Good morning, New York Giants fans! As you know, while your Giants were finding themselves a new/old defensive coordinator in Steve Spagnuolo, teams around the league have been finding new general managers and head coaches of their own.
Let's spend some time discussing some of those moves. Who got it right? Who got it wrong? Here are some of my thoughts on what we have seen this month on the coaching/GM carousel.
Washington Redskins actually getting it right?
Dan Snyder pretty much hasn't been able to get out of his own way during most of his tenure as Redskins' owner, turning a proud franchise used to winning into a perennial last-place laughingstock. Could it be that Snyder and the Redskins have actually gotten some things right this off-season.
First, the Redskins chose to keep head coach Jay Gruden. That, at least, puts them in a position where they aren't starting completely over -- AGAIN. Then, Washington hired highly-regarded NFL personnel man Scot McCloughan as general manager. McCloughan [Redskins bio] was a key part of the personnel departments that helped build the San Francisco 49ers and, most recently, the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. All indications are that the guy knows talent, and he knows how to run a draft.
Washington also lured offensive line coach Bill Callahan away from the Dallas Cowboys. If the Redskins can win the competition for the services of respected veteran defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, recently released by the 49ers, that would conclude a really impressive month for the Redskins.
What to make of Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills
I am, quite honestly, not sure how to feel about this one.
On one hand, you have to love having Rex in the league as a head coach. You pretty much never know what he's going to say or do, though you know it will generally be audacious and boastful. Like this:
And you know people love the guy, especially on first impression:
WATCH: @buffalobills welcome Rex Ryan with monster spinach/ricotta pizza http://t.co/A44aj9GjPa pic.twitter.com/oCA8f2TsRZ— NFL Now (@NFLNow) January 13, 2015
He has, basically, what he had with the Jets. An outstanding defense, a dysfunctional offense with no clear quarterback. Listen to him speak and the schtick is the same, so you wonder if he actually learned anything with the Jets that will make a him a more well-rounded coach in Buffalo. We'll find out. And we know it will be entertaining.
One more note about Rex. What were the Atlanta Falcons thinking? The Falcons are the ready-made team for Ryan, with a quarterback and a functioning offense already in place. It should have taken the Falcons about five minutes to hire Ryan. Instead, they dithered. Atlanta might get bailed out if they are able to land Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, but they lost out on the guy who was perfect for them.
The John Fox situation
Former Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi, coordinating the Chicago Bears search for a new GM and head coach, helped that franchise hit a home run when he and the Bears were able to stumble into Fox to replace Marc Trestman as head coach.
Fox brings credibility, having taken both the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl. He got a team with Jake Delhomme at quarterback to the Super Bowl. He has a 208-199 career record. Fox may not be a Hall of Fame coach, and he may not have been able to get the Broncos over the final hurdle and to a Super Bowl title, but he is a quality coach who can win a lot of games. Give him time and the Bears will be formidable again.
Speaking of Fox, though, what is John Elway doing with the Broncos? Aside from thanking himself, that is.
Sure, Denver hasn't been able to win the Super Bowl. But, Elway just got rid of a coach who went 38-10 in the regular season the last three years and went to the Super Bowl last year. Is it Fox's fault that Peyton Manning is 38 and not 28? I have no idea how Elway expects the Broncos to be better if he elevates former offensive coordinator Adam Gase to head coach, a position he has never held, or brings in his buddy Gary Kubiak.
The San Francisco 49ers hire
Ray Handley Jim Tomsula
I guess the sub-head sort of gives away where I'm going with this one. When I see the 49ers hiring former defensive line coach Jim Tomsula to replace the departed Jim Harbaugh I can't help but think about the Giants replacing the legendary Bill Parcells with the in-over-his-head Ray Handley. Especially when I watch things like this:
The Giants went for continuity when Handley replaced Parcells in 1991, after the Giants went 13-3 and won their second Super Bowl. Handley took that team, went 8-8 and 6-10 in two seasons, got fired and has never been heard from again around NFL circles. Except when people like me bring up his name in situations like this.
A clash of egos between Harbaugh, CEO Jed York and GM Trent Baalke brought a good thing to an end in San Francisco. There is no way the 49ers are better -- or even as good -- after this move.
Maccagnan/Bowles definitely not Idzik/Ryan
The silly sideshow appears to be over with the New York Jets. First impressions of new general manager Mike Maccagnan have to be positive. He nabbed one of the hotly sought after coordinators for head coach when he hired Todd Bowles. He also has began the long overdue process of clearing dead weight out of the Jets front office, firing top college scouts Terry Bradway and Jeff Bauer. Bowles is an ultra-aggressive defensive coach, like Ryan, without all the bluster and bravado. Nobody knows if he can solve the Jets' quarterback problem. The Jets, though, seem to have at least moved in the right direction.
Remember Doug Marrone?
When Marrone opted out of his contract as head coach of the Bills, didn't most expect him to wind up with the Jets job? You have to think Marrone figured that after leading Buffalo to its first winning season in a decade in 2014 that he would have his pick of jobs during this hiring cycle. Now, though, it's looking more and more like Marrone has succeeded only in making himself unemployed. Unless he settles for a coordinator or position coach job. The Oakland Raiders hired Jack Del Rio. The Falcons seem to want Quinn. Marrone might interview in Denver, but Elway seems to want Kubiak. Don't feel sorry for him, though. Marrone will get $4 million from the Bills whether he coaches or not in 2015.