Head Coach Brian Daboll
Opening Statement from General Manager Joe Schoen: Good morning. First off, I would like to thank everybody for coming out this morning. I also, just being kind of my first weekend here, I'd like to start off by thanking all the service workers, the first responders, emergency workers from this weekend. This was my first Nor'easter I've been a part of. Obviously, Dabes (Brian Daboll) and I brought the Buffalo weather over here, but I'd be remiss if I didn't thank all those who helped keep our community safe over the weekend and cleared the roads for us.
The head coaching search began January 21st shortly after I was hired. (President and Chief Executive Officer) John Mara, (Chairman and Executive Vice President) Steve Tisch, (Senior Vice President of Player Personnel) Chris Mara and myself put together an extensive list of coaches that we would want to speak with. We conducted Zoom interviews, several in-person interviews and we cast a wide net when we did this. After a lot of research on the various candidates, we came to the conclusion that Brian Daboll would be the best coaching candidate to lead the New York Giants in the 2022 season and beyond. Brian has an impressive coaching résumé that includes five Super Bowls and a national championship as a play caller. He's worked under several well-respected leaders: (Patriots Head Coach) Bill Belichick, (Alabama Head Coach) Nick Saban, (Bills Head Coach) Sean McDermott and several others. Brian's ability to develop young players, his leadership qualities, his football acumen, his communication skills and his ability to bring an organization together were all traits that really stood out. Without further ado, I'd like to introduce to you the 20th head football coach of the New York Giants, Brian Daboll.
Opening Statement from Brian Daboll: How's everybody doing? First, a few things here. Thank yous to John and Steve, I appreciate you giving me this opportunity, Chris, who was involved in the interviews, Joe and the support staff. I had a great visit here a week or 10 days ago and just very thankful and honored to be standing up here in this position. I thank the organizations that I've been a part of, from ownership to management to coaches to support staff to players. I wouldn't be here without them. And then to my family, my wife Beth and my six kids and the whole crew right there, I love you guys. I look forward to this next journey.
Got a lot of work to do, that's for sure, but I think that this is a very enticing job to be able to work with Joe and try to create and build something that's very special and long-lasting. I'm not going to make any promises or predictions, but, again, just very grateful and look forward to working.
I came up here up on Saturday after I was offered the job. I drove through the snowstorm. There weren't many people in the building, but one of them was (Quarterback) Daniel Jones. That's a good thing for a young player. I know he's excited. We've had some coaches in, did a lot of interviews so far. I'm not going to get into who it is, but I'm done with Zoom. It's been about 40 hours on Zoom the last two days, but we've got a lot of work to do. I look forward to it. I look forward to working with you guys (media) and trying to build something special here. Again, just grateful and humbled for this opportunity. So, if you guys have any questions, you get one each (laughs).
Q: Are you planning to call plays? Then also, can you just describe what your offensive philosophy will be?
A: It's going to be dependent on the players, that's first and foremost. I don't think you can – look, each place I've been, and particularly I'd say these last four years with (Bills Quarterback) Josh (Allen), we tried to develop a system that was conducive to his skillset along with the other pieces that we added. That'll be a work in progress. In terms of the play calling, I think that's a work in progress, too. We'll see who the offensive coordinator is, who the rest of the staff is and then we'll talk about that as we get going through OTAs and minicamps, but it'll be important. That position, that offensive coordinator position will be an important position for us.
Q: There was a report out there a few minutes ago that you're going to be keeping (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Patrick Graham unless he gets a head coaching job. First of all, is that accurate and then what are your impressions of Pat from afar and also from having worked with him in New England?
A: Yeah, that's accurate. I've had a good relationship with Pat for some time in this league. He's very diligent. He's smart. I think the players respect him. He understands different defenses and I have a good working relationship with him. I did when I was back at New England. Certainly, we hope that he has an opportunity to become a head coach. I think that's everybody's dream, but selfishly, I would love him to be here. He offers a lot to our program. I think he'd be a great support system for me and I'm hoping that that works out.
Q: One of the first things you mentioned is how Daniel Jones was in the building, just like Joe Schoen did the other day, so there's a lot of excitement with your hire from fans because of what you did do with Josh Allen. How do we kind of temper those expectations? What should we expect about your impact on this Giants offense and what you can do with Daniel?
A: We're going to take it day by day. Look, we're not going to make any predictions and I wouldn't do that to Daniel or really any player. I don't think that's fair to compare him to another guy that I was working with. He's himself. We're going to find out what he does well. We're going to try to implement a system that suits him and then it's our job to bring pieces in that help him to be the best version of himself and the best quarterback for us. He's got the right mindset. He's got good size. There's a lot of things to like about Daniel and we'll just take it one day at a time. We'll work with him. We'll help him get better. We'll help him be a better leader. We'll help him be everything. That's our job as a coaching staff and as an organization. It takes everybody. It's not just me. It's the rest of the coaches on our staff. It's the scouts. It's the support staff. It's the ownership group. It takes a lot to raise a quarterback if you will and he's been around the block here these last three years with some different pieces. We're going to try to give him some stability and just take it from there.
