EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Probably the best thing about Wednesday’s Joe Schoen-Brian Daboll press conference that kicked off 2022 New York Giants training camp is that it was exactly that — a joint Schoen-Daboll press conference.
The general manager and coach sat side by side, wearing identical Giants gear, to chat with media in the moments prior to the team’s first practice of training camp. It was the perfect image of a united front, something that likely has not always been the case between front office and coaching staff for the Giants in recent years, as the 2022 season kicked off.
Schoen and Daboll, of course, worked together with the Buffalo Bills for several years, and crossed paths with the Miami Dolphins before that. Schoen hired Daboll for his first head-coaching gig after Giants ownership hired Schoen.
The GM and coach have emphasized a shared vision since they came on board to try and turn around a team that has gone an NFL-worst (well, tied with the Jets for the worst) 22-59 over the past five years.
“We talk. We’re in constant communication throughout the building. This morning, we’ve had several conversations already about just a plethora of things,” Schoen said. “So yeah, it’s easy. It’s important. You have to communicate. Whether it’s him and I communicating and then down to his coaching staff or the personnel staff, whichever it may be. But yeah, the communication has been good so far. And again, that’s a positive for us so far, and we’ll continue to do that.”
Let’s go through some of the other takeaways from the Schoen-Daboll press conference.
Daniel Jones questions? Really?
For some odd reason, the GM and head coach were peppered with questions about fourth-year quarterback Daniel Jones whose fifth-year option for 2023 was declined by the team during the offseason. For the most part, the duo deflected. Which is exactly what you would expect.
What does the organization need to see to keep him beyond this year?
Schoen: “We’re just in day one here.”
What does Jones need to prove?
Schoen: “Listen, we’re just – we’ve been around Daniel for – what were we on the grass for? Six weeks, you know, in the spring? There’s a lot to learn from the offensive standpoint and you know the ability to execute the offense. And again, I think continuity is important. And to have him out there with some of the guys that weren’t out there in the spring is important. Again, it’s just getting better each day.”
On teaching Jones and evaluating at the same time ...
Daboll: “It’s really with every player. You do that no matter who it is training camp wise. You teach, you go out there and they have to perform, and then you evaluate. And then you teach and correct and then they go perform and then you evaluate ... We’ll teach him, and let him go out there and play. There’s mistakes in every practice, and there’s mistakes in every game, and you keep a cool, calm head. You correct him, and you let him go out there and do it again.”
Salary cap still an issue
As I write this, Over The Cap says the Giants have a paltry $5.428 million in cap space. That is not going to be enough to get through the 2022 season. Not close. Schoen knows it, and admitted that even though he called them a “last resort” during the offseason the team may have to re-structure more contracts.
“We’re tight up against it when you add in replacement costs throughout the season as injuries occur. So, that is a possibility down the road depending on what injuries we have and who the players are,” Schoen said. “Again, the roster is never final. We have the entire preseason; 1,300 and some players will be cut this month. We have possible trades, we are fifth in the claim order, so there is some roster maneuvering we can do and again we’ll continue to upgrade the roster.
“But, the reality is we are just under 5 million dollars in cap space and we have to operate under the same rules as everybody else. So, that is a potential option, I know I said it early on that was a last resort. It’s not something I want to major in, but it’s something we may have to do if we need to.”
Neither the GM nor the head coach wanted to play the “what should we expect from the 2022 Giants?” game.
“I don’t want to get into the predictions, but to Dabs’ point earlier, we are going to come out this week, we want guys to run to the ball, play hard, not beat ourselves, take care of the football, and be fundamentally sound. If they can do that, the rest will take care of itself. We’ve got a lot of evaluating to do, we haven’t been in pads ... he biggest thing is to not beat ourselves, play hard, smart, tough, dependable, whatever he (Daboll) talked about. Other than that, the results will take care of itself if we can do that.”
“It’s a results business, we understand that. It’s our job to make it a process for our team and for our organization. We are just taking steps and the next day we want to take a bigger step. I don’t look too far ahead; I’ve already told you that before. We’ve got a red zone practice today and tomorrow we’ve got 3rd and 2 to 5. After that I’m not even sure because I’m just focused on this and that’s what the players need to be focused on too, is their individual improvement and collectively building a team together. It just doesn’t happen. You have to go through some ups and downs and work as hard as you can, be a good pro, do things right and give everything you got each week. That’s what it takes in this league.”
On balancing camp competition vs. keeping players healthy
Daboll gave a typical coach’s answer:
“We need practice and we need to compete. Look, you can’t buy insurance on all of these injuries. Some of them are flukes, we do the best we can, I think. You know, those meetings that we had in the spring in terms of what we want to do with each player and how we want to go about it and then the sports science coming in with the practice schedule. You know, as a coach, you always want to have as many reps as you can get so you can get as many different looks and the players can get as many different opportunities to go out there and show what they can do. But there is always give and take.”
Replacing Chris Pettit
The Giants have not filled the position of Director of College Scouting, vacated when Schoen fired Chris Pettit. Schoen said Wednesday that Assistant Director of Player Personnel Dennis Hickey will fulfill those duties leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft, and then the position will be revisited.
Hickey was GM of the Miami Dolphins in 2014 and 2015.
- Daniel Jones Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK
- Darnay Holmes (30) celebrates an interception. Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK
- New York Giants co-owner John Mara, left, and general manager Joe Schoen. Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK
- Defensive end Leonard Williams (99) talks to a referee with a ripped jersey. Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK
- Brian Daboll and Daniel Jones. Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK
- Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll. Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK
- Kayvon Thibodeaux Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK
- Wink Martindale Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK
- Saquon Barkley signing autographs. John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
- Davis Webb throws a pass. John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
- Blake Martinez goes through a drill. John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
- Brian Daboll speaks to media. John Jones-USA TODAY Sports