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What’s next for Giants if Mike Kafka gets Arizona Cardinals’ head-coaching job?

Let’s look at ways the Giants could fill the offensive coordinator role

NFL: AUG 28 Preseason - Giants at Jets
Shea Tierney talks with Daniel Jones.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka is one of only two known remaining candidates for the Arizona Cardinals’ head-coaching job, the other being Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo. Unless a mystery candidates emerges, that means there is a 50-50 chance the Giants will need a new offensive play-caller in 2023.

So, what are the options?

Option A

Shea Tierney — Tierney was the Giants’ quarterbacks coach in 2022, part of the staff that helped Daniel Jones to his best season. He has now been with Daboll for five seasons, serving two years with the Buffalo Bills as an offensive assistant and two as assistant quarterbacks coach before joining Daboll with the Giants.

The 36-year-old Tierney recently had an interview with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their offensive coordinator job. Here is an in-depth look at Tierney’s rise in the coaching ranks.

Why it makes sense

This would allow the Giants to keep a rising young assistant coach and would keep the offensive system intact.

Option B

Mike Groh — The Giants’ wide receivers coach was offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018 and 2019. Groh, though, did not design that Eagles’ offense or call plays. Head coach Doug Pederson did that. Groh was offensive coordinator for Virginia from 2006-2008, so he does have play-calling experience.

The Giants could give Groh his first NFL opportunity to call plays.

Why it makes sense

Again, this would allow the Giants to keep their offensive system intact. It would also be a natural progression in responsibility for the 51-year-old Groh.

Option C

Brian Daboll — The Giants’ head coach has obviously done the play-calling role before, and done it well. He could decide to name Tierney, Groh or someone else offensive coordinator and assume the in-game play-calling role himself.

Why it makes sense

Kafka called the plays and added his own wrinkles to the offense in 2022. At its core, though, the Giants’ offense is Daboll’s offense. It is based on Daboll’s playbooks and his core philosophies. Daboll’s ability to attract a rising star like Kafka to join his staff, and to allow him to orchestrate the offense, was a huge part of the Giants’ 2022 success.

Without Kafka, Daboll could go back to calling the plays. Maybe that isn’t the ideal solution because it impacts his ability to coach the full team and manage games, but it is a role he is good in.

Option D

Hire from outside — The Giants could look to find another Kafka, another rising star who needs a play-calling opportunity. Or, they could look to hire someone who has play-calling experience.

Why it makes sense

One of the best things Daboll did in 2022 was step back and allow Kafka to call offensive plays. Let’s say Tierney gets the Buccaneers’ gig and Daboll doesn’t want to promote Groh, but doesn’t want to call plays, either.

In that case, he would have to look outside. The tricky part, of course, is that the Giants would not want to install a new offensive system. That outside hire would have to be willing to work with the offense the Giants have put in place.