Joe Schoen stepped up to the podium, a mix of determination and disappointment etched on his face. “Good morning, everybody. Hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving. We decided to do this on Monday as well so you guys could enjoy the bye week as well.”
He reflected on the team’s current standing, saying, “So, obviously, not where we want to be right now at 4-8, but I am proud of the guys and the way they’ve continued to battle and compete over the last few weeks. When things are bad, they can go one of two ways, and I’m really proud of the way the guys have continued to come in and compete. We’ve seen some progress over the last couple weeks and the results to show. We’ve got five games left against NFC teams, against four different teams, and we’re not out of it.”
The press conference opened up discussions about various players, but Schoen remained tight-lipped about the upcoming free agents. “I’m not going to talk about any of those guys today. That’ll be postseason conversations,” he remarked.
Addressing Daniel Jones’s situation, he mentioned, “He’s going to attack it. You guys all know Daniel and his work ethic; probably a guy we’re going to have to pull back.” However, Schoen made it clear, “But the expectation is when Daniel’s healthy that he will be our starting quarterback.”
Reflecting on the team’s performance, he acknowledged the challenging start to the season. “We had a difficult schedule right off the bat. Three games in 11 days, and two of those teams being atop of the NFC right now, or near the top of the NFC. We started off, very good drive against Dallas there to open the season, we get a false start, a bad snap, a blocked field goal for a touchdown, and it kind of snowballed from there.”
When questioned about potential plans for the quarterback position in the future, Schoen emphasized, “We’re going to have to do something on the quarterback, whether it’s free agency or the Draft.”
He defended the roster construction strategy when questioned about the depth and balance, stating, “You can’t do it overnight. Instead of getting a Bobby O(kereke), who has been a very good player for us that we brought in in the offseason, do you use that money elsewhere in terms of allocation of resources?”
Regarding injuries, Schoen expressed, “We’re going to continue to look under every rock for any competitive advantage we can get from sports science, training, strength and conditioning.”
The conversation delved into evaluating players like Evan Neal and Tommy DeVito. “Evan got off to a really good camp, had a concussion, missed a couple of weeks, came back, and needs to play better,” Schoen stated. On Tommy DeVito, he acknowledged his progress as an undrafted free agent.
Addressing concerns about Daniel Jones’s performance and injuries, Schoen highlighted the team aspect, stating, “It’s ultimately a team game and it’s not all on Daniel by any means.”
When probed about drafting a quarterback next year, he said, “We’ll take the best player available.”
Schoen was candid about Saquon Barkley’s situation, stating, “We tried long and hard to get something done with him, and we’ll see what happens in the offseason.”
The Leonard Williams trade decision came into focus. “When Seattle called and offered a second-round pick for a 29-year-old player that was on an expiring contract, we had nine games left. It just made the most sense long-term, in terms of the build,” he explained.
When asked about the offensive line’s challenges, Schoen pointed out the impact of injuries and the lack of continuity. “Andrew Thomas getting hurt the first series of the game of the season. That doesn’t help when you lose an All-Pro left tackle,” he explained.
Reflecting on the coaching staff, Schoen noted, “Those are all postseason conversations and I’ll lean on Dabs on that.”
Throughout the conference, Schoen emphasized the need for a big-picture approach, expressing confidence in the team’s potential. “You’re what your record says you are,” he admitted. However, he reiterated the importance of staying focused on the team’s long-term plan.
The conference concluded with Schoen addressing speculation about Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale’s future, expressing his trust in the coaching staff’s stability.
Overall, Schoen’s conference balanced acknowledgment of the team’s challenges with a strong focus on the future and a commitment to the team’s long-term vision.