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Mike Kafka looks to improve 'explosive pass game'


Fans say it. Analysts say it. The Giants say it.

"I'd like to see us take a step forward in our explosive pass game," Mike Kafka said during a recent episode of “On the Drive with Shaun O’Hara” on "I'm really excited about the guys we have. I'm excited about the schemes that we've been talking about all offseason and implementing those things."

That is priority No. 1 for Kafka, who had assistant head coach duties added to his role as offensive coordinator this offseason. Coach Brian Daboll wanted to get him "more involved just from the organizational standpoint" with matters such as interviews and plans for the upcoming season.

"It's been cool," Kafka said. "As the offseason goes on and the season [goes on], I think things will start to roll more. Right now, it's really fluid and Dabs has done a really nice job of keeping me included."

Both of them, along with the rest of the staff, are charged with the task of improving a unit that ranked last in completions of 10 yards or more and tied for 25th in passes of 20 yards or more.

O'Hara, a three-time Pro Bowl center who blocked for two of the top five scoring offenses in Giants history (in addition to the 2009 team that holds the franchise record for most explosive pass plays), quickly pointed out that protection might have something to do with it.

Kafka, a former quarterback, agreed.

"I think our O-line will take a step forward as well and continue to grow," Kafka said, "but all 11 guys are going to have to do that."

Whom they will be protecting is another story.

The Giants' top brass has said Daniel Jones, assuming he stays on track, is the starting quarterback. Jones was limited to six games in 2023 because of injuries, notably a torn ACL that ended his season on Nov. 5.

"I know a lot of you killed Daniel for his performance this year, but we had the perfect storm," Mara said last month at the NFL Annual Meeting. "Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. Guys got hurt. The wrong guys got hurt. Let's face it, for a while we couldn't block anybody, and Daniel was getting hit all the time.

"I still have every confidence in the world in Daniel. Let's put a better team around him. Hopefully he'll get healthy, and I think the real Daniel Jones is the one that played in 2022, particularly down the stretch in the playoffs."

At the same time, the Giants own six selections in the upcoming draft, starting with the No. 6 overall pick in a year seemingly loaded with quarterbacks and receivers. The Giants also added veteran Drew Lock, who has made 23 career starts, to a room that includes Tommy DeVito.

The Giants' voluntary offseason workout program is set to begin Monday, April 15. Players will ramp up to organized team practice activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamp in mid-June. The team will then break until training camp, when Jones is expected to get the green light.

Until then, Kafka knows Jones will do all he can to get back.

"Within the scope of his rehab, his ability to get mental reps, that's going to be super important," Kafka said. "Obviously you're not going to be able to do the physical stuff, but the mental reps are going to be super important. I think Daniel will do an awesome job of building in those mental reps, taking it, understanding, and then still being able to communicate, be on the field and communicate with players and make sure that they kind of see it through his lens and they're both seeing it the same way."

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