New York Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch have their work cut for them.
The Giants are in the midst of a horrendous 2-10 season and appear to be heading for one of the top five picks in this April’s NFL Draft. They just fired their head coach and general manager, something that seemed outlandish when the team reported for training camp.
The Giants have some huge decisions to make in the weeks and months ahead. They cannot afford a repeat of two years ago when they brought in Ben McAdoo to succeed Tom Coughlin as head coach. McAdoo was given his pink slip Monday after just 28 games. General manager Jerry Reese, who had been with the Giants organization since 1994, was also fired as a part of “wholesale changes” in the wake of this disastrous season.
Mara and Tisch are already at work finding the Giants’ next general manager. They enlisted former general manager Ernie Accorsi, the man Reese succeeded, to help the determine what kind of candidate they should seek.
“Ideally, you’d like to have the general manager in place before the head coach,” Mara said. “That’s not always going to be the case, but that would be the ideal scenario.”
The Giants could elect to go internally for their next general manager. Interim general manager Kevin Abrams is a possibility. Vice president of player evaluation Mark Ross and scout Chris Pettit are options the Giants could consider should they decide to keep it in-house.
There would be no shortage of external candidates. These options deserve close attention because the Giants desire change more than anything else. Some of the names floating around include the Nick England Patriots’ Nick Caserio, the Seattle Seahawks’ Trent Kirschner, the Atlanta Falcons’ Scott Pioli, or the Green Bay Packers’ Eliot Wolf.
The Giants would prefer to have the general manager in place by the end of the regular season but they recognize certain obstacles may get in the way of them interviewing candidates.
“If the right candidate comes along, that’s possible,” Mara said when asked about hiring a general manager before the end of the regular season. “Obviously if we want to talk to somebody who’s currently employed, we would have to wait.”
The Giants can’t interview potential head coaching candidates for the same reason. Many of them are already assistants/coordinators on an NFL team.
The NFL assistants/coordinators who could draw interest include the Seattle Seahawks’ Tom Cable, Philadelphia Eagles’ John DeFilippo, the New England Patriots’ Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia, the Kansas City Chiefs’ Matt Nagy and Dave Toub, and the Houston Texans’ Mike Vrabel.
Then there are the college coaches who seem to be associated with NFL vacancies every year: Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), Brian Kelly (Notre Dame), Nick Saban (Alabama), David Shaw (Stanford) and former NFL coaches turned broadcasters (Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden).
Gruden may be interested in the Giants’ head coaching vacancy. He said that he would consider the job only if they kept quarterback Eli Manning during a telecast of Monday Night Football. He may have been joking, but who knows?
The Giants have traditionally shied away from an established coach, college or pro. Those coaches tend to want more control over personnel matters than ownership is willing to yield. But maybe ownership is learning from its mistakes.
“My very strong preference is to maintain that traditional separation (between management and coaching,” Mara said. “But, again, I would never say never if the right candidate was there.”