Heading into this week it seemed like Minnesota Vikings’ offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Carolina Panthers’ defensive coordinator Steve Wilks were the favorites to fill the New York Giants’ coaching vacancy.
Now? Well, that’s anybody’s guess.
Wilks interviewed with the Giants on Tuesday. Considering his relationship with GM Dave Gettleman, having been together with the Carolina Panthers for four seasons, there was a feeling that the Giants’ job was within Wilks’ grasp. A source, though, said that the reaction to Wilks by Giants’ ownership was “lukewarm.”
A report indicated that Wilks would, as previously planned, interview with the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday. It is possible, of course, that the Giants circle back to Wilks. If ownership was absolutely sold on him, though, you have to believe they wouldn’t have let him leave without a deal. Wilks has also drawn interest from the other two teams with vacancies — the Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts.
Both New England Patriots coordinators, Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia, were also interviewed by the Giants. Per what I’ve been told, I’m not sure the organization found a match with either of them. SI’s Peter King reported that Patricia “favors the Giants” over the Lions, where he seems to the first choice. Do the Giants favor Patricia? That seems far less certain. Gary Myers of the Daily News reported Wednesday that “all signs” are pointing to the Giants hiring Patricia.
Despite the chatter that Nick Saban “covets” the Giants’ job, there is no real evidence at this point that he is seeking it — or that the Giants are seeking him.
For now, let’s also take Bill Belichick at his word and believe that he “absolutely” intends to coach the Patriots next season.
The Giants do have one more interview scheduled, as they are supposed to meet with former Denver Broncos running backs coach Eric Studesville on Wednesday.
Pat Shurmur now the front-runner?
Shurmur apparently impressed the Giants during his interview last week. He has the experience the Giants are looking for, but the idea that he may want to bring Case Keenum as quarterback wherever he lands could be a turnoff for the Giants. If the Giants and Shurmur agree on a quarterback plan, perhaps he will be the new coach.
Shurmur has two years of head-coaching experience, and since it was with the perennially dysfunctional Cleveland Browns it is hard to be critical of his 9-23 record. Keenum, Sam Bradford and Nick Foles have all succeeded with Shurmur as offensive coordinator. If the Giants are thinking about drafting and developing a young quarterback, Shurmur could be a fit.
Shurmur, though, is also apparently drawing heavy interest from Arizona.
What if they widen the search?
There are four head-coaching vacancies still open. The outside candidates the Giants have spoken to have all drawn interest elsewhere, so it’s possible one of those jobs would be more appealing. It is also possible no one impressed the Giants enough to be offered the job.
What then? Here are some names to consider if the Giants were to widen their search.
Former NFL head coaches — Jim Schwartz (Philadelphia Eagles DC), Dennis Allen (New Orleans Saints DC), Dan Campbell (Saints TE coach) and Mike Smith (Tampa Bay Buccaneers DC) all fit the profile. The recently-fired John Fox and Chuck Pagano are also available.
Schwartz at one time was reported to be the front-runner for the job but has never gotten an interview. Campbell, formerly a Giants tight end, is an intriguing name. Smith drew interest two years ago when the Giants hired Ben McAdoo, but with a new GM he hasn’t yet been on the radar.
All three are highly-regarded and have drawn some interest during this hiring cycle. Even though experience is something the Giants appear to want if they widen the search perhaps one or more of these guys could warrant a look.