The case for Giants’ Brian Daboll as NFL Coach of the Year


Share post:

Nobody has done more with less this season quite like Brian Daboll. Nobody has elevated the talent at his disposal better than the rookie head coach.

And nobody else should be the NFL’s Coach of the Year.

He inherited a 4-13 roster that was further stripped of a few of its top players as a result of the salary-cap mess left by the previous regime. By Week 17, The Post’s Steve Serby tabbed Daboll as a messianic-like Savior of the New York Football Giants as they clinched their first playoff berth since 2016. He’s taken his employer, John Mara, out of anguish, the Giants owner recently saying he’s finally “not as miserable as I have been” as Daboll’s team helps restore his fractured relationship with fans.

The Giants’ over/under win total was set at 7.5 before the season, per DraftKings. At 9-6-1, Daboll more than doubled last season’s win total and brought the Giants to a level of competence almost nobody thought possible so quickly.

Perhaps most important, he’s dramatically changed the culture around a franchise that seemed to have lost its identity.

And yet, Daboll curiously still faces an uphill battle to win the award. He currently has the third-best odds to win Coach of the Year at most major sportsbooks, with BetMGM listing him at +350 behind Eagles coach Nick Sirianni (+125) and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan (+200).

Brian Daboll more than doubled the Giants’ win total from last year in his first season, yet is not the favorite to win the NFL’s Coach of the Year award.
Getty Images

“I don’t think he gets enough respect of how competitive he is,” Saquon Barkley told reporters this week. “He always talks about competitive stamina, competitive mindset, and it kind of starts with your coach. It kind of started Week 1, when we scored a touchdown and you go for two. …. It shows the trust that he has in us, the belief that he has in us. And when a guy like that is your head coach, showing him that as a player you don’t want to go out there and let him down, you want to enhance your level of play.”

To echo Barkley, it’s Daboll’s ability to “enhance” his players lifts him above his counterparts.

Under Daboll, Barkley himself has rediscovered the every-game effectiveness that had eluded him in previous seasons. Then there’s Daniel Jones, who likely has earned himself a long-term deal after the Giants opted not to pick up his fifth-year option before the season. The Post’s Ian O’Connor even declared that Jones has now proved himself to be the team’s franchise quarterback. Andrew Thomas has risen from a promising but inconsistent prospect to a team cornerstone and one of the league’s best at his left tackle position. Dexter Lawrence has become an All-Pro candidate.

More impressive, however, is how Daboll has “enhanced” the lesser-acclaimed Giants. He’s managed to get the offense to produce despite having arguably the least-talented group of receivers in the league in Darius Slayton (fifth-round pick), Richie James (seventh-round pick, had just 38 receptions in three years before coming to the Giants) and Isaiah Hodgins (sixth-round pick, signed off the Bills’ practice squad) after the team traded away Kadarius Toney. The Giants survived a long stretch without top defensive backs Adoree’ Jackson and Xavier McKinney, figuring out a way to win with unheralded Fabian Moreau, Jason Pinnock and Nick McCloud thrust into much bigger roles. The only player Daboll hasn’t been able to “enhance” has been Kenny Golladay, which probably says more about Golladay than it does Daboll.

Head coach Nick Sirianni of the Philadelphia Eagles watches play during the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Arlington, Texas.
Nick Sirianni has struggled to keep the Eagles winning after Jalen Hurts was sidelined with a shoulder injury.
Getty Images

Award favorites Sirianni and Shanahan, on the other hand, already possessed playoff-ready rosters that many view as two of the most complete and talented in the league.

Daboll lost the team’s top cornerback and one of its only proven Pro Bowlers in James Bradberry due to cap constraints when the Giants were forced to cut him in the offseason. The Eagles then added him to their already-loaded secondary. They also splashed to provide Sirianni with a star receiver in A.J. Brown, who had two 1,000-plus-yard seasons prior to arriving in Philadelphia. Brown joined a former first-round pick in Devonta Smith, who has emerged as one of the most exciting young wideouts in the league. Daboll also had a former first-round pick receiver from the same draft class, Toney, but he missed five games with two separate hamstring injuries before being traded.

Sirianni also had one of the healthiest teams in the league for much of the season, though the Eagles  now have lost two games in a row after losing multiple stars to injury, failing to elevate their game without much of that talent.

