The collaborative effort that has replaced offensive coordinator Jason Garrett goes beyond the coaching staff. With senior offensive assistant Freddie Kitchens calling the plays and serving as the de facto face of the offense, everyone on the team is getting a voice in shaping the playbook.
"It’s huge," wide receiver Kenny Golladay said of being able to offer suggestions and have some say in the calls. "You can come over to the sideline [during games] and since you’re the one out there running routes you can actually tell them what you’re seeing."
Kitchens, who has solicited the input, said it only makes sense to do so.
"You need to get a sense and feel for what they’re comfortable with," Kitchens said. "To me, why would you call something if a player’s not comfortable running it? It’s your job [as a coach] to get them comfortable running it. If you think it’s a good scheme or a good play or whatever the case may be, it’s your job to get them comfortable doing it. But if you can’t get them to that point, it’s kind of diminishing returns."
It’s not only the skill players who are having their opinions heard. The offensive line has made their suggestions too.
"It’s everybody," guard Will Hernandez said. "We all give our little input."
The key to all of this working, naturally, is open-mindedness and honesty in both directions.
"You have to give them good information, and not give them selfish information," Golladay said.
Of course the player with the most sway over things is the starting quarterback. Daniel Jones who holds that title (if not that job this week because of his neck injury) has become more assertive in that regard, said his position coach, Jerry Schuplinski.
"He did a good job of that last week in terms of saying, ‘These are the plays I’m not really great on,’ " Schuplinski said. "He’s getting better at that for sure. Veteran guys are a little more forceful in that. You’ll ask them to rank these plays one to 10 and they’ll be like, ‘This play is number 18.’ OK, so we can’t call that. [Jones] has always been very forthcoming. Sometimes you just need to ask him and get it out of him."
The Giants have asked him — and everyone else — over the past two weeks.
"He’s always willing to give something a chance, give it a look in practice and see if it works," Schuplinski said of Jones. "He may be like, ‘I don’t know if I see that’ and then he’ll run it and he’ll say, ‘I’m good on that.’ Then there might be something else that he’s not as good on, not as comfortable with. I think we do a good job of trying to get those plays out of the game plan.
"Even if you say, ‘I think this is really going to work,’ if they’re not comfortable with it, you take it out."
That’s not something new since Garrett left. But the renewed emphasis on it has been enlightening and encouraging for both the players and the coaches. And it appears to be here to stay.
"I think this is a never-ending process," Kitchens said. "What we try to stress is it’s communication between coach and coach, coach and player, player to coach . . . It’s all about familiarity with the players and what they’re used to at this point. The ultimate goal is to play fast when the ball is snapped. As much of that consternation that you can eliminate, that benefits you to enable you to focus on the task at hand, which is that individual play, whatever that play may be."
Chances are, it’ll be one the players approve of.