Managing Editor, Giants.com
At his introductory press conference, general manager Joe Schoen said the biggest thing he learned in Buffalo was getting “the right people in the right seats.”
On Friday night, the Giants put Brian Daboll in the head coach’s chair.
“I think alignment is very important,” Daboll told Bob Papa in a sit-down interview with Giants.com, his first since being hired from a pool of six candidates who interviewed with the team. “The last few years at the Buffalo Bills I got to see that firsthand with [Bills general manager] Brandon [Beane] and [head coach] Sean [McDermott]. If you put people in a leadership position and make sure that they’re aligned and have a proper plan and then surround them with good people, you have a chance. It’s not easy to win in this league; we all know that. It’s very challenging, but to try to go through and make sure that you’re doing the right thing to put your team in the right position, I think alignment is critical.”
Daboll spent the previous four seasons as the Bills’ offensive coordinator while Schoen served as the team’s assistant general manager. Together, they helped build the Bills into back-to-back AFC East champions.
Now, they hope to achieve the success of the Beane-McDermott tandem.
“I understand the task,” Daboll said. “We have a lot of work to do. It’s not just going to be myself or Joe; we’re going to really collaborate with the people in the building, treat people with respect, try to gain their trust. Once you can do that, everybody is accountable to one another.”
Friday was 21 years in the making for Daboll. He started his NFL coaching career with the New England Patriots as they began their dynastic run. Daboll won five Super Bowls during his 11 years (two stints) in New England and then a national championship as offensive coordinator at the University of Alabama before joining the Bills.
Still, despite all the winning, he knows he doesn’t have all the answers.
“That’s a growth mindset,” Daboll said. “The minute you think you have this league all figured out, it gets you pretty quick. So, being open-minded, listening, learning, I think those are qualities you need to have no matter whether you’re the head coach, coordinator, position coach, a scout, someone that works in the support staff. You don’t have all the answers. I think it’s got to be a collaborative effort; it really is. The whole building matters. Organizations win. You have to have good players, you have to have good coaches, you have to have good support staff, but at the end of the day, everybody’s got to be working together for one common goal. And you listen and you learn from everybody.”
And that’s what he did not only under the greatest coaches in the game, but also two other very important people in his life.
“First and foremost, I’d say my grandparents [are my greatest influences],” said Daboll, who has six children with his wife, Beth. “I know everybody wants to talk about in this business who’s been a mentor, but without them, I wouldn’t be here. I lost both of them during the season this past year, which was tough. Both from Buffalo, so it was good to be with them at the end of their life.”
Daboll added, “I think it’s important to be authentic no matter who it is. You can learn from a lot of different coaches, a lot of different people, but at the end of the day, players and support staff and people are going to see right through you if you’re not authentic. That’s what I try to be.”
Speaking of players, Daboll, who developed quarterback Josh Allen, said he has talked to Daniel Jones and a few others in the building.
“Relationships are foundations here,” Daboll said. “Not just with the quarterback, but I’d say with all the players – getting to know them, what their strengths and weaknesses are but [also] getting to know them outside the building and what makes them tick. Quarterback is a tough position to play, and he’s had a fair amount of coaches here in his first few years and some different schemes. The first thing I wanted to do is get to know him as a person and find out what makes him tick. And then we’ll do everything we can do to put the pieces around him and design an offense that’s suited to his strengths.”
The Giants’ problems, however, extend beyond any one position. Daboll takes over a team that has finished with double-digit losses in each of the past five years and seven of the last eight.
So, what is his vision for the Giants in 2022 and beyond?
“Smart, tough, dependable,” Deboll said. “We’re going to have to do a good job of bringing in the right kind of people. Again, it’s a challenging process to make sure you’re putting together a team that’s going to be competitive week in and week out. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us to do.”
Daboll added, “There’s a lot of things that come across your desk [as head coach] – I’ve learned this in the last couple days – that you won’t expect. Coach [Bill] Parcells always said, hey, it’s five or six things a day. How are you going to react to that? How are you going to lead through that? It’s never going to be perfect, but you do things with a great mindset of trying to get better, trying to learn and trying to treat people the right way. And you work through it together.”
View photos from Brian Daboll’s first days on the job as the new head coach of the Giants.
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Managing Editor, Giants.com