GM Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll said to be safe
Firing general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll “won’t happen,” after this season, per NFL insider Tony Pauline. What will happen, though, is a shakeup of Daboll’s New York Giants coaching staff.
Per the well-connected Pauline:
What is expected is the release of assistant coaches and the coordinators. Few expect defensive coordinator Wink Martindale or offensive coordinator Mike Kafka to be retained. People from Kafka’s team confide in me that they don’t expect the former college quarterback to survive.
In terms of Schoen and Daboll, Pauline writes that “After firing Joe Judge in 2021, CEO and team President John Mara said he was looking for continuity in the front office and head-coaching positions.” He adds that moving on again after two seasons “goes against that strategy.”
This is also the outcome I anticipate. Schoen and Daboll are a duo. Despite the team’s struggles this season, and some of the debatable decisions that have been made, they have equity after leading the Giants to a surprising playoff berth a season ago.
That equity won’t last forever, but it should earn them more time to continue what is really a long-term process of trying to fix a team that has now played mostly awful football for more than a decade. This is still a team in transition from the Dave Gettleman era roster and financial decisions to what Schoen and Daboll were hired to build.
In terms of Daboll’s coaching staff, though, there almost certainly have to be some changes.
A year ago, the Giants were lauded by national analysts for often outscheming and outcoaching their opponents. Kafka received interviews for four NFL head coaching vacancies. Martindale interviewed for the Indianapolis Colts’ head coaching vacancy.
This year has been a different story.
Kafka is overseeing the worst offense in the NFL. There have been reports, which Daboll has downplayed, that the head coach has become increasingly involved in the weekly preparation on offense. It would not be a shock if Daboll, a long-time successful offensive coordinator, takes complete charge of the offense next season.
Perhaps Ken Dorsey, recently fired as offensive coordinator by the Buffalo Bills, joins the Giants. Dorsey was the quarterbacks coach when Daboll was in Buffalo. Perhaps Giants quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney moves up to coordinator without play-calling responsibilities.
Kafka? Before this season he was thought of as a rising assistant on the fast track to a head-coaching job. His best bet to find one of those now would be to look for a college job.
Martindale has seemed to be in the crosshairs in recent weeks as the defense, 29th in the league, has played poorly. There was an inexplicable defensive meltdown at the end of a loss to the New York Jets followed by 79 points allowed in blowout losses to the Las Vegas Raiders and Dallas Cowboys.
Safety Xavier McKinney was critical of Martindale after the game against the Raiders, and Martindale fired back, saying no one else was complaining and McKinney had “hurt the locker room.”
Against Dallas, Daboll appeared to be questioning Martindale with the Giants trailing 28-0 before halftime. Martindale predictably downplayed that, but it was curious.
The Giants have surrendered 40 or more points twice this season, and 30 or more points on three other occasions.
There are others who could be in jeopardy.
Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey, who has held that job with the Giants since Pat Shurmur was head coach, has come under fire for a rash of special teams mistakes and poor play.
Offensive line coach Bobby Johnson could be a target for replacement. The Giants have been the league’s worst offensive line this season, giving up the most quarterback sacks in the league and having the worst Pro Football Focus grades in both run and pass blocking. Injuries have been a factor, but lack of development by young players like Evan Neal, Josh Ezeudu and Marcus McKethan, communication breakdowns and a lack of cohesion could make it difficult for Johnson to remain.
Perhaps it does deeper than that, but those are the names that come quickly to mind.