The New York Giants are headed to the postseason under first-year head coach Brian Daboll.
On Sunday, Daboll became the fifth coach in Giants history to lead the team to the playoffs in his first season. In 1927, rookie coach Earl Potteiger led the Giants to the NFL championship in the era before playoffs. Allie Sherman (1961), Dan Reeves (1993), Jim Fassel (1997) and Ben McAdoo (2016) all qualified for the postseason in their first seasons.
Making the playoffs is a position most of these Giants players have never been in before. In fact, there are only two players left from the last Giants’ playoff team of 2016: wide receiver Sterling Shepard and safety Landon Collins.
Shepard (knee) is on season-ended IR and Collins recently returned to the team as a free agent in October after spending the last three seasons with Washington.
Giants Pro Bowl running back Saquon Barkley is in his fifth season with the team and is enjoying his first winning season in Blue. He was asked if Daboll was worthy of Coach of the Year honors. He replied in the affirmative, “I think so.”
“I don’t think he gets enough respect of how competitive he is,” Barkley said. “He always talks about competitive stamina, competitive mindset, and it kind of starts with your coach. It kind of started week one when we scored a touchdown and you go for two. I think it starts there. It shows the trust that he has in us, the belief that he has in us. And when a guy like that is your head coach, showing him that as a player you don’t want to go out there and let him down, you want to enhance your level of play.
“And he’s been doing that all year from start to finish — from once he came in, just the energy he was able to bring to the facility, not only him, but (General Manager) Joe (Schoen) too, all the coaches, they’ve been doing a phenomenal job and I think the players are feeding off that.”
Barkley was asked if he felt the Giants, who are 9-6-1 and the No. 6 seed in the NFC, were a dangerous playoff team.
“I think it’s the playoffs, anything can happen. You have to take it one play at a time and one game at a time. You get one shot. You win, you go on. You lose, you go home,” he said.
The Giants have been considered ‘hot’ since tying Washington three weeks ago. They could be a team to be reckoned with in the postseason.
“I think we’re clicking at the right moment, giving ourselves a great chance,” said Barkley. “And to go back to your question, I think we’re a team that has shown that no matter what, down by 10, down by 17, we’re going to fight and that’s a scary team to go against that will never go away.”