Q: Why are you ready for this now? There's been a trend of – the two Super Bowl coaches are both young guys, younger. You're an older guy –
A: What am I? Am I young or old (laughs)?
Q: To me, you're young.
A: I've been doing this for 21 years in the National Football League – did I interrupt you?
Q: Do you think this is right in your wheelhouse of the perfect time for you to get a head coaching job?
A: I don't know if there's ever a perfect time. I've been doing this for 25 years, 21 years in the National Football League. I've been around the block. I've experienced a lot of different things. I've witnessed different head coaches and how they do things. To sit up here and say that we're going to do this or we're going to do that, like look, all I know how to do is work, work with people, try to build a culture, unite a building, inspire players, coaches, support staff, listen, learn and then ultimately develop the people in our building. That's not just the players. That's the QCs, that's the people underneath the head trainer. That's what we're going to try to do. Do I feel prepared? Yes. Do I know there will be some obstacles and challenges? Of course. That's this league. You've got to be resilient in this league and certainly here you've got to be resilient, right?
Q: Obviously, you interviewed for a bunch of jobs. We know that Miami was interested in you. I'm curious, was this always the top of your list, this job? Or was it like, 'there's only 32 of them, I've got to take whichever one gets offered to me'?
A: I interviewed here twice, once over Zoom and once in person. I have a ton of amount of respect for John and Steve and Joe and Chris and really the support staff here. Look, this was a dream come true. You're talking about the New York Giants. I understand the challenges with that. It's just a great opportunity that was afforded to me and my family and we look forward to it. We've been working here for two days. We've got a long way to go here. Just a historic franchise and I look forward to being a part of it.
Q: You've worked in a lot of places. Joe was talking a lot about being in lockstep and sharing a philosophy with the head coach and GM. What are the benefits of that and did that make this more of an enticing job for you than maybe going into another situation with a GM that you may not have had a relationship with?
A: Look, I think there's some foundational pillars that help an organization. That's not necessarily going to make you win. It's hard to win in this league, as we all know. The leadership group between ownership, management, general manager, head coach, I think, is a really important piece. Those guys have to be aligned. When you're not aligned, that's when things start going astray. Again, I'm not guaranteeing that we're going to do anything. I just think that alignment is so critical because when you're aligned, you can communicate well with one another and you can develop a plan, and that plan's going to be important. We're starting from scratch and there's a lot of things that we've got to get done and after that plan, now we're looking to bring in the right kind of people. To answer your question, yes. I think it's absolutely important that we have shared alignment, shared vision, shared core principles and values of the type of people we want to bring in. Let's not forget, this is a people business, too. There's Xs and Os, but this is a people business. It's about leading, it's about cultivating and it's about inspiring. I'm fortunate that I was offered this job.
Q: While you said you're not making any predictions or promises, you did mention that you do have a good idea how this fan base feels. How much pressure does that put on you and Joe Schoen to get this turned around sooner rather than later?
A: I think we're just going to try to do things the right way. There's pressure with every job in this business. Obviously, we're here in New York. We understand the market, but the pressure is going to be put on ourselves, too. We're going to do everything we can do to, like I talked about before, build an organization, which we feel is the right way, unite the building, inspire some people, listen, learn and develop. If you're prepared, the pressure is less. We're going to do everything we can do to try to put together a good product on and off the field.
Q: Obviously, you're aware coming in of the instability in this position the last six years or so. In the interview process, did you ask for and/or receive any assurances about patience from ownership?
A: No, no. I had a good conversation with them. I think we got to know one another. The NFL is an unstable world regardless of where you're at, so your job is to do the best you can do, build relationships and try to build a good program. Again, it's not about me sitting up here, it's about us collectively as an organization from top to bottom. We had really good conversations, not just with the ownership, but with all the support staff, with the training room, to the equipment, to the video guys. It takes everybody. Again, there's no guarantees, but if you have people that are in lockstep that are working together toward a common goal that are unselfish, that are humble, I think that's the start of something.
Q: The Bengals won two games two years ago, four games last year and now they're in the Super Bowl, so why not the Giants? And realistically, can you be a contender quickly?
A: Right now, I'm just trying to hire a staff. You're going to try to get me early on that right now. Look, we'll cross those bridges when we get to it. Obviously, that's impressive, those numbers that you gave me, but let's just start crawling before we walk.
Q: A lot of times the hot head coaching candidates are outstanding coordinators, play callers. You've certainly done your fair share of that and been successful the last couple of years. When ownership asked you or when we're asking you, what makes you ready for the other part of this job? The old proverbial leader of men thing, what have you learned over the years with all the coaches that you've worked with in that department?
