Brian Daboll

Giants Looking For Wide Receiver Help?

Although the Giants’ setup was not exactly conducive to impressive receiving statistics last season, Kenny Golladay has not rebounded from his disappointing 2021 slate. The Giants have reduced the high-priced veteran’s playing time significantly.

The former two-time 1,000-yard receiver played just two snaps in the Giants’ Week 2 win over the Panthers, seeing his usage plummet drastically from a 46-snap opener in Tennessee. With the Giants’ new regime not being the staff that authorized Golladay’s four-year, $72MM contract, the ex-Lions standout faces an uncertain Big Apple future.

Golladay, 28, joins Darius Slayton in failing to impress Brian Daboll‘s coaching staff. Long a trade candidate, Slayton has played four offensive snaps this season. The Giants’ 2019 and 2020 receiving leader took a pay cut, one that essentially negated his proven performance escalator contract-year bump, to stay on the team. But a Giants team seemingly flush with receiving talent has not seen too much from that contingent, beyond Sterling Shepard bouncing back early from his 2021 Achilles tear.

The team appears interested in shaking up the situation. Daboll has FaceTimed with free agent wideouts, according to ProFootballNetwork.com’s Aaron Wilson. Help is limited at this point on the NFL calendar, and the Giants do have a highly touted player acquired by their current regime — second-round pick Wan’Dale Robinson — preparing to make his debut. Robinson has missed the team’s first two games due to injury. Daboll passed on a Cole Beasley reunion; the ex-Bills slot joined the Buccaneers on Tuesday. Will Fuller and Odell Beckham Jr., an unrealistic Big Apple return candidate, headline the available receivers. As it stands, Big Blue’s wideout situation has produced some interesting on-field configurations early in Daboll’s run.

Daboll informed Golladay last week the team was effectively benching him for David Sills, a 2019 Bills UDFA who landed with the Giants later that year. Despite Daboll’s former team not having room for the Delaware product three years ago, this reunion has led to the most work of the young player’s career. Sills played 67 offensive snaps against the Panthers, catching three passes for 37 yards. Sills primarily worked alongside Shepard and Richie James, who led the Giants in receiving with five catches for 51 yards last week.

I told him during the week that we were going to go with Sills,” Daboll said of Golladay’s demotion. “He acted like a pro. I said, ‘Be ready to go.’ Does that mean it’s going to be next week? No. It takes a lot of mental toughness, too. That’s not an easy thing to hear. I appreciate them being professional.”

A 2019 Pro Bowler, Golladay is known more for his contested-catch abilities than separation skills. The 6-foot-4 target drew interest from the Bears, Ravens, Dolphins and Bengals during the 2021 free agency period — one overshadowed by the COVID-19-induced salary cap drop — and signed with the Giants on a deal that included $28MM fully guaranteed and doubled as the top contract given to a UFA wideout last year. In an offense that saw both an OC change (from Jason Garrett to Freddie Kitchens) and Daniel Jones‘ injury give way to overmatched backups Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm, Golladay caught 37 passes for 521 yards and no touchdowns.

He did not put together a good offseason this year — one that featured an unspecified surgery — and is an obvious 2023 release candidate. For now, Golladay’s contract makes such a move prohibitive. The Giants can get out of the deal with a $7.9MM 2023 dead-money hit, should they designate Golladay as a post-June 1 cut. Golladay’s $21.2MM cap hit is not only tops among Giants; it ranks as the league’s eighth-highest 2022 cap number.

Golladay’s swift decline comes as the Giants are barely using 2021 first-rounder Kadarius Toney. The oft-injured wideout played seven snaps in the team’s opener and caught two passes for zero yards in Week 2. The Giants hoped to involve Toney more in Week 2, per Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post, but a hamstring tweak changed those plans. Toney still played more against the Panthers (28 snaps), however. Trade rumors encircled Toney this spring, and though those quieted quickly, the Dave Gettleman-era draftee’s status rounds out one of the league’s more interesting position groups through two weeks.

Latest On Giants, QB Daniel Jones

Off to a 1-0 start after upsetting the Titans, the Giants have begun Brian Daboll‘s tenure better than Pat Shurmur‘s or Joe Judge‘s started. Daniel Jones finished 17-for-21, with much of his yardage (188) coming on a 65-yard TD toss to Sterling Shepard. But the fourth-year quarterback likely still has plenty of work to do to earn the trust of the Giants’ new decision-makers.

Upon taking over in New York, Daboll and GM Joe Schoen harbored “major concerns” about Jones’ viability as a long-term option, Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post notes.

