clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
NFC Divisional Playoffs - New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles
Brian Daboll
Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Filed under:

Coach of the Year: Jacksonville, San Francisco, New York writers debate who should win

Giants coach Brian Daboll won the PFWA award — will he win the AP honor?

New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll has already been named the Pro Football Writers of America NFL Coach of the Year. Will he win the Associated Press honor? The other finalists are Doug Pederson of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers.

Big Blue View asked writers from Big Cat Country (Jaguars) and Niners Nation (49ers) to make the case for why their respective coaches should win. We, of course, make the case for Daboll.

Doug Pederson cured what ailed the Jaguars

Written by: Alfie Crow | Big Cat Country

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Jacksonville Jaguars v Kansas City Chiefs
Doug Pederson
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off a 9-8 season, their first winning season since 2017, under first year head coach Doug Pederson. The team was coming off of back-to-back first overall picks and arguably the worst season in franchise history, all things considered, after the Urban Meyer experiment was a flop, to say the least. The state of the Jaguars as a team and franchise was rather grim, but the hiring of Pederson seemed to be the cure for what ailed them, at least for now.

When Pederson took over the Jaguars, as mentioned it was a team that was so bad they picked first overall in the previous two NFL Drafts, meaning they were the worst team in the NFL two years in a row. Prior to those two seasons, the Jaguars had never picked first overall in their entire existence. It was a team that had people questioning if their first overall pick at quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, was even the guy people thought he was and potentially was a huge bust.

Immediately out of the gate, from comments by both beat reporters and players themselves, you could tell with Doug Pederson it would be a completely different outlook right out of the gate. Pederson came into Jacksonville and established true structure and expectations from the players, which in turn shifted to total buy in from the players. It repaired that trust that was broken in the past during the Meyer era, where he was literally kicking a player in practice who messed up.

You could hear it from Pederson and the players themselves all through the 2022 NFL Season, no matter what the outcome of the game was. Even at 2-6, the players would repeat Pederson’s mantra and make comments about how unwavering and even keeled Pederson was, no matter the outcome or what happened on the field on Sunday. Pederson brought buoyancy to a sinking ship and structure to what was previous chaos.

This steadiness from Pederson eventually turned into the Jaguars players belief and a long winning streak to put pressure on the rest of the AFC South. The Jaguars ended up going on a five-game winning streak, which included a showdown with the hated rival Tennessee Titans on a Saturday night. The Jaguars, like they had under Pederson all year, battled and come from behind to win the game and ultimately punch their ticket to the 2023 NFL Playoffs.

The Jaguars got bounced in the playoffs against the Kansas City Chiefs, but prior to that they were able to accomplish one of the biggest come-from-behind playoff victories against the Los Angeles Chargers, rallying from being behind 27-0 to win 31-30. That game, like the Titans game, showed the mentality that Pederson has gotten the team to buy into. The never give up mentality, the feeling they can win any game, no matter what the situation is.

Doug Pederson took a franchise who’s fans had adopted the mantra “Because Jaguars” whenever something bad would happen, as the feeling was the franchise was doomed for failure, and somehow turned the team into one that never seemed out of a game. That belief wasn’t only for the fans either, it was with the players in the locker room. Pederson took a franchise that had won a total of four games the previous two years combined and won their division and a playoff game in his first season.

Kyle Shanahan succeeded despite quarterback carousel

Written by: Kyle Posey | Niners Nation

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers
Kyle Shanahan
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Coach of the year?

The NFL coach of the year has come down to Brian Daboll, Doug Pederson, and Kyle Shanahan. All three have compelling cases to win the award. I’d argue Nick Sirianni of the Philadelphia Eagles, Robert Saleh of the New York Jets, and Mike McDaniel of the Miami Dolphins deserve to be finalists.

This season has fielded many considerations. Each coach has a valid argument.

Let’s talk about the coaches that didn’t finish as finalists:

Robert Saleh compiled one of the best defenses in his second season as the Jets head coach. Few would argue, they are a solid quarterback away from competing in the AFC.

Mike McDaniel, as a first-year head coach, led the Dolphins to an 8-3 record through 11 games. Finishing at 9-8 on the season isn’t impressive on the surface, but his team started three quarterbacks in 2021 (we’ll revisit this). The Dolphins earned a playoff berth in the AFC and lost a very close game to the Buffalo Bills.

Nick Sirianni is a polarizing figure, to say the least. The fact remains, his team finished as the number one seed in the NFC and is on the doorstep of a Super Bowl berth.

As far as the finalists go, all three coaches led teams into the playoffs. Daboll and Pederson were tasked with a bigger challenge than Shanahan based on rosters.

