In a move that surprised no one, the Giants fired head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese Monday morning.
That was the easy part. The hard part will come this offseason when Giants owner John Mara will oversee finding a head coach and a general manager that will get the Giants back to their winning ways.
Make no mistake. Mara has to get both right or else the Giants could be further behind for the next six years. This is going to be his first time that he will be finding someone outside the organization for both positions. He knows he can’t hire anyone within the organization since that will not go well with the fans.
It’s easy to doubt whether Mara gets it right or not. He struck out hiring Reese as the general manager, and he made an error assuming McAdoo was ready to make the transition from being an offensive coordinator to being a head coach, especially in a tough market like New York.
All eyes are going to be on him. He has no one else to blame anymore now that he got rid of convenient scapegoats that had to go.
Here’s what’s going for Mara: The Giants are a plum job for any prospective candidates that know they can win with that organization. The pieces are in place. They will get a high draft pick, Odell Beckham Jr. and a team that won 11 games last season despite losing to the Packers in the NFC wild-card game. Plus, the Giants’ 2018 schedule will be easy enough for the team to make the playoffs.
Hiring a general manager should not be a problem. There are plenty of good candidates out there such as Falcons assistant general manager Scott Pioli, Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, former Eagles director of player personnel and now ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, former Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman, former Chiefs general manager John Dorsey and former 49ers, Redskins and Seahawks executive Scot McCloughan (my choice as general manager since he has an eye for talent based on his work with the 49ers, Redskins and Seahawks).
It would be inexcusable for Mara not to hire either of them. He needs to hire an outsider, not hire anyone that worked with Reese. Gettleman would be the only guy worth hiring that had Giants ties since he built the Panthers team that went to the Super Bowl couple of years ago.
With the amount of good candidates out there, the timing was right to fire Reese. The former Giants general manager had enough time to show he can be the answer. He never bothered to improve the offensive line, and he drafted guys with character issues such as Beckham, Eli Apple and Ereck Flowers. He may have an eye for talent, but that does not mean he should have a job for life if the results are not there such as winning.
The next general manager needs to hire a head coach, not Mara, and he needs to talk to the media at moment’s notice. That means he can’t talk to the media only twice a year like his predecessor did. The fans should get answers of their favorite football team, and it’s the general manager’s job to provide them when needed.
The head coach is a tricky spot since odds are the next general manager will likely hire an assistant or a retread coach like Josh McDaniels if the Giants hire Pioli or Caserio.
McDaniels is an interesting candidate. We know he can coach offense, but he also had a rough go of it as the Denver Broncos head coach. He was basically their version of McAdoo. One has to think he is more mature now to be a leader of men. One has to think he knows his mistakes from his first stint as a head coach. He makes sense since the Giants are going to draft a quarterback in the upcoming draft, so he and Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen can work together.
There are other intriguing prospective candidates. One thing for sure. The next coach must have better communication skills than his predecessor, and he also needs to know how to lead such as getting through to Beckham and making sure the players and him are on the same path. He has to deal with the media better, which is a requirement in New York. He has to have a good feel for the game rather than rely on his playsheet to call a play.
McAdoo knew football well, but he had a hard time getting his point across to his players. He also had no clue how to lead when times were tough such as when the Giants could not make adjustments on offense when Beckham was out for the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys or when the team was often behind. He committed a terrible public relations disaster that sealed his firing by benching Eli Manning for Geno Smith, and predictably, that ticked the Giants fans off. The bottom line was he was not a solution during in times of crisis.
McAdoo wasn’t ready to be a head coach at this time. He could be a good head coach one day, but coaching the Giants was too big for him. He clearly has so much to learn, and he may have been rushed to coach the Giants too soon. He should have never gotten the job in the first place since he was only the Giants offensive coordinator for two years. It was a rush to judgement by Mara that turned out to be a regret.
This next coach needs to know what he is doing, and he and the quarterback have to work well together. Look for the Giants to hire an offensive coach, and that’s why it’s imperative Mara gets it right in hiring a general manager.
This does not have to be difficult. Mara has great choices to choose from.
Only thing is he better get both right, and he better be sure he got it right with these hires. There’s no room for error.
Mara has ran out of alibis to blame for the Giants’ problems with Tom Coughlin, Reese and McAdoo being gone.
It’s all on him now.