A week ago, the Buffalo Bills suffered one of the most heartbreaking losses in franchise history, finishing on the wrong side of that epic 42-36 overtime playoff result against the Chiefs.
On Friday, the Bills took another gut punch when the Giants hired their 46-year-old offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as the 20th head coach in franchise history.
It’s hard to gauge which of those gaps will affect the Bills the most — that cutthroat loss in the Kansas City playoffs or the departure of Daboll, who has been so integral to quarterback Josh Allen’s development.
That much is certain in the wake of this blockbuster, double franchise-turning transaction: The Bills’ loss is the Giants’ gain.
“I feel like he’s a good fit for New York,” Bills star recipient Stefon Diggs told The Post on Saturday. “They’ve got some good pieces there already and he knows how to get the guys on the ball.”
How does Diggs, who acquired the Bills from the Vikings ahead of the 2020 season, think Daboll’s coaching style will work if he is the CEO of a whole roster?
“As for being a head coach,” Diggs said, “I think it will translate fantastically.”
The word “trust” kept coming from Diggs in regards to what sets Daboll apart.
“He has such a great relationship between players and coach,” said Diggs. “He trusts his guys. He trusts his players to make plays. When you have a coach like that, you want to play well for him. You don’t want to disappoint him because he puts so much trust in you.”
Diggs then wanted to make one thing perfectly clear to the Giants locker room that Daboll will be overseeing: Don’t confuse his player-coach manner with weakness.
“I can tell you first hand that Brian Daboll will never let anyone walk all over him,” Diggs said. “He’s cool, but he’s not that cool. He’s a tough guy. He will be hard on you. But he will give you that rope and tell you that he trusts you.
“You want to play for those guys because you think, ‘Okay, my coach trusts me, I’m going to put in that extra time, catch a few extra balls, watch another 30 minutes of film.’ You want that kind of relationship with your coach.”
Diggs raved about Daboll’s prolific offensive spirit, comparing him to Chiefs head coach Andy Reid “and those guys who pull it in the ground pull it on their hand.”
“He’s not a robot,” Diggs said. “He shows you that it’s okay to be creative and innovative.”
Nowhere has that proved more true than with Allen. Daboll and Allen had been attached at the hip since they both came to Buffalo in 2018. Since their arrival in Western New York, Daboll helped harness Allen’s raw talent and develop him into one of the best quarterbacks in the game.
Allen’s completion rate went from 52.8 percent in 2018 to 58.8 in 2019 to 69.2 in 2020. Last season it was 63.3 percent. Allen threw 30 touchdown passes in his first two seasons and 73 in the past two years.
Those numbers did not improve due to osmosis.
“I wasn’t here in the early stages of his career, I’ve only been here for the last two years, but when I got here they were all talking about Josh that I’d never seen – that he was inaccurate and bad decisions,” said Diggs. “And I’m like, ‘Damn, when I play with him, I don’t see that.’ He’s got a strong arm, he’s very confident, and he’s a tough quarterback.
“Developing an All-Pro quarterback isn’t easy, and Dabes has had a lot to do with his development.”
Diggs also praised Daboll for developing him into the receiver he is today. In his five seasons with the Vikings before the Bills bought him in 2020, Diggs’ career was high for receptions in a season 102.
In his first season with the Bills, he led the NFL in catches with 127 and yards with 1,535. He had 103 catches for 1,225 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. Diggs has thus had the best two seasons of his seven-year career with Daboll.
“I felt like when I got to Buffalo, he made me exceptional,” Diggs said. “That’s my husband forever. When I tell him I love him, I mean it, because I really appreciate everything he has done for me.”
You wonder what Daboll’s system will be able to unlock Giants receivers Kenny Golladay, who was a total disappointment as a 2021 signing by a free agent, Sterling Shepard, Kadarius Toney and Darius Slayton.
Diggs said he can’t wait to see where his former coach takes this opportunity of a lifetime after 21 years of toil as an assistant coach.
“I’ll watch from a distance,” Diggs said. “I want great things for him.”