EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is expected to return after a shaky season in which the team finished 31st in total offense and points scored, a source told ESPN.
Although Garrett will stay, there will be some changes to the Giants’ offensive staff, among them the possibility of internal alterations when it comes to the responsibilities of those currently on staff. Increased responsibility for quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski, wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert and tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens is possible.
In addition, the Giants are searching for a new offensive line coach, with assistant line coach Ben Wilkerson and former Houston Texans line coach Mike Devlin among those being interviewed. Tolbert is also reportedly in the running to be the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive coordinator.
This was the expected outcome with Garrett despite the Giants’ offensive struggles, especially after the coaching carousel had spun for weeks and there was no word on his future. The belief is that some stability for quarterback Daniel Jones and the offense could be valuable.
Jones has already had two offensive coordinators and systems in his first two NFL seasons.
“As far as the potential of Jason leaving, of course it makes you a little antsy,” general manager Dave Gettleman said after the season. “Just imagine, anybody, any of you guys, having your fourth editor in four years. It’s the same thing. It’s no different. We’ll adjust and adapt and do what we have to do, and obviously anything we do moving forward, Daniel is a big part of it. We’re certainly conscious of that piece, to answer your question.”
Garrett, 54, came to New York after nine seasons as the Dallas Cowboys’ head coach. But it was at the request of ownership that first-year coach Joe Judge looked at the former Giants backup quarterback to be his coordinator.
Despite Judge signing off on it, the marriage seemed arranged and wasn’t perfect in Year 1. It became evident that Garrett might not be the perfect match with Judge when offensive line coach Marc Colombo was fired midseason. Colombo and Garrett had spent years together in Dallas. Colombo wasn’t happy that Judge was bringing in veteran offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo as a consultant, and the situation deteriorated from there.
DeGuglielmo’s contract has since expired, and he is not expected to return, according to multiple sources.
Sources also told ESPN that Judge was very hands-on with the offense (much as he was with the offensive line) and that it seemed to create a noticeable “tension” with Garrett. That could have been because of the results. The Giants (6-10) topped 23 points just once in the final 11 games. Only the New York Jets ranked below them in points and total offense.
Jones also didn’t make the strides they were hoping to see in his second season while the offense stumbled continually. He produced just 12 touchdowns this past season but had 16 turnovers.
The Giants were also more aggressive when Kitchens stepped in to call plays while Garrett was unavailable because of a positive COVID-19 test. Judge was especially complimentary of the job Kitchens, a former offensive coordinator and head coach in Cleveland, did in Garrett’s absence.
Garrett sidestepped a question late in the season about whether he would return for a second year with the Giants.
“I’m just excited about the opportunity we have this week,” he said before the season finale against the Cowboys. “Really, I’ve just tried to stay in the moment in any position I’ve had as a player or coach in the NFL. That’s typically when you play your best and coach your best. That’s really what I’m focused on.”
Judge also didn’t seem thrilled with the effectiveness of the offensive system. He was hardly effusive with praise for Garrett when asked what he wanted to see from the offense next season. In fact, he didn’t even mention Garrett’s name.
“Well, I’m always going to look for our offense to evolve with the players we have in it. To me, the priority is getting good players in here, which I think we have, and then put them in positions where they can make plays,” he said.
Before his nine-season stint as the Cowboys’ head coach, Garrett was Dallas’ offensive coordinator. But he hadn’t called plays since 2012. The Giants’ offense also took a serious hit when star running back Saquon Barkley tore his knee in Week 2.
Barkley, along with Garrett now, also is expected back for next season.