Although the new Giants brass being “far from sold” on Jones is not too surprising, given the team’s decision to pass on its starting quarterback’s $22.4MM fifth-year option in May. Jones, who is now with his fourth NFL play-caller (though, he made it only one game with interim play-caller Freddie Kitchens last season), is on track for free agency in 2023. The oft-criticized passer could revitalize his career with a strong season under Daboll, but the fifth-year option era’s short history works against Jones being a long-term Giant.

In the option era (since 2014, when 2011 draftees’ options could be exercised or declined), no team has declined a QB’s fifth-year option and then circled back via an extension or re-signing. Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, E.J. Manuel, Teddy Bridgewater and Mitch Trubisky saw their options declined. None of this passer lot played beyond four seasons with his original NFL team. The 49ers passed on Gabbert’s option after acquiring him via trade in 2014; Brandon Weeden, Paxton Lynch and Josh Rosen were off their first-round contracts before their option decisions arrived. Bridgewater was on his way to earning a Vikings extension, but his severe 2016 knee injury intervened. Jones did suffer a neck injury that required offseason surgery, but after back-to-back down years, the Duke product has never been tracking toward a Giants extension.

The Giants should be expected to give Jones a long look, despite this regime not drafting him. Ownership backed Jones as its starter in March, and John Mara said earlier this offseason the Giants had “done everything possible to screw up” Jones’ development. But Daboll is high on backup Tyrod Taylor, per La Canfora, who adds that some around the league believe the first-year HC would not hesitate to bench Jones for Taylor if it helps this year’s team. It is too early for such talk, and a Jones benching would effectively signal the Giants are back in the quarterback market for 2023. They would join several other teams, including some that have two first-round picks, in that mix.

Mike Kafka On Radar To Call Giants’ Plays

When the Giants hired four-year Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, it was expected the play-caller who helped Josh Allen become a top-tier quarterback would run the show for the Giants. The rookie HC might have other plans.

Giants OC Mike Kafka is calling plays at training camp, and while making these scripted calls is quite different from being an in-game play-caller, Daboll said he has not finalized his decision on who will call regular-season plays.

Mike has done a really good job in the spring, which he handled the scripts,” Daboll said, via Giants.com’s Michael Eisen. “And again, we talk on a day-to-day basis on plays and things to install. But he’s been on the headset with Daniel [Jones]. And he’ll be doing that through camp. And as we get closer to it, we’ll sit down and discuss it. … Once we cross that bridge, which we’ve still got a little bit here to go, you guys will know.”

Daboll has a several-year head start on calling plays compared to Kafka, who worked under both Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy in Kansas City. While Kafka, 34, was Patrick Mahomes‘ position coach during each of the superstar’s four years as the Chiefs’ starter, Daboll enjoyed play-calling stints prior to Buffalo. He worked as OC in Cleveland, Miami and Kansas City from 2009-12. Daboll then established himself as a candidate for HC jobs by elevating Allen from a raw talent to a player that has done the most to reinstall the Bills as a Super Bowl contender.

It would surprise if Daboll ceded play-calling reins in his first year on the job. Most OCs that rise to the HC level call plays, and Daboll’s arrival represented a key development for Jones, who is going into what amounts to a make-or-break year as the Giants’ starter. Kafka calling plays for the Giants would also give him a potentially quicker path to the HC level, though it is a bit early to predict when the former NFL QB will be part of a coaching carousel.

The NFL’s Longest-Tenured Head Coaches

The NFL experienced a busy offseason on the coaching front. A whopping 10 teams changed coaches during the 2022 offseason, with the Buccaneers’ late-March switch pushing the number into double digits.

Fourteen of the league’s 32 head coaches were hired in the past two offseasons, illustrating the increased pressure the NFL’s sideline leaders face in today’s game. Two of the coaches replaced this year left on their own. Sean Payton vacated his spot in second on the longest-tenured HCs list by stepping down from his 16-year Saints post in February, while Bruce Arians has repeatedly insisted his Bucs exit was about giving his defensive coordinator a chance with a strong roster and not a Tom Brady post-retirement power play.

While Bill Belichick has been the league’s longest-tenured HC for many years, Payton’s exit moved Mike Tomlin up to No. 2. Mike Zimmer‘s firing after nine seasons moved Frank Reich into the top 10. Reich’s HC opportunity only came about because Josh McDaniels spurned the Colts in 2018, but Indianapolis’ backup plan has led the team to two playoff brackets and has signed an extension. Reich’s seat is hotter in 2022, however, after a January collapse. Linked to numerous HC jobs over the past several offseasons, McDaniels finally took another swing after his Broncos tenure ended quickly.

