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Giants revamp data and innovation with new front office hires


Since he took over as Giants general manager, Joe Schoen has talked about getting the right people in the right seats. Some of those chairs are buried in numbers.

The Giants over the offseason made a series of moves in the football operations department regarding analytics. They promoted Courtney Kennedy to Football Data & Innovation Coordinator from Football Data Analyst, and hired three former interns in the department as full-time members: Clark Ewen (Football Data & Innovation Analyst), Matthew Dodson (Scouting Research Analyst) and Maxwell Kirin (Football Data & Systems Coordinator). The department is led by Director of Football Data and Innovation Ty Siam and also includes Ben Burress, Football Data and Innovation Research Analyst.

"From the data and innovation standpoint, the four of them, as soon as I got here, it was service with a smile – 'How can I help you? What can we do?'" Schoen said. "I sat down with each of them and found out where they were from, what their background is, what they specialize in, and what could they do. The more I was around them, the more I utilized them. And the data they were producing, I realized how valuable they were."

On the coaching side, the Giants hired Cade Knox as an offensive assistant/game manager. So, what does he bring to the table?

"Well, he went to Harvard," coach Brian Daboll said of Knox, who has a bachelor's degree in psychology and was a wide receiver on the Crimson football team. "He played football, so he understands situational football. It's not like I'm re-teaching him everything. He's extremely smart. He's hard-working. In the short time that I've been with him, I've asked him to get things done or asked him quick questions and he's been able to really think on his feet and spit it back out to me in a quick manner, which is important for the role that we're going to ask him to do."

Daboll plans to have Knox wearing a headset up in the coaches booth during games.

"We meet every day, he and I," Daboll said. "There's times I don't meet with the entire staff for that day, but he and I will meet at the end of the day. We'll hit some type of situational aspect of the game – 3:14 left, you have two timeouts, you're down by 10, whatever it may be. He goes through and really watches the whole league. He's been a big help up to this point."

While everything is geared to gameday, the department's work goes beyond Sundays.

In addition to game management, they are involved in meetings ranging from draft evaluations to mapping out practice schedules. Schoen also involved them in free agency as the Giants had to make tough decisions to get in better salary cap health.

"The group of folks up there are doing a fabulous job, and they really do have their hands in everything on the football operation side of the building," Schoen said. "We use them in contracts, too, and we utilize them in free agency on where they saw value in different players. They're definitely valuable resources."

Schoen added, "Anything that will help you get better or improve the roster or improve our salary cap situation or our practice habits or injuries, whatever it may be, I'm open to that. I'd be an idiot not to be open to it. Over the last few years, I've immersed myself in the data and worked with some really smart people that have helped us make good decisions based off that."

Both Schoen and Daboll enjoyed success in their previous roles with the Buffalo Bills, providing a blueprint for best practices when it comes to analytics.

"Really in every aspect of your organization, you're looking to try to get a competitive advantage, however that is," Daboll said. "This was an area the last few years when I was at Buffalo that I really leaned on with the people in that department. They were on top of all the stuff. I met with those guys just as much as I met with the offensive staff. Things come up quickly. You have to make quick decisions. When you assign a few people to that role, ultimately it's your job as a head coach, but when you assign a few people just for that specific thing, it sure does help."

Daboll added, "It's just another avenue to help be better. It's one piece of the puzzle. You have to game plan and specifically look at players you're matched up with your players and attack whatever you want to attack. But when you're talking numbers, people that do that job for you, they can take a large amount of data and bring it back to something in 10 seconds. It's part of the game plan process, too. What's giving the opponent some issues? How do they see it through their lens? You look at it when you're evaluating tape and you're talking it over with your staff, every little piece helps."

Most importantly, it's about a shared vision between Schoen and Daboll as they sit just a week from their first draft together in the big seats.

"The coaches have been amazing with their work throughout the draft process," Schoen said. "They've worked really hard. They've been to pro days. We've had 30 players through the building that they've met with and several other players that they've done a Zoom with. Dabs and I are on the same page in terms of what type of people we want to bring in the building, what type of football characteristics they need to have on the field and what type of people they are off the field. That has really made it a seamless transition."


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