The New York Giants finished the 2022 season with a 10-8-1 record (9-7-1 regular season) and qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2016.
Many things changed this season and the Giants are heading into the future in much better shape than expected at this time.
Here are seven takeaways from this season.
John Mara finally let go
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One of the main issues with the Giants over the past decade or so was the omnipresence of the ownership group over the front office and the day-to-day operations.
There were too many cooks in the kitchen when it came to personnel decisions. That model was failing them. Ownership was micromanaging, which is an old-school, mom-and-pop approach.
Kudos to co-owner John Mara for stepping back and hiring Buffalo Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen to restructure the organization.
Schoen then hired Brian Daboll to be the head coach, who then brought in Wink Martindale to run the defense, and Mike Kafka to be his offensive coordinator.
The Giants finally embraced the 21st Century NFL.
Changing the culture
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Daboll’s ‘can-do’ attitude and connection with the players and his staff were infectious. Schoen’s presence was also welcomed. They were a breath of fresh air after years of Dave Gettleman at the helm.
In recent years, there was no direction and the Giants had fallen into a losing culture. They forgot how to win football games.
Daboll regained the winning ways by rolling the dice, empowering the players, and showing confidence in their abilities. His in-game strategic moves were also a welcome change.
He showed the Giants what it was like to win. Now all they need to do is build on that.
Go with what works
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The Giants’ roster was limited thanks to a negative balance in the salary cap and some poor development of players by the previous regimes.
What the Giants had was a star running back in Saquon Barkley and a quarterback who could move in Daniel Jones.
Daboll and Kafka put the two to work. The Giants became a rushing team — and a successful one at that — finishing the regular season with a 148.2 yards per game average on the ground, which was fourth-best in the NFL.
Of course, that can change in the coming seasons, but the coaches saw their strength and utilized it well.
The least of the East
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The Giants won 10 games (including playoffs) in 2022 but most of those wins were against teams outside of the NFC East.
They were 10-8-1 on the season but only 1-5-1 against teams in their division, going 0-2 against Dallas, 1-1 versus Washington and 0-3 in games against Philadelphia.
If they are to make their way back into the NFC power structure, they must play better within the division. They can’t live life as a perennial Wild Card.
They played five of their last six games of the season on the road. That’s a tough way to live.
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Schoen and his people are apparently pretty good at evaluating talent. Sounds silly, because that’s what they get paid to do. But when you look at the players they brought in, most of them panned out.
The draft thus far has been a success. Top pick Kayvon Thibodeaux has the potential to become an elite pass rusher. Right tackle Evan Neal, the team’s other first-round pick, has the element that can’t be taught (size) and there’s hope he can be a success story.
The rest of the draft has many promising players as well: wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson, tight end Daniel Bellinger, and safety Dane Belton among others.
Then there were the late summer and in-season pickups: wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins, cornerback Fabian Moreau, and safety Jason Pinnock were all critical adds.
Jones is the man
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The Giants declined quarterback Daniel Jones’ fifth-year option in May which made this season a ‘make-or-break’ one for him. They basically rolled the dice on Jones to see if he had what it took to be a franchise quarterback.
Jones did everything asked of him and succeeded despite having a limited group of weapons to work with and a revolving-door offensive line in front of him.
The Giants plan on keeping Jones and will begin to work out a contract extension with him. In the interim, they plan to use the franchise tag on him should they not reach an agreement before the NFL business year ends in March.
There's still a long way to go
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The Giants had a nice run this season and even won a playoff game, but got a quick lesson on how far they still have to go when they got spanked by the Eagles in the Divisional round.
Philadelphia is the model franchise at the moment. Every move general manager Howie Roseman makes seems to make is a winner. His trade for Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown put the Eagles over the top and got Titans’ GM Jon Robinson fired.
Philly has Pro Bowlers in practically every unit on their roster. The Giants see this and want to get to that level.
Schoen is way ahead on this, however. Before the season, he hired Eagles Director of Player Personnel Brandon Brown to be his assistant general manager this season.