, would you rather him have the versatility to play both, or sometimes does a guy have a position and you’d rather hone in on that?
BRIAN DABOLL: You’ll see here in OTAs when you guys are around and in training camp, we are big believers in mixing and matching as many people as we can early on because you can only get so many to go to a game. And the more you can do, the more you can do.
Most of the players, unless you’re really, really, really good at one spot, and that probably goes throughout our team offensively and defensively, is as much versatility as you can have, the better it is for the team.
Q. On the defensive side of the ball, guys have multi-versatility. How excited are you that you can change your defensive scheme because of the diversity of the skillsets?
BRIAN DABOLL: Wink, he’s pretty diverse in what he’s done the past few years when he was in Baltimore. We are still working through some things, just figuring out what our guys can and cannot do.
So we’ll see. We’ll take it kind of day-by-day on that. But I think the smarter you can be as a football team, the better you are in terms of being able to put your best foot forward.
Q. I know Bobby Johnson was at the UNC pro day and worked those guys out. How valuable was getting his input and letting him get in there and coach them up?
BRIAN DABOLL: That’s always valuable. The process, Joe talked about this, the communication we’ve had from the scouting department, the coaching staff, the people that set up the trips, it was very well organized, thought out.
This morning I was watching a bunch of Zoom calls of potential guys we could pick. The coaches put a lot of time and effort into it. There were weekends off that they had they were out on the road, and the same thing with the scouting department. It’s been really good interaction with both sides.
So 11 picks, 11 players, we’ll throw them out there with the rest of the guys on the team when they get here and let them compete it out.
Q. Do you think you have an offensive line now you can work with and get done what you need to get done on offense?
BRIAN DABOLL: We’ll see once we get pads on and things like that. I know the guys are hard working. They are smart. They show some toughness when you watch them on tape. The people that we’ve had in the building are dependable. It’s been good to go into meetings with Bobby and Tony (Sparano) and those guys. They are eager.
Again, let’s not make it more than it is. Your job is to protect the inside part of the pocket and the width of the pocket and get moving in the running game, but that position you need five guys operating as one unit. And that is what will be really important.
You’ll see. I know I will get a lot of questions on it once we get out in OTAs, and I’ll tell you right now, there are going to be a lot of guys mixing and matching. You can write the lineup down each day, but it’s going to change from day to day.
Q. Guys have strengths and weaknesses, but evaluating players, guys are kind of the same, you say we want this guy, we want this guy, is there just something inside you that says we think he’s right for us?
JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, I would say after all the preparation, Zoom calls, interacting with the kids, going and seeing them or having them in your building, you’ve got enough information where you say, yeah, I’m good with this kid, can we all see the film, I’m good with this kid as a person and his ability to learn football and what he’ll bring to the organization. We try to get all that information so when we turn the card in with anybody, we are at that point.
BRIAN DABOLL: If they are close, you know, sometimes there is a gut feeling. It’s like when you’re getting ready to call a big play in the red zone, you like two plays and you’re anticipating something coming up. There’s a gut feel at times. Some of that is the same with when two guys are close, but the preparation leads you to that decision usually for the most part.
Q. Sometimes is it just like, you know what, close your eyes and say, I think I want to coach this guy?
BRIAN DABOLL: Three times this past week, Joe flipped a coin and decided who he was going to pick. We were calling heads and tails over there.
No, it’s a lot of work that goes into it. Joe has talked about it. I’ve talked about it. When you put a lot of hard work into it and you feel prepared, then you’re comfortable with the decisions that you make.
Q. When you get into the middle rounds, how much do you lean towards traits? Some guys rated well on tests. Was that a big factor, or did that happen to be the case?
JOE SCHOEN: After Wan’Dale being undersized and Flott, I figured I better go big guys today. You take that into account, but when you look at guys with developmental upside, if they have height, speed and character, the history of those guys developing is a little bit higher than others. Definitely when you get into day three, you do take that into account. It is important, I think.
Q. Knowing you had Daniel under contract and Tyrod to back up and you had Davis Webb, do you sit there and say, quarterback is not a priority this year?
JOE SCHOEN: I wouldn’t say we didn’t say it wasn’t a priority, because we did do work on those guys, and I think I said it yesterday that I had seen all those guys play live, and we did send a quarterback coach and coordinator to spend time with those guys and Zoom and other things.
Again we are going to evaluate the entire board across all positions, and when we think the time is right, regardless of position, we’ll pull the trigger if we think it’s best for us.
Q. What is it you guys think that you can get so much more out of Daniel Jones?
BRIAN DABOLL: I’ll just speak on the few weeks that I’ve been around him. I’ve been very pleased with how he’s approached things. He’s an intelligent — he’s picking up the stuff really well. Again, the pieces around him, we have a lot of work that needs to be done but I’m encouraged with my interactions with him up to this point.
Q. I asked you last night about the tight ends, you said it depends on the player?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah.
Q. You got one?
BRIAN DABOLL: We got six. Just trying to figure out exactly what they do. I’ve had years where I had Marty Bennett and Gronkowski and other years with Charles Clay, who is a completely different type of guy.
I would say we have a variety of guys right now on the roster, some bigger-type receivers. Some a little bit more blockers. Running around with shorts on, it’s good to see their movement skills and how they can track a ball. But once we get to training camp OTAs when they have to do things a little more quickly, we’ll figure that out.
But I would say we have a mix of guys that can get down in a three-point stance and block some defensive ends, and that’s getting harder to find each year. It’s just the nature of the game. If you have young kids that play football, you see how the game is being played. It’s a spread game. A lot of RPOs, even from the earliest stages, and then you get into high school, and I don’t need to talk about the evolution of game right now, but that’s kind of what it is.
You go to college and you see the same thing. It’s not — you’ve got to look at offensive linemen a little bit differently. You have to look at cover players a little bit differently. It’s a completely different game than it was even 22 years ago when I started, and I think you have to evolve as a coach, too, both how you evaluate players and how you design scheme.
Q. Joe, what would you tell Giants fans you think you accomplished with this draft?
JOE SCHOEN: I think we added competition and depth. Hopefully as many of these guys turn into starters as we can, but again we are not going to hand anybody anything. We want them to come in, compete, work hard, and, again, we want to see progress. I’ve said that since day one and I think this will lead us to that.
Media Q&As with Draft Picks: Transcripts of the media Q&A phone call sessions with the draft picks immediately following their selection are available in The Corner Forum:
Saturday’s Media Sessions with Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal: The video and transcript of Saturday’s media sessions with the team’s two 1st-round draft picks are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com.
Saturday’s Media Sessions with Wan’Dale Robinson, Joshua Ezeudu, and Cor’Dale Flott: The video and transcript of Saturday’s media sessions with the team’s second-day draft picks are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com.
On the second day of the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected:
2nd Round: WR Wan’Dale Robinson (University of Kentucky)
3rd Round: OG/OT Joshua Ezeudu (University of North Carolina)
3rd Round: CB Cor’Dale Flott (LSU)
The Giants traded away their pick in the 2nd-round pick (36th overall) to the New York Jets for their 2nd-round pick (38th overall) for an additional 5th-round pick from the Jets (146th overall). The Giants also traded away that 2nd-round pick (38th overall) to the Atlanta Falcons for their 2nd-round pick (43rd overall) for additional 4th-round pick from the Falcons (114th overall).
Sy’56’s Scouting Report on WR Wan’Dale Robinson: Junior entry from Frankfort, KY. Spent two seasons at Nebraska before transferring to Kentucky for the 2021 season. Honorable Mention All-Big 10 in both 2019 and 2020, second team All-SEC in 2021. Robinson has been a hybrid receiver/running back from the start of his career and will give an NFL offense the opportunity to create a big-time playmaker out of him. He has the well-balanced athletic ability and overall skill set to do multiple things, align from different spots, and create on his own. He is much more than an undersized, underneath threat that can occasionally take a jet sweep. He has had a lot of success in the deep passing game and plays with the kind of competitive fire that an at least somewhat make up for the lack of ideal size. Because he has lined up all over the offense, Robinson is a little rough around the edges when it comes release and route nuances, but all can be corrected in time. He is a big play threat every time he gets on the field no matter where he lines up.
*Robinson is a guy I have a feeling about. The quickness and burst he has the instant he touches the ball is exactly what gets overlooked by many when looking at measurables. He has the knack to find creases immediately. He is also one tough, strong dude that understands he can use the diminutive frame to his advantage, as a weapon. He is a gadget player, not someone that is always on the field. An argument can be made that only an established offense should be using a pick on a guy like this. I would not agree. Robinson is someone that can make things happen on his own. He can create big plays from nothing and that is what a growing offense needs. Robinson will make grown men hold their breath every time he gets the ball. The way Daboll used Isaiah McKenzie in Buffalo is a nice template: 77 catches – 27 rushes – 21 punt returns – 29 kick returns since 2019. I see Robinson being a better version of that. Keep an eye here.
Sy’56’s Scouting Report on OG/OT Joshua Ezeudu: Fourth-year junior entry from Lawrenceville, GA. Three-year starter that earned Honorable Mention All-ACC honors in 2021, second-team in 2020. Because of injuries and inconsistent play throughout the entire line, Ezeudu was moved around often. Throughout his career he played every spot along the line with some of his best tape coming from his snaps at left tackle. His top position will be inside at guard but that kind of versatility can boost his stock a bit. Ezeudu excels with his hands and displays quick feet, always a good place to start. The natural top-end athletic ability is limited, however, and it shows up when he needs to adjust laterally. His knee bend is inconsistent and there is a recoil in his reaction-times because of it. If he can improve some lower body techniques, there are some quality traits to work with.
*When looking to add offensive linemen early day three, I love the idea of getting a guy that has credible experience and ability at multiple spots. There is no question Ezeudu projects best to guard, but I do think he could be a swing tackle if needed. So many teams have depth issues there. You see a guy or two go down with an injury and all of the sudden the entire offense needs to change. Ezeudu looks pro ready on most levels. His movement just seems a step too slow right now but I think he is better than over half the backups in the league right now. Throw in the versatility and I think it is a brilliant pick if he can be had in the right slot.
Sy’56’s Scouting Report on CB Cor’Dale Flott: Junior entry from Saraland, AL. Two-year starter that saw time outside and at nickel. Cousin to fellow draft prospect Velus Jones, a wide receiver from Tennessee. Flott is a smooth mover that gets in and out of his breaks with no wasted motion. He plays faster than he times because of it. He lacks a physical presence on contact and there is not much of a frame to build on. Because of that, Flott will need to be near-flawless when it comes to route anticipation and reaction. He will likely project as a backup nickel that can see the field in deeper sub packages. He has some safety type traits against the pass only as well. He may be a guy without a true position and I’m not sure I see a ton of special teams upside.
Media Q&A with General Manager Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brian Daboll after 2nd round (Video):
JOE SCHOEN: We took Wan’Dale Robinson out of Kentucky. Good football player we’ve had our eye on, generator with the ball in his hands, very good run after the catch, very good route runner, can separate. And for what we are going to do offensively, we thought he would be a very good fit for us.
Q. Did you go into this day thinking, I want to trade down?
JOE SCHOEN: Yes.
Q. And the reason for that?
JOE SCHOEN: We just thought it was what was best for us at this time. More picks would benefit us the most we thought based on who was on our board.
Q. So would you stay at 36 or did you have a pick there?
JOE SCHOEN: We had deals in place before the Draft started. So we were confident. We knew we could move back. That was part of the plan.
Q. Both deals were in place?
JOE SCHOEN: We had a couple deals in place, and then the one at 38 wasn’t necessarily in place, but it was something that we had talked about we would potentially be able to do, and then we were able to do it.
Q. Seems like a similar type of skillset to Kadarius Toney. Does bringing him in impact —
JOE SCHOEN: Is that a bad thing?
Q. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. Does it impact Kadarius at all?
JOE SCHOEN: You guys saw Kadarius. I’ll take as many of those guys as we can on the field. Again, he’s a generator when the ball is in his hands. He can run after a catch. He can separate from DBs, he gets open. He played some running back at Nebraska. That’s a versatile piece you can use in your offense. If you look at some of the other guys, how you can use them, and if you look at Daboll’s past or you look at Kafka’s past in terms of the creativeness in their offense and the weapons they can utilize, I think you can kind of see what the vision may look like.
Q. Brian, is he the kind of guy you look at, do you start thinking about all the different pieces you have already?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I think you do that when you evaluate all these prospects, is make sure they are a fit for your team, whether it’s a receiver or a guy that plays in the back end or up front guys, what they can do for you.
Like Joe mentioned, versatile, got quickness, explosiveness, he’s tough even for a smaller guy. Been a very productive player really going back to high school when he played there in Kentucky. So a guy we’re anxious to get our hands on and work with and implement into our scheme.
Q. You’re not going to be able to coach him bigger. Is size a concern?
BRIAN DABOLL: I’ve coached a lot of small guys: Deion Branch, Super Bowl MVP, Isaiah McKenzie last year.
I mean, your job as a receiver is to get open and catch the ball, however that may be. Some guys are quicker. Some guys are faster. Some guys are bigger. But if they can find a way to generate and get open, then you use their skillset to the best of your ability.
Q. What was out there with Kadarius recently, would this affect his future with the team at all? Would you view it that way?
JOE SCHOEN: We like the player. If he can be like Kadarius when he’s on the field and he’s healthy, we’ll take as many of those guys as we can.
BRIAN DABOLL: Kadarius has had a good week.
Q. Did you expect Robinson to be available for you at this point?
JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, we were hoping so. When we looked at certain players that may be there, he was a guy we thought could potentially be there and we have a very clear vision for the player and look forward to utilizing him.
Q. Did I hear you say Kadarius had a good week?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I said Kadarius had a good week. Good to see him. Jumped right in and chugging along.
Q. Have you shut the door on trying to trade him?
JOE SCHOEN: We’re not shopping Kadarius Toney.
Q. So you’re not going to trade him?
JOE SCHOEN: Reflect on what I just said.
Q. When a cornerback went right before, was that someone on your radar, seemed like a guy that fit with your needs?
JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, he’s a guy we spent time on, good football player. It was Minnesota that took him. But yeah, we are happy with who we got in Wan’Dale?
Q. When you do trade down, you got a bunch of guys circled, you know you’re going to miss this guy, this guy and that’s just the way it is, do you have four or five guys that you say, we’re good with all these guys?
JOE SCHOEN: We had a bunch of guys circled. Some needs that we need to address, so we’re working on that and we’ll continue to work on that through tonight and tomorrow.
Q. Were you were shopping those picks —
JOE SCHOEN: Shopping, yes, that’s something I was shopping.
Q. Were you surprised that there weren’t many teams coming up for the quarterbacks?
JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, when teams call you and they want to make moves, you don’t really know what — you can speculate but you don’t really know what they are coming up for. We did get some calls from teams from further back today, and we speculated that that may be what it was. But you never really know what they are coming up for.
So you just have to be, hey, these are the players, this is how many picks I’m moving back and there’s a chance you’re going to lose a couple of these players, is there still going to be somebody there that you’re happy with. So that’s kind what have we take into account when we do consider moving back, who may or may not be there.
Q. Did you give any thought to taking a quarterback in the second round given the value?
JOE SCHOEN: No, we didn’t.
Q. Have teams been unwilling to trade picks in next year’s draft?
JOE SCHOEN: It’s come up in a couple conversations, but it was moves that really didn’t make sense for us. Wasn’t a win for us by any means in those conversations that we had.
Q. You guys both saw McKenzie when he grew up in Buffalo. Is Wan’Dale somebody like that? Do you see similarities to what you guys were able to do with McKenzie?
