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‘Things I think’ as the Giants are a whirlwind of activity

The Joe Schoen-Brian Daboll era is off to a busy, interesting start

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Syndication: The Record Kevin R. Wexler-NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

It is a Sunday in early February, but there is obviously a lot going on with the New York Giants. Here are some of my thoughts on what is going on as the Giants once again strt over.

On Patrick Graham leaving

First and foremost, I think this is a reminder that nothing is done until it is DONE and officially announced. Big Blue View was as guilty as every other media outlet of simply assuming Graham would stay with the Giants after not getting the Minnesota Vikings head coaching job. Shame on all of us for reporting an assumption as a fact.

Brian Daboll wanted Graham to stay. We know that much. Daboll was crystal clear about that at his introductory press conference. Initially, it looked like that would happen. As things played out, though, we should have seen this coming.

Even though he often spoke last season of his love for the organization the Giants, truthfully, had become an increasingly uncomfortable fit for Graham.

First, the Giants fired his best friend, former head coach Joe Judge. Then, the Giants interviewed Graham for the head coaching job and — as much as they profess to admire him — didn’t give him the job.

Brian Daboll, another former coaching colleague of Graham’s got the job. Then, Brian Flores, another close friend of Graham’s who interviewed for and didn’t get the job, sued the NFL and the Giants alleging Rooney rule violations in a “sham” hiring process.

All of this had to leave Graham conflicted as to how he felt about being employed by the Giants.

Then, along came Josh McDaniels — another coach with whom Graham had a long working relationship — with an offer to become defensive coordinator of the Las Vegas Raiders.

For all of the reasons outlined above, plus the fact that the Raiders won 10 games in 2021 and are already a playoff-caliber team, I can’t blame Graham for jumping at the opportunity. That absolutely seems like a good career move, and I think I would have done the same thing.

Joe Schoen scouting the scouts

Media members who had a chance to travel to Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl got to watch new general manager Joe Schoen work, and got an opportunity to speak with him. One of the interesting things that came out of that was Schoen’s admission that he was not only scouting draft prospects, but that he was also scouting the Giants’ scouts.

“How in depth the scouts have gone on their background and how that information compares to what we had in Buffalo, that’s part of the evaluation process,” Schoen said in an interview Wednesday with a small group of reporters.

Schoen said at his own introductory presser that he was comfortable from his work in Buffalo with the evaluations of players who should go in the first four rounds of the draft. The knowledge and information he has from a team that has drafted well and been successful on the field in recent years should help him figure out which scouts and front office employees have solid evaluation skills and which don’t.

Schoen is also adapting — at least for now — to the grading system the Giants have been using rather than forcing everyone else to adapt to the one he learned in Buffalo. That, theoretically, should make their work easier in the short term.

I think I like what Schoen has done here. He isn’t simply throwing everyone out and starting over — that’s not something that can be done this close to the draft, anyway. The new GM seems sincere in wanting to give current Giants’ employees an opportunity to show him whether or not they can be part of the solution going forward.

Post-draft is when I believe you will see most of the changes in the front office and scouting staff occur. By then, Schoen should have an idea who knows what they are looking at, and who does not.

So far, so good

No one knows how things will turn out for the Giants with the team of Joe Schoen at GM and Brian Daboll at head coach making the big decisions. No one can know for certain that the people they are bringing into the organization will end up being good at their jobs. Yet, I have to say that I’m impressed thus far by the type of people being brought in.

On Saturday, Schoen added Brandon Brown from the Philadelphia Eagles as his assistant GM. I do like his background — pro personnel, a lawyer, a rising star from a successful front office thought to be on track to one day be a GM. It has been a long time since the Giants had anyone like that in their front office.

Mike Kafka, the new offensive coordinator, is another rising star. He has learned offense at the feet of Andy Reid, one of the best offensive minds in the game. Combine what he has learned with Daboll, and scheme shouldn’t be the problem for the Giants’ offense going forward.

I’m also happy that the Giants appear to be looking for an experienced defensive coordinator to replace Patrick Graham. With a first-time head coach who has an offensive background, that’s a really good idea. There are a number of quality candidates.

Here, though, is a deflating caveat to all of that: Ben McAdoo, James Bettcher and Joe Judge were all thought to be rising stars when the Giants hired them.

Saquon’s future

In our link post this morning, ESPN suggests “it might be time” for the Giants to trade running back Saquon Barkley.

This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately, and I think I agree.

The Giants are at yet another beginning. Barkley is now a fifth-year running back with a long history of leg injuries. It is probably going to take Schoen and Daboll a couple of years, maybe more, to get this right.

Barkley is soon going to be a running back looking for a second contract — probably a big one. My guess at this point is Schoen is unlikely to give him that big-money deal.

That means Barkley’s best value to the Giants right now could well be as trade bait. If the Giants can get a couple of mid-round picks in exchange for him that they can use to replenish their roster, that might be best for everyone.