EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants today introduced three players who are new to the team, but not the coaches with whom they will work.
Running back Matt Breida played last season in Buffalo under offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who is now the Giants' head coach. Offensive lineman Jamil Douglas also played for the Bills and Daboll as well as line coach Bobby Johnson, who is in the same position with the Giants. Outside linebacker Jihad Ward played in 2019-20 in Baltimore under coordinator Wink Martindale, whom Daboll hired to lead the Giants' defense.
In addition to the newcomers, the Giants announced they have re-signed long-snapper Casey Kreiter.
Breida, Douglas and Ward are all excited to renew old acquaintances with their new team.
"Nothing but great things about this organization I've heard about," Breida said. "Obviously, offensive coordinator and now he's a head coach, Brian Daboll, he's a great guy, great person and he's a great coach, so that was big in the decision in why I chose to come here."
Douglas joins center Jon Feliciano as members of the Bills' 2021 offensive line to migrate to the Giants. Though he played just one game for Buffalo, he said Johnson's presence helped make the decision easy for him.
"Coach Johnson is a great coach, man," Douglas said. "I've been fortunate enough over my career to have some really good O-line coaches, really good coaches in general. But the thing about him is he's going to instill a confidence in his guys and he's also going to coach you hard. That's all you can ask for, really, as a player, is to be coached hard. That's how you get better. A guy that you know cares, he knows what he's talking about, is very detailed in his process and his work and I think that it transfers into the room. Just naturally guys bring that same energy and gravitate toward that. Just playing for a guy like that, it's what you want as a player."
Ward played 21 games for Martindale, who is renowned for unleashing waves of pass rushing defenders on quarterbacks.
"Basically, just coming in with that aggression," Ward said when asked what Martindale instills in his players. "Just strong and really the aggression is just some blitzes and stuff. You don't know when we're going to come. That's his type of style. That's his type of deal. We're going to come at you. With Wink and him coaching me, he's a great coach.
"I want to go somewhere where they're going to make me feel loose and Wink is one of those coaches where basically he's going to make me extend my career being the best that I can be. Wink is one of the coaches that did a hell of a job with me when I was a Raven, so I'm here now and ready to win some games."
Ward's two seasons in Baltimore marked his only playoff appearances in a six-year career.
View behind-the-scenes photos of the newest members of the team touring the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
Breida and Ward are also accustomed to success. The former played for the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV and the latter played in four postseason games with the Tennessee Titans. The 2021 Bills were AFC East champions at 11-6 and advanced to the divisional playoff round.
They want to help transfer that successful ethos to the Giants.
"Winning culture," Breida said. "I believe the guys here that are around the team with the Giants obviously have one, too. We're just coming in to add on to that and build what's already been here.
"I think definitely guys that know how to win, leadership, guys that know what it takes to get to the playoffs and that's definitely what we expect here with the Giants, nothing short of that."
"I definitely think it's a culture-type thing," Douglas said. "Just talking about Coach Johnson and the energy he brings and how he is as a coach, that's the same thing with Coach Daboll. Just being around him in my short amount of time in Buffalo, he's high energy. You know he's a guy that's going to coach you hard. I think a lot of guys respect that as you go throughout the league and a lot of guys want that feeling when they walk into a building that this coach cares, he's going to be on you, but it's for the better of the team and for the better of myself."
Breida, 5-10 and 195 pounds, is expected to back up Saquon Barkley. He entered the NFL with San Francisco in 2017 as an undrafted free agent from Georgia Southern. After three years with the 49ers, he played single seasons in Miami and Buffalo. Breida has played in 64 regular-season games with 19 starts and in three postseason games with one start. His career totals include 466 carries for 2,281 yards (4.9-yard avg.) and seven touchdowns, plus 83 receptions for 729 yards (8.8-yard avg.) and six scores. He has also returned six kickoffs.
Douglas, 6-4 and 309 pounds, was a 2015 fourth-round draft choice by the Dolphins, from Arizona State. He played two seasons for Miami, spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the practice squads of four teams and played for Tennessee for two years before splitting the 2021 season between Washington and Buffalo. Douglas has played in 50 regular-season games with 11 starts – eight at right guard and three at center. He has also played in four postseason games.
Ward, 6-5 and 290 pounds, was a second-round draft choice in 2016 by the Oakland Raiders. The Illinois product has also played for the Indianapolis Colts, Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars, for whom he played all 17 games in 2021. Ward has played in 68 regular-season games with 15 starts and played in three postseason games. He has 10.0 career sacks.
Kreiter, who is entering his seventh NFL season, was the Giants' snapper in all 33 games in 2020-21.