The Giants ticked off a notable task on Friday, hiring former Buffalo Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen to fill their general manager position. Now they will have to make an equally big hire with Joe Judge on the unemployment line.
With the Giants trailing far behind on the head coaching carousel, the organization made the right decision to determine GM’s spot first, instead of forcing a head coach on the new chief decision maker. With Schoen entrenched, he and the Giants brain trust can sort through a slate of candidates and decide on the new slate leader.
“My immediate goal is to hire a head coach, with whom I will work closely to create a collaborative environment for our football operations,” Schoen said in a team press release. “We will cast a wide net, it can be ex-head coaches, first-time head coaches, but more importantly it has to be someone who has the ability to lead. organization and the ability to motivate and develop players.”
Schoen comes with a unique perspective on a few notable candidates, having worked with Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll over the past few years. Daboll was interviewed for the coaching job on Friday.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefterthe Giants are expected to interview Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, among others.
Here is a list of the top 12 potential candidates for the Giants head coaching gig (ranked from top to bottom):
1. Brian Daboll, Bills Offensive Coordinator: If Schoen thinks Daniel Jones can become Bills QB Josh Allen with legit development, then Daboll is his man. Daboll has been a winner virtually everywhere he has trained. From Alabama to the Patriots to the Bills, Daboll found success as an assistant. He knows what it takes to build a winner and develop a QB.
2. Leslie Frazier, Bills defensive coordinator/assistant head coach: The former Minnesota Vikings head coach has spent the past five years building the Bills defense with the help of Schoen. He has developed into legitimate stars, especially in secondary school, and is apparently behind when it comes to a second chance as a head coach. The Giants have never had a minority in the top job, and Frazier is a logical candidate to make history.
3. Brian Flores, former Dolphins head coach: Flores appeared to get a raw deal in Miami, as owner Stephen Ross picked mediocre GM Chris Grier over the fiery head coach. Flores appeared to have the Dolphins headed up, despite a nasty early slip. Would Mara and company want another member of Bill Belichick’s coaching tree to run things here?
4. Nathaniel Hackett, Packers Offensive Coordinator: Hackett would be a safe CEO in many ways. Although he has experience as the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator, Hackett has built his resume with the Packers over the past three years by focusing more on planning and development instead of barking orders. Hackett is a caring teacher, who wins over his locker room with his genuine personality and overall positive attitude.
5. Doug Pederson, former Eagles head coach: Pederson spent last season out of football but seems eager to return to the sidelines. During his five-year tenure in Philadelphia, Pederson made the playoffs three times, won two division titles and brought Broad Street its first Super Bowl title. He was shown the door harshly following a 4-11-1 campaign and a disagreement with ownership over the direction of the team. Pederson deserves a second chance, but his viability for a rebounding tenure will no doubt be based on his ability to build a solid staff.
6. Dan Quinn, Cowboys defensive coordinator: The Giants have shown interest in Quinn before, just a year after he was dumped by Atlanta. Is a year really enough time to erase the stench of Quinn’s Falcons tenure from Mara’s memory? It seems so. Quinn has done a great job with the Cowboys defense this year, and he has a track record of past success, so that’s compelling.
7. Eric Bieniemy, Chiefs Offensive Coordinator: One of the NFL’s biggest controversies each offseason has been Bieniemy’s lack of head coaching opportunities. He made Patrick Mahomes one of the best QBs of all time and made the Chiefs’ offense a dynamic offense that was hard to beat. A former player, Bieniemy should be able to report to the locker room immediately.
8. Byron Leftwich, Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator: The former NFL QB rose through the coaching ranks quite quickly. Leftwich’s work with Tom Brady over the past two seasons has been raved about by analysts, and he looks set for the next step. A reliable head coach is something the Giants should definitely look for in their search.
9. Mike McDaniel, 49ers Offensive Coordinator: By now most have seen McDaniel’s goofy antics at press conferences, but the guy is a legit offensive mind. He’s been Kyle Shanahan’s right-hand man for a few years, and he could unconventionally replace Judge, mostly because he’s the complete opposite character. A Shanahan-style attack could help give direction to the offensive line and make Jones much more effective.
10. Kellen Moore, Cowboys Offensive Coordinator: Like Quinn, Moore has the shine of a recently successful NFC East campaign on his resume. Moore, who comes from Jason Garrett’s coaching tree, might be a tough sell on the surface, but he’s a young man who can grow in his role like Nick Sirianni did with the Eagles last season. Moore would be a long-term game, growing as he goes.
11. Matt Eberflus, Colts defensive coordinator: Eberflus might actually have a job before the search for the Giants begins in earnest. Already considered a favorite for the Jaguars job, Eberflus built his reputation over four impressive seasons with the Colts. He has been particularly strong with the development of his linebackers and secondary.
12. Jonathan Gannon, Eagles defensive coordinator: Despite an uneven first year as a defensive coordinator in Philadelphia, Gannon remains a hot name on the coaching carousel. Gannon joined the Eagles along with several other suitors looking to hire him, and he has a reputation as an up-and-coming player in coaching circles. Gannon has a background in coaching and scouting, which could make him attractive to a new front office looking to establish a development culture.
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Mike Kaye can be reached at [email protected].