Why Giants Don’t Have a Head Coaching Problem

Brian Daboll’s fiery temper has raised some concerns about his fit for the job. But here’s another way to look at it.

Over the last week and a half, there have been dueling media reports claiming that how head coach Brian Daboll expresses his competitive nature is fast becoming a turnoff to his staff, while others have tried to downplay the fireworks that stem from defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s resignation.  

New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll is a competitor who knows that if his team is going to win (the bottom line), the players need to be put into the best position to succeed.

But it’s fair to wonder if that was always the case this past season, a season in which the Giants went 6-11 on their way to a third-place finish in the division. It was fair to wonder what now former offensive line coach Bobby Johnson was teaching his pupils in the classroom that they couldn’t pick up stunts consistently or why former defensive coordinator Wink Martindale thought it a good idea to drop outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux into coverage or why offensive coordinator Mike Kafka called for a running play down by the goal line when he should have called for a passing play.

While not all of the Giants’ 2023 problems are on the coaching staff—execution or lack thereof also played a big role—it’s easy to see why Daboll would become frustrated. But depending on which report you prefer to believe, Daboll allegedly took that frustration beyond the limit to the point where he became almost unbearable, an allegation that raised the question of whether the Giants have the right man for the job.

On the latest Locked On Giants podcast, I discussed this. I believe Daboll has built up some equity with the players, who never checked out despite having nothing to play for down the stretch. For every tablet he might have chucked in quarterback Daniel Jones’s direction, I’ve also witnessed him hug the quarterback. For every expletive he shouts during practice, he’s also the first to applaud wildly when a play is made. And for every death stare he’s given to an assistant coach following a screw-up, he’s also given out hugs.

I don’t want to speak for Daboll, but I believe he tends to pop off so quickly because he recognizes how hard the team works behind the scenes. I also think that deep down, he realized that despite everyone’s best intentions, the team he had in 2023, whose chemistry was ruined by injuries, wasn’t good enough to overcome many mistakes.

This doesn’t suggest that Daboll is fine with continuing such explosive behavior. If nothing else, popping his cork as often as we see during games or practices can’t be good for his health, so if for no other reason, he might want to remember that no game is going to be played perfectly and that he should consider figuring out a way to better release any frustration that comes from a mishap.

No one wants to be screamed at, especially when others witness the event. These are all grown men and women working under Daboll, and while the coach has said that his outbursts are nothing personal, they’re not a good look. A better and likely preferred approach is to sit down with someone to find out what went into the decision and then offer guidance on correcting the problem, as popping off will put someone on the defense.

After going through a magical rookie season, Daboll is still a relatively new head coach who experienced just about every form of adversity under the sun in his second campaign. He always talks about needing to do a better job, coach better, mentor better. 

Well as Tom Coughlin, another Giants head coach who came in like a hurricane before realizing he had to change is ways, once said, “Talk is cheap.” And all eyes will be on Daboll this coming year to see what changes he makes to his own performance because while tempers are going to flare, when they start dominating the game, something needs to change going forward.

Gideon Canice

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