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2022 Training Camp

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Notebook: Kafka calls plays at camp; Daboll pleased with tempo


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Brian Daboll has chosen the Giants' offensive play-caller – for training camp.

A decision regarding who will handle those duties when the regular season begins either has not been finalized or is something the Giants' first-year coach is not ready to reveal. Daboll called the plays in Buffalo the previous four years as the Bills' offensive coordinator and inquiring minds have repeatedly asked him if he will continue that practice with the Giants.

That responsibility now falls to offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, who called the plays today in the team's second training camp practice, as he did throughout the spring drills.

"Mike has done a really good job in the spring, which he handled the scripts," Daboll said at his daily news conference. "And again, we talk on a day-to-day basis on plays and things to install. But he's been on the headset with (quarterback) Daniel (Jones). And he'll be doing that through camp. And as we get closer to it, we'll sit down and discuss it (who will call plays when the season begins)."

Kafka joined the Giants after spending five seasons as an assistant coach on Andy Reid's staff with the Kansas City Chiefs, the last two as the team's quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator. With the Chiefs, he worked closely with Super Bowl LIV winner and 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes.

"I've been really happy with Mike," Daboll said. "Not just his communication with the quarterback, but how he's handled the offensive staff, how he's handled the players. He has a really good demeanor about himself. Once we cross that bridge, which we've still got a little bit here to go, you guys will know."

Because Kafka has been speaking to Jones on the field, Daboll was asked if it would be "jarring" for the fourth-year quarterback to hear the head coach's voice in his headset when the regular season starts. That would be a hard no.

"I talk to Daniel between every play," Daboll said. "I meet with Daniel a lot. We have a good relationship – a working relationship. But it's good right now for Mike to be able to do those things with Daniel, with the offense."

*Daboll said he was pleased with the fast-paced tempo of the first camp practice.

"Credit the assistant coaches," he said. "We got to get from drill to drill. We got to move quickly. We got to get in and out of the huddle. When we go no huddle, it's got to be quick and crisp, and then we've got to play fast. Finish plays. Build our endurance in that regard, but the guys did a good job of running around. Again, first day. We'll probably have a few sore guys out there just from being off a little bit during the summer. Going to have to push through it and keep building."

*Daboll's offense will likely use much more pre-snap movement than the Giants have shown in the past.

"Each day we kind of emphasize particular things," Daboll said. "I know yesterday there was a lot of that. There will be probably some today. We're just installing our plays right now. Installing motions, installing shifts so the guys can get used to running them. There's a time to do it, and there's time not. We got to make sure we're getting in and out of the huddle when there's longer plays with different types of motions. So, you're practicing all those things so that you want to run them when it really counts, that you've practiced them enough that you feel comfortable with them."

The motion and other deceptive practices add another layer of learning for the players. Daboll fielded a question about whether players view that as fun and demanding.

"You'd have to ask those guys," Daboll said. "I'm not really worried too much about fun. But what we're trying to do is whatever we need to do to help our guys and cause conflicts, issues with the defense. Is it more to learn? Sure, because there's added calls to it. You start on one side and have to be on the other side. You got to start in the backfield and be out here. You know, there's a little bit of thinking that goes along with it.

"Smart is the first thing we look for. And we certainly put a lot on these players. One, because I think they can handle it, and if they can't, we'll tighten it back and make sure we do the things that they can do. Again, first day of training camp. We're going to go through another however many of these guys. There's going to be more stuff added, different things that we do. And that's all really to prepare yourself when you start playing games. That's what practice is for."

One of the players doing more moving – and thus, more thinking – is running back Saquon Barkley.

"Obviously, you've got to be locked in," Barkley said. "You've got to take that time outside of football, outside of meeting rooms, to learn and know yourself. You're going to have your mistakes, it's early in camp, but that's what training camp is about. It's coming in here, trying new things, seeing what we can do as an offense, and seeing what we can add to our offensive game plan when we get ready for our season.

"It forces the defense to think, and it puts the advantage in our hands. We've got to execute on pre-snap, post-snap, and knowing what we've got to do because it can be a weapon for us."


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