For his part, Shanahan has impressively steered the 49ers through injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, and has managed to continue winning with a former Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, at quarterback. He’s certainly “enhanced” the players he’s working with, but still had much more to work with than Daboll did. Shanahan has the benefit of the best defense in the league, which has largely stayed healthy and provided a safety net for adversity elsewhere. On offense, Shanahan has receivers Deebo Samuel, who was one of the most sought-after offensive weapons this past offseason before signing a large extension, and Brandon Aiyuk, a former first-round pick with 1,574 receiving yards in 29 games entering this season. That’s a far cry from Daboll’s crew of pass-catchers.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers looks on from the sideline in the third quarter against the Washington Commanders at Levi's Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Santa Clara, California.
By relying on one of the NFL’s best defenses, Kyle Shanahan has guided the 49ers to the playoffs while playing three different quarterbacks.
Getty Images

A look at payrolls is also in order, as the Eagles have spent more than $90 million in free agency while the 49ers have spent over $70 million, according to OverTheCap. The Giants have been limited to a little more than $45 million.

There are others worthy of consideration. Doug Pederson has done a terrific job turning around the Jaguars, but at 8-8, why should he jump the line? And as much as Jones has improved under Daboll, would anyone choose him over Trevor Lawrence?

Fellow rookie coach Kevin O’Connell, who has led the NFC North-winning Vikings to a 12-4 record, has been equipped with top-level talent far above what the Giants possess.

No, Daboll won’t have the most wins out of the candidates, but nobody “enhanced” their team and players more than Daboll did. He deserves to be the Coach of the Year.

The latest on Damar Hamlin

The sports world continues to hold its breath awaiting more concrete news about Damar Hamlin, the Bills safety who suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed on the field after making a tackle during the team’s “Monday Night Football” game against the Bengals. Hamlin received CPR on the field and was rushed by ambulance to a local hospital, where he has remained in critical condition.

Fans gather outside the UC Medical Center for Damar Hamlin, a National Football League (NFL) player in the US, who receive medical attention after suffering from a "cardiac arrest." during a football game, in Cincinnati, United States on January 3, 2022. Damar Hamlin on Monday collapsed during a football game and is in a "critical condition."
While tributes to Damar Hamlin were set outside the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, the Bills said the 24-year-old safety was showing “signs of improvement” on Wednesday.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Some encouraging news emerged on Wednesday:

• Although he remains in the ICU at the University of Cincinnati Hospital, the Bills announced Wednesday afternoon that Hamlin showed signs of improvement over night.

• A few hours before the Bills’ update, Hamlin’s marketing representative, Jordon Rooney, told NFL Network the 24-year-old was “moving in a positive direction.”

• Bengals receiver Tee Higgins, whom Hamlin tackled before he collapsed, has been in contact with Hamlin’s family, and has gone “above and beyond” in support, according to Rooney.

Meanwhile, NFL teams returned to work, and tried to cope with the emotions of seeing Hamlin collapse:

• Daboll, who was with the Bills and Hamlin in 2021, said Hamlin’s medical emergency is “heavy on my heart.” He wore a special hat to honor Hamlin. The Giants addressed Hamlin’s situation in a team meeting and went through a no-contact practice. Saquon Barkley admitted “it’s gonna be tough” to return to play in Week 18.

• The Jets also conducted an emotional team meeting to air their feelings about what head coach Robert Saleh called “an unfortunate tragedy.”

• As the Bengals returned to work, head coach Zac Taylor recounted the scene around Hamlin’s collapse, and quarterback Joe Burrow discussed how the players did not want to continue the game in the aftermath.

• More mundane matters: If the Bills-Bengals game is cancelled rather than resumed at a later date, as seems likely, here’s how it could affect the AFC playoff picture.

Today’s back page

New York Post

Read more:

🏀 Jalen Brunson’s 38-point night propels Knicks past Spurs: ‘He’s a monster’

🏀 Kevin Durant’s 44 points not enough as Bulls end Nets’ win streak at 12 games

🏈 Jets great Darrelle Revis among finalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame

Red card for … blackmailing your son’s coach?

The World Cup was just the warmup for a U.S. men’s national team in disarray.

The conflict between manager Gregg Berhalter and Giovanni Reyna, one of the team’s most promising prospects, reached a crescendo on Wednesday with the stunning revelation that Reyna’s parents had contacted Berhalter’s bosses to malign him in the aftermath of Reyna being benched in Qatar.

The day prior, Berhalter released a statement saying he kicked his now-wife, Rosalind, during an argument when they were dating in 1991, when he was 18 years old. Berhalter claimed he was blackmailed over the incident during the World Cup, stating that an individual had contacted U.S. Soccer representatives with the information in order to get him fired.

USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter
USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter is under investigation after it was revealed he had kicked his now-wife in 1991, a story U.S Soccer learned via Giovanni Reyna’s mother.
Getty Images

On Wednesday, Reyna’s mother, Danielle, revealed she was the one who approached U.S. Soccer with the allegations against Berhalter. Danielle Reyna and Rosalind Berhalter were four-year college teammates on North Carolina’s soccer team, and Gregg Berhalter and Giovanni Reyna’s father, Claudio, were former teammates on the USMNT and reportedly have a relationship that dates back to youth and high school soccer in New Jersey. Danielle Reyna also claimed Gregg Berhalter downplayed the domestic-violence incident in the statement he posted on Twitter.

