NEW YORK — Jason Garrett is out.
The Giants fired their offensive coordinator on Tuesday, according to a source, pulling the plug 26 games in on the longtime former Dallas Cowboys head coach.
Freddie Kitchens, Joe Judge’s senior offensive assistant, is expected to take over playcalling with Garrett gone, starting with Sunday’s visit from the Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) — a division rival that has won three of four by scoring 44, 30 and 40 points in those victories.
The Giants (3-7), on the other hand, rank dead last in the NFL with 42 offensive touchdowns since the start of the 2020 season, when Garrett arrived on Judge’s staff after being fired by the Cowboys.
Judge’s Giants were 31st in points (17.5) and yards (299.6) per game with Garrett calling the plays last season. They are 25th in points (18.9) and 23rd in yards (322.8) per game this season.
And Monday night’s 30-10 loss at Tampa saw the team post season lows in points, yards (215), first downs (15) and time of possession (24:21). The Giants offense also was 1 for 9 on third downs.
They only scored a touchdown because a fluky Tom Brady interception gave them starting field position at Tampa’s five yard line.
Judge reached a boiling point postgame on the offense’s futility and implied Garrett’s job could be in jeopardy.
“We’ve got to do a better job of scoring points,” Judge said. “We’ve got to do a better job of putting our players in position to make plays. We have too many good players. We have to put them in a better position to capitalize on it. That’s it.
“We gotta make sure we sit down [Tuesday] as a coaching staff and understand how we have to play this game and give our players a chance to make plays,” the head coach continued. “So in reference to any kind of [bad player] body language at the end of the game, I’ll handle the corrections. But if I was a player, there’d be some things I’d be frustrated with, too.
Garrett lamented publicly last Thursday that the Giants need to invest more in their offensive line the way his Cowboys did to build one of the best fronts in football.
It was a valid and accurate criticism.
GM Dave Gettleman, whose firing is long overdue, was hired in December 2017 to rebuild this offensive line to salvage the end of Eli Manning’s career.
And now the sad truth is that Gettleman’s ineptitude in trying to fix the O-line has now compromised the performance and evaluation of Manning’s successor, Daniel Jones, Gettleman’s sixth overall pick in 2019.
Jones was pressured on 48% of his dropbacks by the Bucs on Monday night, a season high, hassling him into two interceptions which also were on the QB’s bad decision-making.
Jones incredibly has only 23 total TDs and 28 turnovers in 24 games playing for Garrett. That includes 20 TD passes and three rushing TDs compared to 17 interceptions and nine lost fumbles.
He has 11 total TDs and 10 turnovers in 10 games this season: only nine TD passes and two rushing TDs compared to seven INTs and three lost fumbles.
Jones was bad on Monday, too, but there has been frustration surrounding Garrett’s situation for a while.
Garrett has champions in the Mara family at the highest rungs of the organization, which is why he was scheduled to interview for their head coaching vacancy before Judge was hired in January 2020.
It resulted in what looked to be an arranged marriage of sorts on Judge’s staff, even though the club presented the staff as a united front.
Last season, Judge fired Garrett’s Cowboys buddy and Giants O line coach Marc Colombo during the bye for insubordination after an altercation. Then the club quietly let go Garrett’s friend, low level assistant Stephen Brown, at season’s end.
Garrett and Brown both missed a game late due to positive COVID-19 tests. Kitchens called the plays in a 20-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns in which a few better throws by Colt McCoy might have made a huge difference.
After last season, at least a month went by with no clarity on whether Garrett would return for a second season. He interviewed for the Chargers job, and it’s believed Judge would have replaced him with proper sign-off, but Garrett had enough pull in the building to hang on.
Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, a hot head coaching candidate and a former Patriots colleague of Judge’s, made sense as Judge’s OC choice in both 2020 and 2021 if stars had aligned. Instead it was Garrett.
And at the start of this season, it took only two games for players to begin complaining publicly about the offense.
Big money free agent Kenny Golladay was caught on camera yelling at Garrett on the sideline. And when Golladay was asked why he hadn’t made more big plays down the field, he said: “I mean, I don’t really have an answer to that.”
Neither Golladay nor first round picks Kadarius Toney has a TD yet this season. Firing Garrett might not fix everything, but something had to change.