[UPDATE: The New York Post is reporting that the Giants will not offer Mike Singletary a job.]
Good morning, New York Giants fans! While we wait for word on whether or not Mike Singletary will join Ben McAdoo's staff as New York Giants linebackers coach let's talk a little bit about Singletary. Is he the right man for the job?
Singletary is, obviously, a brand name. He is a Hall of Famer, one of the best middle linebackers to ever play. He has coached players like Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis. The excited reaction of some in the Giants' fan base is understandable.
But ... and, yes, there is always a but.
Coaching has not been the problem with the Giants' linebackers over the years. Lack of talent has been. We have discussed the Giants' Band-Aid approach to the linebacker position for years. Until that stops and the Giants commit to an effort to acquire top-shelf talent at the position, no coach is going to make that much difference. Singletary didn't make Lewis and Willis great players. They were great players he happened to coach.
There is also the fact that Singletary has been out of the league for two, his last stop being as assistant head coach/linebackers coach with the Minnesota Vikings.
Funny thing about Singletary's interview with the Giants on Thursday is that shortly before news of it was reported Singletary had expressed to Jason Lisk of The Big Lead that being a position coach again wasn't part of his plan.
Singletary told me that while he has had some conversations with teams, he has not had any formal interviews, and has not been offered any positions as a defensive coordinator over the last two years that he turned down. "I didn't want to be a linebacker coach again. I've been studying my tail off since I left San Francisco to become a coordinator at the very least, and hopefully become a head coach," said Singletary. "When that didn't happen, I began to work that much more, visiting coaches and learning everything I could possibly learn, primarily on offense."
Singletary may now see that being a position coach again is his only current avenue back into the league. He may also be really good at the job. No matter who the coach is, though, the Giants need better players.
Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman, long-time pro personnel guy with the Giants before taking the Carolina job, did a great Q&A wit Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. Gettleman's Panthers are, of course, one victory away from playing in Super Bowl 50. Here is part of an answer that sums up how Gettleman built the Panthers and offers a bit of a blueprint for how the Giants can get back on track:
"The biggest thing (in the offseason) is you evaluate your team. In my opinion, the next biggest thing is how the free-agent period sets up your draft. The worst thing you can do is go into the draft desperately needing some type of position because I'm a firm believer in best player available. If you look at the three years I've been here, that's what we've done. I haven't strayed from it. You can never have too many good players at one position. The outside perception is, "Oh, they need this, this and this and they have to draft." The thing people don't understand is sometimes you have to improve at a position incrementally. You've got a player who's an average guy. You want to replace him, but you're not going to be able to replace every one of those guys with a Pro Bowl player. The (salary) cap won't allow you do to it.
"The other thing you have to do is prevent position disasters. If Joe Blow goes down, you're screwed. You might as well go home because the guys behind him just can't get it done. ... I kept saying to myself, "What are we going to do at receiver if Kelvin (Benjamin) gets hurt and linebacker if T.D. (Thomas Davis) gets hurt?" So you saw in the first and second round we drafted Shaq Thompson and traded up for Devin Funchess. Devin has not disappointed. Devin's development was hurt because he had hamstring issues and missed most of training camp."