The New York Giants enter 2022 with their third head coach in four years, having decided to end the Joe Judge era after two seasons.
New York gave Judge a five-year contract in 2020, but a second straight losing season under his watch prompted ownership to seek a change. General manager Dave Gettleman retired after a frustrating four-year run in the chair.
The Giants found their replacements from another New York-based franchise in the Buffalo Bills. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was named the new head coach, and assistant GM Joe Schoen took over the GM chair.
This once-proud Giants organization is coming off a fifth straight losing season. They’ve made the playoffs once (2016) since their Super Bowl 46 championship season 10 years ago. They have finished either third or fourth in the NFC East in seven of the past nine years.
Daboll’s Giants have the lowest odds of winning the NFC East at multiple sportsbooks, including DraftKings (+800) and FanDuel (+600). There is strong hope that the state of Kansas will launch online/mobile sports betting before the start of the upcoming NFL season.
Schoen Has What Giants Need: A Firm Long-Term Plan
New York should have rebuilt the moment Gettleman was named the GM in 2018.
They had the opportunity to draft a promising young quarterback to succeed Eli Manning in 2018, but the front office couldn’t pass up on the promising talents of all-world running back Saquon Barkley at No. 2 overall.
There was never any doubt about Barkley’s talents, but quarterback is the most important position in the game, and the G-Men missed out on future stars in Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson.
The Giants couldn’t commit to a full-on rebuild under Gettleman, but Schoen wasted little time steering his new team towards one. He released pricey veterans James Bradberry, Kyle Rudolph and Logan Ryan. And unlike Gettleman, Schoen avoided making splashy free agent signings.
In the first round of this year’s draft, the Giants drafted Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux (fifth overall) and Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal (seventh). If Neal comes as advertised, Big Blue will have two franchise cornerstone pieces on the offensive line — the other being Andrew Thomas.
The Giants used a third-round pick on North Carolina guard Joshua Ezeudu, and they signed undrafted rookie and Kansas State product Josh Rivas to upgrade the offensive line depth. Ezeudu is the leading candidate to start at left guard for the season, as Rivas is unlikely to make the team.
Thibodeaux joins a promising New York front seven that also includes veteran pass rusher Leonard Williams and 2021 rookie standout Azeez Ojulari (eight sacks).
Schoen is off to a good start. His long-term goal has to be to continue rebuilding through the draft and to avoid the temptation of free agency, something that Gettleman was unable to do in his four-year tenure.
Daboll’s Résumé Should Inspire Confidence In Giants
The football world knows just how many of Bill Belichick’s former assistants have flopped as head coaches.
The good news for Giants fans? Daboll, a five-time Super Bowl winning assistant with the New England Patriots, has flourished outside of Foxborough. He was the offensive coordinator for the 2017 Alabama Crimson Tide national championship team, and that landed him the Bills’ OC job in 2018.
Daboll helped turn Josh Allen into a top-five quarterback over his final two years at Orchard Park. Allen always had the talent, but there were questions about his accuracy and decision-making coming into the NFL.
But the Bills finished second and third in scoring in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Allen’s growth and Stefon Diggs’ rise to superstardom were the key factors in Buffalo emerging as an offensive juggernaut.
This isn’t to suggest that Daboll will turn Jones into a bonafide superstar in New York. But at the very least, he should help the 2019 first-round pick improve in the decision-making and ball security departments.
Under Daboll, skill position weapons such as Barkley, Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney should fare much better. The Giants’ old coaching regime just couldn’t figure out how to scheme up explosive plays for its receiver room. Daboll’s career track record suggests he’ll find a way, though.
Without a doubt, Schoen and Daboll are more than capable of eventually turning the Giants back into a consistent playoff contender. But this is going to take at least a couple of years.
Schoen had the luxury of working alongside Brandon Beane, arguably the best GM in the game right now. Daboll has worked under two legends in Belichick and Nick Saban, and he starred on Sean McDermott’s coaching staff for four years.
Very few are expecting the Giants to improve much (if at all) in 2022. The goal for Schoen and Daboll is to commit to the long-term rebuilding plan that they commenced just a few months ago.
That ultimately matters more than a couple of extra wins in 2022.
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