Brian Daboll Joe Schoen
The Record

The honeymoon was good to Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen.

The introductory press conferences, signing a few linemen, drafting Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal, firing Chris Pettit, a feel-good offseason program. They nailed all the layups. But the easy stuff is behind them. Now they fully grapple with the breadth of their undertaking.

The Giants are going to be bad again as they mount yet another attempt to climb back up the mountain.

Daboll’s bad team.

Schoen’s bad team.


The true fault lies with former general manager Dave Gettleman, of course. But he has “retired” to Cape Cod. Daboll and Schoen are the names are on the ledger. You are what your record says you are. It may be plenty ugly come mid-January. Which could complicate things more than you would think given recent history.

It sounds ridiculous. It is ridiculous. But if the Giants finish with a losing record this season — and they most certainly will — you have to proceed as if Daboll’s seat has some level of warmth entering 2023. Same with Schoen given they are tied at the hip.

Talk about another brick on an already-heavy load.

The roster is bad, the salary cap situation is horrid, the quarterback is a lame duck. Everything screams for patience and the multi-year rebuild that should have happened in 2017. And, to be fair to the Giants, that does seem to be the plan. But it’s hard to have faith the space to execute it will be provided. Which makes things even more difficult for Daboll and Schoen if they don’t continue to ace everything.

John Mara and Steve Tisch have fired three consecutive coaches after just two seasons (or less). Ben McAdoo, Pat Shurmur and Joe Judge earned pink slips on their own merits. Ownership also disregarded extenuating circumstances that could have garnered them grace.

McAdoo was canned in-season despite having a playoff berth under his belt — the Giants’ only one in the last 10 years. Shurmur lost his job after just 13 games with Daniel Jones, the supposed future of the franchise. Judge got the boot after muddling through the NFL’s pandemic years while handcuffed to Gettleman. And while Shurmur was a horrid hire from Day 1, McAdoo and Judge showed signs of promise before the avalanche consumed them.

Daboll and Schoen clearly don’t believe they must win immediately. They wouldn’t be giving Jones one last chance and they wouldn’t have dumped James Bradberry and Logan Ryan for no return if they did. But look at the roster. Then look at the schedule.

This may be another four- or five- or six-win season. Or worse. That will mean a new quarterback, but Shurmur proved that does not guarantee Year 3. The Giants could surprise this fall. But so did Judge’s first team, and look what that got him. Playoffs? Ask McAdoo how fleeting that achievement can be.

To be clear: Daboll and Schoen have done everything right since they got here. Mara has said all the right things about getting out of their way. Fans have ample reasons to finally be optimistic about the direction of their team. There is no reason not to believe they have what it takes.

But the Giants lost the benefit of the doubt a long time ago. The cycle of incompetence cranks until broken with actions, not words. And it can spin out of control much faster than anyone expects if allowed to continue. Daboll and Schoen signed up to end the madness. So far, so good. But now the work really starts.

James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.