5 things to know about offensive coordinator Mike Kafka
Coach Brian Daboll announced Monday that offensive coordinator Mike Kafka will be calling the plays for the offense when the Giants face the Titans this weekend.
Kafka called the plays in the preseason, where the Giants finished ranked first in the NFL in total yards (382.7) and passing yards (279.0) per game. They also finished at the top of the NFC in passing attempts (143), completion percentage (71.3 percent) and fewest sacks allowed (three).
Here are five things to know about the Giants' play-caller.
- Kafka spent the last five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he began as the offensive quality control coach in 2017. He then became the Chiefs' quarterbacks coach in 2018, where he served in that role for two seasons before adding the title of passing game coordinator in 2020. His coaching career began at Northwestern in 2016, where he spent one season as a graduate assistant. Kafka was also an NFL quarterback from 2010-2015, spending time with seven different teams as a backup quarterback and practice squad member.
- Kafka has led one of the most elite quarterback rooms in the NFL over the last four seasons. The Chiefs ranked fourth in the NFL with 281.8 passing yards per game in 2021 after leading the league in the category in 2020 (303.4). Patrick Mahomes put together another campaign with 4,500 passing yards and 35+ passing touchdowns this past season, the third time he has accomplished the feat in four years. In his first season as quarterbacks coach in 2018, Kafka helped guide Mahomes to the franchise's first NFL MVP Award after he broke four Chiefs passing records and became only the second QB to pass for over 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a season.
- Prior to joining the Chiefs, Kafka returned to his alma mater where he served as an offensive graduate assistant at Northwestern University. With Kafka on the coaching staff, the Wildcats averaged 398.2 yards and 26.0 points per game. Northwestern earned a trip to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl that season, where they beat No. 23 Pittsburgh 31-24. Wide receiver Austin Carr was awarded the Richter-Howard Big Ten Receiver of the Year after finishing with 84 receptions for 1,196 yards and 12 touchdowns.
- Kafka had a six-year playing career in the NFL where he primarily served as a backup quarterback and practice squad member. He was a fourth-round pick (No. 122 overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles, led at the time by Head Coach Andy Reid. Kafka appeared in four games throughout his career, all during the 2011 season with the Eagles. He also spent time with the New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans and Cincinnati Bengals.
- Before being drafted, Kafka enjoyed a successful collegiate career at Northwestern, where he appeared in 30 games. Over his career there, he completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 4,265 yards with 19 touchdowns. He set single-game records in both passing yards (532 vs. Auburn, 2010) and rushing yards by a quarterback (217 vs. Minnesota, 2008), and his 3,725 yards of total offense as a senior in 2009 still stands as the second-most in school history. After graduating from Chicago's St. Rita High School, Kafka earned a degree in communication studies from Northwestern. Kafka and his wife, Alli, have a daughter, Ashton.
View photos of the New York Giants' 2022 roster as it currently stands.
Brian Daboll, Daniel Jones embark on first season together
Brian Daboll and Daniel Jones are the couple who met on a blind date and have grown to like and respect each other a great deal.
And that's good for the Giants, because they have the Giants' most important coach/player relationship as they prepare to play their opening game Sunday against the defending AFC South champion Tennessee Titans in Nashville.
Daboll, the team's first-year head coach, and Jones, the fourth-year quarterback, researched each other when Daboll was named the Giants' head coach in January. But no one is ever certain how a new partnership will progress. After working together throughout the spring and summer, they have developed an alliance that will benefit the team during the long NFL season.
"I've heard he was a hard worker," Daboll said yesterday. "I get to see it. He is at it extremely hard. He's here all the time. He's more on the quiet side, but he is ultra, ultra-competitive. He does a really good job in the huddle with his teammates when you just step out and listen to him. I think he's a good leader.
"Daniel, since I've been around him, I think he's got the right approach really every week. Certainly, we weren't game planning in the preseason, but the way he approached things, I've been impressed with."
Jones is already operating in his third NFL offense and the fourth scheme in five seasons counting his final year at Duke.
"The verbiage is definitely different this year," Jones said. "That's something you've got to learn. It just takes time to study, memorize the words and how we are going to call things. The next level of that is understanding the concepts, the plays and getting used to seeing it against certain defenses and knowing what to expect."
Kayvon Thibodeaux participates in individual drills
Kayvon Thibodeaux participated in individual drills with the Giants' other pass rushers in practice yesterday but was as non-committal as Brian Daboll regarding his availability for Sunday's season opener in Tennessee.
"I don't know," Thibodeaux said in his first public comments since injuring his right knee in a preseason game on Aug. 28. "Right now, it's day to day. It could really go either way. We're just waiting to see where it is when the time comes.
"I'm doing a lot better. Continuous rehab and we just continue to push forward. … I've just got to be able to practice. If you don't practice, you don't play. Me just being able to get out there, get some work and do everything that I need to do the time I need to get my job done."
Earlier, Daboll was asked if he had a "better sense" about the game status of Thibodeaux and fellow edge rusher Azeez Ojulari, who has a calf injury and was also kept out of the team portion of practice.
"Nope," he said.
"We'll just keep rehabbing them," Daboll said. "But they'll be out there, I think, today. They'll probably do a few things individual with coaches."