A: I think four to five things that come across the top of my head right now as you ask that question. One, you have to be authentic. Joe spoke to the mentors that I've had, and I have, and I owe those guys a lot. But I've learned is you have to be yourself in this business. That's what I aim to do. I'm a people person. I think I'm a good leader and that's the first thing, to be authentic. The second thing I think that I've learned is you have to be consistent in this position. To get up in front of a room, I know it's an offense because you guys are all the players out there after a bad game and own it and talk to those guys and give them the things we didn't do well, the things that I didn't do well on a consistent basis. I think that helps and not riding the rollercoaster, which probably in my younger days I was a little bit on that coaster. Clearly communicating your expectations and standards goes a long way with these men. Obviously understanding what you're talking about, knowledge of whether it's offense, defense, kicking game, whatever that may be. And at the of the end day, relationships. I'm a big relationship guy. I love my players and I want to get to know them off the field. I think that's where it starts. Those five things, I think, are stuff that I've learned along the way, and it's been quite a long journey, 21 years, it seems like 50 years in normal time. Those are some of the things.
Q: I'm curious, it sounds like Daniel Jones has already made a good first impression with you, but I'm just curious the kinds of challenges for a guy who has had so many coaches and voices in his ear already and I guess I would contrast that to Josh, who was sort of a blank canvas when you got him. So how do you see that with Daniel? Do you have to help him unlearn some things perhaps?
A: I think we just start out by building this relationship and when he's in the building, we take it slow. One of the things that I asked him to do, and I said you can give it to me at any time. He was one of the players that called me after it was announced amongst some other guys and I said, 'hey, give me some things that you really liked in your last three years or if you did it at Duke,' and that's where it's going to start is some foundational pieces that he feels comfortable with. I think we'll add good coaches. We'll have a good support system, and we'll try to bring in the best players we can bring in. I think this is going to be a day-to-day process. I'm not going to put any expectations on him. I know he wants to do well. He's got the right mindset. He's dedicated. He's a hard worker and I'm looking forward to working with him. We are looking forward to working with him.
Q: You've mentioned 21 years and the evolution of yourself as a coach, I'm curious with the way the game has changed or at least evolved, how has your vision of what an offense looks like or even a defense should look like in today's NFL? How have you adjusted to that over the course of your journey here?
A: I think there's a core philosophy that you have to have: fundamentals, the ball, situational football and bringing in the right people. I don't really think – that stands the test of time. The schemes, those are different. Ten years ago, we wouldn't be sitting up here talking about Josh Allen and all these runs that we've done, the RPO game. I think it evolves just like everything else does, and I think you have to have an open mind. The schemes are going to be what the players are best at. We've got a lot of work to do to figure that out and really evaluate the guys that we have, so time will tell. We'll just figure it out.
Q: Any members of your offensive staff or from the offensive staff here that you intend to keep?
A: We'll get back to you on that. We're in the process of going through some things here. In terms of the staff, I appreciate the question, there's still guys on the staff that I haven't had an opportunity to talk to, so once we get that all ironed out, we'll get it to you guys as soon as we can.
Q: Do you think the success or failure of your tenure here will be tied to the success or failure of Daniel and the current quarterback or do you think you were hired to build a program and that whether or not that works, you'll have a chance to build here past that?
A: With all due respect, I'm not thinking two or three years down the line. We're just going to try to do the best we can, put the guys in good position, establish a culture. But again, I had great conversations with these men that are sitting in the front of the room. I have a lot of confidence in the conversations that we had. Where we are, what happens, I'm just trying to get back to my office as quick as I can here to get going and start hiring people.
Q: Which coaches that you've coached under have influenced you and shaped your coaching philosophy?
A: All of them. I think even to this day after doing it for 21 years. Obviously, I was hired by Bill (Belichick) in 2000. He gave me 15 grand to work however many hours there is in a week, that was pretty much all of them, but an invaluable experience. I did that for six or seven years, moved on, worked under guys like (Former NFL Head Coach) Tony Sparano – God rest his soul – (Former NFL Head Coach) Romeo (Crennel), (Former NFL Head Coach) Eric (Mangini), all these guys and then here the last four years with Sean. You take a lot of stuff, right? You would be unwise if you didn't do that. You sit there and you watch, you learn, you ask questions, not just on scheme but how they're doing with problem players, what are issues in the building, all these different things. I think the older you get, the wider scope you have. When you're younger, you're just trying to survive a little bit. Again, all those guys – Nick at Alabama, two years at Michigan State, but the thing that I've learned in my 21 years, and I'd say more these past four or five years is just be true to yourself and be true to the players and the people that you work with because they'll see right through you if you're not. I think that's critical, is to be yourself. I can go on and on about the coaches that I've learned from and I'm obviously grateful and humble that I had an opportunity to work for them, but I'm going to be me and take bits and pieces, but what you see is what you get.
Q: Most of the talk has centered around Daniel Jones. What about the rest of the roster? For one reason or the other, some of it being injuries, a lot of guys have been unable to live up to expectations. Can you elevate some of these guys that are currently on the roster now?
A: Yeah, well that's our job. We're going to do the very best we can do to allow them to be the best versions of themselves. Not just on the field with scheme and things like that, how we teach, what we do in the training room, the video guys helping out, the support staff, the extra players we're going to bring in for competition. That's our job. Our job is to allow these guys to try to be the best versions of themselves and make it highly competitive. They'll end up deciding whether or not they're going to help us or not based on their performance, how they act on the field, off the field, the things that we're going to ask them to do.
This is going great, my four-year-old fell asleep, he did not listen to one word I said (laughs).
Q: You said a few times that being yourself is a formula that works, but as a first-time head coach, when you've worked for two of the greatest coaches of all time, is that easier said than done not trying to be like Bill or like Nick Saban in your first job?
A: Well, I'm comfortable in my own skin. Look, I don't have all the answers. There's going to be some things that come up that I'm going to have to lean on a lot of people – Joe, the support staff, the coaches. But my personality and how I treat people and my expectations and values, I hold those true to my heart. I was raised by two grandparents, old school, I lost both of them this year. That's who I lean on. My formative years, 20 something years of – look my grandmother is harder than Bill or Nick could ever be. So, you talk about you lose a game and you want to hear all the people talking, she got me ready for this the best I can.
Q: Your predecessor talked a lot about building a winning culture and there are players in this building who have only had the past two coaching staffs. They haven't done a lot of winning. What's the biggest challenge for you to get these guys to buy in and teach them how to win again?
A: I just think build relationships, work together. Again, the type of people we're going to bring in, coaching staff, support staff, Joe, it's a collaborative effort. You have to have honest conversations, truthful conversations, and you're not going to gain trust from a player, I'm not going to sit there and gain any trust from those guys back there by saying, 'Hey, you've got to trust me.' I think if you have good integrity, if you have good loyalty, I think that leads to trust, which is a foundational pillar for any successful organization, regardless if it's football or anywhere else. Trust leads to respect and then respect leads to accountability, which is what we all want to be to one another when you're working for a common goal.
Q: I'm going to go back to the Josh and Daniel Jones thing. I'm curious when you look at that from afar, how similar or different do you see the challenge of getting Daniel right and moving that forward compared to what you dealt with when you came in and you had Josh?
A: I don't know that answer. Four years ago with Josh, we started together, we had consistency, we had consistency in scheme, we had consistency with the coaches, and it took time to build. It didn't happen overnight. I wouldn't do that to Daniel or really any other player, I think that's unfair. I want to get to really know Daniel first and see what makes him tick and then we'll take it one day at a time. I know he's really willing, but to compare where Josh is or Daniel, I don't think that's fair to do to either one of those guys.
Q: You talk about trust a lot and a lot of your former players came out and said how much they trust you, forget about as a coach, but as a man. How important is that for you and how did you establish that with your players?
A: Well, I just try to be me. That's all I try to do. Again, I care about my guys. A coach a while back told me players don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. I care about them. I care about their families. I want to see them do well. I want to see them earn new contracts and make money. I genuinely care about those guys. You're in this building with the support staff and your coaches more than you are with your family and then the players throughout those six months. There's got to be a mutual respect and I think if they know you care about them, genuinely care about them, not what you can do for me, and I know this is a results business, I got it. But to me, it's a relationship business and it's important that not just the players, but everyone else in the building can work together in a trusting manner. I think I just care about them. I think they feel that. I do a lot of FaceTiming with those guys. We have them over for dinner, my family, my wife. They knew I'd do anything for those guys. At the end of the day, we know we're in a results business, so that's what it's going to come down to.
Q: We talked about Daniel (Jones), there's another pretty big superstar here on offense, (Running Back) Saquon Barkley. Curious what your thoughts are on him from afar? You were probably a part of scouting him for the draft. What have you seen from him as a player and just your overall thought? I know you've had rotational backfields, you've had bell cows like (Former Running Back) Jamaal Charles. What are your thoughts on the running back position?
A: Well, first of all, I got to meet him, and he was another one of the players that reached out and called. He was with one of my former players the other night, (Bills Wide Receiver) Gabe Davis, and they reached out to me. Look, he's a talented player that was selected high in the draft. He came out of a good school, Penn State. My son is a coaching assistant at Penn State, so I try to get all the scoop I can on them. Not a bad word about the young man. Obviously talented and we'll try to use his skill set the best we can.
President and CEO John Mara
Q: Now that you've got your staff assembled, what do you think of the group?
A: Well, we don't have staff assembled yet. We've got the head coach and the general manager. They've got to assemble the rest of the staff, but they're off to a good start. Their communication is very natural, and they like each other. They know each other's philosophies. They have a similar vision going forward, so I think we're off to a good start with both of these guys.
Q: We know about the ability of (Head Coach Brian) Daboll as an offensive coordinator, but what do you think of him as a man, a leader, a communicator?
A: Well, I think you saw a little bit of that in that press conference there. He's very genuine, down to earth. He believes in having relationships with people and he's a people person and I think he's going to fit very well in the building. I think he's very inspirational, too. I think he'll get the guys to perform to the best of their abilities.
Q: This is obviously the second straight time you've hired a (Patriots Head Coach) Bill Belichick disciple. They haven't a lot of success as NFL head coaches. What makes you think that Brian will be different?
A: Well, I think his background, his ability to work with (General Manager) Joe (Schoen). I think what he did with (Bills Quarterback) Josh Allen and that entire Buffalo offense. I think his presence, which I think you saw as he was up on that stage. I think all those things combine to give him the best chance at having success. Obviously, you never know until they get in and they start playing games and stuff, but we like what we've seen so far.
Q: You brought up the Josh Allen piece right there, his ability to work with him. How much was that sort of the differentiator with him or did that kind of play into your thinking?
A: It was a factor, for sure. That's his job here. We have a quarterback that we have a lot of confidence in, who has had some issues here, mostly due to the way we've handled him. A big part of Brian's job is going to be to try to get the most out of (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) and put us in a position where we can make a fair evaluation of him. We haven't been able to do that so far because of the way we've handled him.
Q: Do you believe you've given the fans reason to hope and reason to believe that there's good things ahead?
A: I think so, but that only lasts until we start playing games, but the reaction obviously has been positive so far, but that only goes so far. I think we're off to a good start, but that'll go away quickly if we don't get off to a good start during the season. I think we've got the right guys in place now and it's up to us to make it work.
Q: Does it put you at ease knowing that they've had a past relationship the past four years and even going back to 2011?
A: It certainly was a factor, yes. You have to have a general manager and a head coach that can communicate with one another, that respect one another and that are going to collaborate on all of the important decisions of the day. I have a lot of confidence that that will be the case with these two.
Q: I know you thought that maybe (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Patrick Graham would leave after last year and you valued him. The fact that he likely will be back, how important is that to you?
A: That's very important. He's very well-respected in this building. The players have a lot of respect for him, as do I. He's a terrific defensive coordinator. Look, for his own sake, I hope he gets a head coaching job. As Brian said, selfishly, we'd be very happy if he stayed.
Q: How much pressure is it for you guys to get this right, both general manager and head coach, and turn this situation around?
A: I feel a lot of pressure to do that. I always feel pressure going into every season and given our recent history, probably more so than ever do I feel that right now. I think we have the right guys in place. Now, we just have to give them the resources to let them do their jobs.
Q: Why do you think the Bills' rebuild was so successful so quickly and what are you hoping that Joe and Brian can do?
A: I think they have the right combination of a head coach and a general manager, and they made the right selection at quarterback. I think we have the right combination of head coach and general manager. I also think we have the right quarterback, and hopefully they'll be able to get the most out of him.
Q: In your approach to hiring Daboll, what stood out about him that maybe was different than your last few hires or really convinced you that he could be the person to change things?
A: I think you saw a little bit of that during the press conference. He's very down to earth, natural, gets along with people, believes in building relationships. I think he had a great vision for where he wants to take us and I think the fact that he and Joe, first off, are comfortable together, have similar philosophies. I think that's probably what sold us.
Q: Where do you view your program right now? You have a four-win season, tough cap situation. Do you have to tear it down or can you turn it around quick?
A: We're in last place. There's no place to go but up.
Q: We've asked you a lot about Daniel Jones as he relates to Brian and to Joe. We haven't asked about his health yet. Are you convinced he will be healthy enough to play next year and in camp and all the rest of it?
A: Yeah, so our medical people are very confident that the neck injury will be a non-factor.
Q: Can Brian Daboll succeed here if Daniel does not? In other words, if he tries to work with him and it doesn't pan out, is there still patience and intent on building something long-term past Daniel with Brian?
A: I would say yes. Daniel will get a chance next year and we'll hopefully be able to get a fair evaluation of him and if it doesn't work out, we'll go to plan B. But we have a lot of confidence that it will work out.
Q: In retrospect, you went through all the interviews. Last time we talked to you was before (Former Dolphins Head Coach) Brian Flores. How much did the friction with Brian and (Dolphins General Manager) Chris Grier play into why you didn't hire him?
A: Well, listen, we had (six) terrific candidates and any one of whom I probably would have been comfortable with at the end of the day. I think what Brian (Daboll) has been able to accomplish up in Buffalo and Brian's track record with Joe and their level of comfort with one another, I think that's what tipped the scales at the end of the day.
Q: We've heard a lot about culture the last two years. How close are those cultures to each other? How much overhaul has to be done with that?
A: Well, I think I'm going to let them make that determination. I think they both believe that there are a lot of good pieces in the building, on the team, but that we certainly have some shortcomings that we're going to have to address. Fortunately, we have some draft capital that will help us do that, but I'm not looking at this as an overnight turnaround. This is going to be a process and however long it takes is going to be up to them.
Q: As you walk out of here today, do you walk out of here with your chest pumped out? Do you feel good about the future of this franchise?
A: I'm not walking around anywhere with my chest pumped out after the last few seasons we've had, but I do feel good about the future of the franchise, yes.
Q: You mentioned Brian's offensive background with Josh (Allen). Why only one offensive coordinator among all the candidates? Everybody else was defensive minded.
A: I don't think we were focused on offensive coordinator per se. We just wanted to get the best person for the job. I think Brian has a lot of qualities that you look for. He has a certain presence about him. He has the leadership skills, people like working with him, his players revere him. So, I think those are the factors. Obviously, the fact that our offense is so challenged right now, I think he brings a certain skillset that will help us.
Q: How varied were the opinions on Daniel? You seem pretty sold that 'OK, we can get this right with Daniel Jones.' Did you get dissenting opinions to that? Did you get people who were not so sure on it?
A: I think we did (nine) general manager interviews and (six) head coach interviews, and every single interview was positive about Daniel. Now, they're not willing to say that they think he's going to be the next (Chiefs Quarterback) Patrick Mahomes or anything like that, but they were excited about the potential he has and the possibility of working with him. That, to me, was reassuring because that's the way we feel as well.
Q: When you have a candidate who has never been a head coach, never had the opportunity to command an entire team or room, as an owner, how difficult is it to ascertain that he can do that job?
A: It's the most difficult decision by far that you ever make in this business because you just don't know. You have to try to get to know the individual as best you can, talk to the people they've worked with, try to get an understanding as to whether there's a presence and the leadership skills and the knowledge of X's and O's and then you make your choice and then you live with it. You don't know until they actually start getting in the building and start building the program.
Q: People around the league say Brian's a really nice guy. Was there ever a concern that he's too nice of a guy to have this kind of opportunity?
A: No, I don't think that's a concern. I think he can be tough when he needs to be tough. That's what we found out about him and certainly Joe has had the experience with him in Buffalo and has seen his command of the room. I think that's something we're very comfortable with.
Q: It seems like you guys haven't had a coach with quite his personality, someone who's as relaxed or as colorful. In the interview process, was that a factor at all?
A: It certainly made him likeable right from the beginning. I don't know that I'd say we've never had a coach with that type of personality, but he seems like somebody that will be very easy to work with in the building, that people will respond to and want to work with. That was certainly something we took notice of right away.
Q: Would you be surprised if Daniel Jones is not your Week 1 starter in 2022?
A: Because I would be very surprised.
Q: You mentioned last time we talked to you that the coach and the GM still had to do a full evaluation before you committed to him, but now it sounds like you're fully committed to him. Why is that?
A: They're going to make the final determination. You're asking me, 'Would I be surprised if he's not the starter?' Yes, I'll be surprised if he's not the starter.
Q: Was it disappointing or did it catch you off-guard when (Cowboys Defensive Coordinator) Dan Quinn pulled his name out? Would he have been a serious candidate at the end?
A: It was disappointing because he was a serious candidate, but at the end of the day, I'm very happy with Brian Daboll.
Q: Did you reach out to (Former Saints Head Coach) Sean (Payton) at all?
Q: Why not?
A: He's under contract with another team.
Q: For you personally, I know you wanted to get this turned around yesterday if you had your druthers, so how hard is it going to be for you to be patient because this is a process?
A: It's going to be hard, but I'm going to have to force myself to do it. I've run out of patience over the last few years, but I also understand that this is a long-term project. This is not an overnight thing. I think last season verified that.
Q: You and Joe both used the word 'resources.' What does that mean in terms of what you're going to do to help?
A: If they want to make changes in the building, get different equipment in here, do something, whatever they need to do. Whenever I get asked about anything like that, my response is, 'is it going to help us win? Tell me it's going to help us win and you have it.' That's what they're talking about.
Q: Would staff fall into that?
A: Staff as well.
Q: In the last three weeks, you've hired a GM and a coach. Do you feel like you can finally rest now or how do you feel?
A: Well, not really. We still have to hire the rest of the staff and they're busy working on that right now and then we're going to have to make some very difficult decisions, or I should say they're going to have to make some very difficult decisions on getting us under the cap and putting us in a position where we're going to be in a healthy cap situation going forward. And then we have the draft coming up, so no, there's no rest. I'm not going to rest until we start winning games.
General Manager Joe Schoen
Q: I saw you mentioned the other day that you want to clear $40 million in cap space. Obviously, this team is in a tough spot cap-wise. How hard will that be to do that taking on all that dead money? What's the needle with the thread there?
A: Again, we're going to get into that here shortly now that (Head Coach) Brian (Daboll) is in place. We're going to talk to the support staff that was here. Again, Brian talked about the type of players we're going to bring in the building, so we're going to evaluate them not only on the field but off the field. Again, there's going to be difficult decisions that we may have to make, but there are certain rules we have to follow, and we've got to be under the salary cap. Where we are right now – again, we're going to get into all that once the coaches are here. What are they looking at scheme-wise? What do we want the players to do? Then, make those decisions.
Q: (Vice President of Football Operations/Assistant General Manager) Kevin Abrams has been the cap guy here. How much will you lean on him and will he be staying in that role?
A: Kevin's been really good. I've been here for eight, nine days and just going through the process of sending in consents for coaches, notifications, if we're moving on from people, just getting the feel for the building. He's been a tremendous resource for me. I will continue to lean on him. Again, he and (Director of Football Operations) Ed Triggs do a really good job in their roles and I look forward to continuing working with both of those guys.
Q: So, you expect Kevin (Abrams) to stay?
A: Oh, yeah. Yes.
Q: You and (Head Coach) Brian (Daboll) obviously know each other, but how do your personalities and philosophies kind of contrast and complement each other?
A: I think I agree with a lot of what Brian said up there, most of it in terms of being a people person, like treat people with respect, communicate with everybody throughout the building. We're going to have a clear plan for what we want the team to be, how we're going to attack it, and see that plan through. Both of us, our ability to communicate with each other. Obviously, there's a previous relationship there, his office was five or six down from mine and I also worked with him in Miami. Brian's always been a guy that's been easy to communicate with and then we're aligned in how we'd like to build the team and the staff and what we want the building to look like.
Q: You obviously have the relationship with Brian. I'm curious when you first met him or through the course of your relationship, was there a moment that you could think of when you said that he's a guy that I could see running this whole thing through the years of when you were progressing?
A: That's a good question. Just watching his work with (Bills Quarterback) Josh (Allen), not only when we drafted Josh and then where Josh is now, but through the quarterback process. When we were looking for a quarterback, he came up with a process to evaluate all the quarterbacks, whether it was in person, the private workouts, whatever it may be. Just seeing his ability, his intellect, he's very smart, he's sharp. When he came up with that process, we saw it through and then what he did after we took Josh and the plan that he put in place. I always admired him as a coach. I can't say I ever said, 'Man, if I'm ever a general manager, he's going to be a head coach,' but our ability to communicate over time and what he's done with the offense in Buffalo is impressive. He also started on the defensive side of the ball, so he's coached both sides of the ball, which I think is important for a head coaching candidate.
Q: Brian confirmed that (Defensive Coordinator) Patrick Graham is staying. What was the appeal to you with him, with Patrick?
A: Yeah, if he doesn't get the Minnesota job. I think he's still in the mix. Last I'd heard he's in the mix for that. I'll tell you what, I didn't know Patrick Graham and we interviewed him for this head coaching job, I did my research on him and there's a lot of positive feedback throughout the league, not only in the building but around the league on Patrick. He had been at Note Dame, he had been at New England, Green Bay, Miami. Just spending three hours with him in an interview setting, he's passionate, very high football acumen, he got me fired up in the interview. He did a really good job, so if he gets that Minnesota job, that's great for him. Selfishly, I would love to keep him here because I'm fired up to work with him because I think he's a good ball coach.
Q: Isn't that a big difference though? If he leaves you would have a new system personnel-wise. Wouldn't that be a massive change, or would you like to kind of stay in that lane with where you were and what he kind of has brought here in the first place?
A: We'll cross that. I mean, if he's not here, then we'll have to look at the candidates. Again, no different than the offensive coordinator, 'Hey, these are the pieces here. Let's develop the best offense we can around these pieces that we have in place.' We would likely do the same thing if Patrick gets that job – again, I'm happy for him. That would be a great opportunity – then we would have to look for other defensive coordinator candidates and look at the pieces and 'Hey, do you want to be a 3-4? You want to be a 4-3? What do you want it to look like?' We're going to leave it up to the defensive coordinator.
Q: That was the first time you and ownership have had to work together through a quick turnaround after you getting hired. There were reports that Brian Flores might have been higher on ownership's list. How did you guys work through this process?
A: I don't know if I'm not very good at this or not, but every guy we interviewed I was like, 'Man, that guy was good. He's a good candidate.' We did a lot of research on all the candidates and I think some of it for me was, 'Hey, somebody with previous head coaching experience,' that was very attractive to me initially as a first-time GM. Somebody that's been through it, had experience, they know where the pitfalls are, they've already made mistakes, so you avoid some of that. Again, we cast a wide net. We were interested in all of those candidates and at the end of the day, as a group, we felt Brian Daboll was best for the New York Giants.
Q: How important was the offensive side of the ball versus defensive when you selected the coach?
A: I was looking for the best head football coach. Like I said, those guys that had previous head coaching experience – (Cowboys Defensive Coordinator) Dan Quinn, (Bills Defensive Coordinator) Leslie Frazier, and (Brian) Flores were all previous head coaches on the defensive side of the ball and I was okay with that because, again, all three of those guys are outstanding football coaches. I wouldn't be surprised –even (Bengals Defensive Coordinator) Lou Anarumo or (Defensive Coordinator) Patrick Graham – that the entire group will eventually be a head coach again. That wouldn't surprise me a bit.
Q: To follow up on Kevin Abrams, will he continue to be the Assistant GM, the right-hand man or could he be retained in a different role and you bring in another guy to be Assistant GM?