BRIAN DABOLL: I hate to compare guys from one system to the next. I understand the question relative to their size and some of their abilities. I’m just anxious to get him in here. He had good production on his college tape and a guy we thought we could utilize. Some of it will probably be like Isaiah, I would assume, but I don’t want to say that’s for certain until we get him in the building. But he was excited. It was a good call.
Q. Is this kid Robinson a slot or is he slot and outside too or what?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I think he can do both. You know, I think he can play inside, and I think he’s strong enough and fast enough, even though he’s a smaller, shorter guy, that he can contribute outside, too.
Again, what we’re trying to do is put as many generating pieces out there to create pace and stretch the field, whether it be vertical or horizontally, and this is another good guy that has ability to run after catch, which is an important aspect of it.
Again, receivers, and I understand the questions, they come in all different shapes. You know, there’s big, tall guys that can make unbelievable contested catches. There’s shorter quicker guys that give them five yards and they are going to create separation, and ultimately our job is to figure out what we have here between KG and KT and Shep. We have to figure out our pieces and put them in the right spot. Slayton.
Q. He had a bunch of drops. Do you see something in his hands or something you can fix?
BRIAN DABOLL: I think he’s got good hands, yeah.
Media Q&A with General Manager Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brian Daboll after 3rd round (Video):
Q. So Josh Ezeudu out of North Carolina?
JOE SCHOEN: So Josh Ezeudu out of North Carolina, a player we liked obviously. History of playing multiple spots on the offensive line. He’s got guard-tackle flex. Again, we’ll bring him in, I’m not sure, not going to say exactly where we’re going to start him, but we like the versatility that he can play guard, he can play tackle, compete to start probably inside, with outside flex.
And then Cor’Dale Flott is a guy we liked out of LSU, athletic kid, versatility, play inside, outside. Both kids we spent a lot of time with throughout the spring, and we’re happy to have them.
Q. How do you view your cornerback position? Can Aaron Robinson play 80, 60 snaps a game?
JOE SCHOEN: We are excited about him, just getting to know him, getting to see him move around the last couple weeks. That group, the coaching staff is back, so we’re excited about him. I’m not going to make any predictions or anything in terms of play time or any of that. We’ve still got a long way to go, but he’s definitely going to be competing for a starting job.
Q. Josh, in games, would switch spots.
JOE SCHOEN: Impressive. He’s impressive. It’s rare. I was fortunate enough to see him play live twice this year, Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh. He’s a big man, and it’s impressive. Again, he could play multiple spots not only on a week-to-week basis but within a game, within drives. So it’s very impressive, and he’s an outstanding kid. You guys will like getting to know him.
Q. Flott, he’s not the biggest guy, but do you see him as a guy who can play outside, or do you see him primarily as a guy who is better suited in the slot?
JOE SCHOEN: I think position one, ideally, he’s inside, but he can play inside and outside. He has height, and he does have length. And again, the kid is 20 years old. I believe he turns 21 in August or September. I think it’s August.
So still young, still developing. Three-year guy at LSU that played in a really talented backfield and a good conference.
We’re excited. He’s got really good movement skills to play inside, but with the size and length, can play outside as well.
Q. Seems like you were prepared for every possible situation. Did you see the quarterbacks slipping like they have so far? I think there was one in the first 73 picks. How has that affected the Draft for teams like you that are not picking a quarterback?
JOE SCHOEN: I’m a little surprised that there are a couple guys still on the board, at least they are when I walked down here. With all the pre-Draft chatter, I assumed a couple of those guys would already be gone.
Q. Does that push guys that you had lower, does that push them up?
JOE SCHOEN: Guys that were lower, push them up? Not really. The quarterback position, again, the amount of quarterbacks that are taken, it’s not like a different position group where there’s high volume. I wouldn’t say that’s the case there.
Q. Was there a point today where you started to maybe consider that because you didn’t expect these guys to fall to this point?
JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, we discussed every position. Again, I think up top, you know, you weren’t really thinking about it, but again, if you follow your board, and we did do work on all position groups. It came up in discussions, as every position does. But again we followed our board, and we typically go with the guys that are on the same line at that value.
Q. Does it bother you, when you’re talking about those kinds of guys that you guys maybe personally didn’t see a lot of them throughout?
JOE SCHOEN: No, we saw them all through. We were at the pro days. I saw every quarterback play live this year. We did our homework.
Q. You have five picks left tomorrow, right?
JOE SCHOEN: Two fours, three fives and a six.
Q. What do you want to accomplish tomorrow? You traded back and picked up those pieces.
JOE SCHOEN: Continue to build depth. Depth is important, whether it’s a backup role, compete for a starting role or special teams. Fourth down is going to be important to us as well. Just continue to build depth and competition.
Q. How realistic is it that you make all six of those picks, or do you feel like you have the ammo that you can trade up now and maybe go get somebody?
JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, we could do either or. Again, Draft picks are currency, It allows you to move up, down, whatever you may do, into next year, something happens. It just gives you flexibility throughout the Draft. I can’t really predict it right now, but there are still guys on the board that we like.
Q. Were you surprised a market for James Bradberry hasn’t materialized as much as you might have expected a couple months ago?
JOE SCHOEN: No. We’ve had conversations about James. Teams have called. He’s still a good player and a good person. The market is what it is.
Q. Have you received more interest during the Draft?
JOE SCHOEN: No.
Q. Why didn’t you exercise the option on Daniel?
JOE SCHOEN: It was the best decision for the Giants. After our conversations, that’s what we came up with, the best decision for us right now.
Q. Will you assess after today and tomorrow morning and say, all right, with these six picks, we kind of need these positions and we can look at these positions that we haven’t addressed?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, we have conversations after every day of the Draft relative to where we’ve set the board and needs. And if those two match, that’s a great thing. We’re going to try to acquire as many good players as we can to try to make us as competitive as we can.
Q. How do you see the tight end role in your offense?
BRIAN DABOLL: It just depends.
Q. On what? The player?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, it depends on who we have, yeah. So again, if we have — there was times last year we played with five receivers. There’s been times where we’ve played with three tight ends, sometimes four tight ends.
I think when you put together an offense, you try to build it around the strengths of the players that you have. And if that’s a bunch of receivers, it’s a bunch of receivers. If it’s one tight end, it’s one tight end. There were games last year where we went to the game with one active tight end. I think probably the last five or six weeks of the season.
So based on who we have, and look, there’s a long time to build our roster, too. It’s not just the Draft. We have, you know, awhile here. There’s a lot of different things that can happen.
Q. What do you look for in terms of traits out of a linebacker?
JOE SCHOEN: Outside or inside? Inside, instincts, athleticism, range, speed. You know, again, leadership, communication.
Q. Nakobe Dean is a guy, inside linebacker, a lot of people expected to be taken early in this Draft. Did you guys consider him? There’s been talks about him being flagged by a bunch of teams. What did you —
JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, there’s a reason he’s drafting — I don’t know what’s all out there, what you have, but we can’t really talk much about that. But yeah, there’s a reason he’s fallen, I think. And, you know, he’s a great kid. He had a great career, and I’m sure he’ll go shortly.
Media Q&A with WR Wan’Dale Robinson:
Q. Were you surprised the Giants called you this early? Did you expect to go at this point in the draft?
WAN’DALE ROBINSON: I always felt like I was talented enough to be picked this early. I just felt like somebody just had to believe in me and not believe in the hype thing and just believe in the football player.
Q. What kind of player are the Giants getting? Give us your self-scouting report.
WAN’DALE ROBINSON: A tough, elusive, exciting — just a playmaker.
Q. How much contact did you have with the Giants during the pre-draft process?
WAN’DALE ROBINSON: I had talked to them at the Combine, and I talked to them through Zooms. Then I had a meeting a week or two right before with the GM and assistant GM.
Q. Do you know (Wide Receiver) Kadarius Toney? You played in the same conference with him, right?
WAN’DALE ROBINSON: Well, I didn’t — I wasn’t in the SEC the years that he was there. So, I didn’t get to see him in person but I know who he is.
Q. Do you think your game resembles his in any way?
WAN’DALE ROBINSON: I mean, I think we all have our separate ways and different types of games, and I think we probably do some of the things that are similar and can do things that are alike in the short game and intermediate game and things like that. But at the end of the day, we are just play-makers I think.
Q. When you talked to Coach Daboll, did he give you a clear vision of what he thinks you can do in his offense?
WAN’DALE ROBINSON: Just come in and be a versatile piece and just do a lot of different things for the offense. At the end of the day, I just want to come in and help the team win.
Q. How often have you heard over your career that you’re not big enough?
WAN’DALE ROBINSON: I’ve heard that my whole entire career, so it’s nothing new to me. At the end of the day just another obstacle you’ve got to overcome just with what people think. For myself, I don’t think it’s a challenge or anything.
Q. Do you liken your game to anybody else out there that we would know?
WAN’DALE ROBINSON: I try to take pieces of everybody’s game, all the top receivers in the game, (Rams Wide Receiver) Cooper Kupp, just being in the same offense that he was last year I had to watch a lot of him. (Raiders Wide Receiver) Davante Adams, (Bills Wide Receiver) Stefon Diggs, there are a lot of guys that I like to take pieces of their game from to try to make it my own. Not try to be anybody.
Q. How much do you think you went under the radar? I think you caught a hundred plus passes but when people were talking about the receivers in this Draft, your name was not coming up that often with the top guys.
WAN’DALE ROBINSON: I mean, at the end of the day, I just felt like everybody has their own opinion. I wasn’t trying to get caught up in that. I just felt like at the end of the day I was going to end up where I was supposed to. I just needed one team to take that chance on me and I was going it give them all I’ve got.
Q. Do you know anything about New York or New Jersey?
WAN’DALE ROBINSON: Not too much, no actually. I was just there a couple weeks for “Good Morning Football” and that was the first time I had ever been to New York. I’m ready.
Q. What did you think?
WAN’DALE ROBINSON: It was big. A lot of people (laughs).
Q. Who are you with? What was it like getting the call? Can you paint the picture for us?
WAN’DALE ROBINSON: I’m at this hotel here in Lexington. I’ve got a lot of family and friends, quite a bit of people. Really my entire family on both sides, my mom and dad, and a lot of my friends and teammates. It’s a full house.
Q. What do you like about lining up all over the field? I know you’ve played slot and you’ve even lined up at running back and you’ve done all this stuff. How much do you like your ability to do all that?
WAN’DALE ROBINSON: I mean that’s what I pride myself on. I like being a guy that can do all the things equally well, not just doing one thing, stand out well. Just being able to do everything on the field so that way the defense doesn’t know what I’m going to do whenever I’m in the game.
Q. How many times did (Kentucky Quarterback) Will (Levis) throw the ball in a game last season?
WAN’DALE ROBINSON: I can’t tell you exactly a number. There were games that we were more throw-heavy, just depending on the team. Then there were games that – our offensive line was very good – so if there were games we were able to run it the whole game, we were doing that.
Q. Capital D in your name after the apostrophe, right?
WAN’DALE ROBINSON: Yes. Yes, Mom will get mad if she sees that (laughs).
Media Q&A with OG/OT Joshua Ezeudu:
Q. Congratulations, Josh.
JOSH EZEUDU: Thank you so much. Thank you so much.
Q. What position would you say you play?
JOSH EZEUDU: I will play anything the team needs me to play. I’m a team player. I just can’t wait to get there and get to work.
Q. What was your reaction when you heard you were being selected and that it was going to be to New York and the Giants?
JOSH EZEUDU: It was very surreal. Like you think about it so much, but until it actually happens, it kind of shocks you. I was speechless. I didn’t know what type of emotions I had, then as soon as I heard my name being called, I let it all out. It was surreal. It took a lot of hard work to get here, but the hard work is still not done though.
Q. Are you with family or friends? Where are you?
JOSH EZEUDU: Yes, I’m with my family right now.
Q. In Georgia?
JOSH EZEUDU: Yes, in Georgia.
Q. Was it a surprise to you that it was the Giants and here in the third round?
JOSH EZEUDU: I mean, I would say for your name to be called is always a surprise. Everybody expects it to happen, but until it actually happens, it actually kind of shocks you. So, yes, it was a big surprise, but at the end of the day, I just thank God for everything.
Q. Did you have a hunch the Giants were interested throughout the process? What was your connection to them?
JOSH EZEUDU: I just met with (Offensive Line) Coach (Bobby) Johnson before my pro day, and he was also at my pro day too. So that was the only interaction I had with them.
Q. You played multiple positions in the same drive? How does that work?
JOSH EZEUDU: Yes, sir.
Q. Is that by design?
JOSH EZEUDU: That’s just what happened based on whatever our team needed. If our team needed a left guard, then I would move to left guard. If we were struggling at tackle, I would move out to tackle.
Media Q&A with CB Cor’Dale Flott:
Q. How confident are you that you can play both inside and outside corner at the pro level?
COR’DALE FLOTT: I’m very confident. That’s one thing I feel as far as versatility-wise, coming to this program, this organization, I focus more on what’s going to be needed and what areas I’m going to be able to improve and help contribute to the team.
Q. Did you look at it as an opportunity this year when some of your outside guys got banged up and couldn’t play, that you getting more and more time on the outside, kind of showed part of your game that people weren’t anticipating?
COR’DALE FLOTT: Yeah, for sure. When that incident happened, I hate that for those players, but as far as me, it just gave me another opportunity to show more of what I can do and help contribute to the team – like I said I was going to do for this organization.
Q. Maybe some of the analysts didn’t have you going at this point in the Draft, but did you expect to go in the third round?
COR’DALE FLOTT: Yes, I expected it, but not from the Giants, it definitely caught me surprised. I’m very excited.
Q. Why? Why was it a surprise that it was the Giants?
COR’DALE FLOTT: You know, I got along well with the coaches, and I just hear different things from coaches and teams when I was on visits. But I kind of low-key felt like the New York Giants, and the staff, and the cornerbacks coach kind of clicked. So, when I got their call, it was very surprising.
Q. How many visits did you have?
COR’DALE FLOTT: I had seven.
Q. Do you know (Wide Receiver) Kadarius Toney?
COR’DALE FLOTT: Yeah, he played for Blount (High School). He played in high school in my region.
Q. What was that like? What was that rivalry like between those two teams?
COR’DALE FLOTT: He’s a real human joystick for real. I’ve seen it with my own eyes – all throughout his career and when I played him before. I’ll definitely be able to have another chance to go against him again.
Q. Who won that matchup?
COR’DALE FLOTT: He did. He won, and that was the last time I’ve seen him. But we’re definitely going to play again, though.
Q. Who is the toughest guy you had to cover this year?
COR’DALE FLOTT: Toughest guy I had to cover this year, I would say Wan’Dale Robinson from Kentucky.
Q. Are you aware he’s joining you here? Are you just blowing smoke, or is that legit and conveniently you guys are both here?
COR’DALE FLOTT: No, I’m for real. I’m not blowing smoke.
Q. What makes him so hard to cover?
COR’DALE FLOTT: He’s just quick and elite, one of those guys in the slot you’re not really going to be able to get your hands on right away. You’ve got to be able to create speed on top of the route. He’s a good receiver.
Q. Were you on him most of the game?
COR’DALE FLOTT: Yes, I was.
Q. The expectation I think is going to play a lot of man coverage in this defense. How comfortable are you in that type of scheme?
COR’DALE FLOTT: I’m very comfortable in that scheme. Coming to LSU, that’s one of the main things we’re known for and that’s one of the things you know you’re going to do when you first commit to come and play DB there. I’m very comfortable with man-to-man coverage, so I’m excited.
