Giants Assistant Coaching Staff Update: Comings and Goings

January and February are typically a busy time for NFL assistant coaches, especially those whose bosses are no longer in the picture. And for new Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, who is spending most of his first week as the new Giants head coach at the Senior Bowl, he’s also been putting together his assistant coaching staff.

Nothing is official yet as the team hasn’t made any announcements, but here’s what we know about which assistant coaches are coming–and which Giants assistant coaches are going.


Who’s (Reportedly) Coming

Thomas McGaughey, Special Teams Coordinator: McGaughey’s contract was not renewed in Carolina. Instead, former Giants and Panthers linebacker Chase Blackburn, who made his living on special teams, was elevated from assistant special teams coordinator to McGaughey’s former role. Meanwhile the one-time Giants assistant special teams coordinator under Tom Quinn (from 2007-2010) will reportedly begin his second stint with the team this year.

James Bettcher, Defensive Coordinator: Bettcher was at one point a candidate for the Cardinals head coaching job following the retirement of Bruce Arians. however, with Steve Wilks getting the nod and being a former defensive coordinator himself, Bettcher was free to find another job. He reportedly explored an opportunity to join new Titans head coach Mike Vrabel’s staff, but ultimately decided on the Giants job according to an NFL Network report.

Tyke Tolbert, Receivers Coach: The 50-year-old Tolbert was let go by current Broncos head coach Vance Joseph after the 2017 season. Prior to that, Tolbert had been the receivers coach for the team since 2011. Tolbert, an LSU alumnus who played receiver from 1988—1990, has been an NFL assistant coach sine 2003, having made prior stops with the Cardinals, Bills and Panthers. Mile Klis of Denver’s 9News was first to report the link between the Giants and Tolbert; Tolbert has confirmed he is coming via his Twitter account profile. and in  an interview he granted to The Courier of Montgomery.

[added 1/25/18] Anthony Blevins, Assistant Special Teams Coordinator:  Blevins will reportedly join Bettcher, his former colleague on the Cardinals staff, in New York, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.  Interestingly, Blevins was part of a Cardinals special teams unit that was called the worst in now former head coach Bruce Arians’ five-year career with the team. Rick Gosselin’s 2017 Special teams Ranking Report has the Cardinals special teams ranked at 30th, two above the last-place Giants.

[added 1/25/18] Bill McGovern, Linebackers. As of now, McGovern appears to be the only holdover from Ben McAdoo’s staff. The Giants linebackers were wrecked by injuries, but even before that, they really didn’t have a single guy in the bunch who was a game changer. While that’s not the coach’s fault—and remember McGovern comes from Philly, where he was on staff with Shurmur at one point, so he has experience with developing linebackers. Alex Marvez of the Sporting News was first to report that McGovern will be retained.

[added 1/25/18] Lou Anarumo, Defensive Backs. Anarumo  is a native of Staten Island whose college and pro coaching experience dates back to 1990. As a pro coach, he’s  been with the Dolphins since 2012, where he served as their defensive backs coach from 2012-2015 before being promoted to interim defensive coordinator in 2015 following the firing of Kevin Coyle in October of 2015. Anarumo went back to coaching the defensive backs under Adam Gase for 2016 and 2017, but was not retained by the club after this season. Alex Marvez of the Sporting News was first to report Anarumo’s  pending hire.

[added 1/25/18] Gary Emanuel, Defensive Line.  Emanuel spent the last eight seasons as the Colts’ defensive line coach, where the Colts ran more of a 3-4 protypical defennsive scheme under ow former head coach Chuck Pagano.  Prior to joining the Colts in 2012, Emanuel  was the defensive line and offensive line coach for the 49ers in 2005-2006. He otherwise has spendt most of his coaching career at the college ranks, his career beginning in 1981. Among the stops he’s made onthe collegue circuit include UMass (Outside Linebackers, 1986-1988); Syracuse (Defensive Line 1991-1993); two tints at Perdue (2000-2004 and 2010) and Rutgers (2008-2009). Alex Marvez of the Sporting News was first to report Emanuel’s pending hire.


