Joe Schoen – © USA TODAY Sports
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).