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Transcript: GM Joe Schoen and HC Brian Daboll

Eric from BBI : Admin : 7/26/2023 2:49 pm
Head Coach Brian Daboll and General Manager Joe Schoen

July 26, 2023

Opening statement:

JOE SCHOEN: Good morning, everyone. I hope everyone had a great summer.

Just to get started, I know the hot topics the last couple of weeks. I know obviously (running back) Saquon (Barkley), we engaged in negotiations over a nine-and-a-half-month period. At the end of the day, we couldn’t come to an agreement on a longer-term deal, but we circled back on Monday and fortunately were able to come to an agreement with altering the franchise tag a little bit to get him to camp. We’re ecstatic, fired up that Saquon’s going to be here for the start of camp. So, excited about that.

I’m sure you guys just saw the Andrew Thomas news. So, 24-and-a-half-year-old left tackle that we now have locked up for seven years. So, ecstatic about that as well. With that, I’ll open it up for questions.

Q: How tough is it for you in this role to separate the player from the business side? Is that something you ever get used to?

JOE SCHOEN: There’s a personal side, of course. You get to know these guys throughout a season. They go to work every day. They work hard for you. That is part of it. There’s a human element to it, but at the end of the day, you try to do what’s best for both parties. In this situation, we weren’t able to come to an agreement and that’s okay. I’ve been in this for 23 years and sometimes deals get done, and sometimes they don’t.

Q: Why do you think the deal wasn’t able to get done?

JOE SCHOEN: Why wasn’t it able to get done? Again, we talked for over nine and a half months, and we came to a landing spot, and they came to a landing spot, and we couldn’t bridge the gap. Like I said, that’s okay. Saquon has to do what’s best for him and his family and I respect the hell out of Saquon. I’m never going to tell somebody to do something that they don’t think is right. So, again, I respect Saquon, I admire him, I’m glad he’s here. Again, we weren’t able to get something done long term, but he’s here and, again, I’m fired up that he’s going to be on the field today.

Q: There’s not a lot of history of guys who play on the tag and then sign extensions with that same team. How do you view his (Barkley’s) future here and would you tag him again next year?

JOE SCHOEN: We’re day one of training camp. I appreciate the question, but we’ve been busy the last week or so and we’re going to take it day by day from here on out. We’ve got a team to build, comradery, continuity in all three phases, so, we’re just going to take it day by day from here on out.

Q: To circle back with Saquon a couple days ago, you guys initiated the contact? Did you think it was something that was doable or were you throwing a Hail Mary?

JOE SCHOEN: You don’t spend nine-and-a-half-months on this if you don’t want to get something done. So, as soon as the deadline passed, I called his representative and said, “Okay, that’s all in the past, there is nothing we can do about it; what we can focus on is how to get Saquon here on Tuesday.” That was our main focus for the rest of the time. I commend (agent) Ed Berry and CAA (Creative Artists Agency). Again, a lot of communication back-and-forth and phone calls and spit balling different ideas. Just really excited and glad that we were able to get Saquon here yesterday.

Q: How important was it for you to not forfeit a franchise tag and still have the ability to tag him next year?

JOE SCHOEN: Without getting into specifics, we had a lot of different ideas on the table. At the end of the day, the provisions we had in the place, both parties agreed on. It was something we were both happy about.

Q: When you’re negotiating high-profile deals like this, how do you balance keeping things quiet and manage the message that’s getting down to the locker room? Obviously, things are going to get leaked out here and there. So, how do you balance that?

JOE SCHOEN: Not a lot of negotiations go on for, I mean, this is almost 10 months. So, you’ve got a Combine in between there, you’ve got league meetings... Eventually, all these conversations back-and-forth, some of it gets out and more people find things. So, again, trying to manage the locker room, I was told a long time ago when I started from a player that they don’t get into other people’s business when it has to do with money. I think everyone loves running back Saquon (Barkley). We appreciate him. We love him as a player, as a teammate, and I think everybody’s ecstatic that he’s here.

Q: How concerned were you with the possibility of him missing a large portion of training camp? Because we were getting up that point, so how concerned were you that that was something that could have happened?

JOE SCHOEN: Again, you’re trying to do a negotiation. They never came out and said that to us. So, I was focused on trying to get a deal done. Once we weren’t able to get a longer-term deal done, it was, ‘How can we get him here?’ and we did.

Q: Were you disappointed that you weren’t able to agree to a long-term deal with his team after the 10-month negotiation?

JOE SCHOEN: I’m just glad he’s here. There’s nothing we can do about that. My focus was getting him here on day one and he’s here on day one. We’re fired up about it and can’t wait to get on the field.