Brian Daboll took over a New York Giants team in a “transition year.” The Giants came into 2022 looking to build culture and assess the roster’s future.

The Giants shocked everyone by earning a playoff berth. Daniel Jones has gone from an afterthought to a consideration for next year and beyond. Saquon Barkley put together his best year for the Giants due to his health.

Daboll did an incredible job of playing to Jones’s strengths while compensating for the lack of weapons surrounding him. Instilling confidence in your quarterback is half the battle for an incoming coach.

Regardless of how the Giants’ season ended, winning a playoff game on the road only speaks to the culture that Daboll has built. The future is bright for the Giants.

Doug Pederson led the Philadelphia Eagles to their only Super Bowl victory. Two years later, he was fired. The NFL is a cold league.

In his first season as the Jaguars coach, he turned Jacksonville into a playoff team. Not only that, they turned in the third-greatest comeback in NFL playoff history.

Losing to the Kansas City Chiefs is nothing to hang your head about. Trevor Lawrence took considerable steps under Pederson. The playoff loss to Kansas City showed more encouraging things than discouraging as Pederson took advantage of matchups and put Lawrence in positions to succeed. The future is bright.

The coach who deserves coach of the year is Kyle Shanahan.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Yes, the 49ers are loaded with All-Pros and pro bowlers.

Who deserves some of the credit for that with John Lynch? Kyle Shanahan.

Sixty-four different quarterbacks started in the NFL in 2022, which tied for the most in a non-strike NFL season. Seven teams started three quarterbacks including three from the Shanahan tree (Rams, Jets, Dolphins). Only the Dolphins qualified for the playoffs.

The 49ers won 10 straight regular season games and two playoff games with two different quarterbacks during that span. Toss in the fact that Shanahan is winning games with the last pick of the 2022 draft, he deserves coach of the year.

Shanahan’s team didn’t flinch in the face of three different quarterbacks. His team continued to win. If Bill Belichick was the coach, this wouldn’t be a discussion.

Brian Daboll made them Giants again

Written by: Ed Valentine | Big Blue View

New York Giants v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

I don’t want to diss anyone here. Doug Pederson and Kyle Shanahan deserve their flowers. Both did outstanding jobs in 2022 with their respective teams.

Neither man did what Brian Daboll did with, and for, the New York Giants.

Pederson led a Jacksonville team that had gone 3-14 in 2021 to a 9-8 record and an AFC South title. That is comparable to Daboll leading the Giants from 4-13 in 2021 to 9-7-1 and a playoff berth in 2022.

But, there are major differences

Pederson was an established commodity when he got to Jacksonville, having won a Super Bowl title with the Philadelphia Eagles. Jacksonville had a quarterback drafted No. 1 overall who was, and still is, supposed to be a great player. The Jaguars played in a terrible division, the worst in football, where the other three teams went a combined 14-35-2 (a .275 winning percentage).

Shanahan? Tremendous coach, no arguing that. The 49ers, though, were going to be an outstanding team whether it was Trey Lance, Jimmy Garappolo or, yes, Brock Purdy at quarterback. There were too many things already in place when the season began.

There are six All-Pros on that roster. The 49ers front office made life easier for Shanahan and whoever was going to be at quarterback by acquiring Christian McCaffrey at the trade deadline. The 49ers have won double-digit games three of the last four years. It’s pretty incredible that they haven’t lost in the seven games Purdy, the last player taken in the draft, has started. Still, that doesn’t happen if Shanahan and Purdy are dealing with the Giants’ roster rather than the 49ers.

Daboll was an unproven commodity when the year began, a first-year head coach who got the job in big part because the GM the Giants hired also came from the Buffalo Bills. Nobody knew for sure if he could succeed in the big chair.

He took over a team tied with the New York Jets for the worst record in football over the previous five seasons. A team that didn’t know if it had a quarterback it could go forward with. There was a roster no one thought highly of, and no money with which to try and fix it.

Daboll and a fantastically-constructed coaching staff teams around the league now seem to want a piece of, took that quarterback and that roster full of spare parts and not only made the playoffs, but went on the road with it and won a playoff game. And did it in what might have been the NFL’s best division, with three playoff teams and not a single team with a losing record.

Daboll showed faith in his coaches and his players. He made them believe. He helped a fractured organization heal. He made the Giants relevant again.

He should be the AP Coach of the Year.

New York Giants News

Giants news, 9/28: Coaching questions, Barkley practices, primetime woes, more headlines


Giants’ QB Daniel Jones shrugs off barbs from 49ers’ defenders

New York Giants News

Giants news, 9/28: Importance of Seattle game, Xavier McKinney, Eli Manning, more headlines

View all stories in New York Giants News