Q: What do you know about New York/New Jersey?
COR’DALE FLOTT: Man, I’m excited. I’ve only been to Jersey once, when I was on a visit, so I’ve definitely got a lot to experience and a lot to learn from as soon as I step my foot in the door.
Q. How do you spell your first name? I’ve seen it a couple of ways.
With the 5th pick and 7th picks in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux (University of Oregon) and offensive tackle Evan Neal (University of Alabama), respectively.
Sy’56’s Scouting Report on Kayvon Thibodeaux: Junior entry from South Central Los Angeles. Three-year starter that came out of school as a topflight, 5-star recruit and delivered. Earned 1st Team All-Pac 12 honors all three years, won the 2020 Morris Trophy, and landed on both the 2020 and 2021 All American squads. Thibodeaux has a long, explosive frame that can bend in and out of small creases with tremendous power and strength. His lockout game combined with a strong initial burst consistently gives him initial positional advantages on blockers. Sometimes, that alone is good enough as he can work through the shoulder of a blocker with consistent ease whether he is rushing the passer or defending the run. He is equally productive against both. Where Thibodeaux struggles, however, is when he is matched up against pro-caliber size and power when it comes to secondary rush moves. He needs to show more technique refinement and continue to try and strengthen his base, which plays small and gets too narrow at times. His lack of body control will cause issues as well when it comes to reaction-based action. His tool set is top shelf, but he is far from a finished product and will need to fix a lot prior to being labeled a dependable player.
*I am going to try and not make this too long because the Thibodeaux fans get really offended, really easily. First off: I have 800+ grades on my master sheet along with another 400+ “training camp body” labels. Thibdodeaux is in the top 15. So yes, I do like him, and I do project him to be a very good football player in the NFL. A starter with high, sky-high, upside. There is some Harold Landry in his game. That said, I do not see him being the All-Pro or even perennial Pro Bowl type. When it comes to the “effort” shortcomings, this is NOT a guy that walks up and down the field. He does NOT play with the “I don’t care” label. There is more to effort than sheer hustle, however.
My issues with Thibodeaux revolve around what he did against his best competition. If he lost initially, if he got locked onto, I did not see the secondary moves. I didn’t see the secondary wiggle to try and re-gain a position. The contrast between him and the other top 5 edge guys in the class in that department is obvious. He also had too many dumb penalties. When it isn’t easy for him (he matched up against some awful OTs), he got frustrated and immature. He didn’t pin his ears back and elevate his game. To me, that is effort and mental toughness that just isn’t there. It is a crucial, borderline vital trait to playing the edge.
That is where I left it with him. And then hearing how he talks about himself and a contract. I have a saying “…he works at his craft like he is above it all already…” simply rubs me the wrong way. Enough that I would be too nervous to use #5 or #7 on him with the other guys available. That is all.
Sy’56’s Scouting Report on Evan Neal: Junior entry from Okeechobee, Florida. Three-year starter at three different positions (LG, RT, LT). A 2019 Freshman All American that ended his career as a 2nd Team All American and 1st Team All SEC honoree. Neal, a team captain, is lauded by both the on-field coaches and support staff inside the walls. His attention to detail, intelligence, and work ethic have helped him deliver on his 5-star recruit profile out of high school. The fact he started right away as a true freshman for Nick Saban along the offensive line, a rarity, and progressed each season of his 3-year career while playing 3 different positions speaks volumes about his mental game. The obvious with Neal is the elite physical tools. His size is second to none, his power comes easy and natural, and the explosion within his blocking can put him in a rare tier of offensive line prospects. He did struggle with consistency throughout his career, as he showed low body awareness in several situations. He often oversets, leading to balance and control issues. Defenders were able to shake him off too many times. Neal’s upside is as high as it gets but the constant new-position he dealt with every year may have thrown off some important development. That versatility may help his outlook to some teams but once he is drafted, his true value will come when he settles into a position. Neal can eventually be one of the best linemen in the game.
*Prior to the start of the year, I had nearly no-doubt Neal was going to finish in the 90+ tier. But this is where you have to toss pre-conceived notions out the window when watching the tape. The truth is, Neal did not take a step forward. There are shortcomings within his skill set that arose weekly. The positive? These are all very correctable issues, and we see them corrected all the time. He has some of the same issues that Tristan Wirfs did coming out of Iowa in 2020. Wirfs was my OT1 in that class with a similar grade and is now an All-Pro. Neal can get on that path just as quickly, but I think he needs to settle into a position and remain there for a couple years. That hasn’t been the case since he was a high schooler. NYG would be an ideal destination for him. Insert him into the RT spot week 1 and they could have a top tier OT pair within a year or two. I would be excited to get this kid in blue.
Media Q&A with General Manager Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brian Daboll (Video):
JOE SCHOEN: First start off, we’re ecstatic with the two players we got, obviously getting Kayvon Thibodeaux, a really good pass rusher at five, we are excited about that. Thought of getting him there with Azeez on the other side and the pass rush is important to us, so two young pass rushers on the team now that we are definitely excited about.
Evan Neal, again, I’m sure it will come up, but starting off we’ll be putting him at right tackle. Obviously, we really like his versatility, 40 career starts in three different spots in the SEC, only missed one game in his career with COVID. So both 21 years old, young players, both still have upside to develop.
But, you know, it worked out great. We are happy with both of the players that we were able to procure tonight.
So open up for questions.
Q. Joe, what was it like sitting at five, three tackles, you obviously love Kayvon, how much decision-making, not just the players but the order?
JOE SCHOEN: We have been through these scenarios a million times. We had seven or eight cards, and we just kept switching them back and forth based on different scenarios, and this is a scenario we went over. And if there were tackles on board and the pass rusher, we were going pass rusher knowing we could get a tackle at 7. We were ecstatic when that scenario came up.
Q. Did you say Neal would be starting at right tackle?
JOE SCHOEN: I’m not saying starting. Yeah, we are going to — we are going to work him at right tackle, yes, knowing he has versatility to play left or play guard, which was attractive to us.
Q. Kayvon at the Combine said you gave him a hard time in interviews to see if he could handle it. What has been your impression of him?
JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, we spent a lot of time with him. We met with him at the Combine, I flew out there for his pro day along with a couple other individuals, and we had him in here for a visit.
He’s a very outgoing individual. He’s got a lot of personality. I’m sure you guys will enjoy your time with him meeting him, but a really good kid, likeable kid, works hard.
We had a good — Brian and I had several conversations with some of his coaches the last couple of days. We FaceTimed him last weekend and we got to know the kid maybe more than any player in this draft. Liked the personality and liked the player.
Q. You say you got to know him more than any other player in the draft. Is that because there was more you needed to know about him and how that personality would fit here?
JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, and it worked out that way, too, that I was able to get to his pro day and go to dinner with him. You can only do with so many players during that time, he was one of the players I was able to go to dinner with at a pro day, plus spend time with him here, plus at a Combine. There’s a lot of players and only so much amount of time.
Evan Neal is the same way. Had dinner with him here. I wasn’t able to go to pro day because of the owners meetings, but we had him in the room at the Combine too. A lot of very good interactions with both prospects.
Q. The physical traits that stood out to you about Kayvon and about Evan, what stood out?
BRIAN DABOLL: They both have good size, good length. Kayvon is quick off the ball. I think he has a wide variety of pass rush moves, but he can also set an edge for us on our defense, and it’s no secret we play multiple schemes with Wink as our defensive coordinator, and we envision Kayvon being able to do a lot of different things for us. He’s going to have to come in here and earn it, but a productive player the time he’s been at Oregon.
Evan has played multiple positions. He’s long — it takes a guy the long route to go to the quarterback. He’s got long arms. He’s a big, massive man, played multiple positions, had a lot of people down at Alabama that I trust and had a lot confidence in him and had a lot of good things to say about him and along with Bobby Johnson and Tony Sparano, the guys that have looked at him, we thought very highly of him.
Again, this situation that came up, Joe and I, we’ve been meeting the last three or four nights going through as many different scenarios as we can. He carries these magnets in his pockets and pulls them out. He had them in the draft room and moving them around and all that, and we did as many different scenarios as we could. I thought we were well-prepared for tonight, and when it fell the way it fell, we already had that in the plan.
Q. Brian, people think that the Giants stepped into pretty much the best-case scenario. How would you describe how the top of the Draft went?
BRIAN DABOLL: I credit Joe and his staff, along with the coaches, everyone putting so much time and effort. Even till last week, we were watching some guys in my office, Joe and myself and about eight other people for seemed like 12 hours a day, we just watched three guys.
We’re excited about what we have. Again, a lot of work to do with these guys. There always is when you draft young guys and come into your program, but certainly excited with their talent and also the type of people that they are.
Q. Joe, how many conversations did you have today about possibly making a trade back, and at what point did you realize you weren’t going to do that?
JOE SCHOEN: We had probably three teams that had talked about potentially moving up, and it was more to seven — there weren’t a lot of calls — actually, there weren’t any calls on anybody coming up to five. We had some conversations in a scenario where it was really six guys we coveted, and if one of them weren’t there, if all six went, then we would have probably considered moving back. But any scenario where two of the six guys we liked were there, we were going to stay. That would have been really the only chance we would have moved back in that scenario.
Q. In general, were teams low balling and reluctant to pay too much to move up just in this draft just in general talking to people?
JOE SCHOEN: I wouldn’t say that. You know, the two trades I had in place, it was like, hey let’s prepare, so if we’re on the clock, it’s already done, no haggling. With the two teams I talked to, it was fair. We both agreed it was fair. One of the teams actually called me and said, hey, we are out because a certain position was depleted that they were going to come up for.
We also had a contingency plan if our six guys that we liked were gone, we had a seventh, and if we had to make a pick and we couldn’t move back, we were prepared for that.
Brian is not kidding around. We had every possible scenario based on how the top of the Draft went, and it was really a unique draft. Typically you have an idea of who is going to be first and second, and there were rumors of it and rumors of who was going to go third, but you didn’t really know. Everybody was kind of speculating on that. So we were prepared for a lot of different scenarios.
Q. What would you say were differentiator when you had your choice of a couple tackles? And also, at some point, a hip injury or something, some people had mentioned that with regards to Neal — did you guys have a look at that, and would that factor in at all?
JOE SCHOEN: What he’s talking about, us sitting in an office and watching multiple players, multiple times. And I think if you asked around the league how everybody saw those tackles, you’d get a bunch of different opinions.
We did a lot of work on those guys, but after the pass rusher, after Thibodeaux, there was quite a drop. We like the tackles very similarly, so we thought it was best to let it play out and get the pass rusher first.
On the medical, a lot of times teams share medical grades, and, you know, I think it was 52 percent of the league, there was only 8 percent that had issues with anything with Evan. And circling up with that, I think that was a rumor that was out there, but the majority of the teams in the league, again, he started 40 career games; he missed one game because of COVID.
Q. Did you have to look into that again?
JOE SCHOEN: Our medical staff did a great job. They were on it. Before any of that came out, we went through all that and they mentioned what some teams had concerns with, and our doctors looked at it and they were fine with everything. His play history backs that up.
Q. How does not getting a corner impact James Bradberry?
JOE SCHOEN: That doesn’t affect James at all. I’ve said it all along, there are contingency plans. We still have three picks tomorrow night, a fourth, two fifths and a sixth. There are plenty of picks to be had.
Q. Joe, would you say even though the tackles were very close, would you say Neal was your No. 1 tackle?
JOE SCHOEN: They were very close, yeah. We had them side-by-side.
Q. So why did you pick him?
JOE SCHOEN: Because Ickey was gone at six.
Q. In terms of the other tackles —
JOE SCHOEN: We thought there was a drop off in pass rushers, and those two were still there, so it played itself out.
Q. There was a report earlier today that you guys were not going to pick up the fifth year on Daniel Jones. Is that true?
JOE SCHOEN: Yes, we exercised Dexter’s fifth-year option, and then we did not do Daniels.
Q. How does that affect the Draft? Are you looking for a quarterback now?
JOE SCHOEN: We are always open to all positions, but that doesn’t really affect our draft status. We met on it today, and it really doesn’t affect what we think about Daniel. We really like Daniel and the work he’s been putting in. And we are excited where he is, and we are excited to work with him. It was a decision we thought was best for the New York Giants at this time.
Q. What did Wink say? Have you spoken to him yet?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, he gave me a fist pound back. Yeah, look, the Draft is an inexact deal, and you go through as many scenarios as you can and you prepare yourself. I’m not going to say it’s like preparing yourself for a game as a play caller.
We felt very comfortable yesterday. The defensive guys went out golfing today, and the offensive staff went out and did another thing. We felt comfortable. Credit to Joe and the scouting staff. They put the time in, along with the coaches. It was a team effort. Feel like we have two good players to help us, and now it’s going to be their job to come in here, work hard, learn how we do things, and help them develop.
JOE SCHOEN: Can I ask a question? I haven’t seen Wink, what is he wearing?
BRIAN DABOLL: Not a hat surprisingly. He’s got like a golf shirt on. Business casual for coaches tonight. First time I’ve seen them in normal clothes since I’ve been here.
Q. Your first time in the hot seat, what was the experience like for you in the war room?
JOE SCHOEN: Daboll was talking about it before. It was like when you go call a game, you’re at ease because you have all your third and five calls. If it’s third and plus 10, here are my calls we practiced all week, and we got it.
So when you’re up there, you’re calling a game. We had been through so many scenarios, the exact scenario that played out, we’ve been through it probably 15 times this week. We would stay in my office and move stuff around, what do we do here, what do we could here. We had a couple rhymes in place for different scenarios. It was very seamless. It was easy because where we were at five and seven, it was easy to plan for that and narrow your focus.
Tomorrow and Saturday may be a little bit different. You’ve got to look at our picks further down in the third round. Tomorrow might be easy for the first pick because we know if there’s four players that we like, and we are going to get one of those four if we stay where we are.
So overall it was good. Again, preparation, we have been through the draft process together, Dabs and I. Their taff did a phenomenal job like he said. They were very helpful and put in a lot of time and effort not just watching the film but Zooms. These guys were on Zooms with these prospects for like an hour, and we had a process in place and a test in place at each position that the coaches were given of these kids.
We took that into account when we talked about how they did on the football test they were giving them, how they learn, how they pick up information, how they communicate that information. It was a pretty extensive process, from the medical to the coaches to the psychological on all these guys, and I think our process will lead us to the best decisions ultimately.
Q. Do you think that the offensive line is finally fixed?
JOE SCHOEN: We haven’t been in pads yet. I hope so, but again, there’s going to be competition across all positions, and I feel like we’ve upgraded it from where I was here and we had four or five offensive linemen when you got here, and we’ve added some veteran guys we like, Jamil Douglas, Garcia, Feliciano, Glowinski. We are happy with those guys, Gono. And then now adding Evan Neal, I think it’s an interesting group and there’s some interior depth. And Matt Peart, when he comes back, all of a sudden, I think we could potentially be operating from a position of strength at that position.
Q. Did you recruit Evan and did the guys at Alabama help you in the process?
BRIAN DABOLL: No, didn’t recruit them, but certainly you have relationships in this business, whether it’s from team to team in the NFL or in this case, college teams. Obviously I know a lot of people down there. So they were very helpful. They are big proponents of Evan, rightfully so. He’s a good player, but you’re also trying to get to know the person and how does he treat the GAs and how is he in the cafeteria and the type of people that we want to build our program with, and he fit it to a T. And on top of that, you have to be a good football player and have some talent and love the game and love to compete.
