PALM BEACH, Fla. – Brian Daboll likes to communicate via FaceTime. He'll use it to speak to his wife Beth, his older children, friends, assistant coaches and general manager Joe Schoen, who knows Daboll's bearded face can appear on his phone at any time.
"About the only good thing I can do with a phone or a computer is FaceTime," Daboll said.
The Giants' new head coach has also used that modern means of communication to get to know some of his players. But that ideally would be accomplished not on FaceTime, but face-to-face. Daboll has done that with the players who have been working out and/or rehabbing at the team's headquarters. That process will begin to accelerate on Monday with the beginning of the team's voluntary offseason conditioning program.
Daboll, coordinators Mike Kafka (offense), Wink Martindale (defense) and Thomas McGaughey (special teams) and the position coaches will begin teaching their respective schemes. But Daboll is just as concerned, if not more focused, on ensuring the coaches get familiar with the players beyond their football capabilities.
"I probably haven't hit everybody, to be honest with you," Daboll said during a session with reporters at the NFL Annual Meeting. "I've talked to a few people just to introduce myself. Again, there's a long time to learn football and things like that and we'll get to that. Even this first week, one of the things I talked to the coaches about was let's get to know these players. We haven't really been around them. Let's ask them about their families, what they like. It's important to get to know one another.
"You're going to be in a competitive situation and you're going to face a lot of tough times in this league and you can lean on people when you have relationships with them, because you're building trust because there's going to be tough times. I've said it a million times and I've gone through them in my career I'd say quite a bit where I've lost or had some really good times. You're sharing them with the guys that you're in the building with each day and you're working hard to achieve a goal and fighting through some things that don't go your way. I think that's what brings people closer together."
View behind-the-scenes photos of the newest members of the team touring the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
Daboll is keeping the lines of communication open. Schoen spoke yesterday about reaching out to Saquon Barkley to eliminate any misunderstanding that might have resulted from the general manager's quotes at the scouting combine early this month about his potential willingness to trade the star running back. Daboll also approached Barkley.
"When things come out, I try to stay on top of it," Daboll said. "Look, I have kids that are 22 and 21 years old and I'm sure you all have kids that are whatever ages. They're people first. You can say whatever you want. You can say, 'Hey, people are just writing stuff or reporting stuff.' I think it's important to show a little empathy, too, to the guys in the situations that they're in. I know it's a tough business, but I think it's a people business, too. I think the more upfront and the more transparent you can be and even when things are being said, which look, at this time of year there's a million things being said. Some are probably true. Some are probably not true. I understand that. I like being transparent with these guys and letting them know where I stand and if I do hear something that comes across the wave, I'll say yeah, this isn't the case or just hang tight. I think showing empathy goes a long way. Probably something 15, 10 years ago I wasn't good at either."
Daboll is excited to work with Barkley, who rushed for 593 yards and caught 41 passes in 13 games last season.
"I've had some good running backs in my career and after 22 years you have some decent ones," Daboll said. "Saquon is a lead guy. I've watched all his tape all the way back to his rookie year where he had (91) catches. He's a versatile player. He seems like a good young man. I'm excited to work with him. I think he's excited to be here. I can't wait to get to Monday here."
Daboll is growing every day as a coach, by necessity. He spent the previous 20 seasons working exclusively on offense, the last 13 as a coordinator. Now everything that happens on the field is his responsibility.
"I'll spend time with the defense" he said. "I'll spend time with the offense, kicking game, special teams guys, evaluating a lot of draft prospects. I'd say the last week has been spent a lot on draft work, because most of the coaches have been out on the road. I've learned that when you're in this position, there are a lot of people that want to come in the room and talk about whatever and that's really important. But there's times where I can just hunker down and start watching players, that's been a valuable week and a half for me just grinding out on college guys."
Martindale will run the defense. Daboll and Kafka will work together to design and implement the offense. The head coach has yet to decide who will call the plays.
"I'm still in the spot I was," Daboll said. "We've been working through just installing our playbook and our plays and I think there's been a lot of really good opinions. The big thing is the players come back on the fourth, this Monday. We've been hiring a staff, evaluating our players, evaluating free agents, evaluating college players. A lot of the coaches have been out on the road with pro days, workouts and that's really what we've done. There's been some players rehabbing in the building. We've spent a lot of time on those things. We're kind of integrating our offense along with Mike's offense that he used in Kansas City and putting things together, but until guys get back and we can actually start doing things, so we're a little ways from that stuff. When I know, I'll let you guys know."
View photos of every move made by the Giants during the 2022 offseason.