Mike Kafka Responds to Changing Role With Giants

Mike Kafka

Getty Mike Kafka explained his changing role with the New York Giants.

Mike Kafka knows his role is changing with the New York Giants, but the offensive coordinator is willing to embrace the change. Even if it means having head coach Brian Daboll take over play-calling responsibilities.

Who called plays was a thorny subject last season, but Daboll has been visibly adopting a more active role during OTAs and at mandatory minicamp. Kafka responded to the shifting dynamic after practice on Wednesday, June 12.

He explained how his remit will now involve being “complementary to (Daboll),” per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. The latter revealed “Kafka has been getting feedback from players after plays and provides input in meetings.”

Ultimately, Kafka pledged that “Whatever (play-calling) decision (Daboll) goes with, I’ll support.”

Presenting a united front publicly is good soldier work from Kafka. Yet, being relegated from directly orchestrating the offense would be a blow for an assistant who looked like a rising star before last season.

Mike Kafka Facing Diminishing Role

This is far from the first time Daboll has appeared to undercut his OC’s influence. The issue of play-calling became a talking point following a Week 2 win over the Arizona Cardinals last season.

It looked like Daboll had taken the reins to help inspire a Giants comeback. The idea was later denied by those concerned, including Kafka.

Once again, it looked as if the Giants were putting a brave public face on what was a brewing struggle for control. Daboll has since been bolder about exerting his authority.

He began hinting in March he might call plays this season. If so, it will represent a clear sign Kafka’s star is fading. At least in Giants circles.

He was chiefly responsible for quarterback Daniel Jones enjoying a career year in 2022. Yet, the offense cratering last season left a lot of blame for many members of the organization to shoulder.

Daboll taking the headset isn’t just a reflection Kafka’s stock is low. It’s also a sign the head coach knows he’s under pressure to deliver in Year 3.

Brian Daboll Needs to Take Control

As Raanan put it on May 30, Daboll calling plays at practice has been “by far the biggest takeaway from OTAs.” Daboll finally assuming “full control” makes sense to Raanan, who noted he’d been told “It was Brian Daboll’s offense, but with Mike Kafka running it.”

What’s interesting is the perception from Raanan the decision to name Kafka assistant head coach this offseason was a “backhanded promotion.” A way for the Giants to ease any ill will about Kafka losing play-calling duties.

That’s another indication Kafka’s status has diminished. It’s also a reminder Daboll wants the decision firmly in his own hands for a pivotal season.

He was the toast of the town after guiding the Giants to the playoffs in 2022, but last season’s 6-11 finish tarnished Daboll’s reputation. Especially when the losses came against the backdrop of tense interactions with Jones, as well as a deteriorating relationship with now-former defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale.

This is now solely Daboll’s operation, and he’s backing himself to salvage the job. That’ll happen if he rediscovers the X’s and O’s wizardry that brought him to the attention of the Giants as offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills.

Daboll’s schemes helped quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs reach stardom in Buffalo. Having ex-Bills running back Devin Singletary in the lineup for the Giants should help the Daboll system take holder quicker.

Singletary and top draft pick Malik Nabers, the potential game-breaking wideout the Giants have needed for the longest time, can key a transformation on offense. If not, Kafka will no longer be the obvious fall guy.

It’ll all be on Daboll.