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2022 Spring Football

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Daniel Jones looks to thrive under Brian Daboll, Mike Kafka

DANIEL-JONES-BOBS

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Head coach Brian Daboll joined the Giants this year after four seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills, who finished third in the NFL in points scored and fifth in total yards in 2021.

Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka arrived here after five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, who last season had the league's fourth-highest point total and were third in yardage.

Daboll and Kafka are now tasked with resurrecting a Giants offense that was 31st in both points and yards. So, will the Giants unveil an offense that is more like Daboll's in Buffalo or Andy Reid's in Kansas City?

"I think what you're going to see here is the Giants' offense," Kafka said after the Giants' third OTA practice. "I think right now as a coaching staff what Dabs is figuring out how we want to put our guys in the right spots, but we're working towards making it the Giants' offense, not the Bills or any other team, the Chiefs. Those are great experiences we can lean on, but this is the Giants' offense."

Because Daboll is in charge, the prevailing assumption is that the Giants' new attack will look more like the offense that powered the Bills to the last two AFC East titles. What does Daboll say about that?

"I say we've got a lot of work to do to still figure it out," he said. "The guys have done a great job. Look, we've installed a lot of plays. I tell the players, the train is not slowing down, we're just speeding up. The more we can install and the more they can learn, the more we can figure out what they do better. We were just doing a little install right there today, and I told K.T. (Kadarius Toney) I said, 'Look, if you feel comfortable with this route, we can call it this way versus Kenny (Golladay), if you feel more comfortable with this route, we can call it that way.'

"I think that's the job of the coach, too, you just don't take the system that you ran. You've got to figure out the players you have, their strengths, their weaknesses. Some are quick, some are more physical and implement them in that regard in terms of the passing game and the running game."

No matter what the system eventually becomes, the point man on the field is going to be quarterback Daniel Jones. Entering his fourth season, Jones is playing for his third head coach and fourth play-caller. But he has clearly enjoyed his early work with Daboll and Kafka.

"They both bring a ton of ideas, new ideas from different systems, systems that have had a lot of success, had quarterbacks with a lot of success," Jones said. "I think all those ideas here, new thoughts here, new concepts, new plays, I think all that stuff (will help him improve). Just trying to pick up those little things here and there and listening to some of their philosophy on playing the position, playing offense, looking for opportunities to make plays at times when they aren't there and to protect the ball.

"I think all those conversations, just learning from their experience and what they've been around, the success that they've had."

In Buffalo, Daboll mentored Josh Allen, the only quarterback in NFL history with 100 passing touchdowns and 30 rushing touchdowns in his first four seasons. During those same four years, Kafka was the quarterbacks coach – and the passing game coordinator the last two seasons – mentoring Patrick Mahomes, a Super Bowl winner and league MVP who is universally considered one of the very best players at his position.

Both coaches are pleased with their springtime interactions with Jones.

"I really enjoy working with him right now," Kafka said. "He's a smart kid. He works hard. Those are all things that I had heard about him but being able to see it in person has been great. Right now, just developing that relationship with him is the most important thing, and out here in practice seeing him operate, seeing him communicate with the players and how he talks to each and every group has been really cool."

Kafka was asked for an example of Jones' intelligence.

"The amount of installs we're giving these guys, the plays, the load that we're going to give our players as far as install-wise, he's absorbing it and he's able to spit it back out, get guys fixed and cleaned up on the field," Kafka said. "Those are things I'm looking just out of the gate, getting guys lined up correctly, getting the huddle, sharp, crisp. Those are things that are important for pre-snap stuff."

Daboll has encouraged Jones to offer input in what they're planning and feedback on what they've done.

"I think it's improved really since the day we got here," Daboll said. "It takes a lot of trust to do that. You're a player and you're trying to learn the system that the new coaching staff is bringing in, so usually everything, I can do that, I can do that, but as you build a relationship with the player, I think it's a lot easier for him to say, hey, give me that one again tomorrow or give me that next week, let me get another rep of that or I'm just not really feeling comfortable with this play, and then we just throw it out.

"Everybody has a ton of plays in their playbook. It's not anything new. But I do think it's important for that position in particular to have a say in what he likes or what he doesn't like. I want all the players to be able to do that."

Catch up on all the action with photos from OTA No. 3 at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

*Daboll has not announced who will call the plays when the Giants begin playing games.

"Right now, in Phase 3 (of OTAs), we're just taking it kind of day by day," Kafka said. "I'm calling the plays for the quarterbacks in practice, and then we'll let Dabs evaluate that, and he has every right to evaluate how he wants to handle that."

*The Giants signed their seventh 2022 draft choice, LSU cornerback Cor'Dale Flott, one of their two third-round selections.

The first six draft picks to sign their contracts were first-round selections Kayvon Thibodeaux (edge rusher from Oregon) and Evan Neal (tackle from Alabama), three fifth-round choices - linebacker Micah McFadden of Indiana, defensive tackle D.J. Davidson of Arizona State and guard Marcus McKethan of North Carolina – and sixth-round choice Darrian Beavers, a linebacker from Cincinnati.

The four selections who remain unsigned are wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson of Kentucky (second round); third-rounder Joshua Ezeudu, an offensive lineman from North Carolina; and fourth-round picks Daniel Bellinger, a tight end from San Diego State, and safety Dane Belton of Iowa.

*The Giants added their fifth player – and fourth on defense – in the last two days when they signed free agent corner Michael Jacquet.

A 6-1, 203-pounder, Jacquet, 25, played in the 2021 season finale for the Jacksonville Jaguars and in seven games with two starts for the 2020 Philadelphia Eagles. He totaled 17 tackles (12 solo), 1.0 sack, three passes defensed and one forced fumble.

The Giants waived rookie defensive tackle Antonio Valentino.

*Daboll said he is considering holding joint training camp practices with another NFL team.

"Talking about it right now," he said. "I'd say that the training camp schedule, whether or not we practice with another team, we're still working through that. Probably have an answer for you by next week, but we're still going through that, myself, (director of coaching operations) Laura Young, the strength staff, sports science. Just need a little bit more time on that. But definitely talking about it."

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