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Giants' Daboll fires special teams coordinator McGaughey, O-line coach Johnson

Brian Daboll New York Giants Brian Daboll - The Canadian Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — New York Giants special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey, offensive line coach Bobby Johnson, outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins and defensive assistant Kevin Wilkins were fired Monday, a day after the team finished a 6-11 season.

Coach Brian Daboll announced his decision to dismiss McGaughey and Johnson at the start of his postseason news conference. The Wilkins brothers were fired later Monday.

Daboll said offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and defensive coordinator Wink Martindale would be back next season. However, multiple media outlets reported later Monday that Martindale has resigned to pursue other interests.

General manager Joe Schoen said in a text message to The Associated Press that he had not heard from Martindale. Daboll did not return a telephone call from The AP.

Running backs coach Jeff Nixon is leaving to become the offensive coordinator at Syracuse. Daboll said Nixon wants to become a college head coach.

The moves are not surprising. The Giants, who were looking to build off a rare trip to the playoffs, got off to a shaky start in a season of high expectations when Dallas blocked a 45-yard field goal attempt by Graham Gano and Noah Igbinoghene returned it 58 yards for a touchdown. The Cowboys went on to win 40-0.

McGaughey led the Giants' special teams for six seasons, serving under Pat Shurmur, Joe Judge and the last two under Daboll. He had an earlier stint with the Giants as assistant special teams coach under Tom Coughlin, winning two Super Bowls. He had a year left on his contract.

New York allowed a league-high 85 sacks — 20 more than any other team — and Johnson paid the price despite a slew of injuries that forced constant lineup changes for the first eight games. Star left tackle Andrew Thomas (hamstring) was injured in the opener and missed seven games.

Johnson had worked with Daboll in Buffalo and followed his then-offensive coordinator after he was hired by New York.

The Giants' defense was the team's top unit. Drew Wilkins coached edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, who led the team with 11 1/2 sacks.

Schoen has work to do in the offseason with 24 unrestricted free agents, including star running back Saquon Barkley, safety Xavier McKinney, quarterback Tyrod Taylor, offensive lineman Ben Bredeson and several special teams regulars, including long snapper Casey Kreiter.

Schoen was not ready to discuss his free agents and he would not say whether the Giants will consider placing a franchise tag on Barkley like they did after last season. Barkley signed a one-year contract in July.

Daboll and Schoen had an open-door policy Monday for free agents who wanted to discuss their futures with the team.

Barkley declined the offer Monday, saying he had talked to management a lot this season.

One good thing about the 6-11 record is it will allow the Giants to pick sixth in the upcoming draft. Schoen said the Giants will consider a quarterback in the first round but he also is hopeful Daniel Jones will be ready to start the season after ACL surgery. The general manager also said re-signing Taylor is a possibility.

Tommy DeVito, a New Jersey native who started six games as an undrafted free agent and developed a following, also is in the mix. His stock seems to have lost some of its value in recent weeks when Taylor took over and played well.

Jones said Monday he hopes to be ready to play at the start of training camp.

“I’m still very confident,” said Jones, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 draft draft who signed a $160 million contract in March. “Like any offseason, there will be areas to work on to improve and see where you can take a step forward. But still confident in myself, confident in the group, confident in what we’re doing here.”