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Giants’ coaching search: Is it Brian Daboll and everyone else at this point?

Let’s assess what we have learned as the Giants search for a new head coach

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills
Brian Daboll
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

What do we know about the New York Giants search for a head coach at this point? Let’s assess where things seem to stand as new general manager Joe Schoen looks for someone he can partner with as he tries to turn the floundering Giants around.

Brian Daboll the frontrunner?

Daboll, the Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator, is in East Rutherford, N.J. on Tuesday for his second interview. There is a growing sentiment that Daboll is almost certain to get the job once the interview process is complete.

Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen heartily endorses the idea of Daboll becoming a head coach.

“I think teams would be foolish not to offer Brian Daboll a job,” Allen said, via Alaina Getzenberg of ESPN. “I’m praying they don’t, because I want him back here, but I love him and his family too much to really think that. I think he’s one of the best coaches in the league.”

Buffalo GM Brandon Beane was asked during a videoconference on Friday about Daboll’s prospects as a head coach.

“I think Brian is going to do a great job when he gets a chance as a head coach,” Beane said.

Daboll, 46, has been offensive coordinator for Buffalo since 2018. That time coincides with Schoen’s work for the Bills as assistant general manager.

Aside from spending the 2017 season as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach for Alabama, Daboll has been an NFL assistant coach since 2000. He has worked for the New England Patriots twice, along with the New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs and the Bills. His stint in Buffalo is the fourth time Daboll has been an offensive coordinator at the NFL level.

Daboll has also interviewed with the Bears and Dolphins. He has a connection to Miami from his season as Alabama’s offensive coordinator.

There are reports that Daboll would like to bring Bills’ quarterback coach Ken Dorsey to the Giants as his offensive coordinator and recently fired former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale as the defensive coordinator. It seems doubtful that the Bills, who could simply promote Dorsey to offensive coordinator, would let Schoen bring both Daboll and Dorsey to New Jersey.

Brian Flores

The former Miami coach has been connected to the Giants job almost from the moment it became available. Reports indicate that Flores will interview with the Giants on Thursday. He has a couple of serious challenges to overcome to convince the Giants he should be their next head coach.

The first is the fact that Schoen and Daboll have a decade-long relationship. They have been together the last four years in Buffalo, and were together with the Dolphins in 2011 when Daboll was offensive coordinator and Schoen a national scout. The extent of the Schoen-Flores relationship is some recent reported “get to know each other” phone calls.

There is also the impression that Flores is a strong personality and that his tenure in Miami was not without controversy. Dolphins’ ownership is, rightly or wrongly, said to have chosen GM Chris Grier over Flores in an apparent power struggle.

Here is part of what I wrote on Sunday:

“The Dolphins did not fire Flores because he can’t coach. He absolutely can. It was, though, a tumultuous tenure in Miami for Flores. There were reports of a power struggle with GM Chris Grier. There are questions about how easy Flores is to work with after he went through four offensive coordinators, two defensive coordinators and four offensive line coaches in three seasons.

“There are questions being floated about how much power Flores wants. His only NFL experience before taking the Miami job was more than a decade spent with the New England Patriots, where Bill Belichick ultimately made every decision.

“Does Flores ultimately want that model, where the GM functions not as an equal or a superior, but as someone there simply to serve the wishes of the coach?”

Is Schoen willing to risk creating a power struggle with someone he doesn’t know well? Do the Giants want to go back to the Bill Belichick/New England tree after their experience with Joe Judge?

It would seem that Flores has a mountain to climb to ear the Giants job. He has also interviewed with the Bears and Houston Texans.

Dan Quinn

Everyone seems to want a piece of the former Atlanta Falcons head coach and current Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator. He will almost certainly be a head coach somewhere in 2022. He interviewed Monday with the Giants.

SB Nation’s Jeanna Thomas, who writes for The Falcoholic, sent me this about Quinn:

“What ultimately cost Quinn his job in Atlanta was the team’s inability to win games in 2018, 2019 and 2020. There were injuries, and there’s a talent deficit on defense in particular, but at the end of the day, all that matters is winning.

“If you ask any player who played for Dan Quinn what he’s like, you’ll hear nothing but praise and respect. He’s able to connect with his players on a personal level and invests a lot of time and energy into helping them develop not just as players, but as leaders and as men. I remember in his first season, standing beside the practice field after Friday practices and waiting to speak with Quinn, and watching him spend 30-40 minutes working on on one with practice squad players, helping them refine their technique and improve. I also have had a number of conversations with Dan over the years about leadership — he has even helped ME grow as a leader in the time that I’ve known him, which was absolutely not part of his job description. But it’s just the person that he is.

“People will remember him best from the epic collapse in Super Bowl LI, and that’s fair. That’s the job. But I think he learned a lot from his time as the Falcons’ head coach, and I personally believe that with the right supporting cast around him and the right GM to work alongside, that he could be really successful as a head coach in the future.”

There was this:

Quinn has also interviewed with the Chicago Bears (second interview pending), Denver Broncos (finalist), Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, and Minnesota Vikings.

Patrick Graham

The Giants defensive coordinator reportedly interviews for the head coaching job on Wednesday. Graham has done an excellent job with the Giants the past two seasons, and is considered a rising star despite the Giants having gone 10-23 during the Judge era.

Graham turned down an opportunity to interview for the New York Jets’ head coaching vacancy a year ago. His interview for the Giants’ job will be his first for a head coaching job.

Graham as Giants’ head coach seems awkward considering his admittedly close relationship to Judge. It’s fair to wonder if part of the interview with Graham might be about his potential willingness to stay as defensive coordinator, perhaps with Daboll as head coach.

Graham has also reportedly drawn interest from the Pittsburgh Steelers for their vacant defensive coordinator job.

Leslie Frazier

The 62-year-old Frazier has worked with Schoen in Buffalo the past few seasons. He interviewed with Schoen on Saturday.

Frazier seems like a backup plan should Daboll prefer the Dolphins’ or Bears jobs, and Schoen opts for a familiar face as his head coach. Frazier went 21-32 as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings from 2010-2013. He led the team to one playoff appearance in three full seasons.

Frazier has interviewed with the Dolphins and drawn interest from the Bears.

Lou Anarumo

The biggest surprise among the interviewed candidates thus far. He is probably also the most unlikely to get the job.

Anarumo has been the Bengals’ defensive coordinator for three seasons, helping them reach the AFC title game with a win over the Titans on Saturday. The 55-year-old was the Giants’ defensive backs coach in 2018.

Anarumo has been a coach for more than 30 years, the past 10 in the NFL.

Anarumo has a connection with new Giants GM Joe Schoen from when they were both in Miami, Anarumo as defensive backs coach and Schoen in the front office.