We are happy he’s in our program, but now he’s got a lot of work to do.
Q. When you were on the clock, was there any conversation in the room about where to go?
BRIAN DABOLL: I’ll jump ahead of Joe. No, I told you he was prepared. There was not a lot of talking at all. It was calm, composed. And I think you can be that way when you’re prepared, when you put the time in and you have the conversations before they happen.
Again, I can’t tell you how many different scenarios we went through the past week, so we felt however it was going to unfold, that, you know, we would be ready for whatever decisions we had to make.
Q. Kayvon said on the TV when they were interviewing him on stage that before he got on the plane to go to Vegas, someone from the Giants FaceTimed him. Was it you?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, Joe and I talked to him, again, just to say hello and wish him the best of luck in the draft process. We had good meetings with him. Good player. Just wanted to wish him luck.
Q. Can you talk about work ethic, his motivation, affinity for his brand, some people were concerned about that. Was there anything that eased your mind, something that you felt the need to look into or saw anything like that?
BRIAN DABOLL: I think you look into everything, but we sat down with the young man. He came up here on a visit, at the Combine. Joe did a Zoom. Did another Zoom with him. We felt very comfortable with him, his approach, both as a young football player and as a young man.
Q. Do you like coaching guys with big personalities, and how do you handle that?
BRIAN DABOLL: I like coaching good guys. Everybody has a different personality. When you’re coaching in the National Football League for 22 years, you come across a lot of different characters, and as long as they love football and they are a pro on and off the field. I have six kids, and they all have different personalities. And that’s the job of a coach, too, to learn your players, what makes them tick, how to push them when they need pushed, how to hug them when they need a hug. Felt very comfortable with him.
JOE SCHOEN: And these athletes are changing. The NIL stuff, these kids are making a lot of money in college. Freshmen in college, some are making $100,000, $200,000. It’s a different athlete and a different experience as a college football player, and we have to evolve and understand that kids are going to evolve, and what they have been exposed to when they were in college is going to be a little bit different.
Also with Kayvon, he had a serious ankle injury. And a lot of people, with his draft status and draft stock, could have hung it up and said, we’ll call it a season and I’m not going to play anymore. He fought back. And we talked to several people at the school, and he worked his way back and practiced, and a lot of people — he didn’t necessarily need to do that.
Q. Of the top tackles, Evan is the only one who played extensively at right tackle, how much did that come into play knowing you wanted to put him at right tackle?
JOE SCHOEN: It helps when you’re going to draft a player at number 7 and you get to see him do what you’re going to ask him to do. That makes you feel good. We definitely went back, we studied his tape from last season when he was at right tackle and even watched some of the stuff at guard. His versatility is important. One guy goes down in a game, it helps the eight guys you take on game day. If a guy can move around like that and help you out, that’s an added plus, too.
Q. Joe, you went to dinner with Kayvon. Before his pro day?
JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, Korean barbecue place. You have to ask him about it. I had never been to a Korean barbecue place before. It was a lot of fun.
Q. We see one side, one personality. Is he the same personality-wise in a different setting with you, or did you see a different side of him that appealed to you?
JOE SCHOEN: One-on-one, when Dabs and I just met with him on his visit, yeah, he’s very calm, cool, collect. And when I had one-on-one experiences with him, and when he’s out and about in front of you guys, you might see a little bit more personality on him. But all in all, a really good kid and got to like him throughout the process.
Re: Sam Prince announcing the selection at No. 5
SCHOEN: How about my man Sam?
DABOLL: We gotta mention Sam. You talk about juice.
SCHOEN: That’s the type of juice we’re looking for.
Media Q&A with Kayvon Thibodeaux:
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: Thank you, it’s been a blessing.
Q. You had said on stage that you were getting on a plane and you got a FaceTime from the Giants, what was that like and was that kind of the sign for you that something was happening?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: They were surprised that I answered. But you know me I’m always authentic with it, so just being able to have that last minute conversation gave me that idea that yeah, they really care.
Q. Why are you made for New York? Why is New York the perfect landing spot for you?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: Because I’m hungry. I’m really competitive and hungry and I feel like New York is the pinnacle of a dog-eat-dog world.
Q. Did you spend more time with the Giants than other teams or did you spend a lot of time with a lot of teams?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I spent the most time with the Giants, definitely.
Q. What did you think about getting to know (General Manager) Joe Schoen, (Head Coach) Brian Daboll and (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) and the other guys here?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: It was really dope because we really got to build a foundation, I don’t want to say relationship, but we built a foundation, and now I have a real understanding because when I get there, I can go to them for anything.
Q. What did you think you had to prove to them or were there any questions you felt like they needed answered when you kept going through the process and meeting them at different points?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I don’t necessarily know if there was anything specific that they needed answers, but I answered all of the questions without them asking. I was able to lay it all out on the line and I think they respected my delivery.
Q. There has been much said about Wink’s defense being multiple. How do you fit into that?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I’m a smart guy. I feel like his multiple defense is really going to give me the opportunity to be versatile and kind of just show everything I bring to the team.
Q. What’s your relationship like with (Former New York Giants Defensive End) Michael Strahan?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: He literally is one of my mentors and he’s been talking to me throughout this process. He actually came to visit me when I was on my visit with the team, so seeing him out there that was really dope because he’s given me wisdom and he even was able to speak on my behalf because we have built a relationship over the year.
Q. How valuable will it be to have that resource when you get here do you think?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: It’s really dope because he has literally walked in my footsteps and can show me the ropes on the field and off the field.
Q. What are the Giants getting as a player out of you?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: They are getting a leader, they are getting a competitor and they are getting a guy who wants to win at any means.
Q. Did you think there were any misconceptions about you in this Draft process? Obviously, the Giants didn’t buy in to those, but did you think that you’re a little bit misunderstood as a player and a person and as a prospect?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I feel like anything that was said about me before this point is history, and now all we’re focused on is the future.
Q. What do you remember about the dinner you went on with Joe? He was talking how you took him to Korean barbecue for the first time.
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: Exactly, I took him to my house and we were able to break bread and do everything that we needed and I let them know that I eat, right. It was really dope, we got to break bread and we really got to build that relationship.
(celebratory noise) My bad, I’m sitting here with (Giants Tackle) Evan Neal and we’re sitting here – and it’s time.
Q. What’s that like to be there with Evan and knowing you guys just got picked together? I would imagine in your mind, you guys will be together for a while?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: When you think about it, it’s a blessing when you have a complete competitor on the other side of the ball that you’re going to be able to go against every day knowing that you’re getting better because he’s getting better because we want to.
Q. It’s been said you’re probably the best edge rusher in the Draft. How are you against the run?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: You’ve got to watch the tape.
Q. What do you say to that notion that your motor did not always run hot, that you took plays off? What do you say to that?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I say that the Giants believe in me, and me and Evan are going to go to work, and this is probably one of the greatest moments of my life.
Q. Who is going to win the one-on-one reps in rookie minicamp?
KAYVON THIBODEAUX: It’s going to be 50/50 every time. He’s going to hit me with an upper cut and I’m going to hit him with a right hook. He’ll hit me with a jab and I’m going to hit him with a stomach hit. We’re going to keep going back-to-back.
Media Q&A with Evan Neal:
Q. Did you talk to the Giants a lot through this process and did you have a feeling they were going to be a team that might take you tonight?
EVAN NEAL: Yeah, they had the fifth and the seventh pick and so I knew there was a possibility I could end up at the Giants for sure, but I’m just thankful they gave me an opportunity and I’m going to make the most of it.
Q. What was your reaction when they were on clock at five and didn’t take you?
EVAN NEAL: Hey, man, I was happy for Kayvon (Thibodeaux). I clapped for him. It’s a lot of uncertainty but I just controlling the things that I can control.
Q. What do you think of, you played right tackle obviously before you played left tackle. They are going to start you out at right tackle. What do you think of that? Is that a good spot for you?
EVAN NEAL: Yeah, I’m comfortable at all the tackle spots for sure.
Q. Do you know Andrew Thomas?
EVAN NEAL: I don’t think I’ve ever met him.
Q. What would you say to Giants fans that you’re bringing to the table as an offensive lineman if you’re describing yourself?
EVAN NEAL: The Giants are going to get a guy that is going to come in every day and work his hardest to be the best that he can be and just ultimately help the organization win.
Q. What were your reactions when the health rumors were coming out the last couple days about you?
EVAN NEAL: I was kind of shocked a little bit but at the end of the day I just control my controllables. I can’t control about the information that leaks out, but I played 41 games at Alabama, I didn’t miss a game, I didn’t miss a snap, I only missed one game due to COVID, so that’s your answer there.
Q. When you were sitting there just now when Kayvon was on with us and you see his personality busting out all over the place, what’s your reaction?
EVAN NEAL: He’s a funny guy, man. I’m just excited to continue to get to know him and spend time with him and compete against him.
Q. Do you get a sense that he’s the kind of guy that’s going to be talking to you in practice snap to snap?
EVAN NEAL: I really don’t care whether he does. I’m going to talk with my shoulder pads (Laughter).
Q. How would you describe your personality?
EVAN NEAL: Pretty much a laid-back guy. I’m kind of more of an introverted extrovert by nature, more reserved, quiet, but just talk to me. I’m a people person. I’m definitely a cool guy.
Q. Are you a better pass blocker or run blocker?
EVAN NEAL: Man, I feel like I’m good at both, honestly. I played well and I played at a high level at both, just turn on the film. That should give you your answer.
Q. You’re a real country boy. How does it feel playing in New York?
EVAN NEAL: A little bit of a culture shock, man, but I’m excited. I’m a country boy, but at the end of the day, I know how to fit in well with the city, so I’m just excited.
Q. Got some Alabama guys up here. Have you heard from them yet?
EVAN NEAL: Yeah, Xavier McKinney, when I was on my Top-30 visit, I got a chance to chop it up with him for a little bit. It’s going to be pretty cool being able to play with him.
DAY 2 OF THE NEW YORK GIANTS VOLUNTARY MINI-CAMP…
The second day of the New York Giants’ 3-day voluntary mini-camp was held on Wednesday, the only day the media will have access to the team. The 3-day mini-camp includes non-contact individual and group instruction and drills, as well as classroom sessions.
Some practice notes from various media sources:
Absent from practice were WR Kadarius Toney, OG Mark Glowinski, LB Blake Martinez, CB James Bradberry, and K Graham Gano. (Glowinski’s absence was due to his wife having a baby).
Working on the sidelines with trainers were WR Collin Johnson, LB Quincy Roche, LB Cam Brown, LB Trent Harris, LB T.J. Brunson, and CB Rodarius Williams.
Others in non-contact red jerseys were: WR Richie James, OG Shane Lemieux, OT Matt Peart, and LB Justin Hilliard.
The first-team offensive line was composed of LT Andrew Thomas, LG Shane Lemieux, OC Jon Feliciano, RG Jamil Douglas, and RT Korey Cunningham.
In 7-on-7 drills, RB Saquon Barkley was left all alone on a wheel route and scored a touchdown down the left sideline.
CB Jarren Williams received reps at safety.
The teams’s offseason program (Phase One) began on April 4th. The 3-day mini-camp marks the start of Phase Two and is only allowed for teams with new coaching staffs.
April 4: New York Giants offseason program begins.
April 19-21: New York Giants voluntary mini-camp (allowed for teams with new coaches).
May 13-15: New York Giants rookie mini-camp.
May 16-17: New York Giants OTA #1 and #2.
May 19: New York Giants OTA #3 (media access).
May 23-24: New York Giants OTA #4 and #5.
May 26: New York Giants OTA #6 (media access).
May 31-June 1: New York Giants OTA #7 and #8.
June 2: New York Giants OTA #9 (media access).
June 3: New York Giants OTA #10.
June 7-9: New York Giants mandatory mini-camp.
Per the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), teams are only allowed to hold voluntary offseason activities over the course of a 9-week period in three phases:
Phase One: Activities during this 2-week period are limited to to meetings, strength and conditioning, and physical rehabilitation only.
Phase Two: On-field workouts during this 3-week period may include may include individual or group instruction and drills, as well as “perfect-play drills,” and drills and plays with offensive players lining up across from offensive players and defensive players lining up across from defensive players, conducted at a walk-through pace. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.
Phase Three: Activities during this 4-week period include 10 days of organized team practice activity (OTAs) and a mandatory veteran mini-camp. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.
APRIL 20, 2022 JOE SCHOEN PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen addressed the media on Wednesday. The transcript is available in The Corner Forum, while the video is available at Giants.com.
APRIL 20, 2022 BRIAN DABOLL PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll addressed the media on Wednesday. The transcript is available in The Corner Forum, while the video is available at Giants.com.
THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available inThe Corner Forumand atGiants.com:
JOE SCHOEN ADDRESSES THE MEDIA…
New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen spoke to the media on Monday at the NFL Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, Florida. In discussing the upcoming NFL Draft, Schoen was asked about potentially trading down from the #5 or #7 overall selections.
“We haven’t discussed that,” said Schoen. “Really, honestly, right now, we’re trying to find, ‘Hey, who are seven players we like?’ I mentioned this at the (NFL) Combine, if we find seven players that we like as players, as people, that’ll be good for the organization, I’ll sleep good at night and then we’ll get into that, ‘Maybe we need 10 guys, maybe we need 11, maybe we need 13,’ if we decide to move back, depending on where we are.
“The roster continues to evolve. We signed a guy today in (offensive lineman) Max Garcia. We’ll be open to listening, but again, it’s got to make sense to us. If there’s two players that we really like as people and as players, then again, I’m absolutely fine staying there, taking a guy that we like, and I’ll sleep good at night.”
Schoen was also asked if the Giants will emphasize need over value. “We have enough needs on the roster that I think you can go take the best player available,” replied Schoen.
Schoen also acknowledge that the team’s salary cap restraints are an issue. “It’s a daunting task when you start adding in the draft picks and then trying to add replacement cost in-season and then where we were when I got here, that’s a daunting task,” Schoen said. “It’s hard to operate. Again, it’s always tough to sit on your hands in free agency when you have holes on the team that you’d like to fill. I knew what I was getting into. (Co-owners) John (Mara), Steve (Tisch), they understand what we’re getting into, and (Head Coach) Brian Daboll understood what he was getting into.
“Three of the things that were important to me were starting guard, so we’ve gotten (Mark) Glowinski and (Jon) Feliciano. (Feliciano has) played center and guard in his career. I think his best position right now in his career is at center. Obviously, kind of having a quarterback of the offensive line and knows the system and familiarity with him. He’s smart, tough and dependable and then I think the backup quarterback (Tyrod Taylor) – again, not looking too deep into that. Daniel (Jones) has had, there have been some injuries over his career, so to protect the team if we’re having a good season then someone who can go in there and win games for the organization. I thought that was important. We’ll continue to build depth as you’ve seen with some of the VSB signings (one-year contracts that give the team a reduced salary cap hit) that we’ve done over the last couple of weeks. You’ve got guys that have started games and played meaningful football. The more depth and competition we can create with the resources that we have, I think that’s important. I think we’ve been able to accomplish that.
“It was a priority (to get a back-up quarterback),” said Schoen. “I go back to – I can’t remember if it was my opening press conference or I said it at the Combine to you guys, backup quarterback would always be a priority of mine. Where I was last year, we got a little bit lucky at the value that we were able to get at what we thought was a good player at that value. I go back to my time in Miami, Ryan Tannehill gets hurt, tears his ACL, Matt Moore came in, kept the season alive and we went to the playoffs. We lost to Pittsburgh, but again, I think that’s an important position to have where someone can come in and steady the ship and win a few ballgames for you and it doesn’t completely decimate your season.
