The season is over, “Baggie Day” has come and gone, and now, on the final Football Monday in New York, the Giants’ offseason has begun in earnest.
Right after the former became reality late Saturday night, head coach Brian Daboll left his team with a positive message:
“I told them to keep their heads up. They competed hard,” Daboll said. “It’s a crash landing in the playoffs; anytime you lose it hurts, because of the amount of effort and energy you put into it each week, but when you lose this time of year, it hurts even more. You work extremely hard to get to this point. You're blessed to get to this point. It's hard to do, and when you lose this time of year, it sucks."
And, he said sort of off-handedly, the entire experience of 2022, all the way up to the blowout loss, will be good for the growth of his young team.
“I think the most important thing is playing well. So, I think there will be time for reflecting and things like that,” Daboll said.
“It builds that confidence and understanding that we know how to get here, we know what we have to do, we know the team we have to be to get to this moment,” defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence added.
So the Giants move into what Daboll called “a long offseason,” the first part of which was locker cleanouts on Sunday. The team had their exit meetings as well, and as they woke up Monday morning, next year has begun.
“Every year there’s one goal for each team, but only one team gets that satisfaction of reaching it,” said Julian Love, a free agent to be. “But, I don't believe in moral victories. People can say, 'oh, you made it far, people didn't expect much of you.' Well, we expected a lot of ourselves this year, we just fell short.”
Added Andrew Thomas: “I think we did a good job this year, first year in, but we’re never satisfied if we don't win the whole thing, so it’s just motivation to keep getting better.”
To Love and Thomas’ point, next weekend, they’ll be watching Philadelphia and either San Francisco or Dallas battling to see who represents the NFC in the Super Bowl. That’s where the Giants want to be in 2023, and to a man, while they’re all disappointed they fell two wins short, they’re also pumped about the growth the team showed after a half-dozen seasons of losing.
“We’ve come very far. I'm proud of where we came from. These last two years, just to see the growth that we've made as a team, it's been great to be a part of,” said Xavier McKinney. “But we’re just looking to build more; we’re not there yet, and we know that, but we know we can do it.”
"I think the future of the team is bright. I think we have a lot of young core guys who stepped up and have been huge all year, so I think there’s certainly a bright future here,” added Daniel Jones.
All Daboll will say is he’s proud – of the staff, the players, the way they competed, etc. – but as the Giants begin next year in earnest, a lot of decisions need to be made (about free agents and others), and a lot of work begins.
This year, the Giants took a step forward. But, as they all know, anything less than 10 wins and a Divisional Round berth next year will be a step backward.
Rest assured, they’re already working hard.
“I ain’t gonna tell you where I’ll be,” Kayvon Thibodeaux said when asked about his off-season plans Sunday, “but I’ll be grinding. Know I’ll be grinding.”
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroWFAN
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