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Unveiling Seven Potential Giants Head Coaching Candidates

The Giants need a strong, creative and organized head coach to lead the team out of its mire. Our very own Coach Gene Clemons believes that some if not all of the following seven candidates could make for intriguing options.

The New York Giants begin the 2022 calendar year looking for a general manager and a new head coach, the first time they're in that position since 2017 when they fired Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo before the end of that season.

But unlike the last time, this is a full-scale reset. Based on the general manager candidate list that's been reported, the Giants are not planning to look inside their organization for the next general manager(nor should they). Team co-owner John Mara, in the statement announcing the firing of head coach Joe Judge, indicated that the new general manager would lead the search for a new head coach.

There are several intriguing names who could receive consideration for the head coaching job. With the offense having evolved into such a disaster, especially after Jason Garrett was fired in mid-season, many people think that hiring an offensive-minded head coach would be the best course of action, especially if that coach can work with and retain Patrick Graham as defensive coordinator.

But the Giants need to focus on finding the right person for the job, regardless of his background, and here for your consideration is our list of names that could draw interest once the new general manager is set.

Nathaniel Hackett, Offensive Coordinator, Packers

It is difficult for anyone to get credit for anything positive in Green Bay because the outside world credits everything to quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not the State Farm commercial star or even head coach Matt Lafleur pulling the strings on offense. It's Hackett. The run/pass balance this offense has struck is impressive, and his ability to incorporate multiple backs with various styles into the offense is appealing for the Giants.

Even when they have been without key pieces on the offensive line, in the backfield, at tight end, or on the perimeter, this offense has remained one of the best in football.

What's more impressive is Hackett's resume before joining the Packers. As the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Hackett helped the team to an AFC South title and had them in position for a Super Bowl run.

He designed an offense led by Blake Bortles that was among the best in the NFL in yards and scoring. In Buffalo, he had an offense led by Kyle Orton and E.J. Manuel that landed in the middle of the pack in the NFL. The team had a 9-7 record in his second season.

In college as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Syracuse, he was able to orchestrate an offensive overhaul which transformed that until from one of the worst in college to one of the best, with quarterback Ryan Nassib, the former Giants fourth-round draft pick, being the beneficiary of Hackett's tutelage while with the Orange.

Brian Daboll, Offensive Coordinator, Bills

Daboll's star has risen thanks to his work with quarterback Josh Allen. The improvements that Allen has made have been remarkable since he entered the NFL, and now it is one of the most dangerous units in all of football.

Daboll has been around the league for over 20 years but made a name for himself as the offensive coordinator at Alabama, where he helped the team win a 2017 national championship.

It was a surprise when he did not get the head coaching job in Houston or with the Chargers last season, but this time around, he probably will have his number called as his continued impressive body of work can't keep going unnoticed by the rest of the league forever.

Byron Leftwich, Offensive Coordinator, Bucs

Like Hackett in Green Bay, it is difficult for Leftwich to receive the credit that he deserves when quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bruce Arians are around. But Leftwich definitely deserves a lot of it.

This offense is not the "no risk it, no biscuit" YOLO offense Arians has been known for in the past. It is not the dink-and-dunk model that Brady embraced during his time in New England. It is a symbiotic marriage of those two worlds, all orchestrated by Leftwich. He is a great medium between the head coach and the quarterback.

He was a respected quarterback in his time in the NFL as a player, and his leadership qualities extend back to his time at Marshall, where he made headlines by being carried down the field to stay in the game and help his team succeed.


Nov 7, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Buffalo Bills helmet before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field.

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Feb 5, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; New York Giants co-owners Steve Tisch (left) and John Mara during a press conference at Moscone Center in advance of Super Bowl 50 between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos.

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There won't be much time for whoever is hired as the new Giants general manager to ease into the job. Here's a look at just a few of the most pressing things on the successful candidate's to-do list.

Michigan running back Hassan Haskins takes the field for warmups before the Orange Bowl against Georgia on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Florida.

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The Giants could be at a crossroad at running back as Saquon Barkley and Devontae Booker enter the final years of their respective deals in 2022. Might the Giants look to start adding to the cupboard with the Michigan senior?

As a potential head coach, his playing experience and personality will endear him to any locker room. For a team looking to build and mature into something great, what better example to have to lead your squad.

Josh McDaniels, Offensive Coordinator, Patriots

It's easy just to say Tom Brady and Bill Belichick when talking about the Patriots' success for most of the last two decades, but Josh McDaniels has been an integral part of New England's success as well.

The one thing that has always been impressive about McDaniels is that he is willing to adapt based on his personnel. He's utilized two-back offenses, four-receiver schemes, and multiple tight end attacks. He operated a run-dominant offense, short- to intermediate-passing offense, and an explosive offense.

Being about to go from coaching Tom Brady to Cam Newton and now Mac Jones speaks volumes about his ability to adjust in any situation. Belichick looks revived in New England with his rookie quarterback, so there's no telling how long he will continue coaching. Does McDaniel want to continue waiting on the succession plan, or is he ready to spread his wings again?

Mike McDaniel, Offensive Coordinator, 49ers

McDaniel is yet another from that Shanahan background. Although it might seem like he’s young, he has been coaching in the NFL since 2005. He has a background working with receivers and as the run-game coordinator.

This year, he was the offensive coordinator for the 49ers. One of the most attractive parts of a McDaniel hire is how the 49ers use Deebo Samuel, tight end George Kittle, and their running game.

When you think about the weapons the Giants possess, it would be easy to envision their offense taking on similar traits as the 49ers. Offensive innovation and creativity would likely cone with McDaniel if he received consideration.

Patrick Graham, Defensive Coordinator, Giants

Graham turned down opportunities to interview for head coaching positions last season and instead decided to sign an extension with the Giants. He seems to fit in well with New York and, as a defensive coordinator, has proven that he is a quality play-caller.

He has done a great job game-planning for opponents and making in-game adjustments. More importantly, he has the trust and buy-in from his players. Despite what started as a rough first half of the season defensively and a train wreck of a season overall, the defense improved and showed signs of improving as a quality unit.

Nobody ever quit, and whenever someone went down, others picked up the slack. That is a sign of a culture that exists on the defensive side that could exist for the entire team if Graham was the coach.

Brian Flores, ex-Head Coach, Dolphins

Flores is the best coaching prospect out there right now, and for the only reason that should matter: he was able to win games using whatever talent was given to him on the team.

The Dolphins were supposed to tank during his first season, but someone forgot to tell Flores. After starting his career 0-7, he went 24-18, which is a massive swing to the positive side of the ledger and a sign that he had Miami going in the right direction.

Now the Brooklyn, New York native has a chance to come back home and coach a team he undoubtedly grew up with having an intimate knowledge of. He already has a connection with defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and would be familiar with what they have done defensively.

He can also bring in the accountability needed on both sides of the ball. Most importantly, Flores, in having been a surprise fire by the Dolphins, likely has been humbled to where he's probably taking stock in what his shortcomings were so he can improve accordingly. 

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