Giants’ GM decision likely will come with coaching clue
Sometimes it is simple: You hire who you know.
The Giants will not be taking the simple route when it comes to finding their next general manager, as none of the nine candidates they are meeting via Zoom in the first round of interviews has any previous connection to the Giants. All In The Family has been canceled.
What comes next will tell the tale. Every front office executive with the desire to become a general manager has a list in his pocket or on his laptop, detailing who he would consider as a head coach if he were chosen to run a team’s football operations. The list usually contains names of people the potential general manager has worked with, either currently or at previous stops. There is no guarantee the new Giants general manager will target a current or former associate as his head coach. But it is more likely than not this will happen.
Now, co-owner John Mara emphasized that “there are no package deals’’ when it comes to hiring a general manager-head coach tandem.
“We want to get the general manager ideally done first and, obviously, we’ll talk about the candidates for head coach, but it’s not going to be a package deal,’’ Mara said.
But it would be a logical deal. No doubt, among the first, if not the first, questions to every general manager candidate will be these: Who do you want to target for head coach? Why? Do you think we can get him?
So, it is beneficial to try to find as many links as possible to connect the dots.
The nine interviewees will be cut to two or three, and the chosen few will meet with the Giants in person. There should be a new general manager by the end of next week.
First up on Wednesday were Joe Schoen (Bills assistant GM) and Adrian Wilson (Cardinals vice president of pro personnel). Thursday, the Giants brain trust of Mara, co-owner Steve Tisch and Chris Mara, the senior vice president of player personnel, interviewed Quentin Harris (Cardinals vice president of player personnel) and Ryan Poles (Chiefs executive director of player personnel).
On Friday, the Giants will speak with two members of the Titans’ front office: Ryan Cowden (vice president of player personnel) and Monti Ossenfort (director of player personnel). Joe Hortiz (Ravens director of player personnel) will go on Saturday. The other two candidates are from the 49ers — Adam Peters (assistant general manager) and Ran Carthon (director of player personnel) — and they will not be interviewed until Monday, because San Francisco will face Dallas on Sunday in an NFC wild-card playoff game.
If Schoen ends up being hired, he can be tied to Brian Daboll, the Bills’ offensive coordinator, and Leslie Frazier, the Bills’ defensive coordinator. Daboll has never been a head coach, while Frazier went 21-33-1, with one playoff appearance, as head coach of the Vikings. Schoen and one of the Bills’ coordinators could be a pairing.
Poles, at 36 the youngest of the candidates, is a former offensive lineman at Boston College and a native of Western New York (Canandaigua). As the right-hand man of Kansas City general manager Brett Veach during NFL drafts, Poles helped the Chiefs revitalize their offensive line in 2021 with the selections of two starters, Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith. That figures to intrigue the Giants, who need a similar infusion of talent to their own anemic offensive line.
Would Poles — who has been in Kansas City for 13 years — try to convince the Giants to bring in Eric Bieniemy, the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator, for a head coach interview?
Harris, the other candidate who completed his interview on Thursday, and Wilson were both in Arizona when Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich was there as the quarterbacks coach and interim offensive coordinator. If either Wilson or Harris gets the job with the Giants, would they endorse Leftwich, believing, perhaps, he could work wonders with Daniel Jones?
Carthon, the son of former Giants fullback Maurice Carthon, and Peters are employed by the 49ers. Would either of them want to push for DeMeco Ryans, the 49ers’ defensive coordinator and, at 36, considered to be a fast-rising head-coaching prospect?
Hortiz had a first-hand look the past few years at Don “Wink’’ Martindale, the Ravens’ defensive coordinator, who would not be a particularly hard sell, considering the Giants conducted what was considered to be a strong interview with Martindale in 2019 before hiring Pat Shurmur as their head coach.
“It was a great experience,’’ Martindale said at the time. “There are great people there. I talked to John Mara and it went really well. It would have to be a one-of-a-kind type job, just not any job to leave this place. Am I disappointed about it? Sure. I’m not gonna act like I didn’t have interest in that job.’’
He might get another shot at it, depending on who the Giants hire as their general manager.