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Giants coordinators talk season opener in Nashville


Giants coordinators – Mike Kafka, Wink Martindale and Thomas McGaughey – spoke with John Schmeelk of the Giants Huddle Podcast to detail their individual philosophies.

Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka, who was recently named this season's play-caller, emphasized how communication was the most important factor in installing his offense. Quarterback Daniel Jones has also been instrumental in working with Kafka to ensure that all of the skill players have an abundance of options to draw from. "Daniel is a great kid, and he's grown within the offense so much," Kafka boasted. He continued, "I'm proud of where he's been to where he's at now."

Kafka spoke specifically to the talent in the wide receiver room. "There's definitely a lot of flexibility in being able to move those pieces around. It's a pretty good deal," he shared and agreed that the room parallels a basketball team with larger center-like guys in Kenny Golladay and point guards like rookie Wan'Dale Robinson.

In turning attention to the defense, Wink Martindale uncovered his installation. "There's methods and principles," he said. "Once you got (the players) asking questions, you know you have them." Martindale also emphasized how league trends have shifted and altered what the body composition of defensive players looks like. Physicality, Wink attested, is crucial to impacting the game especially when it comes to the play-action pass.

On the current 53-man roster, Martindale spoke highly of the linebacker room in general, saying they performed even better with pads on. Inside players like Austin Calitro proved their worth by being productive in the preseason. He also addressed the outside linebackers: "I thought all preseason that (Coach) Drew Wilkins with the outside linebackers set the edge well in the run game." Wink offered a positive outlook for the secondary, too. "I think the starting group that we have are up to the task, and we just got to keep building depth behind it."

With continued movement, no one is more affected by the last few players on roster than Thomas McGaughey. His philosophy, however, remains unchanged: "You don't make excuses; you just make adjustments."

Having served as the special teams coordinator since 2018, McGaughey told of his three distinct install periods this year: in the spring, during training camp and after the 53-man roster is established. Through it all, he noted, "We've (had) a bunch of young guys who are working their tail off." Inside Linebackers like Cam Brown, named the "special teams demon" by Wink Martindale, embody McGaughey's praise.

McGaughey looks for the same key characteristics, despite turnover, in his contributors: "big, strong, physical guys that can run and make good decisions." Above all, he added, "(They have) to be selfless."

Martindale, Kafka and McGaughey will have an opportunity to see their schemes in action this upcoming Sunday as the Giants take on the Tennessee Titans in Nashville for their Week 1 opener.

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