Raheem Morris is batting leadoff this morning in the New York Giants search for a defensive coordinator to replace the ousted Perry Fewell. That doesn't make him the favorite for the job. All it really means is that the process of figuring out who will be in charge of the Giants defense next season has begun.
Morris plays to mixed reviews when you ask around about him. He was a head coach in the league at just 32, is still 38, and would offer the Giants the ability to not undergo a dramatic scheme change since he comes from the Tampa 2 school of thought that Fewell also came from. Again, don't read into that. Tom Coughlin said "change is necessary" when he let Fewell go. Interviewing Morris is just the beginning of what promises to be a deliberate process.
Remember that some of the candidates the Giants would probably like to talk to -- like fan favorite Steve Spagnuolo -- are not available to be interviewed yet. The Baltimore Ravens, where Spagnuolo is the secondary coach, are still in the NFL playoffs. Want Spags to get the job? Root for the Ravens to lose to the New England Patriots this weekend.
Buffalo Bills defensive line coach Pepper Johnson is thought to be a candidate. The Bills, though, have their own search for a head coach going on and until that is resolved might be hesitant to allow assistant coaches permission to interview elsewhere.They might also be waiting to see if their former coach, Doug Marrone, gets the New York Jets job before releasing any assistants.
Head-coaching searches by other teams also impact availability of potential candidates, and the Giants will have to wait until those things sort themselves out. Current Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has also been mentioned as a possibility for Giants defensive coordinator, but he is also under consideration for the top job in Buffalo. Sam with highly-respected Vic Fangio of the San Francisco 49ers. Former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith would likely want to exhaust his options for a top job before returning to his roots as a defensive coordinator.
Remember, too, that when the Giants hired Ben McAdoo as offensive coordinator a year ago he was a guy the media and fan base knew nothing about before the Giants brought him in. Really, the same thing was true when Tom Coughlin hired Spagnuolo, then a little-known Philadelphia Eagles linebackers coach, the first time around.
So relax, everybody. Settle in. Enjoy the fact that you've got some Giants news and rumors to talk about during a dreary, playoff-less January. This process figures to take a while.