The Giants’ hiring of Brian Daboll as their new head coach means it truly is Put Up or Shut Up for Daniel Jones. Last Chance Saloon to be The Mann.
Everybody knows that Daboll worked magic with Josh Allen in Buffalo. While no one should expect the apple of former general manager Dave Gettleman’s eye to automatically join the upper echelon of elite quarterbacks, this will be his opportunity, once and for all, to make the franchise believe in earnest that he can truly be the franchise quarterback who followed Eli Manning.
Daboll isn’t just a creative and innovative offensive mind whose time is past due, he is a builder of relationships and a man of empathy and compassion whom Allen — and Buffalo’s offensive players — respected and adored.
“Players don’t care how much you know,” Daboll said once, “until they know how much you care. I think that’s an important quality that I try to be better at every year.”
Daboll wasn’t hired strictly to lift Jones higher. The Giants want and need him to be the CEO and leader they believed Joe Judge to be before the clown show arrived at the end of this past season.
But Daboll marching in lockstep as a partner with new GM Joe Schoen promises to give Jones a warm and fuzzy feeling — and it doesn’t hurt that Daboll just might be able to bring the Giants’ offense back from the dead and find the end zone without the need for a Seeing Eye dog.
The Real Daniel Jones must stand up in his fourth season, or Daboll will be whispering sweet nothings to a different quarterback in 2023.
Ready, Willing and Daboll.
“I’d like to say that I’m a leader,” Daboll said once. “You have to develop relationships with your players, but you also have to set a standard and an expectation that you are going to hold them accountable to. Once a player can trust you and you earn their respect, they’re more accountable to you.”
There were times when Daboll showed Allen tough love on the sideline, and their bond was unbreakable.
“I think teams would be foolish not to offer Brian Daboll a job,” Allen said Monday. “I’m praying they don’t, because I want him back here, but I love him and his family too much to really think that.
“I think he’s one of the best coaches in the league.”
The jury remains out on Jones following the neck injury that cost him the final six games of this past season. Judge’s offensive coordinator woes and the wretched state of the Giants’ offensive line both helped sabotage his career. The Giants — from John Mara to Schoen on down — love Jones’ dual-threat physical tools and intangibles, and they will hope and pray that Daboll will be able to unlock the promise Jones showed as a rookie under Pat Shurmur.
In Mara’s mind, Jones is not a 12-25 quarterback.
When Daboll loses his grandmother in September, Allen and the Bills rallied behind him and for him with a 43-21 win over Washington.
“He’s a guy that I love dearly and to go out there and play the way we did for him, the guys understood that, and we wanted to go and execute and play well for him,” Allen said.
Sometimes you just know, or you believe you know. Mike Tomlin, Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay, John Harbaugh, Sean Payton, Jimmy Johnson, Andy Reid. Somebody knew.
Or somebody got lucky. Because there is always an element of luck involved. There have been countless can’t-miss hotshots who missed, for example. The Giants haven’t been lucky lately. Ben McAdoo, Shurmur, Judge. Ray Handley right after Bill Parcells.
So while it’s impossible to shout “Super Bowl, here we come!” from the top of the Empire State Building — the top of the Quest Diagnostics Training Center is far more realistic — Daboll’s hiring by the bright new GM signals the dawn of a new day, and a time for whipsawed Giants fans to trust that Schoen got it right, and keep their fingers crossed that the merciless football gods will now concede that the law of averages is on their side.
After too many years of Dumb and Dumber, the glass-half-full Giants fan is saying today: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance.”
Yes, I’m telling you there’s a chance.
I would have told you there was a chance with Brian Flores, too.
Schoen has to evaluate the hell out of the players in the draft, and Daboll has to coach the hell out of his players — and hire better offensive coaches than Judge did.
“Always hire somebody you know,” the late George Young said once. “That way you have a good idea of what the person’s like. No surprises.”
Shoe hired someone he knew. Parcells and Bill Belichick weren’t options. The Giants landed two Bills anyway.
“You hire somebody with a high energy level,” Young also said. “And something to prove.”
Daboll, who will turn 47 in April, has plenty to prove. That he is more than an offensive coordinator. That he is more than just a quarterback whisperer. That the lessons he learned under Belichick and Nick Saban will steel him to weather the inevitable storms.
Here’s your shot, Danny Boy. Your last shot to be The Mann.