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Brian Daboll entrusts Mike Kafka as Giants play-caller

The Giants are not about to mess with the rhythm of Mike Kafka and the NFL’s top-ranked offense during the preseason. 

Well, except for shipping the quarterback most responsible for those numbers to the practice squad and cutting many of the playmakers. 

Kafka will remain the play-caller — a job that he, as a first-time offensive coordinator, auditioned for throughout spring and summer practices — when the regular season begins Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. Consider it proof that not all preseason results are as entirely meaningless as they seem when cuts are made. 

“I have a lot of confidence in Mike,” head coach Brian Daboll said. “We’ll stay with how we did things in the preseason.” 

After ranking No. 31 in total offense and passing offense last season, the Giants led the NFL in both categories over three preseason games. Of course, that is an apples-to-oranges comparison because third-string quarterback Davis Webb carved up third-string defenses during the second halves of those games. 

Mike Kafka
Mike Kafka
Robert Sabo for the NY POST
Brian Daboll
Brian Daboll
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

Quarterback Daniel Jones led the starters to 10 points on his five total possessions. The Giants averaged an NFL-worst 16.3 points per game over the last two seasons, under head coach Joe Judge and offensive play-callers Jason Garrett (26 games) and Freddie Kitchens (seven games). 

Daboll landed his job largely because of the way he developed quarterback Josh Allen into an MVP candidate and called plays for a high-scoring attack with the Bills. While it is not a surprise that the 35-year-old Kafka will continue on as a play-caller, Daboll expressed reluctance to officially designate the role at every turn until Monday, after the two offensive minds met to discuss it over the weekend. 

“[Kafka] knows how to get guys matched up,” rookie receiver Wan’Dale Robinson said. “He’s going to get us in a groove and get us going; knows when to take the shots and get us in the best plays.” 

General manager Joe Schoen said in January that it was his preference not to have a head coach doubling as a play-caller and taking away from other management responsibilities. Daboll and Kafka have not worked together previously, but it is unlikely that Kafka would’ve been lured away from his comfortable spot as Patrick Mahomes’ quarterbacks coach and pass game coordinator for the Chiefs if he didn’t think that he was going to be the play-caller. 

“We’re definitely going to be more on the aggressive side,” running back Saquon Barkley said last week. “I think we got a feel for what we want to do in camp, but week by week that can change. Every position has got to be able to adapt, and that’s something that I’ve learned this offseason working with Dabes, working with Kafka. They could be game-planning on the sideline going out there; telling coach what I see, or something that they see, and be able to change the game plan right there and execute it.”

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