BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
(Photo credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)
First-year Giants head coach Brian Daboll has been hailed for getting seven wins out of a roster that does not feature that many playmakers on offense. No one is going to argue about that.
But Daboll should not be immune to criticism, either. It comes with the territory of being an NFL head coach. A head coach is only as good as his last game. Lately, his Giants have been 1-3-1.
Daboll coached a poor game on Sunday in the 20-20 tie against the Washington Commanders. The Giants blew a 20-13 lead with 1:45 remaining in the game as a result of his coaching decisions.
The Giants never went for the jugular in the fourth quarter. Daboll didn’t have his quarterback go long with the fear of him being intercepted. He played it safe by asking Saquon Barkley to run the ball to kill time. It did not work out, as the Giants punted four times after they took a 20-13 lead. Then in overtime, the Giants head coach decided to punt rather than go for it on fourth-and-3 from the Washington 45-yard line.
The idea was for the Giants defense to get stops and better field position that would have Graham Gano kick the game-winning field goal. The Giants defense did its job, but Gano missed the kick from 58 yards.
It appears as though Daboll hoped for the best. Hope is not a strategy as it does not result in wins.
There was no excuse for the Giants to lose this game at home. It could have been avoided if the coach did not coach to lose rather than coach to win.
It showed right there that Daboll did not trust his quarterback to make plays. This should be an ominous sign that he does not believe Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is the answer for the present or the future. This does not bode well for the Giants quarterback’s future. Remember the Giants did not pick up his option this offseason, setting the stage for him to be a free agent. It could be the Giants will try to use Tyrod Taylor as a stopgap quarterback next season while they draft and groom their next quarterback.
In the meantime, it’s up to Daboll to figure out what he can do to put Jones in a position to succeed. The Giants playoff hopes hinge on it. It is his job as the offensive guru to figure it out.
A mark of a great coach is finding a way to get results out of a limited quarterback. Daboll has done that early this season, and now he has to do it again.
Daboll has to let Jones air it out. If it results in interceptions, so be it. This offense can’t be predictable, where Barkley is getting all the carries. The Giants running back is already struggling as it is. In the game against the Detroit Lions, he ran for 22 yards on 15 carries. In the game against the Dallas Cowboys, he ran for 39 yards on 11 caries. In the game against the Commanders, he ran for 63 yards on 18 carries.
Even though the Giants have no playmakers to catch the ball, it’s up to Daboll to come up with schemes where guys can be open and in a position to catch the ball. That’s what great coaches do.
The rookie Giants head coach may have to draw up trick plays such as the flea-flicker or something to keep the defense honest.
The Giants defense did all it could this year to keep the team in games. It’s on the offense to produce. That’s where Daboll has to earn his money.
Before we prematurely crown him as the next great Giants coach, let’s see him try to get this offense on track to help the Giants make the playoffs. There’s no guarantee they will make it.
The Giants play the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, and then they go to Landover to play the Commanders on the road. There’s no doubt the offense has to be much better than this if the Giants are going to beat their next two opponents. Those two games could determine whether they make the playoffs or not. This is where the head coach has to earn his pay and reputation. This is where he has to show he can be the head coach who will lead the Giants to a championship one day. The great coaches figure it out. It will be interesting to see how he goes about it and how he finds a way to pass the test.
Daboll got results earlier this year. He has to do it again to jumpstart the Giants.
The Giants should have enough to make the playoffs. It’s on the head coach to make do with what he has to work with. That’s called coaching them up.
If he can maximize everything out of a limited offensive roster over the next two weeks, he can feel good about the job he did this season, and the Giants could truly have hope in the next few years.
This writer can be reached on Twitter: @LeslieMonteiro6
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