EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Joe Schoen likes his team and he likes his quarterback, but he is not prepared to say publicly what he expects from either of them in the coming NFL season.
The Giants' general manager, joined by Brian Daboll, Thursday spoke to a group of reporters for the first time since early in training camp. And while those inquiring minds were in a rush to learn what Schoen anticipates seeing from the Giants and Daniel Jones, he was putting the brakes on any disclosures.
The Giants begin their season against the Titans in Tennessee on Sept. 11.
"It's been a whirlwind week," said Schoen, who has directed a hectic week of player departures and arrivals. "I just cut 30 players. I'm just trying to get through the day. We haven't talked about game plan. We haven't talked about actives, inactives (for the game). I think every team, it's going to take three to four weeks to figure out who we are. I've said it to you guys before, how are we going to react when we face adversity? How are we going to handle success? No matter where you are, every year that's the case. You truly don't have a feel. It's going to be overreaction one way or the other on Monday after our first game win or lose. You know, win everyone's going to say we're better than we probably are. If we lose, we're not as bad as we were that day. So, I think it's going to take a few weeks to really feel out who we are."
Because of that, Schoen said, "I don't want to set any expectations."
He took the same approach when asked about Jones, who is playing in the final year of his contract after the team declined the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.
"I'm not going to get into expectations, but I'm happy where he is," Schoen said. "I think you guys saw the two preseason games he played in; I think he played well. You guys were here for the Jets practice. I think he performed well at the Jets practice. So, again, I know some people were getting on him early on. And it's Wink's (defensive coordinator Wink Martindale) defense, and he's sending people from left field, and we're not game planning for that. He's also trying to be on the same page with some of the receivers.
"I think Daniel's in a good place. I'm happy where he is. But again, we all know everybody's got to go perform on Sundays, and that's when the evaluations will really start."
Daboll was asked what he is looking for in a quarterback and what will he be evaluating from Jones.
"Everything," he said. "Your performance. Your preparation. The job of a quarterback on a team is to lead his team down to score points. Stats are great, percentage, completion percentage, all those types of things. But the biggest this is can you make the right decision under pressure. I'm not saying five-man pressure, just as the game goes out the situation that you're in and make the right decisions for the offense and lead them down to score points. It's everybody's job to do that, but the quarterback touches the ball on every play."
Schoen's reluctance to discuss the team's prospects is not indicative of negativity or a lack of confidence on his part. He is actually bullish on the Giants, but concedes there's much unfinished business, both in terms of acquiring players to improve the team and creating the space to fit them under the salary cap.
"We like the guys that are here – the 53 players that are on the roster," Schoen said. "We're working on the practice squad. Again, the situation that we're in, I'm sure you guys will ask, but I'm sure we will have to restructure something (a contract or two) going into next week here. So, that'll answer some of your salary cap questions. That's something we'll do. We're still working through a couple scenarios, so we'll get where we need to get where we'll get through the season. But the situation's the situation. There's the hand we're dealt, and we're going to do the best we can with what we have. And again, that's the waiver wire, the practice squad, whatever it may be, with what we can. We're going to continue to try to compete and do the best we can."
Other nuggets from the joint news conference:
*Schoen said the Giants should have the cap space to be more aggressive acquiring players next offseason.
"We were not really able to be active this year at all, but I think came out good in terms of salary cap health," he said. "I've talked about that a lot. I think going into next year, free agency, we'll definitely have a lot more flexibility than we had this year. So, yeah, it's obviously important getting that in order the best we can."
*On why the team has seven wide receivers.
"Offensive head coach," Schoen said.
*The Giants players have three days off beginning Friday and will return Monday to begin preparing for the Titans.
"Our focus the last three days and today is to finish up strong, compete against one another, and then they're going to get a little time away," Daboll said. "But they've got to come back ready to go. We're in football season now, so besides your faith and your family, this is what's important right now, football. When we look at players, draft, free agents, besides smart, tough, dependable and a skillset, we want people that love the game of football and it's very important to them. It's important to our staff, it's important to Joe and his staff, and these players understand that we've got players that it's important to them too.
"So, they'll have a couple days, I'm sure they'll do some work in terms of looking at the team we're playing, some physical stuff so they're not sitting on their couch eating potato chips and playing video games all day. I think we have a good group that will be ready to go on Monday."
View photos of the New York Giants' 2022 roster as it currently stands.