The 20-year-old Giovanni Reyna controversially did not have a big role under Berhalter in Qatar, making just two brief substitute appearances. Following the USMNT’s elimination, Berhalter — in what he claims he was told would be off-the-record comments to a leadership seminar — spoke about having a player at the World Cup who was “clearly not meeting expectations” in how he behaved and that he considered kicking him off the team. He did not name Reyna, but it was easy to connect the dots.

Reyna responded to the comments, claiming he was told prior to the tournament by Berhalter that he would not have a big role. He acknowledged sulking in practice following the news, but said he apologized to the team and was told he was forgiven and that the situation would stay private within the team. Despite that, Reyna barely got onto the field afterward, and Berhalter made his Reyna criticism public.

Giovanni Reyna of USA during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Netherlands and USA at Khalifa International Stadium on December 03, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
Gio Reyna saw limited time on the field for the U.S. in Qatar before seeing his relationship with Berhalter deteriorate even more after the World Cup.
Visionhaus/Getty Images

“I thought it was especially unfair that Gio, who had apologized for acting immaturely about his playing time, was still being dragged through the mud when Gregg had asked for and received forgiveness for doing something so much worse at the same age,” Danielle Reyna told ESPN in a statement on Wednesday.

Before the revelations, U.S. Soccer leaders already faced a pivotal decision with Berhalter, whose contract expired on Dec. 31. After reaching the knockout stage before losing to the Netherlands, he likely had achieved enough on the field to remain in the job, but conflicts with players and questionable lineup decisions provided reasons to possibly look for a new coach.

Now Berhalter is embroiled in a conflict with one of the team’s most important players and his family that has become sordid and personal. U.S. Soccer announced it is investigating the 1991 incident, and that assistant coach Anthony Hudson will be in charge of the USMNT for the team’s camp and friendlies in January.

Casual portrait of New York City FC director of football operations Claudio Reyna and his wife, Danielle Egan Reyna, posing during photo shoot at home.Bedford Corners, NY 12/6/2018
Danielle and Claudio Reyna were longtime friends with Berhalter and his wife.
Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

The USMNT showed promise as one of the youngest teams at the World Cup and the ability to perhaps develop into a real contender. As they look to take that next step, that progress will be disrupted as some of their most important figures battle each other.

What’s the Correa end game?

The Carlos Correa wait drags on. The Mets and the star infielder still don’t have an official contract, two weeks after striking a 12-year, $315 million agreement in the middle of the night on Dec. 21. The two sides continue to negotiate after the Mets raised concerns following a physical exam about the condition of Correa’s surgically repaired ankle, which mirrored concerns the Giants had before their own deal broke down.

The Post’s Jon Heyman and Mike Puma reported that both sides still want to get a deal done. After only giving the Giants 24 hours to make up their minds after they flagged the physical, Correa’s agent, Scott Boras, has allowed the Mets much longer to work through the concerns, indicating their eagerness to find a resolution.

Minnesota Twins' Carlos Correa fields a ground ball hit by Cleveland Guardians' Oscar Gonzalez during the third inning of a baseball game, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Cleveland.
Concerns over the long-term effects of a 2014 ankle surgery has held up Carlos Correa’s negotiations with the Mets on their $315 million, 12-year offer.

After all this waiting, would it be troubling if the contract numbers stay the same? Clearly, there are long-term red flags with Correa’s leg. If the Mets stick to their original contract offer after learning of those concerns and weeks of negotiating, would that be seen as irresponsible?

Of course, that answer hinges on the person signing the checks. If Steve Cohen agrees to the original deal, will he be willing to eat his losses on a diminished player if the concerns about Correa’s concerns come true, and not let it inhibit him from continuing to spend aggressively? Does Cohen see the contract as a necessity to build a team capable of winning now, potential consequences be damned?

Currently, all signs suggest Cohen wouldn’t let a potentially bad contract stop him from spending whatever it takes. He blew through the first barrier the league tried to impose on him in the “Steve Cohen Tax,” and has already set records for the amount he’s spending on the Mets’ payroll and luxury-tax bill. On a smaller scale, Cohen already ate two years and about $37.6 million remaining on Robinson Cano’s contract to cut him, continuing to pay him significant money despite not receiving his labor. It didn’t even slow Cohen down. If Correa becomes a negative asset down the line due to the ankle condition and that doesn’t slow down Cohen’s spending, is it really irresponsible?

But how much has the wait made the original deal seem like a bad price?

