EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Jason Garrett is the new offensive coordinator of the New York Giants.
New coach Joe Judge made the announcement Friday night, hiring the former Dallas Cowboys head coach less than two weeks after he was let go by the Giants’ NFC East rivals.
“I’ve known about Jason for a long time, not only through the general public as well-known as he is as head coach of the Cowboys,” Judge said. “There were guys I worked with that I came across in my career at both Alabama and at the New England Patriots that worked with Jason through their time in Miami with him. They consistently all reflected on how smart he is, how great a teacher he is and how his perspective of the game was through a different lens than most coaches. And when he sees it, he’s able to communicate it and paint that mental image to the players. And he does a fantastic job of making in-game adjustments.”
The 53-year-old Garrett had interviewed with Judge and the Giants on Wednesday. He was offered the job not long after but opted to head home first to discuss it with his family.
Judge called his talks with Garrett “great.”
“It was a great opportunity to sit there and talk ball and share philosophies and views on the game,” Judge said. “It’s a great system he brings with great teaching that will allow our players to go out there and play aggressively.”
Judge also officially named Patrick Graham the Giants’ defensive coordinator/assistant head coach and Thomas McGaughey their special-teams coach.
But the biggest name of the three is Garrett, who led the Cowboys for nine seasons but wasn’t retained after an underachieving 8-8 campaign in 2019.
The Giants originally had requested permission to speak with Garrett for their head-coaching position because he technically was still under contract with Dallas. But the Cowboys told Garrett that he was free to talk with other teams after the season and before his contract lapsed Tuesday.
The Giants went on to hire Judge, a first-time head coach, before the interview.
Garrett still was coveted for their coordinator position, in part because of his experience as a head coach and with quarterbacks, as well as his ties to the Giants organization, having been a backup quarterback there from 2000 to 2003. He remains well-respected inside their building after posting a 13-6 record against them as a head coach.
Co-owner John Mara said last week he was open to the idea of having Garrett’s experience as a playcaller and head coach serve as an important sounding board for Judge.
“I certainly wouldn’t have any objection to that,” Mara said of hiring Garrett as the offensive coordinator. “I have a lot of respect for Jason. At the end of the day, that’s going to be Joe’s decision.”
The Giants also interviewed Mike Shula for the job earlier this week. He was the only other known candidate. Shula was the Giants’ offensive coordinator under Pat Shurmur and helped with the development of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. He now is expected to look for a job outside the organization.
Before his nine-season stint as the Cowboys’ head coach, Garrett was their offensive coordinator, but he hasn’t called plays since 2012. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones took away the responsibilities from Garrett so he could better oversee the entire operation. Bill Callahan, Scott Linehan and Kellen Moore have called plays for Dallas since.
Garrett’s experience as a head coach should serve as an asset to Judge, who never has been a head coach at any level. Judge spent the past eight seasons as an assistant under Bill Belichick in New England, most recently as the Patriots’ special-teams coordinator and wide receivers coach.
After a two-year stint as quarterbacks coach for the Dolphins, Garrett joined the Cowboys for the 2007 season. He led Dallas to an 85-67 record as head coach, making it to the playoffs three times. He will bring to New York a timing-based offense that has worked well with young quarterbacks in the past. He had immediate success with Tony Romo early in his career and was a key figure in the development of Dak Prescott, a fourth-round pick in 2016 who finished fourth in the NFL with a QBR of 70.1 this season.
Garrett will inherit an offense that turned to Jones this past season.
The No. 6 draft pick out of Duke last year, Jones had his ups and downs as a rookie. He threw 24 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions and also lost 11 fumbles. But the Giants are clearly committed to him as their future franchise quarterback. Eli Manning‘s contract is set to expire at the end of this league year.
The Giants’ offense has talent, with Jones working alongside running back Saquon Barkley, tight end Evan Engram and wide receivers Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard. Those five didn’t play a single game together this past season because of injury and suspension.
The offense under Shurmur finished 23rd in total yards and tied for 18th in points.
Judge said all three hires share the types of characteristics he’s looking for.
“We’re setting out to develop a smart, tough and really sound football team and that’s going to start with the coordinators setting the tone in each room,” Judge said. “Each one has experience, each one has the ability to run multiples [schemes], put the pressure on the opponent, and each one is an excellent teacher.”