NY Giants Coaching Search Begins
by Adam Nardelli
Tom Coughlin said his goodbyes in a strong-willed and fierce press conference held one day after the announcement came down that he would no longer continue as the Giants Head Coach. John Mara, the Giants President and CEO, noted that Coughlin being 69 years old was not a factor in the 12-year veteran coach stepping down, and anybody that watched the press conference could see why.
Coughlin emitted a sense of energy and emotional prowess more in line with someone about 30 years younger than him, and it’s hard to believe this is his last go-around in coaching or working in some capacity in the NFL. In fact, Coughlin mentioned in the press conference that he is not necessarily closing the door on coaching as his tenure with the New York Giants comes to a close.
No matter how hard it will be for some fans to come to the reality that Tom Coughlin will no longer be coaching their beloved New York Giants, it’s the truth. As a result, looking at possible candidates to the lead the Giants in 2016, and hopefully for years to come, is the next step in shutting the blinds on a disappointing 2015 campaign.
Two names that don’t have to be speculated as possible candidates for the New York Giants head coaching position are offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. John Mara said himself in his own press conference following Coughlin’s that McAdoo and Spagnuolo will each be interviewed as contenders to be the next Giants Head Coach.
Now, to look at McAdoo, Spagnuolo, and a few more possible candidates individually, delving into their backgrounds and how they might help or hurt the New York Giants franchise.
McAdoo has been the Giants offensive coordinator for the past two seasons, coming to East Rutherford after serving as the Packers Quarterbacks Coach for two seasons. McAdoo brought with him from Green Bay an up-tempo west coast style of offense that is predicated around Eli Manning getting the ball out quickly, and it has been relatively successful. Manning thrived in McAdoo’s offense this past year, throwing for the most touchdowns (35) and the second-most yards (4,436) of his career in a single-season, and said himself he wants to keep this style of offense going forward amid regime change in East Rutherford.
Will Eli Manning’s wishes to keep the offense the way it is be enough for McAdoo to become the next head coach? Not according to John Mara. Mara noted that keeping the offensive system will be important, but will not be placed above picking the coach they think is right.
A concern about McAdoo is his youth. The 38-year old does not possess the same level of experience some of the other possible candidates hold, and may not be ready to completely take over an NFL Team. Remember, it was just 2013 when McAdoo was the Packers’ Quarterbacks coach, and the Giants front office may feel a guy with more time as a coordinator or who has head coaching experience fits better for the Giants going forward.
Spagunolo will also get his shot as a candidate for the head coaching position, one year after re-joining the Giants coaching staff as defensive coordinator. Spagnuolo was the defensive coordinator for the Giants from 2007-2008, instilling a blitz-heavy defensive scheme, which proved to be masterful in Super Bowl XLII against the New England Patriots. Tom Brady was sacked five times, and it was clear Spagnuolo’s emphasis on pressuring the Quarterback played a major role in the Giants winning their third Super Bowl. However, since then things sure have gone downhill for the one-time hot commodity among potential head coaches.
Spagnulo left the NY Giants after the 2008 season to become the St. Louis Rams Head Coach, where he lasted three years. St. Louis went 1-15 in his first season and 2-14 in his third and last season, with a 7-9 year sprinkled in the middle. His time as the Saints defensive coordinator in 2012 wasn’t much better as his defense gave up the most yards in NFL history through one season before being fired. The Giants brought him back as defensive coordinator for 2015, but the defense still finished last in both total defense and passing defense.
To be fair, the talent on the Giants defense this past season was lacking considerably, but if you’re hiring a new head coach you’d like for them to have more recent success than what Spagnuolo has had.
Some other names have popped up as candidates for the Giants head coaching job, such as Sean Payton and David Shaw of Stanford, but Payton and Shaw are unlikely to emerge as true possibilities according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano for a few different reasons. Payton has confirmed he will return to NO.
Focusing on someone who looks to be a real candidate, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is again a hot-name mid the coaching carousel. He does have head coaching experience, although his time in Denver did not go as planned. Then again even Bill Belichick was fired from his first head coaching job. Plus, McDaniels would come to the Giants after working with Belichick for 14 years, having possibly the best mentor a young coach could ask for.
The current Bengals offensive coordinator got a raw deal when his time as the Raiders head coach ended far too early. Jackson was the head coach in Oakland for one season in 2011, finishing 8-8 after starting three different quarterbacks. The Raiders actually finished tied for first in the AFC West that year, but because of tie-breakers ultimately did not win the division.
Jackson has helped Andy Dalton improve into a solid starting QB in the NFL, and it would be interesting to see what he can do with a guy like Eli Manning. Jackson deserves another shot at a head coaching job, and based on what he’s done in Oakland and in Cincinnati it wouldn’t be surprising If he had success eventually with the New York Giants.
Gase’s name has not been connected with the Giants job on most fronts as of yet, but his work with Peyton Manning with the Denver Broncos and Jay Cutler this past season is something to note. Cutler looked as about down and out as he could prior to 2015, but after Gase was named the Bears offensive coordinator Cutler had a resurgence. Gase helped Cutler throw his least amount of interceptions since 2011, showing that Gase has a knack for helping Quarterbacks find success.
Eli Manning doesn’t need a resurgence, but a head coach that has experience working with Peyton Manning as well as helping Jay Cutler get back to being a worthy starting Quarterback is getting him noticed around the league. I would be surprised if the Giants went this direction, but it’s important to at least consider the hot names around the NFL.