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Presser Points: GM Joe Schoen on state of Giants

It has been nearly 10 months since the Giants hired general manager Joe Schoen, who said the following at his introductory press conference:

"You can't fix it overnight, but, again, we want to see progress that we're heading in the right direction, and I think that's the most important thing as you're building the culture, that you do bring in the right type of guys, you start winning some games and you're ascending in the right direction."

That was on Jan. 26, 2022.

On Nov. 1, Schoen addressed the media, this time as the 6-2 Giants enter the bye week with their best record through eight games since 2012. Here is what he had to say about the state of the team:

Schoen: Good to see all you guys. We haven't talked in a while. Sitting up here 6-2 after eight games, so I'm excited about that. I'm pleased with the way things are going internally; the coaching staff, personnel staff, the entire organization just has been on the same page throughout the season this far, which I'm very pleased with. Again, we're 6-2. We've done a lot of good things. I think everybody would agree that there's still some meat on the bone and areas where we can improve. But we've got nine games to go, and it's a long way to go. But I'm pleased with where we are right now. Obviously, we made a move with (wide receiver) Kadarius (Toney) last week. I'll just echo what Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll) said on that. It's a move that was made – best decision for the organization for where we are and probably just leave it at that. There's really not a lot more for me to add on that. Just excited and happy for the coaching staff. I think they've done a hell of a job with the amount of players we've had come in and out of the building since the start of the season, whether it was due to injuries or just trying to upgrade. They continue to answer the bell and get those players ready. Some of those guys went out there and played meaningful snaps for us and helped us get to where we are today at 6-2. So with that being said, I'll just open it up to questions for you guys. I'm sure you've got a lot.

Q: What was today like, and how close did you get to maybe doing something?

A: Again, today is the end of it. It's the trade deadline. These conversations are ongoing. I'll go back to some of the players that have been mentioned in the media. We had talks in August with teams about some of those guys that met some of the parameters that we're looking at. So, there were some conversations. And part of my job and our personnel staff is to assign value to players. Whether it's in free agency, what you're going to pay a player, what round you're going to put a player in the draft, if you're going to trade for a player, what value are you comfortable with? We had several conversations with teams on multiple positions, and the price point didn't match up. And things just didn't work out. But we were active with phone calls trying to improve the roster, which we'll continue to do.

Q: The picks that you got for Kadarius, were they always going to be banked for April, or was there a possibility of using them in the following week?

A: If something made sense in regard to the position, we explored a lot of opportunities. We've been on the phone a lot the last few days. Not just the last few days – these calls again have been going on for, I'll go back to August on some of these players that we had identified under certain parameters. You know, years left, contract structure, where we were in terms of salary cap that would make sense for us and just the value. You've got to have two to tango on these deals and just different value between the other team and where we were just didn't work out for us.

Q: How much was wide receiver a target of these conversations you were having, and how do you feel about the group you have going forward?

A: Wide receivers were part of the conversations, but again so were, I'm not going to go into every position that we were talking about. We were just trying to add good players whether it was front line or depth players. The problems is there's a lot of teams that are still in it where we are in the season. So, not a lot of teams are sellers; teams are banged up. There's not a surplus of players that are available. It's a small pool. It only takes one team to outbid you or go higher. Where we are receiver-wise, again, the guys that have played had good games, bad games. Jacksonville – we'd like to have some of those back and some of those drops. But (wide receiver) Kenny's (Golladay) hopefully coming back soon. Fingers are crossed he'll be back for Houston. It'll be good to get a look at him again. I'm hopeful for him against Houston.

Q: How did you balance you guys having six wins right now and feeling like you might need to add to capitalize on your start versus keeping the big picture in mind and what you're trying to accomplish?

A: When we made the Toney move, we talked to the captains and let them know we're always going to win. Daboll and I are super competitive and we're always going to try to do what's best for the organization. But again, you just can't be reckless with those draft picks and the future capital, where we are as we build this thing. Again, there's a lot of players that are here that we like. Some were here before I got here that have done a really good job for us and are good players. Just being smart, we didn't want to be reckless with it. Again, if there was an opportunity where we could make a move that could help this year, we were definitely open to it.

Q: If you think back to where you were before the game in Nashville, what you thought about putting this team you have together to now sitting 6-2, has your opinion of what you have here dramatically changed because the team is 6-2? I mean, (it's) probably not what you thought was going to happen after eight games. Do you look at it and say, 'Oh geez, we're a lot better' or are you kind of still keeping it at what you thought before?

A: I think I said this to you guys in August: It's going to be an overreaction after Week 1 one way or the other way. It takes four to five weeks, I think, to truly figure out who your team is. What I'll tell you about our team is there's a lot of tough dudes that care about each other and love football. I thought we had some tough guys, I knew we had some competitive guys. I knew we had some good players, just you never know how those guys are going to gel. And when adversity strikes, what's that going to look like? (Quarterback) Daniel's (Jones) got five fourth-quarter comebacks. It's a team effort, but the guys are resilient. They don't give up; you guys have seen the games. We get into the fourth quarter, and we've been able to come out with some wins. I think the talent is the same. I think the way they've gelled, it's a little bit of an unknown leaving training camp. You just didn't know how they were going to react in the heat of battle. I think they've done a good job. They're fun to watch, and they compete for 60 minutes. I'm really proud of the guys.

Q: You mentioned Daniel. What have you seen from him over the start of the season? How has that maybe changed your evaluation?

A: I think Daniel's done a good job. Those 'got to have it' moments, third downs, fourth quarters when you've got to have it. And I think he's answered the bell in a lot of those situations. He's the same guy he was the day we got here in terms of – it's their time off, and he's in here at 7:30 this morning having breakfast. It didn't surprise me a bit. So, he's a gym rat. He's always around, and I think he's done a good job leading the team this year.

Q: What have you seen from (running back) Saquon (Barkley), and do you see him at this point as more than a running back, as maybe your team's best playmaker like (San Francisco 49ers running back) Christian McCaffrey?

A: Saquon's a great kid; he's tough. He's obviously talented. It's a team game. I think him being healthy this year, you've kind of seen who he is and what he can do, whether that's catching the ball or running the ball. Again, it's credit to the offensive line and the receivers blocking for him. And he's taken advantage of those opportunities with his God-given gifts too and helped us a lot. So, I'm pleased with where Saquon is.

Q: So, Daniel and Saquon – obviously neither has a contract after this year. How much did that weigh on you? You only get one franchise tag, and they're both playing very well.

A: There's nine games left, so it's an ongoing evaluation for everybody on the roster, not just Saquon and Daniel being UFAs (unrestricted free agents). Obviously, those are two important players to where we are right now, but it's a constant evaluation. We still have nine games left.

Q: How open are you to potentially extending one of them or taking care of one of them or both of them before the season is over?

A: Yeah, we'll have those meetings this week. We'll talk about it if we want to (do something). We had to get through the trade deadline today and those conversations. We'll kind of circle up with some strategy meetings as we move forward on contract extensions and if we may or may not do anybody. If I did, this would be the week. I would want to entertain it during the bye week, and then I probably won't do anything after that. I don't want anything to be a distraction to the players or organization. So, if we do something, it would be probably before Monday with any of our guys. I'm not saying him, but when we have those conversations.

View photos from the first half of the season as the Giants entered the bye at 6-2, their best start since 2012.