The Giants made great strides in the 2020 season to restore fans’ pride in the franchise. Head Coach Joe Judge believes the team has laid the foundation for continued growth and success.
But, there are holes in this team.
This article is the first of three discussing the Giants’ needs, wants, and must-haves if they want to make the postseason next year and beyond.
Even before the season ended for the 2020 NY Giants, the coaching staff was undergoing change. OLB Coach Bret Bielema left before the last game to return to college as the Head Coach of the University of Illinois. OL Coach Marc Colombo didn’t handle Joe Judge’s mid-season decision to bring in an offensive line consultant (Dave Guglielmo) too well, blew up at the boss, and was shown to the door. The Giants fully expected other teams to be interested in coaches on the staff, particularly DC/Asst HC Patrick Graham, TE Coach Freddie Kitchens, and OC Jason Garrett.
Sure enough, the Jets and other teams immediately asked the Giants for permission to speak with Patrick Graham about head coach openings. The LA Chargers asked to meet with Jason Garrett about their head coach opening. Garrett went through the full interview process with the Chargers and, for a little while, was viewed by some as the leading candidate.
The Giants had their own plan to ensure the foundation Judge and staff have built remains as sturdy and solid as possible.
Within 24 hours of the season’s end, the Giants agreed with Patrick Graham on an extension and locked him down for at least one more season. The Giants fans’ biggest fear–that Graham was moving on–was alleviated, and fans breathed a huge sigh of relief.
While Garrett was in serious consideration for the Chargers’ job, that team ultimately went across the SoFi Stadium hallway in LA and chose an up-and-coming Brandon Staley, the one-year defensive coordinator of the LA Rams. So, Garrett remains the OC for the GMen…and the fans continue to lament that he’s still here.
You can gauge the fan support of the coaching staff with just a quick look at social media posts. Mention “Graham,” and the fan base swoon over him with love, praise, and happy emojis and gifs. Now, mention “Garrett.” Ooof!! Not much love for his play-calling during games, anger over the Giants 31st ranked offense in 2020, frustration with the use and performance of the skill position players. As good as the Giants’ defense came together in 2020, the belief is the Giants’ offense took Giant-steps backward from 2019.
It looks like the OLB coach might be filled with ex-Tennessee Volunteers HC Jeremy Pruitt joining the staff as a defensive assistant. The Giants have tried to keep Dave Guglielmo as OL coach, but no deal has been made. Today, the Giants are meeting with Texans OL Coach Mike Devlin. He’s been tasked with protecting Deshaun Watson the last couple of years. So, while the Giants have a couple of coaching staff openings, overall, they did an excellent job at preserving the continuity and foundation by keeping the staff together.
The Giants are building something special. You can feel it. It is clear the coaching staff believes it too. That helps solidify the message, the teaching methods, the player approach, the schemes, and the team’s overall atmosphere.
Stability is so important, especially as the front office’s attention turns to offseason player moves.
Next up is a look at the Giants’ offense.
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