Jordan RaananESPN Staff Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants have fired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett after he had worked less than two years on the job, the team announced Tuesday.
“We made a decision to move on from Jason Garrett as the offensive coordinator of the New York Giants,” coach Joe Judge said. “Look, I have a lot of respect for Jason as a person, as a coach. He’s been a tremendous asset for me as a young head coach. He’s helped our development here. He’s built very strong relationships in the building with the players, along with other support staff members. He’s done a good job putting the team first. I have a lot of respect and appreciation for everything he’s done for us.”
Judge said this “is not a snap decision” after Monday night, acknowledging, “I don’t think there’s ever an ideal time to make a change like this in a season.”
The Giants are on a short week after playing on Monday night. They were coming off a bye.
Judge said the Giants will use a collaborative in-house effort to fill Garrett’s role. A source told ESPN that Freddie Kitchens is expected to be involved in the playcalling. Judge declined to name a playcaller publicly and implied that he could perhaps be involved.
“Everything is on the table,” he said.
Garrett’s offense scored the fewest touchdowns of any team since the start of last season. The Giants hired him in January 2020 after he had a long stint as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
It had been seven years since Garrett had called plays before returning to New York. He never hit his stride with the Giants, despite a strong relationship with quarterback Daniel Jones.
“Ultimately, I’ll make every decision based on what’s best for the team long term,” Judge said. “I feel we have to be more productive as an offense. Generally speaking, the offense’s job is to score points. I don’t believe we’re scoring enough points. It’s my job as the head coach to make sure I give our players an opportunity to go out there and make plays.”
Garrett had previously played for the Giants organization and was well-regarded by ownership. Those relationships were believed to have played a role in his hiring, even if Judge said he made the final decision.
The sudden midseason ending was “certainly disappointing,” Garrett said in a statement in which he also expressed his gratitude to the Mara and Tisch families.
“One of the things that motivated me to accept this position was the opportunity to help rebuild the Giants into a contending team,” he added. “We knew there would be many challenges. My expectations for our offense were much greater than what our results have been, and I accept full responsibility for that.”
The Giants have averaged 18.9 points per game this season, ranking 25th in the NFL on offense. In 2020, Garrett’s first season, the Giants were 31st in the NFL at 17.5 points per game.
The Giants on Monday finished with 215 total yards — the second-lowest total of the 26-game Judge era — and just 66 rushing yards. The 15 first downs were a season low, and only one of the Giants’ 54 offensive plays vs. the Bucs gained more than 16 yards.
The Giants have scored 30 points only once in the 26 games since Garrett joined the team. Even that came with the help of a defensive touchdown.
The pressure started to build on Garrett at the start of the season. It became obvious the offense needed major improvement as Kitchens, the former Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator and head coach, moved into a senior offensive assistant role.
Judge was asked as early as Week 4 whether Garrett would continue to call plays. It has been a lingering topic throughout the season.
The writing seemed to be on the wall for Garrett when his former assistant, Marc Colombo, was fired after an altercation midway through last season and assistant running backs coach Stephen Brown was not brought back this season.
Judge insisted he’s not scapegoating Garrett for the team’s current struggles.
“I’ve said all along, I’m responsible for everything on this team. I’m the head coach. I’ve never shied away from that,” Judge said. “I don’t point fingers, so I always start with evaluating myself before anything else.”
Garrett, 55, joined the Giants in 2020 after nine-plus seasons as the Cowboys’ head coach. He didn’t call plays from 2012 to 2019, but he did lead Dallas to an 85-67 record.
The former Giants quarterback (2000 to 2003) was always a curious hire, as he didn’t have any previous experience working with Judge. The lack of aggressiveness and offensive innovation had been obvious from the start of Garrett’s tenure.