If you didn’t hear, the New York Giants executed their first in-season head coach firing since 1976. Jerry Reese simultaneously followed Ben McAdoo out the door after over 20 years at the Giants, the last 10 as GM.
The Mara family are looking to jump the gun on HC hirings. Before the inevitable floury of dismissals once Black Monday comes around in early January. Here are some potential candidates heading for the Giants shortlist:
David Shaw – Stanford HC
One of the most sought after names in college football is Stanford Head Coach, David Shaw. The Giants would love to prize Shaw away from the West coast. Shaw would bring much needed physicality and power football back to New York. Furthermore, Shaw is one of the most widely respected coaches in college football and across the NFL. Something which may have been lacking from Ben McAdoo.
A downside on Shaw is that he would demand full control of player recruitment, or in other words, the de facto GM. Although the spot is open, it won’t be something the John Mara would want to hand over to Shaw, being the Giants would be his first NFL head coaching job.
Nick Saban – Alabama HC
Many reports this week stated Saban came extremely close to signing with the Giants in 2015, after Tom Coughlin parted ways. Former Brown’s defensive coordinator under Bill Belichick, Saban has done a phenomenal job at Alabama for the past 10 seasons. Producing 29 All-Americans, 2 Heisman trophy winners, 4 National titles and the most feared defensive unit year after year. All that being said, there are many who believe Saban wouldn’t survive in the NFL and question why he has never returned since his 15-17 record with the Dolphins between 2005-06.
Saban would be tempted by the Giants, whose defense still has many young and talented players on the roster. But like Shaw, it’s unlikely he’ll want to move from a position he’s been successful in for so long.
Pat Shurmur – Vikings Offensive Coordinator
Come black Monday, Pat Shurmur will be one of the hottest names to be banded about as a potential Head Coach. Since being named the interim and subsequently permanent OC in 2016, the Vikings offense has been one of the more impressive units in the league, with no real superstars to speak of (Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen would have something to say about that). Shurmur has be likened to Kyle Shannahan, in his use of tight-end packages, allowing favourable mismatches for his star wide receiver duo. The potential mismatches the Giants receivers could create will be mouth-watering for Shurmur. Would the Giants hire another inexperienced play-caller as HC?
His 10-23 head coaching record with the Browns can be overlooked, but Shurmur is reminiscent of Ben McAdoo. Admittedly his schemes are more creative than McAdoo’s.
Matt Patricia / Josh McDaniels – New England Patriots DC/OC
Matt Patricia is currently one of the best defensive-minded coaches in the league. After a sluggish start for the Patriots defence, Patricia has once again orchestrated the Pats into a top 10 defense in terms of points per game. Over the past few seasons the Pats defense has seen many pieces come and go, yet they still manage to be one of the top units in the league. That is down to Patricia. He interviewed for the Browns HC in 2016, but remained in New England to claim his second Super Bowl win as defensive coordinator. Staying with Bill Belichick once more may be the safe option for Patricia, but if the Giants come calling, he’ll have a tough time saying no.
If not Patricia, why not Bill Belichick’s other coordinator, Josh McDaniels? His first dabble into head coaching wasn’t a pleasant one, he found little success with the Broncos in 2009-10 (11-17 record). Giants fans would love McDaniels’ creative scheming. Where McAdoo’s slant heavy West Coast began to get stale by the end, McDaniels is known for weekly scheming and creating mismatches.
Could McDaniels be tempted back into head coaching? Some would ask why he would ever leave his current position with the Patriots, but McDaniels has achieved it all in New England and the Giants would be a great place for him to revitalise his head coaching career.
Follow Alex Williams on Twitter @AlWilliamsNFL