Giants coach Brian Daboll’s five biggest questions

Ben McAdoo promised to embrace the pressure, Pat Shurmur vowed to learn from past mistakes and Joe Judge radiated toughness. 

Brian Daboll will be introduced at 10 a.m. Monday as the head coach of the Giants. It will be the fourth such press conference for the Giants, who keep firing head coaches every two years, since 2016. 

What will Daboll say? Only he knows. But here are five things he will be asked: 

Can you work more magic at QB? 

Daniel Jones was the No. 6 pick in the 2019 draft, one year after Josh Allen was the No. 7 pick by the Bills. In a way, Jones is like a poor man’s Allen because he is reliant on designed quarterback runs (and the threat they pose) to help with his passing accuracy. 

Brian Daboll (left) played a major role in Josh Allen’s (right) development.
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Daniel Jones (center) listens to Joe Schoen's introductory press conference.
Daniel Jones (center) listens to Joe Schoen’s introductory press conference.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

It is unfair to expect Daboll to turn Jones into an Allen-like MVP candidate. But maybe the former Bills offensive coordinator can help Jones reach his own ceiling. Jones threw more touchdown passes as a rookie under Shurmur than in the last two years combined under Jason Garrett and Freddie Kitchens. 

Jones’ development was a key factor in the decision to hire Daboll over five defensive-minded candidates, sources told The Post. Fellow finalist Brian Flores’ track record of firing offensive coaches fit exactly with what the Giants have done too frequently and want to stop. 

ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky said he heard mid-last week that “Daboll absolutely loves Daniel Jones.” At that point, Daboll already had interviewed twice, so no wonder general manager Joe Schoen and co-owner John Mara felt comfortable endorsing Jones before hiring a coach. 

Who is your defensive coordinator? 

The most important hire for any head coach is the coordinator on the other side of the ball. 

There is no shortage of viable options: Former Ravens coordinator Wink Martindale reportedly is on Daboll’s list. If the Giants keep raiding the Bills, linebackers coach Bob Babich is a six-year NFL defensive coordinator. Two fired head coaches, Vic Fangio (Broncos) and Mike Zimmer (Vikings), are looking for work. Zimmer was mentored by Bill Parcells, just like Schoen. 

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Or the Giants could keep Patrick Graham, who is under contract, unless he is the new Vikings head coach. Daboll and Graham worked together from 2013-15 in New England. Graham interviewed to be Giants head coach and is beloved by players but is not the type to undermine a boss. 

The decision comes down to Daboll’s schematic vision: A 4-3 or a 3-4 alignment? Blitz-heavy or coverage-heavy? 

How will alignment with GM Joe Schoen ease your transition? 

It is assumed that Daboll will call plays. It was just two years ago that Mara wanted a CEO-style coach (Judge) because he thought calling plays detracted from the ability to see the entire picture and led to the firings of Shurmur and McAdoo. 

Daboll is the rare coach who has crossed the line of scrimmage, a former defensive back who was a defensive assistant under Romeo Crennel for the Patriots in 2000-01 before switching to wide receivers. 

Brian Daboll
Brian Daboll has coached both offense and defense.
AP

He is known as a player’s coach who brings the energy. Fun for a coordinator, but dangerous for a head coach if veterans try to walk over a non-enforcer. Daboll is more understated than Judge, and that could be a reason why some teams without an aligned ally like Schoen in charge were not impressed with his interviews, a source said. 

How does Saquon Barkley fit? 

The Bills had two top-10 rushing attacks in Daboll’s three years, led by the likes of Devin Singletary, Frank Gore and Zack Moss. Surviving on cheap rookies and last-legs veterans doesn’t suggest good news for Barkley, the former No. 2 pick with eyes on a big contract extension. 

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But a deeper look shows that Daboll has employed bell cows: With Daboll calling plays, Peyton Hillis had 270 rushing attempts for the 2010 Browns and Jamaal Charles totaled 320 touches from scrimmage and finished second for the rushing title for the 2012 Chiefs. 

One player Barkley often is compared to by scouts is Reggie Bush, who averaged 5 yards per carry, topped 1,000 on the ground and added 43 catches as the lead in a timeshare under Daboll with the 2011 Dolphins. Duplicating those numbers would mark a big resurgence for the oft-injured Barkley. 

Do you win in the trenches? 

The Giants have been trying to get the offensive line fixed for 10 years. They’ve been trying to improve the pass rush for nearly as long. The last regime promised to emphasize those positions but leaned toward playmakers when it came to decision-time. 

Daboll’s Bills were flashy, but would they have been successful without an underrated offensive line? Left tackle Dion Dawkins finally became the first Pro Bowler in Daboll’s three years. The Bills’ emphasis on the pass rush in the 2021 draft took the defense to another level. 

The Giants hold the No. 5 and No. 7 picks in the draft and the line of scrimmage is a strength of the top-10 projections.

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