Tom Coughlin is no longer coach of the New York Giants. Let's use today's "Five things I think I think" post to discuss Coughlin and what might come next for the Giants.
I think Coughlin's time had come
Coughlin was correct in his assessment that "the time is right" for him to move on. Do I believe Coughlin should shoulder all of the blame for three straight losing seasons? Of course not. He's made mistakes and he certainly shares in it. Perhaps, despite the admiration players past and present have for him, his message wasn't sinking in the way it once did. Nothing lasts forever. Chuck Noll found that out. So did Tom Landry, Don Shula and others. Joe Torre was a great manager for the New York Yankees, but the magic didn't last forever.
Maybe a new voice, new ideas will help the Giants. There are no guarantees, but we are about to find out. Maybe it will be best for Coughlin, too. He has been fighting a losing battle for the past couple of years. I think Giants fans should be thankful for the championships Coughlin brought, and for the fact that his exit was graceful.
I think the bulls-eye is now on Jerry Reese
Think of the Giants organization as a body. The general manager would be the head of the football operation. With Coughlin out the Giants will have tried replacing pretty much every body part in recent years except the head. If the losing continues, Reese has to be held accountable.
The Giants have two Super Bowl titles with Reese as GM. Argue all you want about how much he had to do with the first one since he was a rookie GM. That's beside the point. The real point is that Giants have missed the playoffs in six of the past seven seasons. The general manager is responsible for assembling the rosters. Reese deserves just as much blame, probably more, than Coughlin for the deterioration of the Giants.
It is now up to Reese to fix a mess he was largely responsible for creating. As patient and loyal as Giants ownership is, Reese has to pay the price if the sub-par rosters and results continue.
I think the Giants are in a tricky spot
The Giants head-coaching job is an incredibly desirable one, and there will be a long line of candidates. The Giants, though, find themselves in a difficult spot in terms of choosing the right guy for the job.
Why? A lot of that has to do with Eli Manning. The franchise quarterback just turned 35 and his window of time as a championship-caliber player is growing shorter. Manning, however, is also surrounded by a roster filled with young, developing players.
Do the Giants keep Manning in the same system by gambling on promoting Ben McAdoo, who has never been a head coach, has only two years of experience as a coordinator, and may not have the temperament to handle the New York media market?
Do they turn to the outside, hire a coach who ill brings in his own coordinators, and makes Manning learn another new system? He can, of course, but will the Giants be wasting time that is precious as Manning gets older?
One thing I know. The Giants have to get this right. If they get it wrong they could set the franchise back for five or six years, at least. Why? Get it wrong and you waste whatever productive years Manning has left, then you end up most likely having to start over with a new GM, another new coach, and search for a new franchise quarterback.
I think McAdoo might be the best choice
I have questions about McAdoo. I am not sure he is ready for a head-coaching job. He is a bright, up-and-coming coach with a lot of Coughlin-esque qualities, but his resume is still pretty thin. The Giants' offense did some good things the past couple of seasons, but not enough. The Giants haven't won anything, and coordinators from losing teams don't usually end up promoted to head-coaching jobs. Especially as first-time head coaches.
McAdoo isn't media-friendly. He generally gives clipped, short answers. He tends to bristle at questions he doesn't like. Unless he learns to work with them better, the New York media will eat McAdoo alive if his teams aren't good. Coughlin learned eventually, maybe McAdoo would. It is, however, a legitimate part of the discussion.
All of that said, promoting McAdoo may still be the Giants' best option. It would allow Manning to continue in a system he is now comfortable in. It would give the Giants a young coach who might grow into the job, who might connect with the young players on the roster. It might also allow the Giants to deep defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo for at least another year. The organization loves Spagnuolo and despite how badly the defense played this season might like to give him another chance with a hopefully upgraded roster.
I think the Bill Cowher talk is nonsense
Check Twitter, check the comments here and you always see some fans who believe Bill Cowher should be the next coach of the Giants. I can't however, imagine Cowher actually wanting to return to the sidelines at this point. Cowher hasn't coached in the NFL in nine years. Yes, nine years. He is a celebrity now, with a great television gig for CBS and an endorsement deal for CBS. Why would he coach again? If he really had a passion for doing so, don't you think he would have done it by now?
There is this idea that Cowher has been holding out, pining for the Giants job for years now. Maybe that was true when Jerome Bettis, who played for Cowher with the Pittsburgh Steelers, began beating that drum in 2007. Or when Bettis brought it up again in 2010. That was six years ago, though.
Cowher, like Jon Gruden, is a nice name. People talk about him because they know who he is. They see his face on the TV and they remember the kind of coach he was. I get that. I also get the fact Cowher has never slammed the door on the idea of coaching again. But the game is different. Cowher is different. He has a great life. Why would he change it?
I think, though, that I know speculation about him coming to the Giants will continue.