Giants coach Joe Judge continued a pattern of firing offensive coaches by moving on from coordinator Jason Garrett last week, a move sources said he began pondering mere months into last season.
Garrett, a former head coach in Dallas and former Giants quarterback, had very strong support from ownership, and they also valued his prior head coaching experience with Judge lacking head coaching experience when he was hired from New England, where he served as special teams coach, in early 2020. Sources said Judge, 38, was already displeased with the overall state of the offense when he fired offensive line coach Marc Colombo last November, with some in that organization bracing for Garrett to be gone after the season, if not sooner.
"It was already bad between them then," said one source with knowledge of the situation.
No change was made this offseason after a thorough review, to the surprise of many, but it was widely known within that staff that Judge was close with tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens from their time together at Mississippi State. And while Judge has been clandestine about his intentions for play-calling and offensive duties, Kitchens is taking over those chores, sources said. Kitchens is a former head coach in Cleveland and has experience as an offensive play-caller as well, and many believe would have been Judge's top choice for the coordinator position all along.
Judge and Garrett never quite clicked, sources said, with the development of Daniel Jones, the team's first-round pick in 2019, a constant source of concern. Garrett is a conservative play-caller at his core, while Kitchens is a disciple of Super Bowl winning coach Bruce Arians, who espouses the deep ball and a "no risk-it, no biscuit" offensive philosophy. The Giants have struggled to integrate receivers Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney into the offense, which sources said is an immediate priority for Kitchens.
The latest firing has furthered the scrutiny of Judge, and while ownership gave him a vote of confidence earlier this season, sources said there is obvious concern within the organization about the way this season is unfolding. The Giants are 3-7 after going 6-10 last season, and Jones has yet to take a major leap forward. The Giants are about to go a full calendar year without winning consecutive games and Judge's brief regime has had no shortage of tumult. Many in the scouting community believe that general manager Dave Gettleman will strongly consider moving on next year, and ownership is having to mull it's future direction yet again, with this franchise not winning more than six games in a season since 2016.
There was an expectation that this team could compete for a playoff spot this season, but it will take a dramatic reversal of recent performance to make that happen, even in a year in which a sub-.500 team will likely contend for the final wild-card spot in the NFC.