New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen hit a wide variety of topics during his season-ending press conference on Monday. Here are some of the takeaways.
DJ is No. 1, but ...
Schoen admitted that due to the uncertainty regarding the timeline for his recovery from his torn ACL the Giants need someone other than Daniel Jones who can be a starting-caliber quarterback next season.
“There’s a chance he’s not ready Week 1, so, yeah,” Schoen said. “Plan for the worst and hope for the best. You plan for him not being ready. So you’re going to need somebody who can hopefully win you some games early on if he’s not ready.
“Ultimately we have to do something, whether it’s the draft or free agent just because Tyrod (Taylor’s) contract is up, we have Tommy (DeVito) who is under contract and then Daniel’s injury and the return to play and the uncertainty there. When free agency starts, the draft, whichever avenue we take we will address the position.”
Schoen deflected when asked about the quality of the 2024 NFL Draft quarterback class, saying only that it’s “a good draft” overall.
Even with the hedge on Jones’ health, Schoen said “yes” when asked if he felt the organization could continue to build around Jones.
“It’s football and guys get hurt,” Schoen said.
Schoen said “it’s not out of the question” that the Giants would bring back Taylor, who can be a free agent.
Offensive line notes
Schoen has drafted four offensive linemen in two seasons — Evan Neal, Josh Ezeudu, Marcus McKethan and John Michael Schmitz. He admitted on Monday that a proven track record of developing young players will be one consideration as the Giants look for a new offensive line coach to replace the fired Bobby Johnson.
“As Dabs looks for a new offensive line coach I think history of developing players will be something that we’ll definitely hit on,” Schoen said.
Schoen would not commit to 2022 No. 7 overall pick Evan Neal being a starter next season.
“We’ll go through all those conversations over the next couple of weeks,” Schoen said. “We’ll see how it plays out.”
Going through adversity
Schoen admitted that perhaps the team’s unexpected success in 2022, the first of the Schoen-Daboll regime, might have covered some flaws.
“We went through adversity and sometimes you have to go through it,” Schoen said. “We’re still in Year 2. Things were pretty good Year 1. We started fast, had a playoff win and maybe you didn’t see where all the issues were, whether it was in the building, on the team, in the coaching staff, whatever it may have been.
“Going through it I think it sucked, but it also opened our eyes to some things maybe needed to change or we need to get better, we need to change our process ...
“You can look at things through rose-colored glasses sometimes when things are going well.”
No apologies for Waller trade
The offseason trade for Darren Waller was perhaps not as successful as the Giants hoped. The Giants acquired Waller from the Las Vegas Raiders hoping to build their passing attack around him. Injuries, though, struck the 31-year-old for the third straight season as he missed five games with a hamstring injury.
Waller ended up with 52 catches for 552 yards, both second on the team.
Schoen expressed no regrets about making the deal, in which he surrendered a third-round compensatory pick the Giants got from the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for Kadarius Toney.
“I would do that again every day of the week,” Schoen said.
Dealing with injuries
The Giants had yet another season during which they had a higher than acceptable number of injuries.
“It’s football. There’s 31 other teams who are playing football as well, so we know injuries are going to happen,” Schoen said. “Where we rank in the injury category, every year you want to get better and get in that top 10, top five if you can because it gives you the best chance to win, not just on the field but there’s a domino effect to your salary cap and replacement costs. If you’re consistently in the bottom third that hurts you in several different areas.”
The Giants will need to hire a replacement for strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald, who took the same job at Florida.
Schoen defended the team’s medical staff and offered a glimpse into the depth of research the Giants are putting into trying to limit injuries.
“I’ve got a lot of faith in our medical staff. They are very good at what they do,” he said. “We have these conversations all the time, like Belly (Daniel Bellinger) missing time last year. he got punched in the eye, you can’t prevent that.
“We had six ACLs last year, we had two this year. So we improved there. If there’s a consistent injury that keeps popping up you’re doing to dive into that. Some of it is just football. But, we have the video of all the injuries, we go back, we analyze it, we look at our strength and conditioning, is there something we can do better to improve whatever that injury is, or is it our return to play. We look at all that. Some of it’s the player acquisition process. As we’re drafting players or signing players in free agency are there body tests that we can do with the players? We’re looking into some of that.”