“I like Tyrod a lot. I was in Buffalo with him that first year when we broke the 17-year drought in terms of the playoffs there. Morning workout guy, he was always the first one in. He’s always in there. First one in, last one to leave. Smart, he’s a leader. He’s still athletic. He can run. Dabs and (Offensive Coordinator Mike) Kafka, the stuff they want to do on offense that Daniel can also do, you don’t have to change up your offense if he has to go in the game. Similar type skillsets and they can run the same offensive scheme and that was kind of some of the guys we targeted, it was guys that you don’t have to totally change your scheme in order to run your offense, so that was important.
“We’d like to be in better salary cap health next year for sure versus having to move on from people or cut guys or do any type of restructures. I’d rather not be in that situation.”
Schoen on the media reporting that the team is looking to trade running back Saquon Barkley: “That was taken a little bit out of context at the Combine. I haven’t called one team on Saquon Barkley, OK? Everybody ran with that from the Combine, I said I would listen if people called on any player, so it would be irresponsible if I didn’t. That doesn’t mean I’m going to do every deal, so I haven’t called one team on Saquon Barkley. I’ve gotten calls about a few of our players and he’s one where a couple teams have reached out, but again, I’m not shopping Saquon Barkley.
“It’d be irresponsible if a team calls – I think 31 other GMs would say the same thing – if somebody is going to call and offer you something ridiculous, you’re going to listen It doesn’t mean you’re going to do any deal or you’re going to say ‘yes’ to it. We’ve got an offensive head coach (Brian Daboll). He likes to have as many weapons and toys as he can.
“I like Saquon. We’re at a little bit of an advantage here, the players are coming in in two weeks, so we’re going to get around all these guys. Again, the guy was the number two pick in the draft for a reason. He’s got a lot of talent and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Schoen on the belief that the team needs to cut or trade cornerback James Bradberry for salary-cap reasons: “He’s currently on the roster. He’s a good corner who was a Pro Bowler two years ago (2020), and he’s 28-years old and can still play at a high level and he’s on our roster… People have called about certain players and people have value. Again, like I said, he’s 28-years old. He’s two years removed from a Pro Bowl season. He’s still a high caliber starting corner… If it’s the right offer and it makes sense for the New York Giants, then I’ve got to consider (it)… a last resort is converting and restructuring contracts, so there’s ways we can get creative if we need to.”
Schoen on whether the team will pick up the 5th-year option on quarterback Daniel Jones: “We have until May 2 to decide that. Like I said at the Combine, we’re going to still continue to develop that and consider that. With guys coming in in two weeks (for the start of the offseason program), it’s a real advantage. We’ll get to be around guys in the building for four weeks or three weeks before the draft and have a veteran minicamp right before the draft. Again, we’ll continue to have those conversations as we move forward.”
Schoen on whether defensive lineman Dexter Lawerence will have his contract guaranteed for 2023: “Same deal. I’m still trying to get familiarized with our defensive staff and how they’re going to utilize players. We’ve had some really productive conversations. I haven’t worked with (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale). I haven’t been in a 3-4 since probably my time down in Miami. Just trying to figure out what traits they’re looking for in each player. Dexter’s a really good player and we’ll obviously have extensive conversations on what we’re going to do there.”
Schoen on the decision to cut safety Logan Ryan: “Best decision for the New York Giants. We thought it was best talking with the new staff that that was the best. I wish Logan nothing but the best.”
Schoen on the injury status of linebacker Blake Martinez (torn ACL) and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ruptured Achilles’ tendon): “Both those guys are in there every day. Both working hard. I see them at lunch every day. Two guys I really enjoy being around, leaders, busting their butt. I think Blake could be back before Shep, just because of the timeline of the injury, but I’ve been really impressed with both of them and their work ethic and the time that they’re putting in. Hopefully by August, (they’ll be on the field). Again, we’re not going to rush them along. We don’t play until September. Ease those guys along. Again, they’re two professionals that understand their bodies, leadership, they understand their process. The goal is to have them on the field in August.”
GIANTS RE-SIGN SANDRO PLATZGUMMER…
The Giants have re-signed unrestricted free agent running back Sandro Platzgummer. The 6’0”, 198-pound Platzgummer was originally allocated to the Giants in April 2020 as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program, which also allowed him to remain on the team’s Practice Squad in 2020 and 2021 without counting towards the Practice Squad limit. Platzgummer played for the Swarco Raiders Tirol of the Austrian Football League. He has yet to play in a regular-season game.
JOE SCHOEN ADDRESSES THE MEDIA…
New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen addressed the media on Tuesday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana (video).
BRIAN DABOLL ADDRESSES THE MEDIA…
New York Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll addressed the media on Tuesday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana (video).
GIANTS RE-SIGN TIGHT END…
The Giants have re-signed tight end Chris Myarick, who spent time both on the team’s Practice Squad and 53-man roster in 2022. Myarick was signed to the Practice Squad in early September 2021 and the 53-man roster in November. He ended up laying in eight games with three starts, catching three passes for 17 yards and one touchdown. The Giants waived him in early January 2022. The 6’5”, 261-pound Myarick was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. He spent all of 2019 and most of 2020 on the Practice Squad of the Dolphins, though he did play in three games in 2020.
BRIAN DABOLL INTRODUCTORY PRESS CONFERENCE…
Brian Daboll was officially introduced as the new head coach of the New York Giants at a press conference on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Opening Remarks by General Manager Joe Schoen (Video)
Good morning. First off, I would like to thank everybody for coming out this morning. I also, just being kind of my first weekend here, I’d like to start off by thanking all the service workers, the first responders, emergency workers from this weekend. This was my first Nor’easter I’ve been a part of. Obviously, Dabes (Brian Daboll) and I brought the Buffalo weather over here, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank all those who helped keep our community safe over the weekend and cleared the roads for us.
The head coaching search began January 21st shortly after I was hired. (President and Chief Executive Officer) John Mara, (Chairman and Executive Vice President) Steve Tisch, (Senior Vice President of Player Personnel) Chris Mara and myself put together an extensive list of coaches that we would want to speak with. We conducted Zoom interviews, several in-person interviews and we cast a wide net when we did this. After a lot of research on the various candidates, we came to the conclusion that Brian Daboll would be the best coaching candidate to lead the New York Giants in the 2022 season and beyond. Brian has an impressive coaching résumé that includes five Super Bowls and a national championship as a play caller. He’s worked under several well-respected leaders: (Patriots Head Coach) Bill Belichick, (Alabama Head Coach) Nick Saban, (Bills Head Coach) Sean McDermott and several others. Brian’s ability to develop young players, his leadership qualities, his football acumen, his communication skills and his ability to bring an organization together were all traits that really stood out. Without further ado, I’d like to introduce to you the 20th head football coach of the New York Giants, Brian Daboll.
Remarks by Head Coach Brian Daboll (Video)
How’s everybody doing? First, a few things here. Thank you to John and Steve, I appreciate you giving me this opportunity, Chris, who was involved in the interviews, Joe and the support staff. I had a great visit here a week or 10 days ago and just very thankful and honored to be standing up here in this position. I thank the organizations that I’ve been a part of, from ownership to management to coaches to support staff to players. I wouldn’t be here without them. And then to my family, my wife Beth and my six kids and the whole crew right there, I love you guys. I look forward to this next journey.
Got a lot of work to do, that’s for sure, but I think that this is a very enticing job to be able to work with Joe and try to create and build something that’s very special and long-lasting. I’m not going to make any promises or predictions, but, again, just very grateful and look forward to working.
I came up here up on Saturday after I was offered the job. I drove through the snowstorm. There weren’t many people in the building, but one of them was (Quarterback) Daniel Jones. That’s a good thing for a young player. I know he’s excited. We’ve had some coaches in, did a lot of interviews so far. I’m not going to get into who it is, but I’m done with Zoom. It’s been about 40 hours on Zoom the last two days, but we’ve got a lot of work to do. I look forward to it. I look forward to working with you guys (media) and trying to build something special here. Again, just grateful and humbled for this opportunity. So, if you guys have any questions, you get one each (laughs).
Q: Are you planning to call plays? Then also, can you just describe what your offensive philosophy will be?
A: It’s going to be dependent on the players, that’s first and foremost. I don’t think you can – look, each place I’ve been, and particularly I’d say these last four years with (Bills Quarterback) Josh (Allen), we tried to develop a system that was conducive to his skillset along with the other pieces that we added. That’ll be a work in progress. In terms of the play calling, I think that’s a work in progress, too. We’ll see who the offensive coordinator is, who the rest of the staff is and then we’ll talk about that as we get going through OTAs and minicamps, but it’ll be important. That position, that offensive coordinator position will be an important position for us.
Q: There was a report out there a few minutes ago that you’re going to be keeping (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Patrick Graham unless he gets a head coaching job. First of all, is that accurate and then what are your impressions of Pat from afar and also from having worked with him in New England?
A: Yeah, that’s accurate. I’ve had a good relationship with Pat for some time in this league. He’s very diligent. He’s smart. I think the players respect him. He understands different defenses and I have a good working relationship with him. I did when I was back at New England. Certainly, we hope that he has an opportunity to become a head coach. I think that’s everybody’s dream, but selfishly, I would love him to be here. He offers a lot to our program. I think he’d be a great support system for me and I’m hoping that that works out.
Q: One of the first things you mentioned is how Daniel Jones was in the building, just like Joe Schoen did the other day, so there’s a lot of excitement with your hire from fans because of what you did do with Josh Allen. How do we kind of temper those expectations? What should we expect about your impact on this Giants offense and what you can do with Daniel?
A: We’re going to take it day by day. Look, we’re not going to make any predictions and I wouldn’t do that to Daniel or really any player. I don’t think that’s fair to compare him to another guy that I was working with. He’s himself. We’re going to find out what he does well. We’re going to try to implement a system that suits him and then it’s our job to bring pieces in that help him to be the best version of himself and the best quarterback for us. He’s got the right mindset. He’s got good size. There’s a lot of things to like about Daniel and we’ll just take it one day at a time. We’ll work with him. We’ll help him get better. We’ll help him be a better leader. We’ll help him be everything. That’s our job as a coaching staff and as an organization. It takes everybody. It’s not just me. It’s the rest of the coaches on our staff. It’s the scouts. It’s the support staff. It’s the ownership group. It takes a lot to raise a quarterback if you will and he’s been around the block here these last three years with some different pieces. We’re going to try to give him some stability and just take it from there.
Q: Why are you ready for this now? There’s been a trend of – the two Super Bowl coaches are both young guys, younger. You’re an older guy –
A: What am I? Am I young or old (laughs)?
Q: To me, you’re young.
A: I’ve been doing this for 21 years in the National Football League – did I interrupt you?
Q: Do you think this is right in your wheelhouse of the perfect time for you to get a head coaching job?
A: I don’t know if there’s ever a perfect time. I’ve been doing this for 25 years, 21 years in the National Football League. I’ve been around the block. I’ve experienced a lot of different things. I’ve witnessed different head coaches and how they do things. To sit up here and say that we’re going to do this or we’re going to do that, like look, all I know how to do is work, work with people, try to build a culture, unite a building, inspire players, coaches, support staff, listen, learn and then ultimately develop the people in our building. That’s not just the players. That’s the QCs, that’s the people underneath the head trainer. That’s what we’re going to try to do. Do I feel prepared? Yes. Do I know there will be some obstacles and challenges? Of course. That’s this league. You’ve got to be resilient in this league and certainly here you’ve got to be resilient, right?
Q: Obviously, you interviewed for a bunch of jobs. We know that Miami was interested in you. I’m curious, was this always the top of your list, this job? Or was it like, ‘there’s only 32 of them, I’ve got to take whichever one gets offered to me’?
A: I interviewed here twice, once over Zoom and once in person. I have a ton of amount of respect for John and Steve and Joe and Chris and really the support staff here. Look, this was a dream come true. You’re talking about the New York Giants. I understand the challenges with that. It’s just a great opportunity that was afforded to me and my family and we look forward to it. We’ve been working here for two days. We’ve got a long way to go here. Just a historic franchise and I look forward to being a part of it.
Q: You’ve worked in a lot of places. Joe was talking a lot about being in lockstep and sharing a philosophy with the head coach and GM. What are the benefits of that and did that make this more of an enticing job for you than maybe going into another situation with a GM that you may not have had a relationship with?
A: Look, I think there’s some foundational pillars that help an organization. That’s not necessarily going to make you win. It’s hard to win in this league, as we all know. The leadership group between ownership, management, general manager, head coach, I think, is a really important piece. Those guys have to be aligned. When you’re not aligned, that’s when things start going astray. Again, I’m not guaranteeing that we’re going to do anything. I just think that alignment is so critical because when you’re aligned, you can communicate well with one another and you can develop a plan, and that plan’s going to be important. We’re starting from scratch and there’s a lot of things that we’ve got to get done and after that plan, now we’re looking to bring in the right kind of people. To answer your question, yes. I think it’s absolutely important that we have shared alignment, shared vision, shared core principles and values of the type of people we want to bring in. Let’s not forget, this is a people business, too. There’s Xs and Os, but this is a people business. It’s about leading, it’s about cultivating and it’s about inspiring. I’m fortunate that I was offered this job.
Q: While you said you’re not making any predictions or promises, you did mention that you do have a good idea how this fan base feels. How much pressure does that put on you and Joe Schoen to get this turned around sooner rather than later?
A: I think we’re just going to try to do things the right way. There’s pressure with every job in this business. Obviously, we’re here in New York. We understand the market, but the pressure is going to be put on ourselves, too. We’re going to do everything we can do to, like I talked about before, build an organization, which we feel is the right way, unite the building, inspire some people, listen, learn and develop. If you’re prepared, the pressure is less. We’re going to do everything we can do to try to put together a good product on and off the field.
Q: Obviously, you’re aware coming in of the instability in this position the last six years or so. In the interview process, did you ask for and/or receive any assurances about patience from ownership?
A: No, no. I had a good conversation with them. I think we got to know one another. The NFL is an unstable world regardless of where you’re at, so your job is to do the best you can do, build relationships and try to build a good program. Again, it’s not about me sitting up here, it’s about us collectively as an organization from top to bottom. We had really good conversations, not just with the ownership, but with all the support staff, with the training room, to the equipment, to the video guys. It takes everybody. Again, there’s no guarantees, but if you have people that are in lockstep that are working together toward a common goal that are unselfish, that are humble, I think that’s the start of something.
Q: The Bengals won two games two years ago, four games last year and now they’re in the Super Bowl, so why not the Giants? And realistically, can you be a contender quickly?
A: Right now, I’m just trying to hire a staff. You’re going to try to get me early on that right now. Look, we’ll cross those bridges when we get to it. Obviously, that’s impressive, those numbers that you gave me, but let’s just start crawling before we walk.
Q: A lot of times the hot head coaching candidates are outstanding coordinators, play callers. You’ve certainly done your fair share of that and been successful the last couple of years. When ownership asked you or when we’re asking you, what makes you ready for the other part of this job? The old proverbial leader of men thing, what have you learned over the years with all the coaches that you’ve worked with in that department?
