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Who will replace Pat Shurmur? Here’s a list of New York Giants head-coaching candidates

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A few names have already emerged

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
Kris Richard
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Co-owner John Mara says “the search will be extensive” as the New York Giants seek a new head coach after firing Pat Shurmur on Monday. That search has already begun and a few names have already surfaced as candidates to become the 19th head coach in Giants’ franchise history.

Before we get to the names, though, what are the Giants looking for? Both Mara and Steve Tisch indicated on Monday that they want a leader.

“I’m really looking for leadership, that’s the big thing going forward. Somebody who can come in and take control of this roster, help build a culture that is going to lead to winning,” Mara said. “Somebody who is going to help us with our football re-organization during the process we’re undergoing right now.”

Tisch’s view was similar.

“Leadership, an ability to put together a great staff, an ability to really work with the players, the rookies. I think it’s really important that the next head coach has to have a point of view, a very strong point of view, and he will be supported by ownership,” Tisch said.

After getting it wrong with the hires of Shurmur and Ben McAdoo, the Giants know this is a critical search.

“We’ve failed twice in a row now, and you have to keep working at it, try to find the right guy, that’s all,” Mara said. “I’m not convinced that either of the past two coaches couldn’t have been successful over a longer period of time, but there comes a point in time when your patience runs out, your gut tells you that you need to make a change, and that’s what happened this time.”

Mara said that he, Tisch and GM Dave Gettleman will all be involved in the search.

Mara also addressed the belief that keeping Gettleman as GM might shrink the pool of candidates who want the Giants’ job.

“I’m aware that that’s a perception that’s out there, but I don’t have that concern because I think once they meet him and get to know him, that won’t be an issue,” he said. “That’s certainly something we are aware of, but I happen to believe in Dave. I happen to believe in the changes that he’s making here, and I think those are going to pay off.”

Mara added that “I think there are some very attractive candidates who will have interest in this job. I believe we will get it right this time.”

Now let’s look at some of the people who are either expected to be or have already been identified as candidates.

Matt Rhule, Baylor head coach

The one-time Giants assistant is pretty much the first name anyone drops when listing candidates to fill the Giants’ opening.

With good reason.

The 44-year-old is a hotly sought-after coach who quickly turned around bottom-feeding programs at Temple and Baylor. He is also a New York City native and nearly had the New York Jets job a year ago before a dispute arose over who would be responsible for hiring assistant coaches.

Rhule will have good options this offseason, including staying at Baylor.

I was told recently that Rhule hoped to land an interview for the Giants job when it went to Shurmur a couple of years ago, but that it didn’t happen. If any NFL job is going to entice Rhule, the Giants’ job would seem to top that list.

There are questions, though. Does he want to work with Gettleman? Even if he does, how much authority will he want? The Giants are an organization that has traditionally had clear lines of authority between GM and coach. Would Rhule want to blur them, asserting more control over personnel?

Rhule is currently downplaying any interest in the Giants.

In his first public comments since the Giants fired Pat Shurmur on Monday morning, Rhule told AM1660 ESPN-Central Texas radio that there is “nothing pending” regarding his coaching future.

“I’m getting on a plane the day after the [Sugar Bowl on Wednesday] and I’m flying to Mexico with my wife and kids,” Rhule told the radio station. “It’s not like I’m going back to Waco and meeting with people. If I wanted to go do something else – I’m going to be on the beach, or at a pool, in Cabo with my wife and kids. Just don’t believe the hype, man.”

SNY, however, reported that Rhule would have “strong interest” in the Giants’ job.

Josh McDaniels, New England Patriots offensive coordinator

Per Adam Schefter the Giants are one of three teams who have already requested permission from the Patriots to interview McDaniels.

McDaniels, 43, is perennially sought after for head-coaching vacancies. He went 11-17 as head coach of the Denver Broncos in 2009-2010.

McDaniels, of course, backed out on the Indianapolis Colts two years ago after accepting the job and hiring a coaching staff.

To seriously consider McDaniels, the Giants would have to believe that he is really interested in the job and wouldn’t leave them at the altar like he did the Colts. They would also have to believe he is a better coach than he was during his failed stint with the Broncos, from which he was fired with four games left in his second season.

The failed experience with Shurmur, who didn’t seem to learn from his two years with the Cleveland Browns, might give the Giants pause.

Kris Richard, Dallas Cowboys defensive passing game coordinator

The 41-year-old Richard has served as defensive backs coach and defensive passing game coordinator for Dallas for the past two seasons. Richard coached with the Seattle Seahawks from 2010-2017, the last three of those seasons as defensive coordinator.

Richard had been with Seattle coach Pete Carroll since 2008 at USC when Carroll fired him after the 2017 season. Here is a speculative look at why Carroll moved on from Richard.

Richard reportedly interviewed with the Jets, Dolphins and Buccaneers last January.

Richard is also considered a likely candidate in Dallas if and when the Cowboys move on from Jason Garrett.

Richard is the only true defensive-minded head coach on the list of candidates thus far. Even with a second-year quarterback to groom in Daniel Jones, Giants’ co-owner John Mara said Monday that the organization would not rule out a defensive coach, though handling Jones’ development is a priority.

Eric Bieniemy, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator

The Giants and Carolina Panthers have requested permission to interview Bieniemy for their head-coaching vacancies.

The 50-year-old Bieniemy has been with the Chiefs since 2013, first as running backs coach and the last two as offensive coordinator. An NFL running back from 1991-1999, he has never been a head coach at any level. Kansas City head coach Andy Reid believes Bieniemy will be “tremendous” when he gets his own team to lead.

“There’s a team out there – I don’t know the team – but there’s a team out there that really could use him,” Reid said. “Being the leader of men that he is, you’re not going to find people better than that in that category. And then he’s a sharp offensive mind on top of that.”

Bieniemy does not call the plays in Kansas City. Reid does that.

Bieniemy had interviews for head-coaching vacancies last year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals.