Connect with us


GREG JOHNSON: Giants’ Brian Daboll sounds like QB guru on second ‘Hard Knocks’ episode



GREG JOHNSON: Giants’ Brian Daboll sounds like QB guru on second ‘Hard Knocks’ episode

Giants assistant general manager Brandon Brown playfully referred to the NFL Scouting Combine as the “underwear Olympics” during the second episode of ‘Hard Knocks: Offseason with the New York Giants,’ and that’s what fans are accustomed to seeing on ordinary programming.

But what Tuesday night’s episode shed light on was the interview process between prospects and the Giants’ front office.

Since the Giants strongly considered taking a quarterback with the No. 6 pick or trading up, they conducted interviews with many prospects including No. 1 pick Caleb Williams, No. 2 pick Jayden Daniels, No. 3 pick Drake Maye and No. 10 pick J.J. McCarthy. That naturally meant head coach Brian Daboll, a former offensive coordinator, would have a bigger spotlight in this episode.

Daboll sure sounded like he has a “PhD in quarterbacks,” as HBO’s Liev Schreiber stated, while at the forefront of those meetings. Daboll had the quarterbacks draw up passing plays and repeat terminology back to him. Then he broke down formations and protections.

While discussing the offensive and defensive schemes on a play with Williams, Daboll further showed his wealth of knowledge when he made a comparison to his days coaching Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre with the Jets.

Daboll also took interest in the quarterbacks’ personalities. For example, he asked Daniels how he would handle potentially struggling in his first three NFL games as a Giant in a big media market.

“There is a 40 time and a vertical jump and all those things, but you’ve got to get down to, what’s the competitive stamina of the individual, the personality that he has, the commitment to the team?” Daboll said while being interviewed by HBO. “Those are hard things to measure by numbers.”

Daboll’s enthusiasm during interviews continued with wide receivers such as Malik Nabers, whom the Giants ultimately drafted.

Fans got a deeper feel for the LSU product’s human side. Nabers said, “I hate losing more than I love winning” and then, most notably, gave a refreshingly honest answer to how he handles not being involved early in a game by stating, “I handle it pretty tough.”

Clearly the Giants were enamored with Nabers’ competitiveness, which complemented his impressive game tape. Daboll told general manager Joe Schoen that the 6-foot, 200-pounder is “a baller.” That made him the No. 6 pick over Washington’s Rome Odunze.

Of course, the lingering question is whether Daboll can use his quarterback prowess to help Daniel Jones improve and be more consistent this season. Until the Giants figure out that position, the Nabers investment is unlikely to bear much fruit.

Quick Hits

• Schoen made a genuine attempt to negotiate with the Patriots for the third overall pick — presumably to take a quarterback — when he sought out Eliot Wolf and told the Patriots executive to call him if he had any inkling to move out of the third spot.

Multiple teams were interested in trading with New England, but the Patriots stood pat and selected Maye with the third pick. Still, it was another sign that the Giants remain unsold on Jones’ long-term prospects with the franchise.

• It goes without saying that public relations departments prepare teams to handle questions from the media, but it was interesting to see senior director of football communications Dion Dargin talk with Schoen at the combine.

Dargin asked how Schoen would respond to inquiries about running back Saquon Barkley not wanting to be franchise-tagged, safety Xavier McKinney sounding off on social media, and rumors of the Giants wanting to trade up for a quarterback. Talking points from that discussion translated directly to Schoen’s press conference with national media.

• The episode ended with Schoen making calls to Barkley’s agent, Ed Berry, and then Barkley with only eight days until the start of free agency. Schoen’s message was that he preferred Barkley determine his value on the market and then allow the Giants to counter with a fair offer since Barkley previously expressed his desire to be a Giant for life.

Barkley sounded monotone and pessimistic but nevertheless agreed to circle back to the Giants. We don’t yet know if that actually happened since he signed with the Eagles on the first day of free agency. Either way, his $37.5 million deal with Philadelphia was more than the Giants ever offered. Schoen told Berry that it had to be for the “right value” with the Giants and “the data it is what it is,” in terms of future production for a running back who just turned 27.

Greg is reviewing each episode of ‘Hard Knocks’ throughout July. For more Giants coverage, follow him on X @gregp_j. Reach him at

Continue Reading