With minicamp now in the rearview mirror, the Giants are officially done with practices until the start of training camp next month.
It was a productive few months for the Giants. Since the team hired a new head coach, their voluntary offseason workout program began on April 4, two weeks before clubs with returning coaches began their offseason programs. Between the workout program, the voluntary minicamp, OTA workouts and the mandatory minicamp, the Giants have had most of the team in the building for a while now. This gave Brian Daboll and his coaching staff a great opportunity to begin laying the foundation for the football program they want to build.
Daboll recently sat down with Bob Papa on the 'Giants Huddle: Front Office Edition' podcast – presented by Fordham University - to discuss a variety of topics, including how he thought his first offseason program as head coach went.
"I think we've made a lot of progress from where we started," said Daboll. "When you're coming into a new place and you're starting out the way you want to do things, it takes a lot of work and a lot of people in the organization have their hands in it. And I think the people in our building have done a fantastic job from the coaching staff to the scouting staff, to the administrators, the staff have really done a good job of buying in on how we want to do things. And then ultimately, it falls on the players and these guys have been tremendous the last four months or three months, whatever it's been of putting the time and the effort and the energy to improve each day."
The Giants' roster has gone through quite a big transformation this offseason.
Over 40 players currently on the 90-man roster were not with the team last year, which includes free agents, the 11-man draft class and undrafted free agents.
While these players come from all over, Daboll made it clear that both he and general manager Joe Schoen looked for players with particularly high football IQs.
"We place a high premium on bringing in intelligent players," the head coach exclaimed. "I think we've done a good job with that in terms of the free agents that we brought in. And then, the draft process, that's one of our number one things. Between Joe and his staff and the coaches, we really put a lot of work into bringing in our type of people, which one of the things we're looking for, smart players. From the day we started to where we're at, I think they've done a really good job of picking up the information and continuing to grow in that regard."
One player in particular that the Giants hope will benefit from the arrival of Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka is quarterback Daniel Jones.
Jones threw for 24 touchdowns in just 12 starts as a rookie. While his completion percentage over the last two seasons has improved from the 61.9 percent he recorded in his first season, in addition to his turnover rate, his touchdown numbers have dropped.
Daboll hopes that an offense more focused around Jones' strengths will lead to success for the young quarterback.
"I think that's important to get input from the quarterback in terms of what he feels comfortable with, while at the same time, showing him some new things that maybe can help him," said Daboll. "At the end of the day, the offense is obviously going to go through our quarterback and there's got to be good give and take with that between the head coach, the coordinator and the quarterback. That's I'd say a pretty special relationship between the three of those guys."
View the best photos from mandatory minicamp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
On the other side of the ball, possibly the biggest addition to the Big Blue defense was Wink Martindale.
Daboll hired Don "Wink" Martindale earlier this offseason to serve as the team's defensive coordinator, bringing some aggressive play-calling to the Giants' defense. Under Martindale, the Baltimore Ravens ranked in the top three in points allowed in three of his four seasons as DC.
"It's a tough system to coach against," Daboll stated. "When you're a play caller on the other sideline coaching against his defense, it presents a lot of challenges throughout the week. A lot of things that break some rules in terms of your assignments on offense, you have to be really sound for, or maybe game plan a little bit differently for. He's had a lot of success where he's been at Baltimore. I really didn't know Wink much, just you know him through being in the league for a while. But he did a really good job in his interview, impressive guy, and thought he was a good fit."
Since being named head coach, Daboll has made a serious effort to get to know everyone at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, not only those on the football side of the building.
"I think it's just how I was raised. I got a lot of respect for just people in general," he told Papa. "And when there's someone in the building that works in a different department than I'm working in, those people put in a lot of time and effort and energy to help the organization be as good as they can and they're really important to the success of the organization. I think having respect for everyone in the building is really critical, a critical part of being a good leader.
"I like hanging out, meeting new people, kind of like a break from schedules and organization and things like that. And you just go, let your hair down, if you will, no pun intended and get to meet some people and tell them that you appreciate their work and their effort that they're doing because it is important. I think you put time into relationships, those pay dividends."
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View photos of the New York Giants' 2022 roster as it currently stands.