A: I think four to five things that come across the top of my head right now as you ask that question. One, you have to be authentic. Joe spoke to the mentors that I’ve had, and I have, and I owe those guys a lot. But I’ve learned is you have to be yourself in this business. That’s what I aim to do. I’m a people person. I think I’m a good leader and that’s the first thing, to be authentic. The second thing I think that I’ve learned is you have to be consistent in this position. To get up in front of a room, I know it’s an offense because you guys are all the players out there after a bad game and own it and talk to those guys and give them the things we didn’t do well, the things that I didn’t do well on a consistent basis. I think that helps and not riding the rollercoaster, which probably in my younger days I was a little bit on that coaster. Clearly communicating your expectations and standards goes a long way with these men. Obviously understanding what you’re talking about, knowledge of whether it’s offense, defense, kicking game, whatever that may be. And at the of the end day, relationships. I’m a big relationship guy. I love my players and I want to get to know them off the field. I think that’s where it starts. Those five things, I think, are stuff that I’ve learned along the way, and it’s been quite a long journey, 21 years, it seems like 50 years in normal time. Those are some of the things.
Q: I’m curious, it sounds like Daniel Jones has already made a good first impression with you, but I’m just curious the kinds of challenges for a guy who has had so many coaches and voices in his ear already and I guess I would contrast that to Josh, who was sort of a blank canvas when you got him. So how do you see that with Daniel? Do you have to help him unlearn some things perhaps?
A: I think we just start out by building this relationship and when he’s in the building, we take it slow. One of the things that I asked him to do, and I said you can give it to me at any time. He was one of the players that called me after it was announced amongst some other guys and I said, ‘hey, give me some things that you really liked in your last three years or if you did it at Duke,’ and that’s where it’s going to start is some foundational pieces that he feels comfortable with. I think we’ll add good coaches. We’ll have a good support system, and we’ll try to bring in the best players we can bring in. I think this is going to be a day-to-day process. I’m not going to put any expectations on him. I know he wants to do well. He’s got the right mindset. He’s dedicated. He’s a hard worker and I’m looking forward to working with him. We are looking forward to working with him.
Q: You’ve mentioned 21 years and the evolution of yourself as a coach, I’m curious with the way the game has changed or at least evolved, how has your vision of what an offense looks like or even a defense should look like in today’s NFL? How have you adjusted to that over the course of your journey here?
A: I think there’s a core philosophy that you have to have: fundamentals, the ball, situational football and bringing in the right people. I don’t really think – that stands the test of time. The schemes, those are different. Ten years ago, we wouldn’t be sitting up here talking about Josh Allen and all these runs that we’ve done, the RPO game. I think it evolves just like everything else does, and I think you have to have an open mind. The schemes are going to be what the players are best at. We’ve got a lot of work to do to figure that out and really evaluate the guys that we have, so time will tell. We’ll just figure it out.
Q: Any members of your offensive staff or from the offensive staff here that you intend to keep?
A: We’ll get back to you on that. We’re in the process of going through some things here. In terms of the staff, I appreciate the question, there’s still guys on the staff that I haven’t had an opportunity to talk to, so once we get that all ironed out, we’ll get it to you guys as soon as we can.
Q: Do you think the success or failure of your tenure here will be tied to the success or failure of Daniel and the current quarterback or do you think you were hired to build a program and that whether or not that works, you’ll have a chance to build here past that?
A: With all due respect, I’m not thinking two or three years down the line. We’re just going to try to do the best we can, put the guys in good position, establish a culture. But again, I had great conversations with these men that are sitting in the front of the room. I have a lot of confidence in the conversations that we had. Where we are, what happens, I’m just trying to get back to my office as quick as I can here to get going and start hiring people.
Q: Which coaches that you’ve coached under have influenced you and shaped your coaching philosophy?
A: All of them. I think even to this day after doing it for 21 years. Obviously, I was hired by Bill (Belichick) in 2000. He gave me 15 grand to work however many hours there is in a week, that was pretty much all of them, but an invaluable experience. I did that for six or seven years, moved on, worked under guys like (Former NFL Head Coach) Tony Sparano – God rest his soul – (Former NFL Head Coach) Romeo (Crennel), (Former NFL Head Coach) Eric (Mangini), all these guys and then here the last four years with Sean. You take a lot of stuff, right? You would be unwise if you didn’t do that. You sit there and you watch, you learn, you ask questions, not just on scheme but how they’re doing with problem players, what are issues in the building, all these different things. I think the older you get, the wider scope you have. When you’re younger, you’re just trying to survive a little bit. Again, all those guys – Nick at Alabama, two years at Michigan State, but the thing that I’ve learned in my 21 years, and I’d say more these past four or five years is just be true to yourself and be true to the players and the people that you work with because they’ll see right through you if you’re not. I think that’s critical, is to be yourself. I can go on and on about the coaches that I’ve learned from and I’m obviously grateful and humble that I had an opportunity to work for them, but I’m going to be me and take bits and pieces, but what you see is what you get.
Q: Most of the talk has centered around Daniel Jones. What about the rest of the roster? For one reason or the other, some of it being injuries, a lot of guys have been unable to live up to expectations. Can you elevate some of these guys that are currently on the roster now?
A: Yeah, well that’s our job. We’re going to do the very best we can do to allow them to be the best versions of themselves. Not just on the field with scheme and things like that, how we teach, what we do in the training room, the video guys helping out, the support staff, the extra players we’re going to bring in for competition. That’s our job. Our job is to allow these guys to try to be the best versions of themselves and make it highly competitive. They’ll end up deciding whether or not they’re going to help us or not based on their performance, how they act on the field, off the field, the things that we’re going to ask them to do.
This is going great, my four-year-old fell asleep, he did not listen to one word I said (laughs).
Q: You said a few times that being yourself is a formula that works, but as a first-time head coach, when you’ve worked for two of the greatest coaches of all time, is that easier said than done not trying to be like Bill or like Nick Saban in your first job?
A: Well, I’m comfortable in my own skin. Look, I don’t have all the answers. There’s going to be some things that come up that I’m going to have to lean on a lot of people – Joe, the support staff, the coaches. But my personality and how I treat people and my expectations and values, I hold those true to my heart. I was raised by two grandparents, old school, I lost both of them this year. That’s who I lean on. My formative years, 20 something years of – look my grandmother is harder than Bill or Nick could ever be. So, you talk about you lose a game and you want to hear all the people talking, she got me ready for this the best I can.
Q: Your predecessor talked a lot about building a winning culture and there are players in this building who have only had the past two coaching staffs. They haven’t done a lot of winning. What’s the biggest challenge for you to get these guys to buy in and teach them how to win again?
A: I just think build relationships, work together. Again, the type of people we’re going to bring in, coaching staff, support staff, Joe, it’s a collaborative effort. You have to have honest conversations, truthful conversations, and you’re not going to gain trust from a player, I’m not going to sit there and gain any trust from those guys back there by saying, ‘Hey, you’ve got to trust me.’ I think if you have good integrity, if you have good loyalty, I think that leads to trust, which is a foundational pillar for any successful organization, regardless if it’s football or anywhere else. Trust leads to respect and then respect leads to accountability, which is what we all want to be to one another when you’re working for a common goal.
Q: I’m going to go back to the Josh and Daniel Jones thing. I’m curious when you look at that from afar, how similar or different do you see the challenge of getting Daniel right and moving that forward compared to what you dealt with when you came in and you had Josh?
A: I don’t know that answer. Four years ago with Josh, we started together, we had consistency, we had consistency in scheme, we had consistency with the coaches, and it took time to build. It didn’t happen overnight. I wouldn’t do that to Daniel or really any other player, I think that’s unfair. I want to get to really know Daniel first and see what makes him tick and then we’ll take it one day at a time. I know he’s really willing, but to compare where Josh is or Daniel, I don’t think that’s fair to do to either one of those guys.
Q: You talk about trust a lot and a lot of your former players came out and said how much they trust you, forget about as a coach, but as a man. How important is that for you and how did you establish that with your players?
A: Well, I just try to be me. That’s all I try to do. Again, I care about my guys. A coach a while back told me players don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. I care about them. I care about their families. I want to see them do well. I want to see them earn new contracts and make money. I genuinely care about those guys. You’re in this building with the support staff and your coaches more than you are with your family and then the players throughout those six months. There’s got to be a mutual respect and I think if they know you care about them, genuinely care about them, not what you can do for me, and I know this is a results business, I got it. But to me, it’s a relationship business and it’s important that not just the players, but everyone else in the building can work together in a trusting manner. I think I just care about them. I think they feel that. I do a lot of FaceTiming with those guys. We have them over for dinner, my family, my wife. They knew I’d do anything for those guys. At the end of the day, we know we’re in a results business, so that’s what it’s going to come down to.
Q: We talked about Daniel (Jones), there’s another pretty big superstar here on offense, (Running Back) Saquon Barkley. Curious what your thoughts are on him from afar? You were probably a part of scouting him for the draft. What have you seen from him as a player and just your overall thought? I know you’ve had rotational backfields, you’ve had bell cows like (Former Running Back) Jamaal Charles. What are your thoughts on the running back position?
A: Well, first of all, I got to meet him, and he was another one of the players that reached out and called. He was with one of my former players the other night, (Bills Wide Receiver) Gabe Davis, and they reached out to me. Look, he’s a talented player that was selected high in the draft. He came out of a good school, Penn State. My son is a coaching assistant at Penn State, so I try to get all the scoop I can on them. Not a bad word about the young man. Obviously talented and we’ll try to use his skill set the best we can.
A one-on-one interview with Daboll by Bob Papa is also available on the Giants’ YouTube channel (video).
JOHN MARA’S POST-PRESS CONFERENCE REMARKS…
The transcript of team President/CEO John Mara’s post-introductory press conference remarks is available in The Corner Forum. The video is available at Giants.com.
JOE SCHOEN’S POST-PRESS CONFERENCE REMARKS…
The transcript of General Manager Joe Schoen’s post-introductory press conference remarks is available in The Corner Forum. The video is available on the Giants’ YouTube channel.
BRIAN DABOLL’S POST-PRESS CONFERENCE REMARKS…
The video of Head Coach Brian Daboll’s remarks after the press conference is available at Giants.com.
PATRICK GRAHAM AND KEVIN ABRAMS RETURNING…
The Giants said that they would like to retain Patrick Graham as the team’s defensive coordinator. However, Graham has interviewed for the head coaching position with the Minnesota Vikings.
“(Graham is) very well-respected in this building,” said team President/CEO John Mara. “The players have a lot of respect for him, as do I. He’s a terrific defensive coordinator. Look, for his own sake, I hope he gets a head coaching job. As Brian said, selfishly, we’d be very happy if he stayed.”
“If (Graham) doesn’t get the Minnesota job,” said General Manger Joe Schoen. “I think he’s still in the mix. Last I’d heard he’s in the mix for that. I’ll tell you what, I didn’t know Patrick Graham and we interviewed him for this head coaching job, I did my research on him and there’s a lot of positive feedback throughout the league, not only in the building but around the league on Patrick. He had been at Note Dame, he had been at New England, Green Bay, Miami. Just spending three hours with him in an interview setting, he’s passionate, very high football acumen, he got me fired up in the interview. He did a really good job, so if he gets that Minnesota job, that’s great for him. Selfishly, I would love to keep him here because I’m fired up to work with him because I think he’s a good ball coach.”
Schoen says the team will retain the services of Vice President of Football Operations/Assistant General Manager Kevin Abrams. It is not clear yet if he will retain those titles. Schoen said Abrams has offered to give up those titles if needed to lure other candidates to the front office.
“Kevin’s been really good,” said Schoen. “I’ve been here for eight, nine days and just going through the process of sending in consents for coaches, notifications, if we’re moving on from people, just getting the feel for the building. He’s been a tremendous resource for me. I will continue to lean on him. Again, he and (Director of Football Operations) Ed Triggs do a really good job in their roles and I look forward to continuing working with both of those guys… Oh, yeah. Yes (I expect him to stay).
“Kevin’s very humble and selfless. If for some reason we decide that we need that Assistant GM title to get somebody up, he’s offered that up. We haven’t crossed that bridge. Again, I’m going to continue to assess everybody in the entire organization before I make any decisions on moving on or changing titles. Kevin’s been an outstanding resource for me thus far. He’s very smart, he knows the league, he knows the rules, he knows the ins and outs. The biggest thing for me is while we’re trying to find assistant coaches or I’m trying to find my scouting staff to know that the operations part is taken care of and I can give Kevin something and he can run with it because he’s done it. He’s got contacts in the league, he’s got agent relationships, so I’ve been very impressed with Kevin thus far.”
REPORT – GIANTS WILL CUT $40 MILLION FROM SALARY CAP…
Peter King of NBC Sports is reporting that General Manager Joe Schoen told him that the New York Giants will have to cut $40 million from their 2022 salary cap. “When we first got to Buffalo, we had $55 million in dead cap money we had to manage,” said Schoen. “We had a plan there, and we’ll have one here. We may have to make some decisions that hurt, but I do not want to kick the can down the road with the cap. I want to get it fixed.”
JOE SCHOEN’S INTRODUCTORY PRESS CONFERENCE…
Joe Schoen was officially introduced as the new general manager of the New York Giants at a press conference on Wednesday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Opening Remarks by Team President/CEO John Mara (Video)
When Steve (Tisch) and I began this process several weeks ago, we set out to find an individual with a vision, experience, character and leadership skills to build the New York Giants back into a team that consistently competes for Super Bowls. We believe we found that person in Joe Schoen. We spoke with nine very qualified candidates, each of whom had strong general manager traits. In the end, it was Joe’s body of work, having started his career on the ground floor in the NFL and working his way up through the ranks to become the assistant general manager of the Bills while helping to build one of the best teams in the league that made him the right choice for us. Joe’s work ethic, evaluation skills, leadership traits and his ability to communicate with everyone in the building make him just what we need to build this team back into one that our fans can once again be proud of. It is my honor to formally introduce for the first time the new general manager of the New York Giants, Joe Schoen.
Remarks by General Manager Joe Schoen (Video)
First off, I’d like to thank everybody for being here today. I’d like to start off by thanking John Mara, Steve Tisch, (Senior Vice President of Player Personnel) Chris Mara, the entire Mara family and Tisch family. It’s truly an honor to be named the next general manager of this historic franchise.
I don’t take this job lightly. I fully understand the responsibility that comes with being the general manager of the New York Football Giants. I would tell you this, throughout the interview process it became very clear early on John’s and Steve’s passion for bringing a winning football program to the tri-state area. I was assured that I would be given every resource I needed in order to do that, and I promise you that I will do everything in my power to build a team that will make you proud on the field and off the field. We will look at every avenue to upgrade the roster, add depth, competition and bring the right type of people into the organization. We are currently in the process of hiring our head coach search. The relationship between myself and the next head coach will be integral. We will be aligned in our plan and vision in how to build the organization and the franchise and build a winning team. We will build a strong foundation, which will allow us to sustain success over time.
There are several people that I’d like to say a quick thank you to. I’d like to start off by saying thank you to (Bills Owner and Chief Executive Officer) Terry and (Bills Owner and President) Kim Pegula, the entire Pegula family, (Bills Head Coach) Sean McDermott and (Bills General Manager) Brandon Beane, the entire Bills organization, Bills Mafia. I would also like to thank the players, the Buffalo Bills, for buying into the culture, the process and giving their all on a day-to-day basis and being true pros. I will miss everybody at One Bills Drive. Without Terry, Kim, Sean and Brandon, there’s no way I would be prepared to embark on the journey that I’m about to embark on. I appreciate all of them for showing me what true leadership looks like. To Brandon, I can’t thank you enough. Not only were you an outstanding boss and mentor, but also a best friend. I will dearly miss you, Hayley, Tyson and Wes.
