New York Giants fans have many reasons to be excited about the team’s 4-1 record, but what should have them most optimistic is the quick impact that the Giants’ new coaching staff has made. On both sides of the ball, head coach Brian Daboll has produced a well-coached team that is maximizing a rebuilding roster hit hard by injuries.
Even before losing receivers Sterling Shepard and Collin Johnson for the season, the cupboard looked bare for Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, who calls the plays. Quarterback Daniel Jones didn’t play well enough in his first three seasons to warrant having his fifth-year option picked up, the offensive line was among the NFL’s worst last season, and the Giants have a pair of disappointments at receiver in second-year player Kadarius Toney and big-money free agent Kenny Golladay. Yet, five games into the season, the Giants have rigged up an offense that ranks 12th in offensive DVOA, which accounts for strength of schedule.
Previously with the Bills and Chiefs, respectively, Daboll and Kafka had two of the best quarterbacks in the league in Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes, so it made sense that their offenses were spread-it-out, air-it-out attacks. The Giants, however, have mostly utilized heavy personnel groupings and run formations to feature running back Saquon Barkley, their best player.
With an offensive line that lacks big names — left tackle Andrew Thomas is the group’s only star — the Giants are currently fourth in explosive run rate, with 12.7 percent of their runs going for 12-plus yards. They have a diverse run game menu, but their core concepts are outside zone, which has become the base scheme around the league, and pin-and-pull, which is a variant of outside zone.