Skip to main content
New York Giants Website

Giants News | New York Giants –

Notebook: Brian Daboll talks calling plays, staff updates


ORLANDO, Fla. – Brian Daboll conceded he is considering calling the Giants' offensive plays this season.

That duty was largely offensive coordinator Mike Kafka's during Daboll's first two seasons.

"It's something I'm looking into," Daboll said this morning at the NFL owners meeting, his first public comments since Jan. 8, the day after the 2023 season concluded. "I think there's 20 head coaches at this point in time that call plays in the league (either offensively or defensively). … There might be a little bit more. I've been doing a bunch of research, but no decision has been made. I'm still going through that process, thinking about what we need to do."

Daboll has a long and successful history calling plays. Before joining the Giants in 2022, he was an offensive coordinator for eight of his 20 seasons as an NFL assistant coach. In four seasons (2018-21) as the Buffalo Bills' coordinator, Daboll devised the game plans and called the plays for one of the most productive offenses in the league, one that helped Buffalo earn three consecutive playoff berths, win two AFC East titles and advance to the conference championship game in 2020.

Responding to a question, Daboll admitted a part of him does miss calling plays.

"Certainly," he said. "I did it for a long time. There's a lot of things that go into it. Part of the evaluation that I talked about, there are some other things that I'm looking into. I take my time and do what I think is best for the team."

A potential negative byproduct of a head coach calling either offensive or defensive plays is it can raise the perception he is not coaching the entire team.

"Still working through that process," Daboll said. "There's quite a bit of people nowadays that do that. So, again, it's something that I'll look into. Whatever I feel is best for the football team, that's the way we go."

Kafka is a potential future head coach. Last month, the Giants gave him the additional title of assistant head coach. Kafka has interviewed for at least five head coaching jobs the last two offseasons, including Tennessee and Seattle this year. He was also the head coach of the West team in the 2024 Shrine Bowl. Daboll is giving him a taste of the myriad responsibilities on a head coach's plate.

"I thought he earned that role," Daboll said of Kafka's additional title. "I want to have him have opportunities to see some of the other things, particularly with some of the head coaching interviews he's done. You don't always get an opportunity to do that, to sit in a medical meeting or to sit in a schedule meeting with the strength staff of how we want to handle OTAs or the reason why or to sit down and listen to the different things that maybe you don't listen to as a position coach or even a coordinator to get that sense of how things go.

"There's so much time spent when you are a coordinator or a position coach on just this is my position, this is my responsibility, this is the play calling. Some of the bigger things, there's a lot of other things that go along with it. Any of those meetings that I've had here in the last, call it, month that are more just myself, (general manager) Joe (Schoen), maybe some of the other parts of the staff that aren't necessarily strictly football, I wanted Mike to have the opportunity to see how that goes so he can ask questions and take notes on things, and maybe that helps him in the future, too."

Is that grooming Kafka to be a head coach?

"I hope it helps him to see some things from a different angle," Daboll said. "Not everybody gets that opportunity, but I thought that was important. He's been through a few of these interviews. We were having a meeting the other day, and he's deep into the draft preparation work, as am I. Just getting started here. A couple of strength coaches and medical people, and we had met a few days earlier for about three hours. We walked out and he said, 'It was a long one here.' (I said,) 'Yeah, we're going to have another one in a couple of days.'

"He's digging through some players. I said, 'Hey, you want to get meeting with these guys?' He is like, 'Yeah, I got a ton of evaluation.' I said, 'Let's go, man.' It's a different perspective of things, of course."

View photos of the newest members of the Giants touring the Quest Diagnostics Training Center for the first time.

*It's been a busy offseason regarding the coaching staff. Kafka wasn't the only coach to receive an enhanced title. Quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney is also the offensive passing game coordinator, while secondary coach Jerome Henderson is the defensive passing game coordinator.

"Shea has done a great job since he's been here and since he's been with me (beginning in Buffalo)," Daboll said. "He has a really firm understanding of what we're trying to do. I interviewed Rome for the coordinator job and was close, too. Great appreciation for Rome. I would say that he's really done a good job with (new defensive coordinator) Shane (Bowen) there on the back end. He's done a fabulous job the last couple of years, Rome, relative to the secondary and the coverages and things like that. I thought he's earned that role and earned that title.

"All three of those people I thought earned those roles."

Daboll currently has nine new coaches on his staff, the most recent being assistant offensive line coach James Ferentz. The most significant newcomers are coordinators Bowen on defense and Michael Ghobrial on special teams. They replaced Wink Martindale and Thomas McGaughey, respectively.

"There's a ton of changes every year in the National Football League," Daboll said. "There's 17 new defensive coordinator openings this year. There were 16 new offensive openings. There's change every year. Seven special teams ones.

"I'm excited about the guys that we've added, the people that we've added. They've done a great job the last two months. I'm really happy with Shane and Ghob and Kafka. They've done a great job over the last few months of really diving into some things we need to try to correct."

Daboll was asked what Martindale's departure will mean for the defense.

"Every year is a different year," Daboll said. "New changes. We're excited to have Shane. Shane has done a great job since he's been here. I think the coaches that we've had on staff, those guys have meshed well together. I know they're excited for a couple of weeks to get the players back (beginning with the start of the offseason conditioning program on April 15)."

What, specifically, does Bowen bring to the Giants?

"He's done a great job in the running game the last few years with Tennessee, in the red zone and third down," Daboll said. "I think he has a great way about him. He's an excellent teammate. He's good with X's and O's in the interview. He was good with fundamentals, and I thought he was a very good communicator and teacher of the things that he really believes in.

"He's done a good job with Rome (Henderson) and Dre (defensive line coach Andre Patterson), and those guys have added their pieces to it. (Assistant defensive line coach) BCox (Bryan Cox), (defensive assistant) Ben (Burress), and (safeties Coach Michael) Treier and all the guys that were here. I've been pleased with how they've kind of worked together here these last couple of months. Very happy with the first two months with Shane."

View photos of every move made by the Giants during the 2024 cycle.