As 2022’s training camps approach, here are the NFL’s longest-tenured HCs:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007; extended through 2024
  3. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008; extended through 2025
  4. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010; extended through 2025
  5. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013; extended through 2025
  6. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017; extended through 2025
  7. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017; extended through 2023
  8. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017; extended through 2025
  9. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018; signed extension in February 2022
  10. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018; extended through 2026
  11. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019; extended through 2027
  12. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  13. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019; extended through 2026
  14. Ron Rivera (Washington Football Team): January 1, 2020
  15. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  16. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  17. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020
  18. Robert Saleh (New York Jets): January 15, 2021
  19. Arthur Smith (Atlanta Falcons): January 15, 2021
  20. Brandon Staley (Los Angeles Chargers): January 17, 2021
  21. Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions): January 20, 2021
  22. Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles): January 21, 2021
  23. Nathaniel Hackett (Denver Broncos): January 27, 2022
  24. Matt Eberflus (Chicago Bears): January 27, 2022
  25. Brian Daboll (New York Giants): January 28, 2022
  26. Josh McDaniels (Las Vegas Raiders): January 30, 2022
  27. Kevin O’Connell (Minnesota Vikings): February 2, 2022
  28. Doug Pederson (Jacksonville Jaguars): February 3, 2022
  29. Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins): February 6, 2022
  30. Dennis Allen (New Orleans Saints): February 7, 2022
  31. Lovie Smith (Houston Texans): February 7, 2022
  32. Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): March 30, 2022

QB Rumors: Trubisky, Winston, Taylor, Lock

The Giants’ new head coach, Brian Daboll, worked with free agent quarterback Mitchell Trubisky when they were both with the Bills last year (Daboll as offensive coordinator). Well, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN, Daboll has interest in luring Trubisky to join him in New York.

There’s been some interest in bringing Trubisky to Pittsburgh, as well, where a path to starting is much more clear. If Daboll’s familiarity with the sixth-year quarterback is able to attract him to the Giants, though, the head coach sees the potential for him to mirror the results of Ryan Tannehill in Tennessee. A quick refresher: Tannehill arrived in Nashville in 2019 in a trade with the Dolphins. Tannehill started the season in the role of back up quarterback to the incumbent starter Marcus Mariota. After a 2-4 start to the season, Mariota was benched in favor of Tannehill, who went 7-3 for the rest of the year and led the Titans to the AFC Championship Game.

Daboll holds hope that, while Daniel Jones may retain the starting job in New York, if the need presents itself, Trubisky could provide the same effect as Tannehill.

Some other notes concerning quarterbacks around the league:

  • Another option the Steelers could be looking into, Jameis Winston is looking like the most likely starting quarterback for the Saints in 2022, according to Graziano. With Teddy Bridgewater headed to free agency, a return to New Orleans could be possible, and Winston may see some opportunities in testing the free agent market, himself. But Winston is a locker room favorite that saw success on the Saints before tearing his ACL midseason last year.
  • Tyrod Taylor lost the starting job in Houston last year to rookie quarterback Davis Mills. With Mills expected to return to the starting position next year, the Texans do have interest in bringing Taylor back in the role of back up quarterback, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Taylor has chased starting jobs throughout his career and has seen some success at times. He may search for a new opportunity to start, but, if not, Taylor has shown professionalism several times in back up roles mentoring young quarterbacks.
  • After receiving Drew Lock in the Russell Wilson-trade with the Broncos, Seattle is considering the elements to Lock’s lack of success in Denver, according to Fowler. Some believe that the revolving door of offensive coordinators contributed to his struggles. Seattle is analyzing whether they believe in Pete Carroll‘s ability to develop Lock, who showed glimpses of promise in his early appearances as a Bronco, or whether they need to make moves for Deshaun Watson to win now.

NFC Coaching Notes: Rams, Hankerson, Lions, Commanders, Packers, Giants

University of Kentucky offensive coordinator Liam Coen has received heaps of interest around the football world, turning down several college jobs and an NFL job to stay in Lexington. But it sounds as if Coen may soon receive an offer he can’t refuse.

In one year at the helm of the offense, Coen took the Wildcats from 115th in yards per game to 50th. He also improved the scoring offense from 107th in the country to 35th, quickly making him one of the hottest names in college coaching.

