The New York Giants took the football world by surprise last year, going 9-7-1 and winning a playoff game in the first year under the leadership of general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll. However, they aren’t going to take anybody by surprise in 2023, which means the team will need to take another step forward.
Through the early part of the offseason, it’s clear that starting quarterback Daniel Jones is doing everything he can to get his team where it needs to go.
A big component of that is the camaraderie and team chemistry that Jones works to create within the Giants’ locker room.
“You can tell guys are really close around here,” said new addition Darren Waller, “and [Jones] kind of leads that energy.”
One of the most obvious ways that Jones has led an offseason of team-building was by organizing a team workout session in Arizona prior to the start of OTAs.
“It was a lot of fun, man,” explained Waller. “It was like 20-plus guys in a huge house. It was just eating food, playing games, shooting on the court in the back, going out and throwing and running early in the day. It was just an excellent opportunity to get an early head start on what we install here, getting to learn the system a little bit, but also the relationship building, which we feel is most important.”
Jones himself was a little more tepid in his description of the Arizona trip, but he also seemed to come away pleased.
“Yeah, we had a good turnout in Arizona,” Jones admitted. “Just about everybody made it out there. I think that was good for us to spend some time together. We spent some time on the field working out and introducing some stuff.”
However, in addition to organizing the Arizona workout, Jones also impressed his teammates with the way in which he approaches his preparation, even in the off-season.
“I came in the house [in Arizona], and he was getting body work done,” explained Waller. “He was getting his arm ready to throw the next day. It’s just like he’s always got a plan. He’s always working towards something. That’s what I respect about him.”
That ability to lead by example has been consistent for Jones this offseason as he takes on more of a vocal role now that he is locked in as the Giants’ starting quarterback for years to come.
“He’s driven,” said Waller. “He’s one of the hardest workers as far as like coming in early for preparation and staying after for recovery and doing what he needs to do, having a routine, having a plan. I feel like that sets the tone when you know like, okay, this guy that’s stepping in the huddle telling us what we need to do, where we need to go, he’s really out here putting all the work in and then some.”
But even that hard work doesn’t come at the end expense of the Giants enjoying their time on the field and their time with one another.
“He’s got a lot of personality that you really get to see once you get to know him some more,” said Waller. “It’s been fun, man…A lot of jokes. Just having lunch together… He also wants you to have a good time while you do [work].”
That balance between hard work and fun could create a culture that helps take the Giants to another level in 2023.
“I’m excited, I think we all are,” admitted Jones. “But there’s a long way for us to go. For us now, we’re focused on taking a step every day.”
If those steps follow Jones’ lead, then the Giants might be in pretty good shape.