Above all else, Brian Daboll wanted to be authentic when he took over as head coach. He wants his quarterback to feel the same way.
"These first three-and-a-half weeks I've been around him [since the off-season program began], I've been impressed with his work ethic, his leadership when he's with the guys," Daboll said of Daniel Jones on WFAN Radio’s “Tiki and Tierney” program. "He does a good job in the huddle. I want him to be himself, too. I want him to not be afraid of consequences and pull the trigger and attack and have a positive mindset and continue to grow and learn."
Daboll also wants Jones to have ownership of the offense and be comfortable in it.
"It's fine and dandy when you're standing on the sideline calling plays but you're not the one back there in the huddle and you're not the one pulling the trigger," said Daboll, who joined the Giants after four seasons as offensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills. "So, I think It's a collaborative effort on some of the stuff he likes and continue to help him improve. He's got a great mindset. He's got some good mental toughness about him. We're taking it day by day."
Daboll added, "At the end of the day, he's his own guy. We have to develop an offense that fits his skillset, which he has plenty of [skills]. He's athletic. He's big. He's got some mobility to him. There's a lot of plays that you say, 'OK, maybe this might look good.' But it's also the surrounding pieces. We weren't the same each year in Buffalo, either. The first year was a lot different than the second year, where we had [wide receiver] "Smoke" John Brown and then we added [Stefon] Diggs the next year. So, you continually evolve."
At the same time, evolution doesn't always mean addition.
Kadarius Toney, the 20th overall pick in last year's draft, returns after a stop-and-go rookie season. When he was on the field, however, he flashed his play-making ability.
"KT has been great," Daboll said. "He's been here. He's been working. He's with the group. He's picking up things really well. He's got a really good skillet. He's a good space player. He's good with the ball in his hands. He was a quarterback in high school down there in Alabama and had tons and tons of production at the high school that he went to and went to Florida and they used him in a variety of roles. It's still new to him, but you can tell he's an instinctive football player and I look forward to working with him."
View behind-the-scenes photos of the Giants' draft room as they selected 11 players over the three days.
Daboll's collaborative approach extends beyond the players. He shared a vision with general manager Joe Schoen that centered on "getting the right people in the right seats," which they experienced firsthand during their successful tenure in Buffalo.
For Daboll, that started with assembling his staff.
"We did it all together," Daboll said. "So, every time we added someone to the staff, we included them on the interview process to the point where at the end of the interviews, the last couple spots, we had 18, 19 people in the interview room asking questions and talking to the candidates. Then collectively we sat down and discussed who we thought would be the best and ultimately made a decision."
Daboll added, "We're still a work in progress, but I'd say the collaboration within all three phases as a coaching staff is very good. There's offensive coaches that go out with defensive coaches and go play golf and hang out. We have good chemistry now within the first few months we've been here, but you don't get tested on that until the regular season rolls around."
Speaking of tests, Schoen and Daboll just took their first one together.
The Giants welcomed in 11 players as part of their first draft together in the big seats. They worked tirelessly with scouts and coaches throughout the evaluation process, which ultimately led to a consensus on a half-dozen players in their top tier. Holding the fifth and seventh overall picks, Schoen and Daboll then played out every scenario with a piece of high-tech equipment.
"Joe carried around these magnets of the players," Daboll said. "We'd play a different game like, 'Let's select this guy, this is the first pick, here's who left and here's what we're going to do.' By the end of that couple days, Tuesday if you will, we felt very comfortable where we were at and had a plan set in place if this happens, then we do this. If that happens, then we do this. Draft night, that first night, the first time we had our first draft together, it was smooth because we really had the answers to the test before anything happened."
View photos from the college careers of the Giants' entire 11-player draft class