It is, admittedly, jumping the gun just a bit to try and figure out who the candidates are for the New York Giants head-coaching job. The Giants don’t have a general manager, have said they want to do that first, and that the new GM would lead the coaching still.
Still, it is speculation season, and we have to have a little fun. Right? Chris put together a list of potential candidates immediately after the Giants fired Joe Judge. Here’s my stab at a list of names to watch.
Patrick Graham — This one would be awkward, considering his close friendship and working relationship with Joe Judge. Would Graham even take an interview for the Judge Judge just got jettisoned from? If the answer to that is yes, the Giants should give him one.
Players love Graham. Graham has often professed his love for the Giants’ organization. Despite the failings of the Giants the past two seasons, Graham has risen to the point where he is thought of as a person who will eventually get his chance to be a head coach.
I have questions about Graham. He is funny at times and always cooperative with media, but he is also so humble I wonder about his ability to be the daily face of a franchise. I wonder what his plan would be to fix the Giants’ offense. I wonder if the Judge/New England connection is disqualifying at this point.
Still, he is a far different personality than Judge and deserving of an interview if he will take one.
Brian Flores — Considering the job he did over three seasons with the Miami Dolphins, you have to talk to him, don’t you? He has already shown he can talk a down in the dumps program and resuscitate it, which is what the Giants are trying to do. Of course, Flores might already have a job by the time the Giants get around to interviewing head coaching candidates.
Brian Daboll — If Buffalo Bills Assistant GM Joe Schoen gets the Giants GM job, Daboll probably becomes the odds-on favorite. Daboll’s work with Josh Allen as offensive coordinator in Buffalo speaks for itself. He has never been a head coach. At 46, though, he isn’t a guy knows only one way with one organization. He has been with the Bills, Patriots, Dolphins, Chiefs, Jets and Browns.
Leslie Frazier — The Bills defensive coordinator is another guy who has to at least be considered if Schoen gets the job. Frazier is widely respected and has head-coaching experience, having gone 21-32-1 with one playoff appearance with the Minnesota Vikings. He took over late in the 2010 season and was fired after the 2013 season.
Eric Bieniemy — If Chiefs Executive Director of Player Personnel Ryan Poles gets the GM job with the Giants, Bieniemy could finally be in line for his first head coaching job. Bieniemy has been with the Chiefs for nine years, and has been Andy Reid’s offensive coordinator for the past four. He has been thought to be deserving of a head-coaching opportunity for several years now.
Dave Toub — Yes, another special teams coach. I know the Giants just fired a guy with a special teams background. Toub has been Kansas City’s special teams coordinator since 2013, and his groups are always among the league’s best. He is often mentioned as a head-coaching candidate. Toub is 59 and has been an NFL coach since 2001, working with four teams. He isn’t an unknown with a limited background the way Judge was, so I wouldn’t paint him with that brush.
Wink Martindale — The Giants interviewed the Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator before hiring Judge in 2020. Would they go that route again? If they hire Ravens Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz as GM it likely becomes a possibility. Two years ago, Martindale was thought to have Joe Brady lined up as his offensive coordinator if he got a head-coaching job. Brady is available again after being fired as Panthers offensive coordinator. Could that pairing work in New York?
Jim Caldwell — The 66-year-old is a two-time NFL head coach with a 62-50 overall record and four playoff appearances in seven seasons. He was fired in 2017 by the Detroit Lions after three winning seasons and two playoff appearances in four years, which looks really good compared to what has happened in Detroit since. By the way, having worked in Baltimore in 2012 and 2013 he and Hortiz are familiar with each other.
I know you will want to talk about Jim Harbaugh. He’s not on my list — I just don’t think there is a realistic chance that happens. Doug Pederson, Josh McDaniels maybe. Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is probably worth talking about, but I personally don’t want to go there. He’s just 33 and I wonder if he’s ready.