It just about looked like Kentucky was going to be able to hold on to their game changer, but, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, they are bracing for the possibility of Coen leaving to return to the Rams in Los Angeles. Prior to his year in Kentucky, Coen spent three years on Sean McVay‘s offensive staff, and a chance to rejoin McVay may be too good to pass up.

Here are a couple more coaching notes from the NFC starting with the promotion of a former Hurricane:

  • With wide receivers coach Wes Welker heading to Miami, the 49ers have offered the position to offensive quality control coach Leonard Hankerson, according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic. After a five-year career as an NFL wide receiver out of the University of Miami, Hankerson coached wide receivers at UMass and Stephen F. Austin before joining the staff in San Francisco last year.
  • The Lions have parted ways with inside linebacker coach Mark DeLeone this week, according to Justin Rogers of The Detroit News. The son of offensive line coach legend George DeLeone, Mark was hired by Detroit last year after time with the Jets, Chiefs, and Bears. They have two internal candidates who could potentially fill the role: defensive quality control coach Stephen Thomas, who coached inside linebackers in his time at Princeton, and director of football research David Corrao who coached linebackers for the Dolphins during his time in Miami from 2008-2015.
  • With longtime assistant coach Pete Hoener retiring, the Commanders are hiring veteran coach Juan Castillo to handle tight ends, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Castillo is rejoining Ron Rivera, who coached with him for the five seasons Rivera was in Philadelphia from 1999-2003. Castillo has also spent time with the Ravens, Bills, and Bears in various roles on the offensive staff.
  • With their outside linebacker coach Mike Smith leaving to pursue other opportunities, the Packers have hired Jason Rebrovich as his replacement. The 20-year NFL coaching veteran has had stints with the Bills and Jaguars coaching players like Josh Allen, Calais Campbell, and Yannick Ngakoue. In addition, the Packers also announced the return of former offensive coordinator Tom Clements to replace Luke Getsy as quarterbacks coach, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network. Clements coached for the Packers’ offense for 11 years before retiring after two years with the Cardinals.
  • The Giants have hired Angela Baker as a minority coaching fellow and offensive quality control coach, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Baker is the second female to be added to Brian Daboll‘s staff after Laura Young followed Daboll from Buffalo, where she worked as player services coordinator, for the position of director of coaching operations. The Giants are quickly trying to become a more progressive staff. In 2020, Hannah Burnett was hired as the team’s first full-time female scout.

AFC Coaching Notes: Colts, Bills, Jaguars, Ravens

Since Frank Reich was able to land defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to replace Bears’ head coach Matt Eberflus, Bradley has begun the process of putting his staff together. Today Bradley added longtime defensive backs coach Ron Milus to coach his secondary, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Milus first started coaching defensive backs at his alma mater, the University of Washington, about eight years after playing cornerback there. He held the college position for seven years before getting an NFL coaching opportunity in 2000. Since then, Milus hasn’t spent a season out of work with stints in Denver, Arizona, New York (Giants), St. Louis, Carolina, San Diego, and Las Vegas. His longest stint was with the Chargers, spending eight years in southern California and transitioning with the team to Los Angeles. It was in Los Angeles that Milus was retained when Bradley joined the Chargers’ staff. He followed Bradley to Las Vegas and will join him once more in Indianapolis.

Here are a few other coaching notes from around the AFC starting with another bit from the Hoosier State:

  • In addition to Milus, Mike Chappell of Fox59 reports that Indianapolis is also in the process of hiring linebackers coach Richard Smith, who worked with Bradley and Milus in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Smith has coached in the NFL since he debuted for the Houston Oilers in 1988 coaching special teams and tight ends. He found his niche as a linebackers coach in 1997 for the 49ers and has had three short stints as a defensive coordinator in Miami, Houston, and Atlanta.
  • ESPN’s Yates also tweeted out a report that the Bills have added former QB Kyle Shurmur on staff in a defensive quality control position. After four years at Vanderbilt, Shurmur signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chiefs, spending time on their practice squad as well as on the Bengals’ and Washington’s practice squads. He was released by Washington a little over a month ago and that appears to mark the end of his playing career. He seems to be following in the footsteps of his father, Pat Shurmur, and joining the coaching track.
  • A castaway from the Matt Nagy Bears’ staff, outside linebackers coach Bill Shuey will not be without work for long as Curtis Crabtree of NBC Sports reports that Shuey is joining Doug Pederson‘s staff in Jacksonville in the same role. Shuey and Pederson had two separate tenures together in Philadelphia.
  • Pederson also made a crucial move of retaining running backs coach Bernie Parmalee. Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network tells us that keeping Parmalee was a priority for Pederson, especially due to his strong relationship with star running back James Robinson.
  • Baltimore has hired Rob Leonard as outside linebackers coach, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley (Twitter). Leonard will replace Drew Wilkins who left to join Brian Daboll‘s staff in New York. Leonard spent the past three seasons in the same position with the Dolphins. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic adds that former Michigan analyst Ryan Osborn will follow Mike Macdonald to the Ravens for a quality control position. Osborn is credited with having a role in the development of Wolverines’ EDGE players like Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo.