A: We've had conversations about that and Kevin's very humble and selfless. If for some reason we decide that we need that Assistant GM title to get somebody up, he's offered that up. We haven't crossed that bridge. Again, I'm going to continue to assess everybody in the entire organization before I make any decisions on moving on or changing titles. Kevin's been an outstanding resource for me thus far. He's very smart, he knows the league, he knows the rules, he knows the ins and outs. The biggest thing for me is while we're trying to find assistant coaches or I'm trying to find my scouting staff to know that the operations part is taken care of and I can give Kevin something and he can run with it because he's done it. He's got contacts in the league, he's got agent relationships, so I've been very impressed with Kevin thus far.
Q: In the past, how much have you gotten experience to work with Brian as far as personnel and his knowledge of personnel? Some coach's kind of struggle when they try to cross over into how good of a player is this guy versus you providing the player and him fitting him into the system? Do you plan on having those conversations with him going forward and leaning on him for evaluations of players?
A: For sure. From the first time I met Brian when he was with the Dolphins, I was a national scout. He came in as an offensive coordinator and he had a very clear plan for what he wanted. Charles Clay was a sixth-round pick we took because Brian defined, 'Hey, I want a guy that can play fullback, that can be a pass-catcher out of the backfield, that can play tight end and maybe run the ball, too.' I'm like, that's Jim Brown, we can't find Jim Brown. But we ended up taking Charles Clay in the sixth round because of the vision that Brian had for that type of player and he had a lot of success. (Bills Wide Receiver) Gabe Davis we took two years ago in the fourth round. He just had a heck of a game in that playoff game – over 200 yards, four touchdowns. Brian said, 'Hey, I need somebody that can play all four receiver spots that's smart, tough, and dependable,' clearly defined what he looked for and in the fourth round, there's that guy that checked all those boxes. He's done a really good job every staff I've been on clearly defining what he wants and that makes it so much easier for the personnel staff to go find those players and identify them. Again, when the value meets where we see them, you have a lot of success when you do that.
Q: Whether or not (Quarterback) Daniel Jones pans out or not as a franchise quarterback, would you agree that you're hiring Brian to help you build something long-term no matter who your quarterback ends up being three, four, five years from now?
A: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. It wasn't just Brian's ability to work with quarterbacks. Again, it's all those things that he talked about, his leadership, his ability to bring a staff together, develop those underneath him, his relationship with the players. We're going to try and build a team and a strong foundation right off the bat and a team that can sustain success over time. That's the ultimate goal. Obviously, the quarterback position is important, but the overarching head coach, I think Brian Daboll can do all that.
Q: Do you have a preference as to whether or not Brian as a first-time head coach ends up calling the plays and running the offense?
A: I'm not going to rule that out if he is or isn't. We don't have an offensive coordinator. If for some reason he had to – ideally, he doesn't. I would prefer he manages the game. But, again, as we're still interviewing offensive coordinator candidates, we're going to wait and see how that plays out. Ideally, the offensive coordinator calls the plays, but, again, I'm not going to say that's set in stone because we're going to let Brian make that decision.
Q: Would you be cool hiring an OC who has never called a play? I won't mention (Bills Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach) Ken Dorsey obviously, but Ken has never called plays. Whoever though, right? Would you be okay slotting that guy in and saying, 'You're calling plays'?
A: I think, again, it goes back to what Brian said, his ability to develop his staff. You're learning from Brian Daboll, who's had a lot of success and been around the league and coached different types of players. If I'm an offensive coordinator and I can learn from Brian Daboll, I'd be really excited, but I think that's what makes Brian so good, his ability to develop his coaches young or old if they've called plays or not. Again, when I talked about us going on that quarterback tour and the process he put in place to find the best quarterback, he's doing the same thing with these offensive coordinators. It's starting with Zoom and then we're going to bring some candidates in. He's already talked to me about his process and what he's going to put them through when they get here. It's got to be a fit with what we want to do as an organization. Personality-wise, it's got to be a fit. That's going to be very important for us. Then, obviously, the football acumen.
Q: You've seen Brian do a great job leading a unit, but you obviously have never seen him lead an entire team. What specific thing or things did he do that allowed you to believe? (President and Chief Executive Officer) John Mara just said that's the toughest thing to ascertain, whether or not a first-time head coach can do the job. Why can he do that job in your opinion?
A: I think if you asked our defensive players back in Buffalo or even when he was in Miami, he's a personable guy. He's not just walking around on the offensive side of the ball talking to (Bills Wide Receiver) Stefon Diggs and Josh Allen and (Bills Running Back) Devin Singletary. He's working the whole team and there's mutual respect. You saw his personality, that's who he is. He can joke around, he can communicate with anybody on the team, whether it's the 90th man or the best player on the team and he truly cares about the players and how they are as human beings and wants the best for them. I think that's not only going to make the team better, I think it's going to make the entire building and the organization better.