Will GM Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll be the dynamic duo to bring the New York Giants back to NFL relevance, and perhaps to championship glory?
I don’t know. There is no way any of us can know. There is no way co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch, or Schoen and Daboll themselves, can know.
What I do know is this — the more I considered the head coaching candidates the Giants were looking at after hiring Schoen, the more Daboll seemed like the best candidate for the job among the available choices.
Daboll seemed like the right choice for Schoen, a 42-year-old first-time general manager who is just getting his feet wet and figuring out how to do the job the Giants have entrusted to him.
Brian Flores is a terrific coach. He is also a strong-willed personality who just lost a job because of a power struggle with an entrenched GM and questions about how well he dealt with the people who worked for, and with, him.
Flores and Schoen didn’t know each other before this week. To me, it never seemed fair, or smart, to ask Schoen to add trying to build a functional working relationship with a hard to deal with head coach he barely knew to the many things he already has on his plate.
Schoen wanted someone with whom he would be “in lockstep.” He wanted someone with whom he would share a vision for how to build a football team.
Schoen, as assistant GM, and Daboll, as offensive coordinator, worked together for the last four years in Buffalo as the Bills went from laughingstock to legitimate contender. That’s a path the Giants want to follow, they have seen how it was done, and should begin with common visions how the Giants can turn their fortunes around.
It seems like the right choice for quarterback Daniel Jones and the Giants’ 18th-century offense.
The Giants have finished 31st in the NFL in offense in each of the past two seasons. The stench of their Week 18 back-to-back quarterback sneaks won’t leave the franchise for a long, long time. They have not scored 30 points in a game since Week 16 of the 2019 season.
Jones, rightly or wrongly drafted No. 6 overall by the franchise in 2019, is entering his fourth season. Partially because of injuries and his own inconsistency, but mostly because the Giants have yet to put a truly functional offense around him, the Giants enter the final season of his rookie contract not yet knowing if Jones can be their quarterback for the next five to 10 years.
They have to find out. Daboll, the only offensive-minded head coach in the Giants’ candidate pool, gives them their best chance.
It is unfair to both quarterback and coach to expect Daboll to turn Jones into Josh Allen, who is easily one of the league’s top five quarterbacks. Jones isn’t the powerful runner Allen is — but he certainly can run. He doesn’t have the howitzer of an arm Allen has — but he has enough arm strength to make every throw.
It is reasonable to think this — if Jones can’t play like an upper-tier, winning quarterback in 2022 with Daboll designing the offense and Schoen stabilizing the talent around him, then it will be time for the Giants to find a new quarterback.
The hiring of Daboll is also the right choice for Giants’ ownership. In his heart, John Mara probably wanted to give this job to Flores.
I can tell you that might not have played well. Flores’ opening press conference would have turned into an ugly brawl, with reporters including yours truly putting him on the defensive and demanding answers for the ugly way his tenure in Miami ended.
The Giants have been mostly awful for a decade, with only playoff appearance since 2011. They have had five consecutive double-digit losing seasons, and their 22-59 record (a .272 winning percentage) is tied with the New York Jets for the worst in the NFL during that time period.
Leslie Frazier is an outstanding coach and by all reports a better human being. He might have proven in the long run to be a good hire. He wasn’t, though, going to fire up a disgruntled fan base.
The Giants need to sell hope, not raise questions or set up turf battles. The hiring of Daboll does that.
Watch what Daboll did with the Buffalo offense. Look at the way Allen developed. Look at what has happened in Buffalo the past few seasons, as the Bills have gone from doormats to winning back-to-back AFC East championships.
The Giants can, at the least, sell some hope. They can ask for some patience while their new decision-makers try to right this listing ship.
I have no idea whether or not Joe Schoen will be a quality general manager. There is no evidence that tells us Brian Daboll will be a good head coach.
I think, though, that pairing these two together was the right move for the Giants to make.
Now, we see if they have any better luck than their recent predecessors did.