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This Under-The-Radar NFL Quarterback Is Ready To Smash Expectations This Year

New Year's Day was a big turning point for the New York Giants when they clinched their 1st playoff berth since 2016 with a 38-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts on January 1, 2023. Then they went on to win their 1st playoff game in over 10 years when they defeated the Minnesota Vikings 31-24 in the Wild Card round. Before last season, the Giants had 5 consecutive losing seasons, with only 6 wins or fewer each season. So what changed last season to enable their sudden success?



A Bumpy Road To The Top

Brian Daboll was hired as the Giants' head coach on January 28, 2022, and it took him less than a year to win a playoff game. His 1st season as an NFL head coach greatly exceeded expectations and won him the AP NFL Coach of the Year award. But his journey to becoming an NFL head coach was not easy and his career has had its ups and downs.


After leaving his home in Ontario, Canada, to play safety for the University of Rochester, he was hired as a Graduate Assistant in 1998 to work for Nick Saban at Michigan State. Two years later, he was hired by the New England Patriots to work for Bill Belichick initially as a defensive assistant and then later as the wide receivers coach, where he received his first Super Bowl ring after the Patriots won the 2002 Super Bowl.


After his 1st stint with the Patriots, Daboll was hired by Eric Mangini as the quarterbacks coach for the New York Jets, where he coached Brett Favre among others. After Mangini was fired by the Jets in 2008, he became the head coach of the Cleveland Browns and hired Daboll as offensive coordinator, but the Browns offense finished 32nd in the league in 2009 and then 29th the following year, and Mangini was fired after the 2010 season.


In 2011, Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano hired Daboll as offensive coordinator and the offense improved from 30th to 20th in the league that year, but the Dolphins finished 4-9 and Sparano was fired at the end of the season. The following year, Daboll was hired by Romeo Crennel to be the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs, but they finished 2-14 and Crennel was fired at the end of the season.


The Trophy Case Fills Up

After several futile years as offensive coordinator for losing teams, Daboll's career trajectory did not look promising, but he didn't quit. Daboll returned to the Patriots in 2013 where he became the tight ends coach under Bill Belichick until 2016. This 4-year stint working closely with Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and others in New England helped transform Daboll's career. He added to his collection of Super Bowl rings, bringing his total to five different seasons as a Super Bowl champion assistant coach during his two stints with the Patriots.


After 2016, Daboll was reunited with Nick Saban to become the offensive coordinator at Alabama. In his only season there, Daboll coached Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa and built the Alabama offense into a juggernaut, winning the National Championship with a 26-23 overtime win against Georgia that year, after making a gutsy decision to switch quarterbacks in the middle of the game.


That night culminated an exciting year for Daboll, who won his 5th Super Bowl as Assistant Coach with the Patriots on February 5, 2017, then welcomed his 6th child shortly afterward, and went on to win a college football National Championship with Alabama less than a year later.


Daboll Crafts An Elite NFL Quarterback

After winning the championship with Alabama, Brian Daboll was hired by Sean McDermott as the offensive coordinator of his hometown team, the Buffalo Bills. In his 1st season as offensive coordinator, the Bills selected Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen with the #7 overall draft pick.


Josh Allen was an under-the-radar prospect in college who did not receive a scholarship offer from any college football teams, but after a year in junior college at Reedley College, the University of Wyoming offered him a spot and he eventually earned the starting QB job, throwing for over 5,000 yards and 44 touchdowns in his career at Wyoming.


Josh Allen's transition to the NFL was not smooth though. In his 1st season with the Bills, Allen threw more interceptions than touchdowns and finished with a QB rating of only 67.9, ranking #21 among NFL quarterbacks in fantasy points. After spending a year learning from Brian Daboll, however, everything changed for Josh Allen and he has thrown for over 3,000 yards and 20+ touchdowns every season since 2018, finishing in the top 6 among NFL quarterbacks in fantasy points each season (#6 in 2019, #1 in 2020, #1 in 2021, and #2 in 2022).


A New Mentor For Daniel Jones

After transforming Josh Allen and the Bills offense into one of the best in the NFL, Brian Daboll finally landed his first job as head coach, taking the reigns of the struggling New York Giants, who had just finished the 2021 season with a record of 4-13.


Daboll inherited former Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, who was drafted #6 overall by the Giants in the 2019 NFL draft to eventually replace Eli Manning, but Jones struggled in multiple losing seasons before Daboll arrived. Jones finished below the top 20 in fantasy points in each of his 1st three NFL seasons (#23 in 2019, #24 in 2020, and #27 in 2021).


Then Daboll arrived, and Daniel Jones had the best season of his career in 2022, with 3,205 passing yards and 35 passing touchdowns, finishing #9 among NFL quarterbacks in fantasy points. Was it just a coincidence that Jones' production suddenly surged last season? Or was it Brian Daboll's magic and mentorship that boosted Daniel Jones to a top-tier NFL quarterback?


In 2022, four players who were coached by Daboll at some point finished in the top 15 for fantasy points among NFL quarterbacks (#2, Josh Allen, #3 Jalen Hurts, #9 Daniel Jones, #15 Tua Tagovailoa). Four Daboll-coached NFL quarterbacks finishing in the top 15 does not appear to be a coincidence.


The Future Is Bright For Daniel Jones And The New York Giants

Now the question is: what can we expect from Daniel Jones in 2023? Jones has an average draft position of #14 among NFL quarterbacks in ESPN fantasy football drafts (as of August 2023), but will he really regress from #9 in 2022 to #14 in 2023?


The Giants have added more weapons to their offense, signing former Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller and former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell, and drafting former Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Jalin Hyatt, along with returning weapons including Saquon Barkley, Isaiah Hodgins, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shephard, Wan'Dale Robinson, and Daniel Bellinger.


With another year of coaching from Brian Daboll and more offensive weapons on the roster, it seems more likely that Daniel Jones will improve even further in 2023 instead of regressing from his stellar 2022 season. A top-5 finish in fantasy points by Daniel Jones may not be expected this year, but this possibility should not be dismissed.



Based on Brian Daboll's recent record with quarterbacks, Daniel Jones is poised to smash expectations and deliver a stellar New York Giants season that may extend deep into January, and could potentially even reach Paradise, Nevada, in February.

 

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