The Giants on Monday submitted requests as expected to interview New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks for their head coaching vacancy.
The Daily News has been reporting for more than a week that McDaniels and Patricia were the Giants’ top two targets and that Wilks, with a connection to Giants GM Dave Gettleman from Carolina, would be a candidate. ESPN reported the Giants formally reaching out to the Patriots while NFL Network reported their request to the Panthers.
Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, 52, also is a name to watch.
Houston coach Bill O’Brien was expected to be among the leading candidates if the Texans fired him, but with GM Rick Smith’s extended leave of absence, O’Brien is staying per the Houston Chronicle and so he will not be a part of the Giants’ search.
ESPN had reported Sunday that Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz would be interviewed and was a leading candidate, but the Daily News reported the latter was not true, and as of midday Monday there were no reports of a Schwartz interview yet requested.
John Mara said last week that he wanted a coach who could stand up and “command the room” when he addresses the team. Giants veteran corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie appeared to allude similarly to Ben McAdoo’s shortcomings when asked how a coach can accomplish what Mara seeks.
“I think you just gotta mean what you say and say what you mean and hold everybody accountable,” Rodgers-Cromartie said Monday. “At first sight you see something wrong you correct it then. You don’t wait til you start losing or things of that nature. So I think it should be just straightforward from the moment you get here.”
The Patriots are on a bye week. The Giants will need to travel to Foxborough to interview both McDaniels, 41, and Patricia, 43, and New England head coach Bill Belichick will tell the Giants if and when they can interview them.
The Panthers face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in the first round of the playoffs. The Giants must wait until Monday the day after to interview Wilks if granted permission. There is plenty of competition.
The Detroit Lions, who fired coach Jim Caldwell on Monday, also submitted a request to interview Patricia. Lions GM Bob Quinn was a 16-year Patriots employee/executive who rose to director of scouting for New England (2012-15).
The Giants hired Dave Gettleman as GM last Thursday instead of waiting until the New Year to interview more candidates not just because they knew he was their guy; they also didn’t want to fall behind in a competitive coaching market that formed quickly on Black Monday.
The Giants fired Ben McAdoo on Dec. 4. On Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts fired Chuck Pagano and the Oakland Raiders fired Jack del Rio. And then on Monday, the Chicago Bears fired John Fox, the Lions fired Caldwell and Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians retired.
The Giants are expected to interview interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo for the position, as they promised him when he was promoted.
Patriots coordinators Josh McDaniels (l.) and Matt Patricia are top of the Giants list of coaching candidates.
(Winslow Townson/ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Spagnuolo said he hadn’t discussed that yet with Gettleman but that he wants the job.
“It’s always been something that’s been in my heart for a long time,” Spagnuolo said of the Giants job.
Almost all of the teams with head coaching vacancies reportedly requested an interview with Wilks, a former assistant head coach with both the Chargers and Panthers who also satisfies the Rooney Rule, which requires each team to interview at least one minority candidate for any head coaching or senior football operations vacancy.
Eli Manning would not comment on McDaniels’ abilities as an offensive coach but former Patriots running back Shane Vereen, an unrestricted free agent, endorsed him.
“I loved him in my time working with him, and I think if he is chosen, he’s a good candidate,” Vereen said.
JOSH McDANIELS, OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
McDaniels, 41, is arguably the most attractive candidate if he wants to leave New England. The Patriots have a first-round bye in the playoffs which means the Giants can request to interview McDaniels next week during the bye. McDaniels, who was fired in the second season of his only head coaching stint with the Denver Broncos (11-17 record, 2009-10) hails from Canton, Ohio, and has been a part of all five New England Super Bowls. He is in his 14th season with the Pats and has been Tom Brady’s quarterback coach and longtime offensive coordinator.
MATT PATRICIA, DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Patricia, 43, is not mentioned as frequently as McDaniels but is just as hot a name on the coaching circuit. The Giants similarly could interview Patricia next week if granted permission. The Sherrill, N.Y., product is in his sixth year as D-coordinator and has been part of four of the current Patriots dynasty’s five Super Bowls. Since moving to defense in 2006, the Patriots had finished top-10 in fewest points allowed in 10 of 11 seasons entering 2017, including a No. 1 overall ranking in 2016 before a dramatic Super Bowl LI win over Atlanta. Patricia also interestingly worked as an aeronautical engineer for two years in the late 90s.
STEVE WILKS, DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR, CAROLINA PANTHERS
Wilks, 48, is the most direct connection to Gettleman. The Panthers’ defensive coordinator this season replacing Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills) is a former assistant head coach with the Chargers (2011) and Carolina (2015-16) during its 2015 run to the Super Bowl. Wilks has extensive NFL experience coaching secondaries and defensive backs dating to 2006 with the Chicago Bears, and the Giants’ secondary is in turmoil. Gettleman could feel comfortable with himself and Wilks as a team that has a proven track record of success, given especially that Wilks helped Ron Rivera with day-to-day operations in both 2015 and 2016 as assistant head coach.