EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – A day after he was named the Giants' new head coach, Brian Daboll traveled to his new business home, the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. The team's home base was predictably deserted on an offseason Saturday in which movement in the metropolitan area was sharply restricted by a snowstorm.
But Daboll did encounter the player with whom he will be most closely aligned.
"There weren't many people in the building, but one of them was (quarterback) Daniel Jones," Daboll said. "That's a good thing for a young player. I know he's excited."
With good reason. As the Buffalo Bills' offensive coordinator the previous four seasons, Daboll designed and called the plays for one of the NFL's most prolific attacks and helped develop Josh Allen into one of the league's very best quarterbacks.
The Giants, meanwhile, finished 31st in the NFL in both points and yardage during their 4-13 season in 2021 and their 16.3 points-per-game in the last two seasons was the league's lowest average. In the 25 games in which he played, Jones averaged 214.8 passing yards and threw 17 touchdown passes.
During that same period, the Bills averaged 29.9 points in 38 regular-season and postseason games. Allen threw for 273.8 yards a game and 87 touchdown passes.
So, reporters questioning Daboll and Giants fans everywhere want to know what kind of impact the new coach will have on the offense in general and Jones specifically.
"We're going to take it day by day," Daboll said. "Look, we're not going to make any predictions and I wouldn't do that to Daniel or really any player. I don't think that's fair to compare him to another guy that I was working with. He's himself. We're going to find out what he does well. We're going to try to implement a system that suits him and then it's our job to bring pieces in that help him to be the best version of himself and the best quarterback for us."
Jones, the sixth overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, is entering his fourth season.
"He's got the right mindset," Daboll said. "He's got good size. There's a lot of things to like about Daniel and we'll just take it one day at a time. We'll work with him. We'll help him get better. We'll help him be a better leader. We'll help him be everything. That's our job as a coaching staff and as an organization. It takes everybody. It's not just me. It's the rest of the coaches on our staff. It's the scouts. It's the support staff. It's the ownership group. It takes a lot to raise a quarterback, if you will, and he's been around the block here these last three years with some different pieces. We're going to try to give him some stability and just take it from there."
View photos from Brian Daboll's first days on the job as the new head coach of the Giants.
Daboll was the only one of the Giants' six head coach candidates with an offensive background, and team president John Mara said his work with Allen helped differentiate him from the others.
"It was a factor, for sure," Mara said. "That's his job here. We have a quarterback that we have a lot of confidence in, who has had some issues here, mostly due to the way we've handled him. A big part of Brian's job is going to be trying to get the most out of Daniel and put us in a position where we can make a fair evaluation of him. We haven't been able to do that so far because of the way we've handled him."
General manager Joe Schoen said "absolutely" when asked if Daboll was hired to help develop a long-term quarterback solution for the Giants, whether with Jones or someone else.
"It wasn't just Brian's ability to work with quarterbacks," Schoen said. "It's all those things that he talked about, his leadership, his ability to bring a staff together, develop those underneath him, his relationship with the players. We're going to try and build a team and a strong foundation right off the bat and a team that can sustain success over time. That's the ultimate goal. Obviously, the quarterback position is important, but the overarching head coach, I think Brian Daboll can do all that."
Jones missed the final six games of the 2021 season with a neck injury he suffered on Nov. 28 against Philadelphia. Not coincidentally, the Giants lost every one of those games. The Giants anticipate Jones' neck is not a long-term cause for concern.
"Our medical people are very confident that the neck injury will be a non-factor," Mara said.
Though he said Schoen and Daboll will make the "final determination" on Jones' status, Mara added, "I'll be surprised if he's not the starter.
"Daniel will get a chance next year and we'll hopefully be able to get a fair evaluation of him and if it doesn't work out, we'll go to plan B. But we have a lot of confidence that it will work out."
Mara is not alone in thinking Jones has plenty of untapped potential. How will Daboll help him realize it?
"I think we just start out by building this relationship and when he's in the building, we take it slow," Daboll said. "One of the things that I asked him to do, and I said you can give it to me at any time. He was one of the players that called me after it was announced amongst some other guys and I said, 'Hey, give me some things that you really liked in your last three years or if you did it at Duke,' and that's where it's going to start is some foundational pieces that he feels comfortable with. I think we'll add good coaches. We'll have a good support system, and we'll try to bring in the best players we can bring in. I think this is going to be a day-to-day process. I'm not going to put any expectations on him. I know he wants to do well. He's got the right mindset. He's dedicated. He's a hard worker and I'm looking forward to working with him. We are looking forward to working with him."
Daboll and Allen both joined the Buffalo organization in 2018, the latter as the seventh overall selection in the draft. The young quarterback was a metaphorical piece of clay Daboll could mold into a successful professional quarterback.
Jones is not as pristine. Daboll will be his third head coach and fourth play-caller. Does that make the challenge of developing Jones similar or different to working with Allen?
"I don't know that answer," Daboll said. "Four years ago with Josh, we started together, we had consistency, we had consistency in scheme, we had consistency with the coaches, and it took time to build. It didn't happen overnight. I wouldn't do that to Daniel or really any other player, I think that's unfair. I want to get to really know Daniel first and see what makes him tick and then we'll take it one day at a time. I know he's really willing, but to compare where Josh is or Daniel, I don't think that's fair to do to either one of those guys."
The Giants won't care who Jones is compared to as long as he plays as well as they believe he can.