Position Coaching Notes: Giants, Broncos, Jaguars

As the days go by, more and more position coaches are finalizing jobs with new teams. One of the busiest clubs remains the Giants. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the team is hiring former Vikings assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson as its defensive line coach (Twitter link). The 61-year-old has a wealth of coaching experience at the NCAA and NFL ranks. While he has a defensive background, Patterson also served as a head coach at two stops along the way to the pro level.

His first NFL coaching gig came in 1997 with the Patriots. After stints with the Vikings, Cowboys, Browns and Broncos, he returned to the college ranks. Following seven additional seasons, six of which were spread across three colleges, he came back to Minnesota in 2014. He remained there until now, serving as the team’s d-line coach, but also holding the co-DC title for the past two campaigns.

Here are some other updates to Brian Daboll‘s new staff, along with those of the Broncos and Jaguars:

  • According to Jonathan Alexander of The Observer, Tony Sparano Jr. is making a lateral move from the Panthers to the Giants as their new assistant offensive line coach (Twitter link). The 35-year old already has a decade of coaching experience in the NFL spent with five different teams.
  • One hire the Giants won’t be making is that of Adam Henry for the role of wide receivers coach. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweets that the team will be heading “in another direction” after they interviewed Henry earlier. The 49-year old coached the position at LSU for three years, then at the NFL level with the 49ers, Giants, Browns and Cowboys. Many felt a reunion in East Rutherford was likely, but that won’t be the case.
  • As for the Broncos, they will be adding to their defensive staff from the college ranks. ESPN’s Pete Thamel tweets that Ola Adams is coming aboard as an assistant secondary coach. Adams spent spent seven seasons at Villanova, and his success there earned him a promotion to co-defensive coordinator at Temple recently. Now, he will be on the move again, but this time up to the NFL level.
  • Finally, the Jaguars are hiring Brentson Buckner as their d-line coach (Twitter link via Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson). It had been reported earlier this week that the 50-year-old was a candidate for the position, so the move is not a surprising one. Buckner has coached the position with three NFL teams previously, dating back to 2013.

 

Giants Hire Don Martindale As DC

For the second time today, a new defensive coordinator has been hired in a move that comes as no surprise. As many expected, the Giants have hired Don Martindale to replace Patrick Graham as the team’s DC (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN). 

[Related: Raiders Hire Patrick Graham As DC]

The 58-year-old, affectionately known by many as simply ‘Wink’, was linked to the position not long after Brian Daboll was hired as the new head coach. Once it became official that Graham was leaving to take the same position with the Raiders, Martindale had the inside track to come to New York. This isn’t the first time he was considered for a role on the Giants staff; Martindale interviewed for the HC spot two years ago, before the team ultimately chose Joe Judge.

Martindale had 18 seasons of college experience spread across five different programs before entering the NFL in 2004. He’s primarily worked as a linebackers coach, though he got his first opportunity as a DC in Denver in 2010. His longest stint, in Baltimore, began at the LBs coach position in 2012, but he took over as the team’s DC from 2018-2021. Over the first three of those four campaigns, the Ravens ranked first in the league in yards and points allowed per game, according to Schefter’s colleague Jamison Hensley (Twitter link).

2021 saw Baltimore ravaged by injuries on both sides of the ball, which led to a steep statistical drop off for Martindale’s unit. Part of the issue, many feel, was his unwavering reliance on the aggressive, blitz-heavy style he has become known for. Still, his track record has this move being widely applauded.

The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec reports (via Twitter) that former Ravens OLB coach Drew Wilkins is one of potentially multiple position coaches expected to follow Martindale to New York. Doing so may be a wise move for them, as the contract Martindale is signing is reportedly a three-year pact, according to SI’s Albert Breer (Twitter link). With his preferred target in place, Daboll will have a highly experienced defensive play-caller to lean on in his inaugural season as a head coach.

 

2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, seven NFL teams opted to make a head coaching change. Sean Payton stepping away from the Saints created nine full-time vacancies available this year.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If and when other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 2-7-22 (1:45pm CT)

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants