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Things I think: Bill Belichick chatter, Saquon Barkley, more

Random thoughts for a Sunday

New York Jets (17) Vs. New England Patriots (3) At Gillette Stadium Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The New York Giants aren’t playing, but they are still involved in the NFL news cycle. So, here are some Giants-related ‘things I think’ for Championship Sunday in the NFL.

NFL coaching carousel

Are we really doing this? Are we really going to go through a hiring cycle with Bill Belichick and Mike Vrabel available, and neither of them landing any of the seven openings they could have been considered for?

Stunning.

As I write this, the remaining head-coaching openings are with the Washington Commanders and Seattle Seahawks.

Could Belichick, arguably the most successful head coach in NFL history, end up left out? The Falcons seemed like the most likely landing spot and that didn’t happen.

The hires thus far:

Chargers: Jim Harbaugh
Raiders: Antonio Pierce
Patriots: Jerod Mayo
Titans: Brian Callahan
Panthers: Dave Canales
Falcons: Raheem Morris

I certainly don’t feel like Belichick should be hired just because of his name. And I’m thrilled for Morris, who gets a second opportunity most in the game believe he richly deserves. I am just surprised. Most likely, the Falcons were hesitant to give Belichick the control he wanted, and had with the New England Patriots. On that front, I can’t blame them.

Former Eagles GM Joe Banner predicts Belichick is done coaching.

If he doesn’t get a job I guess we will spend the next year talking about whether Belichick could replace Brian Daboll in 2025 if the 2024 season goes sideways for the Giants. That’ll be fun.

In fact, that chatter has already started. Consider what former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum said on Friday:

“That question is going to hang out all season long because right now there is no indication that Bill Belichick is going to land one of these (current) head coaching jobs,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on “Get Up” Friday morning.

After the panel debated why Belichick was passed over, former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum brought the debate back to 2025.

“The biggest shadow he is going to cast is in East Rutherford, New Jersey,” Tannenbaum added.

“He has a great relationship with the Mara family. The first time the Giants lose a game, Brian Daboll — whether it’s fair or unfair — is going to have to answer that question every press conference.”

Brandon Brown to Chargers?

One note about Jim Harbaugh taking the job with the Los Angeles Chargers. I do hope that Giants’ assistant GM Brandon Brown lands a GM job one day. I honestly hope, though, that he doesn’t take the job with the Chargers, where he has interviewed twice.

Harbaugh will have all the control there. The GM’s only job is going to be doing what Harbaugh wants done. There are only 32 of those jobs available, and it would be difficult for Brown to say no if he is offered the job. Still, I don’t see that as an ideal circumstance for a GM.

Kayvon’s comments

Are Kayvon Thibodeaux’s comments that Saquon Barkley should have gotten paid before Daniel Jones and that he was “mad” about it an indication of discord in the Giants’ locker room or anger toward GM Joe Schoen.

Here, via Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post, is what Thibodeaux said on the 7pminBrooklyn podcast:

Honestly, I don’t think so. Maybe I’m burying my head in the sand here, but there was no indication of that in the many times I was in the Giants’ locker room or around players during the 2023 season. No side eyes at Jones that I noticed. No aired grievances.

Players always want other players to get paid. And that is how they should feel. The Giants paid Jones. They paid Andrew Thomas. They paid Dexter Lawrence. They showed plenty of willingness to pay their own players big money. They made a business decision regarding Barkley. They prioritized quarterback over running back, which is simply the way of the football world these days because quarterbacks are harder to find, and more important, than running backs.

That stinks for Barkley, who has had the naivete about how the NFL works when it comes to financial matters negotiated out of him. It is easy to understand why his teammates think he should be PAID.

I don’t, though, believe Thibodeaux’s comments should raise alarm bells about an unhappy Giants’ locker room.

Something I agree with Dunleavy on is that the real test would be what happens in the locker room if the Giants move on from Barkley. Can they sell to players that moving on from their best offensive player is the right thing to do, and that they have a plan for how to get better? That might be a problem.

Defensive coordinator search

The one big remaining vacancy on Daboll’s staff is defensive coordinator. The Giants have interviewed their own defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson, Shane Bowen of the Tennessee Titans, Bobby Babich of the Buffalo Bills, Anthony Campanile of the Miami Dolphins and Dennard Wilson of the Baltimore Ravens. They also requested an interview with Derrick Ansley of the Los Angeles Chargers.

Is it possible they are waiting for Wilson, the Ravens’ secondary coach, to be available? They interviewed him for a second time on Saturday. Could Leslie Frazier, who worked with Daboll and Schoen in Buffalo, still be a candidate. Frazier had hoped to get a head-coaching job and got interviews with the Chargers and Raiders, but didn’t get those jobs.

To me, the biggest strike against Frazier is that he is runs a 4-3 scheme and the Giants have 3-4 personnel in their front seven. Candidates like Wilson and Babich have never run their own defenses, which is a different sort of problem.