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Connecting the dots: Which potential coaches are Giants GM candidates connected to?

Let’s see if we can figure out what the Giants’ head-coaching short list might look like

New York Jets v Buffalo Bills
Brian Daboll
Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

The New York Giants appear to be getting close to selecting a new general manager. San Francisco 49ers Assistant GM Adam Peters interviews on Thursday, and he will join Joe Schoen of the Buffalo Bills and Ryan Poles of the Kansas City Chiefs as the three candidates who have gotten second, in-person interviews in East Rutherford, N.J.

When Ralph Vacchiano of SNY and I spoke for an episode of the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast last week, we targeted the end of this week as a time when the Giants could announce a new GM. Unless more candidates are granted second interviews once the Peters’ interview is complete, it seems possible a new GM could be named as early as Friday.

How will the choice of GM impact the search for a head coach — a search co-owner John Mara has promised would be led by that new GM. Poles, Schoen and Peters all come from different backgrounds with different connections.

Let’s try to connect some dots and see where they might lead.

Dan Quinn is No. 1

The former Atlanta Falcons head coach and current Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator became the first candidate officially connected to the Giants’ job when news broke Wednesday that the Giants had requested permission to interview Quinn for their coaching vacancy.

Does that mean Quinn is the Giants’ top candidate? Absolutely not. It does likely mean that Quinn’s name was on the short lists of head-coaching candidates provided by Schoen, Poles and Peters.

The Giants are the sixth team to request an interview with Quinn, who went 43-42 in six years with the Falcons, winning an NFC title and appearing in the playoffs twice in his five full seasons.

There is no way the Giants interview Quinn before a GM is in place. Making a move now is likely the Giants’ way of making sure Quinn knows they are interested before he decided to take another job. Quinn has already interviewed with the Denver Broncos.

The Brian Flores factor

Flores’ name has cropped up consistently as a candidate for the Giants’ job despite the fact that a GM is not yet in place. As one source texted me, one question all the Giants’ GM candidates need to be asked is how well they feel they could work with Flores, surprisingly fired after three seasons with the Miami Dolphins.

A Brooklyn native, Flores is said to have the Giants “at the top” of his list of potential destinations.

The Chicago Bears have interviewed Flores and are said to be “very smitten” with him. This from Bleacher Nation could apply directly to a potential pursuit of Flores by the Giants:

The point here is that in order for the Bears to get Flores on board, they might need to restructure their organization and reset some of their short-term plans to separate themselves from the pack/make themselves more attractive. At least, according to Robinson.

“For Chicago to reel him, they have to talk to Flores and go ‘OK, the general manager hire is someone you’re going to be comfortable with and you want to be connected with. And it’s also going to be someone who is going to be comfortable letting you take the lead in the organization,” Robinson explained.

“It would be a very-much coach-driven organization first with the GM being — not on the second tier — but just holding back behind the head coach.”

Poles and Flores have Boston College in common, though they appear to have overlapped there in only 2003. Peters and Flores have time spent with the New England Patriots in common, though they did not work in New England at the same time. Schoen and Flores do not have a prior connection, but the New York Post is reporting that the pair “have communicated in the past two days, a source with knowledge of the situation told The Post. This is a way to at least start a relationship, in case Schoen in the coming days is leading the Giants’ search for a head coach.”

So, Flores could be a factor. If the Bears, Houston Texans or someone else doesn’t hire him first.

Schoen’s connections

If the Giants hire Schoen, Bills coordinators Brian Daboll (offense) and Leslie Frazier (defense) become potential front-runners. Daboll in particular.

Daboll, 46, has never been an NFL head coach. He has interviewed in recent days with the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears. Schoen is also a candidate for the Chicago GM job, and many are speculating that the duo is a package deal.

Mara said there would not be a GM-coach package deal, but it is obvious that the choice of head coach is going to be heavily influenced by the choice of GM.

Vacchiano reported that Daboll is “very high” on Schoen’s list of potential head coaches, and that Frazier and Flores were also part of his short list.

Daboll, of course, seems like a natural fit due to the Giants’ offensive woes in recent years and Daboll’s work with quarterback Josh Allen in Buffalo.

Poles’ connections

Beyond his Boston College connection to Flores, the natural assumption would be that Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy would become a front runner for the Giants’ head coaching job should Poles be the GM.

Bieniemy has been with the Chiefs since 2013, and has been offensive coordinator for Andy Reid since 2018. Bieniemy interviewed for six head-coaching vacancies last year. The Kansas City Star reported that Bieniemy has had 14 head-coaching interviews over three seasons without being offered a job.

Sooner or later, it figures that someone has to offer him a head-coaching job. If Poles becomes GM, could that be the Giants?

Pete Sweeney of SB Nation’s Chiefs website, Arrowhead Pride, told me that there is some belief Poles might have an “obscure coach” in mind rather than Bieniemy.

Who that “obscure coach” might be I don’t know. After their experience with Joe Judge, though, you wonder if Giants ownership might be leery of going down that road.

Possibilities with Peters

Peters and Flores have Patriots roots in common. Peters was there from 2003-2008. Flores began with the Patriots as a scouting assistant in 2004 and was there until 2018, ending his tenure as linebackers coach. Daboll and Peters were in New England for several seasons together. There are some who think Peters might be the person who could convince Josh McDaniels to leave the Patriots. Former Patriots linebacker and current linebackers coach Jared Mayo is drawing head-coaching buzz.

From the 49ers, defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans has drawn interest from the Vikings and could be on Peters’ short list.