Q: Overall, what does this mean to the franchise in your mind to have this done now and to go on with training camp?

JOE SCHOEN: It means a lot. He’s a very good player, he’s a good teammate. He’s somebody we tried hard and long to get a deal done with. We’re a better football team with Saquon here to start training camp.

Q: The reality is he did not get what he wanted. So, you still have to manage and coach him. How do you make sure that feels confident that the Giants still believe he is the future?

JOE SCHOEN: If you know Saquon, you’re not worried about his confidence. I’m not worried about Saquon’s confidence. He’s comfortable here. He’s ready to go, did the conditioning test the other day. He’s a pro, he’s in shape and I wouldn’t expect anything different out of Saquon.

Q: There’s the aspect of worth and appreciation, right? From the side of the Giants, you have to manage the market and the points that go along with the position. On the players’ side, we know that he is appreciated, but then there’s that sense of worth and value and all that other stuff. So, I’m just, Brian, how are you managing the interpersonal aspect of the conversations? Obviously, everyone knows what he can do, but it’s so personal. So, just making sure that he still feels that and there is no residue from that still leaking out in other places, especially if you encounter adversity in the season?

BRIAN DABOLL: Saquon and I have a really good relationship. We have communicated a lot and he’s here, ready to go and excited to be here. And I’m excited that he’s here.

Q: You mentioned there being no lingering feelings. Was that portrayed to you from Saquon and how much conversations have you had with him after the hard negotiations with him personally?

JOE SCHOEN: Listen, he’s here, he’s ready to go. Again, he’s a great teammate, he’s a good football player. He was in great shape when he came here. You guys know the person he is. He’s good. He made a decision—

Q: Have you had a personal conversation with him?

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, absolutely.

Q: How much of a relief is it that you can now focus on football?

BRIAN DABOLL: I’ve been in the league a long time. I’m excited that all of our guys are here. It’s our first day of training camp. We’ve got a long way to go. We’re just going to take it day-by-day and try to get better, whether it’s Saquon, (defensive lineman) Dexter (Lawrence II), (quarterback) Daniel (Jones), (defensive lineman) Leo(nard Williams), (cornerback) Adoree’ (Jackson). Whoever it may be on our roster. We have a bunch of good guys in the locker room. I’m thankful I get to work with them.

Q: You don’t pay the players, but you’re responsible for playing them. The running back market has really tanked. What is your sense of Saquon, the running back market and your value of a running back to your team and your offense?

BRIAN DABOLL: I’m thankful that he’s here. He’s ready to go. It’s the first day of training camp, that’s where my focus is, going out there and having a good practice at 10 o’clock.

Q: Are you a believer in running backs?

BRIAN DABOLL: I’m a believer in all players.

Q: Would you consider this a successful off-season? Locking up Daniel as well as Dexter, in addition to Saquon and now (offensive tackle) Andrew (Thomas)?

JOE SCHOEN: I would echo what Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll) said. We had a plan in the offseason. It’s a long offseason, kind of culminating today with getting Andrew done, which was really important for us. Again, we’ve just got to take it day-by-day. Every year it’s different. Each team is different. We’ve got to develop our chemistry, continuity. All of that stuff is what training camp is for. That’s what this summer is going to be in training camp. Again, every team is different. So, that’s what we’ll work to do over the next 30-some days before our first game.

Q: What makes you confident that the team is better than the team was when you walked off the field in January in Philadelphia?

JOE SCHOEN: We haven’t practiced yet. We haven’t been in pads. We’ve got to go out and the guys have got to work and they’ve got to earn everything. We have created competition at a lot of positions and that will take shape over the next month. We haven’t even had a practice yet, so it’s hard to give any kind of predictions like that yet.

Q: You had two more years of control over Andrew Thomas, so why did it now make sense to make that move?

JOE SCHOEN: Again, there is a history of that. We did it in Buffalo a couple of times. I’m a believer in it. He played at a high level and he’s our type of guy. To get ahead of those things, I think if he’s willing to do a deal, and it was something we were comfortable with, both parties were happy with where we ended up landing.

Q: A year ago, you guys sat in here and talked about that you didn’t know what to expect; it was day one. Have the expectations changed from a year ago? If so, how?

JOE SCHOEN: I actually thought about that this morning. That’s a good question. Last year, these guys hadn’t been in pads, hadn’t been through adversity, hadn’t had a deficit in the fourth quarter… We hadn’t been through a lot of that. So, we understand the grit and make-up of some of the current players that have been here, and then we’ve got a lot of new players that we’ve still got to figure out who they are in difficult times, and adversity, and even when we have success. So, again, I think all of that is going to take shape over the next month-and-a-half.

Q: Coach, how important is core continuity for you when guys get signed and your core guys are still able to remain on this football team?

BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, anytime you can retain good players, as a coach, you're thankful for that. Again, just to go back to Art’s question, every year is a new year. I've said this at the start of OTAs. This is really the first day of the true football season and training camp. We have a long way to go. A lot of things we have to build. We have some new players that, again, until you get into crunch time, you don't know exactly what you have. So, our job is to make sure we coach them to the best of our ability, bring them together, and then let them go out there and compete.

Q: Joe, back in June, it seemed like from Saquon’s end – at least it looked like it – he felt this got personal. How did you guys get from June, where he was clearly frustrated personally, to the point where he signed, and you got back to the business part?

JOE SCHOEN: Again, that was never articulated to me. He never said that to me, that he was frustrated or whatever that was.

Q: Joe, from a macro perspective, I mean, obviously the focus is on the first day of training camp, but just kind of getting back to the running back position here… I’m just curious, from a GM’s perspective or a front-office perspective, how much you think the contract with (49ers running back) Christian McCaffrey at 16 (million) APY (average per year) is also kind of skewing the emotions that’ve been around some of the players and the position? As far as a lot of guys sitting around at a lower number and then kind of seeing what he was able to attain, especially with his history of injuries and things like that, how is it maybe kind of skewing the broader view of compensation around the position?

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, I respect the question. Again, we went through the negotiation with Saquon. I’m happy with the backs that we have going into camp, and I’ll probably just leave it at that.

Q: Brian, what do you want to see from Daniel the next couple of weeks? Have you set a goal for him or a couple of goals? We talked in the spring about him taking the next step, pushing the ball down the field a little bit more, taking some chances. If you were going to set it for him, what do you want to see out of him coming out of camp?

BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, his job is to make good decisions and lead the team down to score points, regardless of a new contract or anything like that. That's his job. So, he has to focus on continual improvement, just like everybody else does. That's what training camp is for, and that's what we'll try to do.

Q: Is there anybody on the PUP list that you’re concerned about maybe more than others?

BRIAN DABOLL: I think they’re all at different spots. They’ve been working hard rehabbing. When they’re ready, they’ll be off PUP.

Q: Is the start of the regular season in jeopardy for any of those guys, or are you talking shorter term?

BRIAN DABOLL: I’m talking day one of training camp right now.

Q: Joe, with the four contracts for Dexter, Daniel, Saquon and Andrew, I think you spent something like 378 million dollars.

JOE SCHOEN: First time for me.

Q: How do you fit it into the cap?

JOE SCHOEN: First and foremost, I’m thankful for ownership, the Mara and Tisch families, that they give us the resources to operate and again, sign and retain our players, and even through free agency, that they give us the resources to succeed. Again, you’re always looking at the short term and then you’re looking at a long-term plan. As we went into the offseason, some of the longer deals that we did, those were longer-term plans based on age, their ability, where they fit, and again, just thankful that we have the resources to do that.

Q: Joe, what’s your message to the fanbase in terms of the commitment that you’ve made to your core players? What do you want them to know about this franchise going forward?

JOE SCHOEN: I would just say as long as Dabs and I are in leadership positions, we're going to do whatever we can that’s best for the franchise in order to pursue championships and find ways to sustain success as often as we can.

Q: Brian, what was your message in your first team meeting with everybody or what’s it going to be?

BRIAN DABOLL: Pretty basic. I'm not a big talker at the first couple days of training camp. There's a lot of anxiety for a lot of these players. I think you lay out clear standards, clear expectations of what you expect in the meeting rooms, in the building, on the practice field and everybody has to has to buy into the program, which we have a lot of good people in our building. Not just players, but support staff, people on the business side, trainers, equipment, they're all involved in that meeting. A lot of it is logistics.

Today was really go out there and compete. There's going to be a lot of mistakes that’ll be made. We're going to try to put you in difficult situations; move on to the next play as quick as you can. Support your teammates. Go out there and play as hard and smart as you can. Again, today is kind of page one of the of the 2023 season. A long way to go, let's just take it day by day and get better each day.

Q: When you took over 18 months ago or whatever it was, was it your goal at the start of year two to have a core of players that you now have for the long term, whether they wound up being here already or were brought in?

JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, I think a lot of those guys earned it off of the way they played in 2022. Evaluating those guys, and they played well, getting to know them as people and how they work, they're pros in every sense of the word. So, after being around for a year, all those guys have earned what they've gotten and look forward for them being here for a long time.

Q: How much does it take off of a general manager’s plate to have those key positions locked up?


Q: Dabs, assuming that it was important to you that Saquon be here from the get-go, why?

BRIAN DABOLL: Because he's a very good player and a good leader for us. As a coach, you want all your players here. I'm thankful that—I think that says a lot about Saquon, too. I have a great amount of respect for him, great amount of appreciation and love for him, and glad he's in the building. I know his teammates are glad, and good day to start out.

Q: Have you addressed with him anything about coming in with a clear head given everything that’s gone on over the weeks and months?

BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I’ve had a lot of conversations with Saquon. None that I’m, with all due respect, going to share. Those are private. But we’re in a good spot.

Q: What’s the plan with handling him on the field? Do you just give him the full workload like normal or do you maybe taper it a little bit?

BRIAN DABOLL: No, I'd think that those are some meetings you have before you leave, not just with Saquon, but your entire team, with sports science, and with the athletic trainers, and try to come up with a schedule and a plan that kind of gets these guys flowing into training camp the right way. So, we have a plan really for every player. They’ll get the amount of reps that they need to get and each day we’ll build off of that.

So, there’s no limitations. We’re going to get ready to play football.

Q: It seemed like the plan last year was to use him more as a receiver and that he would like to be used more as a receiver. Is that something that you’d like to see happen?

BRIAN DABOLL: Look, we have new pieces on offense. We’ll do what we think is best for the offense, like we always do.

Q: Joe, there were reports yesterday that Saquon asked for a trade, you guys shopped him—

JOE SCHOEN: We never—no.

Q: Could you characterize what happened in March?

JOE SCHOEN: We never had a conversation about trading Saquon Barkley. Never.

Q: If a team read those reports and called you about his availability—

JOE SCHOEN: We get calls all the time. We've already gotten them this offseason, whether it's our 10th corner, “Hey, we need a corner,” any of your back-end guys, or one of your top guys. We get those calls all the time. Even in June, we got some of those calls in June. So, teams call all the time just inquiring, “Hey, would you do this? Would you do that?”

No. Not one time.

Q: Dabs, coaches are said to be father figures, and many times, coaches a long time ago talked to players about drinking and drugs and things like that, then it became guns, and now it seems like it’s hazing and gambling. When do you guys find the time to discuss things like that?

BRIAN DABOLL: We try to educate our players every day on a variety of topics. I think the league does a great job of bringing in representatives that are at mandatory meetings that we have discussions about. And plus, we have a great support staff within our organization of experts that even if it might not be a mandated meeting, that I might have another person in the organization stand up in front of the room and address whatever that topic is. I think you're constantly educating these young players. Again, some of them are younger than my kids. Not much older than them. So, I know the conversations that I have with my older sons and my daughter, and we have those with our players, too.

I think caring about them as people is first and foremost. Developing relationships with the people you're with every single day and understanding the things that they have to deal with on a daily basis, and that has evolved since I've been coaching back in ‘97. So, each year is a little bit different. I think you take each individual and talk to them about whatever you need to talk to them about, along with collectively making sure that you're helping them be the best versions of themselves. I tell the coaches and the staff all the time, we're here for one reason, and that's the players. It’s a players’ game, and our job is to help our players be as good as they can be both on and off the field. I think that's important to our organization. It's a standard for us. And that's something that we will always do.

Q: Joe, is there anything you wanted to clarify about any of the reporting because there’s been so much going on the last 10 months? Is there anything that you want to make sure from the Giants side is out there in terms of any of these negotiations?

JOE SCHOEN: No. Saquon and his representatives and the New York Giants, we lived it. So, we’re good, and like I said before, we care about what we think inside these four walls in that building over there. Saquon went through it, and we went through it, and we know where the truth lies, and both parties tried, and I’m at peace with that.
That was kind of painful  
D HOS : 7/26/2023 4:10 pm : link
"Are you a believer in running backs"

no they are a myth like bigfoot. who asked that question.

"I commend (agent) Ed Berry and CAA (Creative Artists Agency)"

That was pretty interesting.

I love the question to Daboll about how to counsel the players about off the field distractions, young person pitfalls.

He didn't answer logistically and I would be very interested to understand how that advice is delivered and by whom. Is it just an ongoing casual thing with all the coaches and other mentors, are there specific meetings, training, seminars, counseling... to what extent is Dr Dani involved, other advisors, ex players like Armstead... Not sure if the team currently has a player development person after Charles Way left.
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