Will the Giants Go on the Defensive for their Next Head Coach?

One of the reasons why New York Giants team ownership made the decision to hire Dave Gettleman in place now and not to wait to interview more general manager candidates is because they didn’t want to waste time in commencing their head coaching search.

“Expect us on Monday to start sending out the consent forms and start making contact,” team president John Mara said Friday. “We want to get going on this right away.”

The Giants will be able to interview coaching candidates whose teams are not in the playoffs and teams who are in the playoffs but who have a first-round bye assuming they are granted permission by the teams contacted to do so. If a coaching staff is fired, as is usually the case the Monday after  season ends, the Giants do not need  permission to contact coaches relieved of their duties.

Among those names that could surface in the Giants head coaching search include Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, Patriots defensive cooridnator Matt Patricia, and current Giants interim head coach/defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

Other names to watch who aren’t from the defensive side of the ball include Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub, and, if he’s fired by the Texans, head coach Bill O’Brien.

The selection of the next head coach is interesting on a couple of levels.

Besides looking for someone who will restore some sense of order in a Giants locker room that saw three players end up being suspended and which also saw many of the rules previously put in place by former head coach Tom Coughlin disappear, the Giants, who have gone with an offensive minded coach ever since 1990 when Bill Parcells left the team, might be looking to go in another direction and go with a defensive-minded head coach.

“I’m old fashioned,” Gettleman said. “Offense scores points. Defense wins championships. There’s been six matchups, I believe, in the Super Bowl of No. 1 offenses versus No. 1 defenses, and the defenses have won five of the six. So I truly believe in that.

“I’m going to say this right now. Style of offense has changed, obviously – there’s that college influence, so obviously the style of defense has changed to a certain degree. But at the end of the day, it’s the same three things you’ve had to do in ’35 that you got to do now in 2018. You got to run the ball. You got to stop the run. You got to pressure the passer. Everywhere I’ve been and with the great teams that I’ve been associated with – those were three very big staples.”

Not surprisingly, two of those staples are defensive.

but there’s another reason why hiring a head coach from the other side of the ball might be a smart move. The Giants, who appear ready ti stick with Eli Manning in 2018 and who will also have Davis Webb continue to develop–and Gettleman hasn’t ruled out adding another quarterback by the way–had an offensive system that, for the last two years, didn’t yield the kind of fruit the team was looking for.

Part of the reason was former head coach Ben McAdoo’s insistence in remaining involved as the play caller, a decision that saw the Giants gravitate more toward the short passing game, which in turn made the Giants one-dimensional. Another part of the reason was the lack of consistency on the offensive line.

So might it make sense that the Giants, when they revamp their coaching staff, select a defensive-minded head coach and a strong offensive coordinator who can be entrusted to fix all that ails the offense?

“I really believe that the head coaching job is a CEO position,” Gettleman said. “It really is. You look at the great head coaches and I’ll tell you right now, there ain’t a dumb one in the group. They’re all leaders. They all know how to lead men. And, that’s what you need. You need intelligence. You need leadership and on the assumption that you hire an intelligent guy, you’re going to have a guy with vision. Those are critical components you’re looking for.”

What he said next might have offered a potential clue into his thought process.

“There’s a million pieces to it because it is, you think about a head coach, you think of all the things he’s got to juggle,” Gettlemansaid. “There’s a ton of stuff going on. I’m sure that they all once a week probably say, ‘Gosh, I wish I could be the offensive coordinator.’ Whatever it is. Just pick the position he loves to coach. ‘Man, I’d just love to get with my linebackers. Just for a week.’ It’s a load. It’s a load. You got to be able to handle that load.

“My idea is, toughness is important,” Gettleman added. “Every successful head coach I’ve been around has been tough. Now, maybe the delivery was different, but they were tough.”