I would like to thank my family, my wife Marie, daughter Sydney, son Carson and Harper Grace, my three-year-old. I appreciate all the sacrifices you guys have made over the years in allowing me to chase my dream. To my kids, I know this is dad talk and you get sick of me preaching to you, but if you do the right thing, you get good grades, you treat people the right way, you can truly achieve anything you put your mind to. I’d like to thank my parents for showing me what hard work looks like, pushing me to be the best version of myself and never allowing me to settle for average. I would also like to thank my in-laws, Ed and Jan Boone, Gary and Maryann Froneberger. With the hours we work in this industry and the trips on the road and being away from home, you were always there to lend a helping hand.
A few mentors I would just like to mention: first off would be Dan Randolph. He was a coach of me in elementary school, middle school, high school and he said something to me that resonated when I was very young: ‘If you learn how to work as hard as you can every time at everything you do, you will not know how to work any different way,’ and that resonated with a fifth-grade basketball player from Elkhart, Indiana. I wouldn’t be here today without that advice. My high football college Phil Teegarden, high school baseball coach Dick Siler, high school basketball coach Steve Johnson. I would like to thank my college football coach Nick Mourouzis. Then, a few mentors that were very important to me in shaping my professional career: Jack Bushofsky, (Washington Executive Vice President of Football and Player Personnel) Marty Hurney, (Vice President of College Personnel and Assistant General Manager) Jeff Ireland, Bill Parcells, Dan Henning, (Bills Senior National Scout) Dennis Hickey, (Dolphins General Manager) Chris Grier. And a few head coaches that I worked with that were very impressionable to me: John Fox, Tony Sparano and Joe Philbin. A couple of dear friends of mine that I’ve also learned a ton from over the years and helped shape me into who I am as a professional: (Titans Vice President of Player Personnel) Ryan Cowden, (Panthers Senior Personnel Executive) Jeff Morrow, (Bills Senior Personnel Advisor) Brian Gaine, (Seahawks Senior Executive Advisor to the General Manager) Alonzo Highsmith and (Panthers Assistant General Manager) Dan Morgan.
Again, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be here. I’m excited to get the new head coach in here. We’re going to roll up our sleeves and we’re going to start building towards the 2022 season and beyond. With that, I’ll open it up to questions.
Q: When we spoke to Brandon the other day, he talked about aligning everybody, coaching staff and general manager and front office. I’m wondering how you plan to do that structurally and if there are any changes you’re anticipating making here upon your arrival.
A: That’s a good question. I’ve been in those seats over there before when a new general manager or new head coach comes into the building, and I’ve been one of those guys that were sitting there. Brandon Beane was sitting there before when a new general manager came into Carolina. I’m a true believer in giving everybody an opportunity. If you’re a hard worker, you’re a good person and you’re going to buy into the process, then you can work with me. I’m not coming in anticipating any changes and I’m not going to make any statements where ‘We’ve got to do this.’ We’re going to implement our process. Everybody is going to be evaluated. Right now, I can tell there’s a lot of good people in that building that I’m looking forward to working with.
Q: Looking at your personnel that’s here now, is it a tear it up or is it tweaking? How would you view it?
A: I’m not a big tear it up, rebuild – I think you can truly build a roster when you can compete for today and build for tomorrow. We’re going to do the draft, free agency. Whatever avenue we can, we’re going to continue to build a competitive roster and we want to see progress. We’re going to continue to build with the long-term in mind as we build it, but I think you can compete today and still build for tomorrow.
Q: You inherited a quarterback that was drafted sixth overall in 2019 and obviously he has a lot on film. Could you talk about what you see in (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones)? Is this a guy you believe you can proceed with?
A: I’ve looked at Daniel and once the new staff gets in here, we’re going to get together – offensive coordinator, head coach, the entire staff – dive into the film as a group and look at what Daniel does best and we’re going to try to allow him to put his best foot forward. Again, I’ve looked at him. I wasn’t here in the past, so I don’t exactly know what he was told to do, but I do know this, I know he’s a great kid, he’s been in this building the last two days, I’ve talked to him. There’s not anybody in this building that’s said a bad word about his work ethic, passion, desire to win. I think you’ve got to have those traits as a quarterback, and the kid has physical ability, he’s got arm strength, he’s athletic, he can run. I’m really excited to work with Daniel and, again, when the new staff gets in here, we’ll build an offense around Daniel to accentuate what he does best.
Q: What particular qualities are you looking for in the next head coach?
A: That’s a good question. First off, leadership. You’ve got to be able to lead the team. I think you have to be able to put together a good staff. I think it’s imperative that you have coaches that have coached in the NFL that have a proven track record. I think you’ve got to be able to develop players. We have (nine) draft picks. It’s going to be important that some of those young players may have to be major contributors for us in 2022, so the willingness to play young players. I think intelligence is important. I think being progressive in your approach to coaching, whether it’s with analytics, when to go, when not to go, when to punt. I think you’ve got be open to all that stuff. You’ve got to be open to sports performance, strength and conditioning. You’ve got to listen to the experts in their field. Those are some of the major qualities that I’m looking for as we move forward.
Q: With regard to the head coach, a lot has been made – obviously, you know your two coordinators in Buffalo very well. What’s the importance of your next head coach having head coaching experience, if that is important at all? Can you speak specifically to what (Bills Offensive Coordinator) Brian Daboll brings to the table?
A: All of our candidates bring a different skillset to the table. I’m not concerned if they’ve been a head coach before or if they haven’t. I’m concerned with getting the best head coach for the New York Giants. If they’ve had previous coaching experience, fine. If they don’t, that’s fine. Again, Brian Daboll I’ve worked with, I know (Cowboys Defensive Coordinator) Dan Quinn, I’ve got a lot of respect for him. Brian Flores is coming in. I know a lot of people in Miami, and I’ve got a lot of respect for him. Specifically on Brian, he’s got good qualities just like the rest of the candidates, so I don’t want to speak on anything specific on him. But, again, it’s going to be imperative that it’s somebody that’s in lockstep with me that I can work with, we can have constant communication and we’re going to be aligned in our vision as we build a football team.
Q: You just talked about analytics in reference to coaching, but it factors into what you guys do in the front office, as well. How much of that – I know it’s a hot button word – but how much of that is behind what you do? How much is it, hey, sometimes you’ve got to ignore the numbers a little bit and think outside the box?
A: That’s a good question. I think we use ‘data innovation’ here instead of ‘analytics’ since it is a hot button. But I believe in it. Any tool that can help us win games or give us a competitive advantage, we’re going to continue to push the envelope and find out what those are. To me, if it’s going to help us in the draft process with the evaluations or the free agency process with the evaluations or contract value and who do these players compare to, if it’s going to help us with our practice schedule to keep guys healthy, keep guys on the field, if guys are running too much or working too hard or there are signs you have to be open-minded to the information. It’s a piece of the puzzle. It’s not going to drive the entire process, but it’s another tool that we need to use in order to get whatever competitive advantage we can and make the best decisions we can for the New York Giants.
Q: You had a lot of success in Buffalo helping to turn them back into a playoff contender. What experiences can you rely on that you got from there to help the Giants get back into the playoffs?
A: The biggest thing is an entire building working toward a common goal. A lot of good people in that building, you got the right people in the right seats, they understand the process, and everybody knew what the end goal was. On a daily basis, everybody bought into the process and over time, we built a very good culture because everybody bought into the process. To me, getting the right people in the right seats with the right common goal in mind and working towards that, that’s what we had in Buffalo.
Q: In any interview, you interview them and they interview you. When you came into this building and talked to the Giants people here, what do you sense from them? This team has done a lot of losing. You’ve been a part of an operation that’s done a lot of winning. What did you sense from this group, either desperation or just the need to turn things around quickly? There are two banners behind you there that said this team used to win a lot of games.
A: Again, I wasn’t here in the past, so I can’t speak on that, but like I said in my opening statement, in the interview it was John, Steve and Chris, and you could feel their passion and desire to do whatever it takes to get back and get two of those. So that, along with being given all the resources to try to build the team, that was very attractive to me. The history of this franchise, ever since I’ve been in the NFL – I started in 2000 and in 2001, I was in Carolina and John Fox came in 2002, he came from the Giants. He always put the New York Giants in high regard and that’s the reputation around the NFL. This is a very good job. So again, my relationship and communication with John, Steve and Chris on the interview, it felt right, it felt right for me and my family and we’re going to be given the resources to do what we need to do, and it checked all the boxes for me.
Q: When we talked to Brandon Beane, he said one of the similarities you had mentioned to him just in passing was the salary cap and how when you guys got to Buffalo it wasn’t a healthy salary cap. Obviously here, it seems like the salary cap needs some work. What were your thoughts on that coming in? Was that a concern of yours and how do you fix it?
A: It’s a concern and it’s real. (Vice President of Football Operations/Assistant General Manager) Kevin Abrams and I haven’t talked about it yet. We looked at it, we’re going to get together at the end of the week or first of next week to start formulating a plan, but we’re going to have to get below the salary cap. Obviously, we’re going to have to clear some money, but, again, when the new head coach gets in here, the new staff, we’re going to get together, we’re going to watch the film, we’re going to evaluate everybody, we’re going to talk to the support staff. Who are the guys that kind of fit the vision that we’re looking for? Who are the guys that are going to buy into the program? Then, we’ll make educated decisions once we have more information. There are going to be difficult decisions that are going to have to be made.
Q: Does ownership expect you to compete for a playoff spot this year? Was there a timeline of expectations discussed as far as how long it needs to take you and the new coach to get this team winning again?
A: That’s a good question. It’s really just about progress. We need to see progress, we need to see the team getting better, we need to see competition, we need to see the offense get better, we need to see the defense get better. We want to see progress throughout the entire football operation is what we’re looking for. We’re not going to make any playoff statements or anything like that. We just want to see progress and see that we’re building to something in the future and we’re going to build the foundation as soon as we can.
Q: Do you have full autonomy to make this coaching hire? There have been reports that you and ownership prefer different candidates. We know, obviously, after you interviewed, but before you took the job there were calls made to certain candidates to reach out and make sure people would interview. Obviously, it’s a process, but do you have full autonomy ultimately to make the hire?
A: That’s a good question, too. Ultimately, it’s going to be a collaborative effort between John, Steve, myself. We’re going to come together, we’re going to talk about the candidates. If we’re different in certain areas, we’ll continue to do our research, we’ll continue to make our calls. Ultimately, it’s going to be a collaborative effort between ownership and myself.
Q: Will you have sort of a measuring stick? Over the past 10 years there’s been so much change here every two years. What will you do to keep the consistency to get that progress or the measuring stick of that progress you’re looking for?
A: Again, it goes back to we’ve got (nine) draft picks, so you’ve got to draft well. I believe in drafting, developing and then retaining our own. I think that’s the way to build and supplement the roster with free agency. This is a draft that we’re going into, again, with (nine) picks and it’s going to be very important that we have a sound process going through the draft, that we know these players not only as football players but as people and to make sure they’re going to be doing the right things for us. Again, it takes time, it takes time. It’s not going to happen overnight. Again, we mentioned the salary cap situation. There’s going to have to be some difficult decisions made and there are going to be some voids. You can’t fix it overnight, but, again, we want to see progress that we’re heading in the right direction, and I think that’s the most important thing as you’re building the culture, that you do bring in the right type of guys, you start winning some games and you’re ascending in the right direction. I’m not going to put a wins and losses on it, but we want to see progress.
Q: When it comes to your journey, I know you talked about the job and the importance of this place, but for you, it’s been a run in the NFL for different jobs, different experiences. Why was this the right time for you? Does a moment happen where you think to yourself, ‘You know what, I’m ready for this leap?’ Did it happen earlier and just the opportunity came? I’m curious from that perspective, why are you ready for this next chapter in your journey?
A: To me, it was the right fit. You know, again, it’s the New York Giants. This is the New York Giants and I’m standing up here as the general manager, so that was always really cool to me, the fact that I even interviewed. It’s a historic franchise. To know you’re ever ready, I don’t know if you’re ever ready for this job. There’s no manual that you can go to. A couple years ago COVID came and you’re the general manager and we get emails on Friday night and now you’ve got to cut your staff down to 70 in the building. Again, there’s no manual, you got to be able to problem solve. It’s not just sitting in an office scouting. The best thing that happened for me was working for Brandon Beane because he didn’t come up the traditional scouting path. He can scout and he can evaluate, but he was also a director of football operations, so he dealt with the salary cap, he dealt with the training room, he dealt with sports performance, he dealt with the entire football organization. He put me in his hip pocket and taught me that side of the business that I didn’t necessarily know. Again, I could be picky — there’s only 32 of these things — but I did have – you know, Buffalo has a good roster, they have a young quarterback. I knew if I didn’t get a job, I was in a good situation, but this was a job I wanted. After that first interview on Zoom, I called my wife and said, ‘That’s a job I want. I want to go get that job. It’s right for us.’
Q: Speaking of Brandon Beane, he said of you, ‘He’s dependable, he’s never going to let you down.’ But Beane’s never seen the Giants in disarray, so how are you not going to let the fans down because this is a disgruntled fan base at this time?
A: I’m guessing whatever you do, somebody is going to be disappointed. Regardless, somebody is going to be disappointed from what I’ve seen. All I can tell you is I’m going to work as hard as I can, I’m going to get the best people in the building, I’m going to try to get the best players we can that are going to make everybody proud on and off the field. I think I believe in our process, I believe in my process and the process we’re going to implement here. I believe in the head coach that we’re going to hire. Again, we’re going to be in lockstep in the vision and we’re going to see it through. Again, we’re going to do our best. People are naturally going to be disappointed. Again, we were in Buffalo, it didn’t happen overnight. We went 9-7, Cincinnati had to make a play so we could get in the playoffs. Year two, we were 6-10 and it took until year three where we finally made the playoffs. Again, it’s going to take time. It’s not going to happen overnight.
Q: You talked about, and you’ve mentioned it a couple times with the head coach, a shared vision. What is that vision? What do you see happening here?
A: Again, what we’ll do is get together as a staff, be very clear with your defined rules that you want in each player. That makes it easier for all the scouts to go find those types of players. We’re going to want to be smart, tough and dependable. We’re going to want guys that want to do the right things – team players, selfless in the approach for a championship. We’re going to have a concerted effort through free agency, draft or whatever it is to get the right types of guys in here that have the DNA, that have talent, that have character and that have the right habits. I think if you have enough of those guys that also have talent, you’re going to have a good football team.
Q: When you inherited this team, obviously you knew the record and you knew the record for the last few years and probably the outside perception that the roster wasn’t very good. But I’m curious when you looked at it, did you evaluate the roster and think, ‘There’s more here than maybe the record indicates?’ Or is the task really as big as it looks from the outside?
A: I think when everybody was on the field together, I think there are some pieces. You watch that New Orleans game, that’s a game I reflected upon where some of their better players made good plays down the stretch. I do think there are pieces in place. Again, I think you add a young foundation through the draft. Again, I want to see progress. Obviously, there are some positions that are a little bit more devoid of talent than others. So again, we’re going to look to add talent across the board, and just to see progress and put a competitive team on the field next year is very important.
Q: In roughly about five weeks, you have free agency. In April, you have the draft. How much can you bring from Buffalo which will prepare you for those things coming up shortly?
