The New York Giants are casting a wide net in the search for a head coach to succeed Tom Coughlin. They have already interviewed offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and are set to interview Steve Spagnuolo and Teryl Austin on Friday.
For those who haven't followed the Detroit Lions closely over the last two years -- and who could blame anyone, the cardiac Giants have been exhausting enough to keep up with -- here's an overview of Austin as a head coaching candidate.
Who Is He?
Austin has emerged as one of the hot young coordinators in the 2016 coaching carousel. Austin has long been a defensive coach, having served as an assistant coach several college and NFL teams until he was hired by Urban Meyer as the defensive coordinator of the Florida Gators in 2010.
He left the Gators after Meyer stepped away at the end of that season, and became the defensive backs coach for the Baltimore Ravens, and coached them through their Super Bowl XLVII victory over the San Francisco 49ers. He left the Ravens in 2014 to become the Lions' defensive coordinator -- coincidentally, Spagnuolo became the Ravens' defensive backs coach after Austin left.
Austin is renowned for his aggressive, attacking, style on defense. He runs a gap-shooting 4-3 defense that would fit the Giants' personnel and makes extensive use of the nickel set. Of note for Giants' fans clamoring for more linebackers, Austin's first coaching job was as a graduate assistant under Joe Paterno at Penn St. in the early 1990s.
Lions' players rave about Austin's ability to communicate with (and relate to) a wide variety of players, from rookies to 10-year veterans. They also praise his consistency, adaptable game plans, and how he was able to hold the defense together despite a 1-7 start.
Austin had to deal with a variety of injuries in 2014 and still fielded a top defense. In 2015, free agency completely reshuffled his defensive front and injuries took their toll yet again, and he was still able to field a middling defense (15th in pass defense, 19th in rush defense, 18th in total defense, 23rd in scoring defense).
One of the rationales behind hiring a defensive- minded coach is that it would increase the chances that the Giants could retain offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. However, if McAdoo is hired as a head coach elsewhere, the Giants will still need a new offensive coordinator to work under a head coach with no offensive coaching experience.
Another mark against Austin is that he would be a rookie head coach. The Giants would be his first head coaching job after being an assistant or coordinator his entire coaching career, with just two years of being a coordinator in the NFL.
Finally, Austin is one of the oldest candidates yet named by the Giants. After parting ways with the oldest coach in the league, the Giants may want a younger coach who grew up in a more modern era of football.
What do you think Giants' fans? Should Teryl Austin be the Giants' next head coach?