10/9/22 - MLB Mets owner Steve Cohen reacts in the owners suite during the first inning.
Steve Cohen’s deep pockets may lessen the risk he feels in signing Correa.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Restructuring to a shorter deal with higher average annual value, as The Athletic reported Wednesday night is growing in likelihood, likely would go over best among Mets fans. The fears over Correa’s long-term health would be mitigated, and both sides would get the partnership they desperately wanted. But if they can’t come to a resolution, how would fans take it if the Mets walked and Correa went elsewhere? Would it sting, or would it feel like another team’s mistake?

It seems hard to fathom another owner would be willing to pay the same price. And given his eagerness to get a deal done, it seems unlikely Correa would take a short-term deal elsewhere.

Four questions with director Peter Berg

Acclaimed director Peter Berg, who is known for movies such as “Friday Night Lights” and “Lone Survivor,” has a new documentary series called “Boys in Blue” premiering on Showtime on Friday. Berg and his crew embedded with the Minneapolis North High School football team, which is composed of students living in the neighborhood where George Floyd was killed by police officer Derek Chauvin. The team is coached by Minneapolis police officers, and the documentary follows how the players, coaches and close-knit community dealt with the aftermath of the incident.

During filming, the team’s star quarterback, 15-year-old Deshaun Hill, was shot and killed while walking on the street, setting the project in a whole new direction. A trial for Hill’s alleged killer is set to begin on Jan. 17. Before the premiere of “Boys in Blue,” Berg chatted with The Post about the film and his experience directing it. Look out for the full story online Thursday.

Peter Berg attends the premiere of Netflix's "Spenser Confidential" at Regency Village Theatre on February 27, 2020 in Westwood, California.
In filming the story of a high school football team in Minnesota, Peter Berg was confronted with the kind of heartbreaking tragedy people in the community near the school regularly confront.

Why did this story need to be told, and why were you the right person to tell it?

Peter Berg: The origins of wanting to tell the story of Minneapolis North went back to my experience watching George Floyd be murdered by Derek Chauvin. I went to college in the Twin Cities in St. Paul, which is right across the river from Minneapolis. I was there in the late ’80s. I was horrified and gut-wrenched like everyone who saw that video was. And then when I heard that it was in the Twin Cities, I was really confused, because that was not the tenor of the cities that I remembered living in. Very peaceful, friendly, neighborly environment. Minnesota and the Twin Cities were like where the nice people were, and I was from New York, from where the nice people weren’t. … To see that happen in Minneapolis motivated me to want to have some creative response. I didn’t know what. I was looking to do something that dealt with some of these issues with law enforcement that were exploding: defund the police, all cops are bad, f— the police, etc.

How did Deshaun Hill’s death impact the film’s message and your experience with the community?

Berg: It was really, really intense and incredibly sad. Up until that moment, we had been experiencing members of that community talking about these intense, sad experiences that happened all the time. And that was part of the fabric of the show from the very beginning, that this is a violent place to live. Deshaun Hill’s murder brutally reinforced that. But it didn’t change anything — that was already in the fabric of these kids who are living and growing up 400 yards from where George Floyd was killed. The George Floyd killing is what started this, and I had attended Deshaun Hill’s funeral nine months later, and his open coffin was in the same spot, in the same building, in the same church that George Floyd’s body was in. You can look at the pictures. It was this brutal reminder that this is what it is in this community.

What stood out about this community?

Berg: I’m sitting there after George Floyd, and I’m watching all the news channels, and everyone’s got an opinion … and all these issues are circulating and everybody is at their breaking point and your brain can’t take it anymore. Then I said wait a minute, here are some people who are just trying to live a normal life, a normal high school life in the middle of this vortex of chaos. It was a major global story, there were riots all around the world, people just outraged. OK, fair enough, but what’s going on right there in the neighborhood, where, yeah, people are probably outraged, but guess what? They still have to go to work, they have to go to school … all of this normal stuff is trying to exist under this incredible pressure of the George Floyd killing. That, to me, is what made it unique.

What does this film reveal about the power of sport?

Berg: Sports in so many different ways bring people together and become an organizing principle in a good way for how we live our lives. Yes, there are obviously problems in sports, but to me, the overall takeaway is a positive. People come together and they love each other, they engage with each other, there are rules, they work hard, and sports are an extraordinary unifying phenomenon.

Source link

Related articles

Princeton’s March Madness run ends with loss to Creighton

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It was some ride for Princeton, a journey that lasted a lot longer than...

Rick Pitino is off to the races to improve St. John’s roster

Rick Pitino and his coaching staff have been busy since the moment his introductory press conference ended,...

We didn’t ‘come ready to play’

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Kyle Palmieri didn’t mince words. “ didn’t really come ready to play,” he said following...

Vince McMahon pays back $17.4 million in investigation costs to WWE

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc (WWE) said on Friday Executive Chairman Vincent McMahon had paid $17.4 million to...