A: Fortunately, I was able to get on the road quite a bit this year. In Buffalo, I’d already seen rounds one through four on our board, so I’m at a good spot on the college draft. I was working towards free agency. We were going to have some money over there. I probably need to catch up a little bit on free agency, but my first priority is we’ve got to get the cap down this year. Again, there will be tough decisions as I mentioned earlier, but I’m in good shape from the draft. Again, it’s a condensed timeline. When Brandon and I got to Buffalo, it was in May, so there’s 90 guys on the roster. You’ve really got to know the guys and go through camp before you made any type of decisions where it’s accelerated now because it’s January and I’ve got to make those decisions shortly. Once the staff gets here, we’ll evaluate the roster, and we’ll make the decisions accordingly. But I’m in good shape in terms of the draft. We’ll see what our needs are and start diving into the free agency.
Q: Obviously, you know the history here in terms of the last couple coaches here, two years and out. There has not been continuity. I’m curious, you’ve been a part of a good continuity situation in Buffalo where you’ve had a chance to build with the same coach. Can you address the importance of that? And when you were speaking with John and Steve in the interview process, did you get a feel for them of how important that is to set this thing back on track, so to speak?
A: I think it’s important to any organization and I think if you polled 32 teams, continuity is important. We referenced that 2018 draft where (Bills Quarterback) Josh (Allen) and (Ravens Quarterback) Lamar Jackson, they’ve had the same head coach, same offensive coordinator. Some of those other quarterbacks that were picked high, there was no continuity. Learning some of these offenses is like being dropped in a foreign country and not speaking their language. It can be totally opposite of what you had. I think continuity and, again, when I mentioned what I’m looking for in a coach, the ability to build a good staff is important. But also yes, the continuity is very important because it’s going to be hard to develop players if you’ve got one coach and three different years you’ve got a different coach. It’s hard to truly develop the players if there’s constant change. I think continuity is very important and it is a reason that teams have success.
Q: There’s been a lot written lately in the media around here about the way that the front office functions and I’m just curious, you talked about process, you talked about resources. When push comes to shove, do you have the authority to make changes in the front office if you see them as necessary?
A: Yes, if I see fit. Like I said earlier, I don’t think that’s fair to the people in the building. You give them a fair opportunity. If you haven’t had success around here, I don’t think it’s necessarily because of some of the people in the building. Maybe it’s the process. They’re not the final decision makers. Everybody’s going to be evaluated. I don’t think you have to make wholesale changes. Again, I was in those seats before when there’s change and there’s some really good people in that building and there’s some really good teammates that I had on former clubs when a new staff came in and you’ve got a chance to put your best foot forward. I’ll evaluate everybody and I’ll make decisions down the road. I don’t think you have to come in and just change everything. It’s about implementing my process and how we want to do things. Again, if you work really hard, you’re a good person and you’re a good teammate, I can work with you all day.
Q: I’m curious to see what impact Bill Parcells has had on your career and your life and whether he offered any unique advice on this job because of his connection to the team?
A: Yeah, he told me it’s the best job in the league. That was what some of the advice he gave me when I talked to him. I could go on and on about Coach. I know why he was such a good coach because he understood personnel and he understood the X’s and O’s and he was a great teacher. I got him probably on the back nine of his career. He was a constant teacher, always talking to me. I’ve said this several times, he would say, ‘You know what Tom Landry used to tell me, Joe’ – I’m just a young scout and you’re on the edge of your seat, like Tom Landry told Bill Parcells and he’s getting ready to tell me. All the stories he has, he understood personnel. Philosophically, maybe he’s a little bit different. He hasn’t evolved to where maybe the game is today, but I learned a lot from him just how to build a roster, what to look for in different positions, what to look for in head coaches. You better know what you want on your roster because coaches are going to come and go. It’s just the volatility of the industry. I love Coach to death. He’s been awesome to me. He still calls me every now and then. I can pick up my phone and call him and he’ll answer. He’s not afraid to call on a Monday after a game and give his two cents on the roster and what we need when I was in Buffalo, so a ton of respect for Coach and I love him to death.
Q: You mentioned 2002 and you’ve always held the Giants in high regard. I’m wondering what from an outside point of view now that you’re here has always led you to believe that this place has so much attraction and obviously the championship banners that you mentioned? Now, I guess is this still surreal for you to be standing up here? You said this is a job that you wanted, but having those conversations with Parcells and knowing that ‘I finally got it done and I’m standing up here.’
A: It’s definitely surreal. It still hasn’t quite hit me because we’ve been go, go, go, interviewing coaches, meeting people and trying to implement some of the processes. I don’t think it’s totally hit me yet. It’s all I know. It’s all I’ve done since I graduated on a Saturday and started with the Carolina Panthers on a Monday, so it’s been football since the day I graduated from college. I love to work hard. I’m looking forward to building a team. But just what was always said to me about the New York Giants was the ownership is amazing, there’s great people in that building, they treat people the right way and they want to win, and they did. They have won. I look forward to putting my stamp on the team and building a team that will be able to sustain success year in and year out and we compete for championships. I’m going to be given the resources to do that and ultimately that’s why this was the right job for me.
Post-Press Conference Remarks by Team President/CEO John Mara
Q: So what did you think?
A: I thought he (Joe Schoen) handled himself well. No surprises, just what we expected. He’s got a lot of poise and that was one of the things that attracted us to him.
Q: Poise and what else attracted you to him?
A: Well, I think the body of work. He started at the very bottom, worked his way up. His role in helping build the Buffalo Bills to where they are right now, he’s seen how it should be done. We’re in a similar situation to what they were in four or five years ago. I think all those things. I also think he has really strong communication skills and is going to be able to unite the building. The communication hasn’t been the greatest in the building over the last couple of years, and I think with (Senior Vice President and General Manager) Joe’s (Schoen) addition that’ll get straightened out.
Q: This might be splitting hairs a little, but you said the GM would hire the coach. Joe said it would be collaborative, so who really has the final say?
A: It’s a collaboration. Listen, he’s not going to hire anybody that we don’t want and we’re certainly not going to hire anybody that he doesn’t want. But ownership always has the final approval over any decision like that. That’s just not going to change.
Q: Is it fair to say though that he has more say than the previous general managers in that regard?
A: No, I don’t think so. Our system has always been the same. We rely on the general manager. We rely on his advice, but at the end of the day, ownership has to approve it.
Q: I asked him about this, the continuity issue just to get off of this train that you guys have been on here –
A: I’m dying to get off of this train. I hate being in the position that we’re in right now. I want continuity. I want somebody who’s going to be in the building for a long period of time. I don’t want to do another one of these press conferences for many, many years. Yes, that is a big consideration.
Q: You announced when (Former Senior Vice President and General Manger) Dave (Gettleman) retired that the new GM would oversee the head coaching staff. So is it fair to say that the new coach will be reporting to Joe?
A: Yes. That is fair to say. That’s the structure that I believe in with the head coach reporting to the general manager.
Q: Could I ask you about the process? Obviously, every GM who has come in here has said that he has a process. How is Joe’s process as he’s outlined it to you going to be different?
A: I just think his vision in how to build a team combining all the analytics and sports science and how to build a staff and different roles for each person on the staff, how he wants our scouts to act, how he wants our pro personnel department to act. I just think all those things, there’s a lot of thought that went behind that. They’ve obviously had success with it in Buffalo and we need to make some changes in how we do things around here and that was one of the big reasons why we wanted to bring somebody in from the outside that can look and see what we’re doing, see what we’re doing well, see what we’re doing poorly at and just change things to a point where everybody’s on the same page moving forward.
Q: Obviously a new GM and a new coach, those are big changes, but do you think deeper changes are needed, like more of a shakeup within the organization?
A: I think I’m going to let Joe take a look. He’s only been here for a few days. As he said, he wants to evaluate everybody. I’d like to see him do that. I think you could see some additions to our staff at some point in time, but that’ll be his call and I think he’ll do that after he’s had the chance to really evaluate more people in the building.
Q: You’ve been in all the interviews for the head coaches. First of all, is Joe really the point man for that?
A: He is. I told him that I want him to take the lead in that. You outline it any way you want. I’m going to ask questions from time to time, which I have, as has (Senior Vice President, Player Personnel) Chris (Mara), as has (Chairman and Executive Vice President) Steve (Tisch), but Joe is taking the lead in those interviews.
Q: And the two Buffalo guys, I mean, he knows them quite well.
A: Yes, he does.
Q: Is it hard to think that one of those guys could be very likely the favorite as a head coach?
A: Listen, I feel very good about the candidates that we have. I’m not going to call anybody the favorite right now.
Q: You mentioned the candidates, are they the only candidates or are there others?
A: I would say we’re concentrating on the ones that we have right now. I’m not going to rule out the possibility of somebody else entering into the mix, but right now I think we’re pretty comfortable with the group that we have.
Q: Did you offer a timetable at all to try to get this done with a coach?
A: I want to make sure that we get it right as opposed to giving you a specific timetable. But I would hope that by the beginning of next week we will have made a decision.
Q: What timeline of expectations have you talked to Joe Schoen about for winning? Are you looking at this as a process long-term?
A: I’m looking at this as a process. I haven’t told him, ‘Joe, we better make the playoffs next year, otherwise you’re out of here.’ I’m not making any statements like that. I want him to build the thing the right way and give us a chance for sustained success. I’m not giving him any specific demands for next year. Just build the team the right way.
Q: And you don’t expect a quick turnaround? You just want this thing –
A: I expect us to be a heck of lot better than four wins next year, but again, I haven’t given him any specific number that he has to achieve. Get the right coach, build the right program and let’s see some progress at the end of the season.
Q: You mentioned the coach and GM needing to be on the same page with communication and having a working relationship. One of the candidates you’re interviewing (Former Dolphins Head Coach), Brian Flores, reportedly had a power struggle with his GM in Miami. He wanted more power. What is your comfort level with that, and will there be some hard questions?
A: That’s certainly one of the things that we’re going to ask Brian. I discussed it with him briefly when I spoke to him a week ago, but we’re going to spend some time on that when he comes in tomorrow.
Q: What did you say? What did he say in his response?
A: I’m not going to go into that. It’s obviously something that we’re going to have to discuss.
Q: When you hear (Pro Football Hall of Famer) Bill Parcells said that this was the best job in the league, did that resonate with you at all?
A: It does, it does, because a lot of you out there think it’s one of the poorest jobs in the league and I get that from the turnover we’ve had recently. But I think Bill knows that we treat people the right way and I think he knows how badly we want to win. I think that’s what was behind that statement. There was no shortage of interest in this job, let me put it that way.
Q: The NFL currently only has one black head coach, and the Giants have never had one. I’m curious if that weighs on you as you’re making the decision.
A: It’s certainly something I’m aware of. At the end of the day, we want to get the right person and I think we have a good, diverse group of candidates right now. We’ll make a decision based on who we think is going to be the best person to lead us in the future. It was very important that we have a diverse group of candidates.
Q: (General Manager) Joe (Schoen) seems to have really strong support for (Quarterback) Daniel Jones, talking about building the offense around him. Is that a reflection of the entire organizational support for him even after last year and the injuries and everything else?
A: I want Joe and the new head coach to make that evaluation. We do feel that Daniel can play. We’ve done everything possible to screw this kid up since he’s been here. We keep changing coaches, keep changing offensive coordinators, keep changing offensive line coaches. I take a lot of responsibility for that, but let’s bring in the right group of coaches now and give him some continuity and try to rebuild the offensive line and then be able to make an intelligent evaluation of whether he can be the franchise quarterback or not. I have a lot of hope in Daniel, and I know how badly he wants it. I know how the players feel about him. We are certainly not giving up on him by any stretch of the imagination.
Q: Joe (Schoen) kept using the word ‘lockstep,’ him and the head coach being in lockstep. We haven’t talked to Steve (Tisch) in a while. I’m just curious, are you guys in lockstep? What’s that relationship like?
A: Steve and I have a great relationship. We talk all the time. We are in lockstep. We were both very high on Joe from the very beginning since that first interview we did, and we’ve been in agreement on every candidate so far. Our relationship is better than ever.
Q: You mentioned you’ve talked to Brian Flores. Reports said that you reached out to him. I’m curious what the purpose was for that?
A: I reached out to him because he was on…all the candidates that we interviewed for General Manager, he was on each of their lists. I see he’s been interviewing elsewhere, I just wanted to let him know that before you make a decision, just know that we have interest in you. Make whatever decision you feel like you need to make for you and your family, but just know that we do have interest in you. Once I get the general manager search done, we will be back to you, so that was the purpose of that call.
Q: I know you don’t get involved in personnel decisions unless there’s a legal situation, you said that on your Zoom a couple of weeks ago. I know there’s a lot of decisions that need to be made at quarterback. Could you rule in or rule out potentially trading for (Texans Quarterback) Deshaun Watson given his sexual assault allegations?
A: We’re not trading for Deshaun Watson.
Q: Why not?
A: There’s so many reasons why we wouldn’t do that. Cap-wise, we couldn’t afford it. But more importantly, with the allegations that are out there right now, that’s just not the right fit for us.
Q: You said you keep lists all the time, how long was Joe on your radar?
A: Honestly, not until fairly recently, and I started doing a lot of research I would say six or eight weeks ago, maybe a little longer. Just looking at the different teams that I have a great deal of respect for and looking at their personnel and Buffalo has done it the right way. So, I started making calls about Joe and others. I’m still trying to find somebody out there that will say something negative about him, and I have not found that yet. Everybody I’ve talked to about him raves about his work ethic, his evaluation skills, his communication skills. All those things that we’ve said before were really impressive.
Giants.com Interview with General Manager Joe Schoen (Video)
LATEST ON HEAD COACHING SEARCH…
The Giants will meet with Buffalo Bills Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier for a second time on Friday. This meeting will be in person at the team’s facilities. The first interview was held virtually last Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Giants completed their in person interview with Patrick Graham, who served as the team’s defensive coordinator for the past two seasons, on Wednesday. The Giants will also interview Brian Flores on Thursday at the team’s facilities. Flores was head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2019 to 2021.
The number of candidates the Giants have interviewed or will interview currently stands at six. The other three are Buffalo Bills Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll (interviewed virtually last Friday and in person on Tuesday), Cincinnati Bengals Defensive Coordinator Lou Anarumo (interviewed virtually last Sunday), and Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn (interviewed in person on Monday).
SECOND INTERVIEW FOR BRIAN DABOLL; DAN QUINN INTERVIEW COMPLETED…
The New York Giants will interview Buffalo Bills Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll for Giants’ head coaching vacancy for a second time on Tuesday at the team’s facilities. The first interview was held virtually last Friday night in advance of the Bills’ playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Daboll is perceived by many in the media as a favorite to land the job given his relationship with new General Manager Joe Schoen, who served as assistant general manager of the Bills for the past five seasons.
Thus far, the interviews have been conducted by Schoen, team President/CEO John Mara, and team Chairman/Executive Vice President Steve Tisch.
The Giants officially confirmed that they interviewed Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn in person on Monday. Before joining the Cowboys in 2021, the 51-year old Quinn served as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons from 2015 to 2020.
The other candidates who the Giants have interviewed include Cincinnati Bengals Defensive Coordinator Lou Anarumo, who the team interviewed virtually on Sunday, and Buffalo Bills Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier, who the team interviewed virtually on Saturday morning.
The team will reportedly interview Patrick Graham. Graham has served as the team’s defensive coordinator for the past two seasons under Joe Judge, who was fired earlier this month.
The Giants are also believed to be interested in Brian Flores, who was last the head coach of the Dolphins from 2019 to 2021.
JOE SCHOEN INTRODUCTORY PRESS CONFERENCE SET FOR WEDNESDAY…
The Giants will hold the introductory press conference for Joe Schoen, the team’s new general manager, on Wednesday at 11:45 AM. The press conference will be streamed live at Giants.com.