Who’s Going

Mike Sullivan, Offensive Coordinator: Sullivan took a job as quarterbacks coach with Vance Joseph’s Broncos staff. As a bonus, since the Broncos are reportedly interested in acquiring a quarterback, Sullivan gets an up-close look at the prospects since the Broncos coaching staff is one of the two staffs working with the Senior Bowl teams this week.

Adam Henry, Receivers: Henry was hired by the Browns for the same role. There was thought that he was originally hired for the Giants job, in part, because he had been on the LSU staff at the same time as star receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Kevin M. Gilbride, Tight Ends: Gilbride moves on to the Bears, where he’ll join new head coach Matt Nagy’s staff.

Dave Merritt Sr, Safeties: Merritt, the longest tenured Giants assistant coach—he was a member of Tom Coughlin’s original staff in 2004—was hired by new Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks to coach the team’s defensive secondary.

Mike Solari, Offensive Line: Solari won’t stick around to revamp an offensive line that struggled in 2016 and wasn’t much better in 2017 (though to be fair, injuries did decimate the unit in 2017, forming at least 10 different line combinations). Solari heads west to the Seahawks staff.

Patrick Graham, Defensive Line: Graham was hired by the Packers to be their defensive line coach. In his two seasons with the Giants, he never had a fully healthy unit, particularly at defensive end where Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul have yet to make it through a 16-game season together since Vernon joined the team in 2016.

Frank Cignetti, Quarterbacks: With Shurmur having a reputation of as a quarterbacks whisperer, he along with a quarterbacks coach of his choosing, will work with Eli Manning, Davis Webb and possibly a draft pick. Meanwhile, Cignetti will get to work with Aaron Rodgers as part of Packers head coach Mike McCarthy’s staff.


Who’s Waiting 

Craig Johnson, Running Backs: This year, Orleans Darkwa and Wayne Gallman seemed to thrive under Johnson’s coaching; not so much so for Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen. Regardless, the Giants didn’t place any running backs in the Top-10 and their 26th ranked rushing game only rose three spots from the previous year’s 29th ranking

[updated 1/25/18] Rob Leonard, Assistant Defensive Line Coach: The Giants reportedly have themselves a new defensive line coach, but it’s unclear if they will have an assistant as they did under Ben McAdoo.

Lunda Wells, Assistant Offensive Line Coach: As is the case with Leonard, it is likely a long shot for Wells to stick around under a new offensive line coach.

Ryan Roeder, Offensive Assistant and Bobby Blik, Defensive Assistant: It’s unclear if Shurmur will have these junior level roles on his staff, or if perhaps he’ll be eyeing either man for another role.

Tim Walton, Cornerbacks: Walton had three players suspended from his group, including Eli Apple, who reportedly was insubordinate in refusing to work with the scout team during the final week of the season.

Aaron Wellman, Strength & Conditioning Coach: Wellman completely made over the Giants weight training room. The team had success in his first season as far as injuries, but not so much so last year, though many of the injuries were a result of the violent nature of the game.

Tom Quinn, Special Teams Coordinator: The architect of a mostly underperforming special teams unit for years is finally be appearing to go away given the McGaughey hire.

Dwayne Stukes, Assistant Special Teams: Stukes is also following Tom Quinn out the door.

Steve Spagnuolo, Defensive Coordinator: With the pending arrival of Bettcher, Spagnuolo is likely headed elsewhere.


Still Searching

Ben McAdoo: The former Giants head coach drew interest from the Browns for their offensive coordinator role and the Broncos for their quarterbacks coach opening, but both jobs went to other people, the Broncos job going to Mike Sullivan, McAdoo’s former offensive coordinator.

More recently, McAdoo has been linked to the Vikings offensive coordinator position, the job, of course, vacated by Pat Shurmur when he became the Giants head coach, but there have been no reports of McAdoo interviewing for that position yet.