Brian Daboll helped turn around the New York Giants during his first year as head coach, leading them to the playoffs and winning 2022 AP Coach of the Year honors.
The Giants enter the 2023 season with raised expectations.
Friday’s preseason game was an opportunity for players to show Daboll and the rest of the coaching staff how they intended to build off last year’s success.
Many of the rookie preseason debuts went fairly well, according to Daboll. The team’s top two draft picks, cornerback Deonte Banks and center John Michael Schmitz, showed flashes in the 21-16 loss. Sixth-round pick Tre Hawkins also had some good moments.
Daboll said Saturday the game in Detroit had ups and downs typical of a first preseason game. He was pleased with how the team competed overall but made it clear there was plenty of room for improvement.
“I thought a lot of our young guys in our two corners, our center, I thought they showed well in the game for us, played with confidence, did their job,” Daboll said after watching game film.
“So, it was good to see those three young guys out there playing. They played a fairly high level.”
The Giants are hoping Banks can develop into a reliable starter opposite veteran Adoree’ Jackson.
“I actually thought I would have had a little bit more buildup or like (be) more nervous,” said the 22-year-old who played at Maryland. “But I felt real good. So, like, I belong here. I do belong here. But it just felt, I don’t know, like I did it already before.”
Schmitz started at center with Ben Bredeson playing right guard. Bredeson is Schmitz’s main competition for the starting role at center. Schmitz got 35 snaps, fourth most of any player on offense for New York.
Daboll felt the second-round pick from Minnesota communicated and played well.
“Now we’ve got to build out from that,” Daboll said.
Although the majority of the Giants’ starters did not play against the Lions, Daboll said he has never considered sitting quarterback Daniel Jones for the entire preseason.
Daboll shot down the suggestion he was upset at special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey after the Lions scored on a long punt return in the third quarter. Television cameras showed him glaring at his coordinator after the score.
“I’m a competitive guy. We’re all competitive. We’re in a competitive environment,” Daboll said. “I hold everybody, not just T-Mac, myself, and everybody else, to a high standard. Love T-Mac.”
The Giants play their second preseason game next week when they host the Panthers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.