Giants Head Coaching Search: Top Candidates

Patricia Traina

While all eyes and ears were on what general manager Dave Gettleman had to say in his first meeting with reporters since the start of training camp, the Giants head coaching search kicked off Tuesday, and took some interesting—and unexpected—turns.

Here’s what is known so far about the coaching search, including when, if applicable, the candidates’ interviews have been scheduled.

Mike McCarthy

McCarthy is probably one of the most recognizable names on the Giants’ extensive list of reported candidates, and the one head coach who has won a Super Bowl before (that with Green Bay in 2010).

McCarthy, who is scheduled to meet with the Giants over the weekend, has a 125-77-2 regular-season record (.618) and an 18-10 mark in the postseason.

A disciple of the West Coast offense—and mentor to one-time Giants head coach Ben McAdoo—one of the allures of McCarthy is his system and how it’s optimized the talents of his quarterbacks.

McCarthy spent last season out of football after interviewing with the Jets. There is some belief that he might be a favorite to land in Cleveland, where he would be reunited with Eliot Wolf, the Browns assistant general manager, with whom he worked in Green Bay.

McCarthy’s interview will likely be scheduled for Friday, reports the NFL Network.

Don “Wink” Martindale

Martindale, an unexpected addition to the Giants candidate list, currently serves as the Ravens defensive coordinator. 

The 56-year-old, who confirmed the Giants interest in him, has been an NFL assistant since 2004 with the Raiders and Broncos and has developed the Ravens defense into one of the top units in the NFL, including this year despite having injuries to the unit and having lost guys like linebacker Za’Darius Smith.

Martindale is known as a fearless play-caller who isn’t afraid to blitz regardless of the situation. His defense’s pre-snap looks create confusion for quarterbacks young and old, and his players go at 100 mph on every snap. His Ravens defense this year ranked third in points allowed and fourth in yards allowed.

According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, if Martindale lands a head coaching gig, he could be eyeing LSU passing game coordinator and former Saints assistant Joe Brady as his offensive coordinator. Brady is this year’s Broyles Award winner, the award given annually to the best assistant coach in college football.

And Brady has received a lot of credit for helping mold the future NFL career of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow, projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft—no doubt an appealing accomplishment to any NFL team that either has or is about to get a young quarterback.

The Ravens have a bye this weekend, so Martindale will probably be meeting with the Giants sooner rather than later.

Joe Judge 

It’s not very often that a special teams coordinator goes on to become an NFL head coach, but it does happen—John Harbaugh of the Ravens is a prime example.

Now comes Judge, whose candidacy was reported by ESPN, is another outside-the-box name for the Giants that didn’t land on many people’s candidate list. Judge has been a coach since 2005 when he was a graduate assistant at Mississippi State. He broke into the NFL in 2012 when he served as the Patriots special teams assistant for three seasons before being promoted to the special teams coordinator.

This season, his duties expanded to include coaching the Patriots wide receivers. Judge has been part of three Patriots Super Bowl teams and two BCS National Championship teams at the college level with Alabama, where he was a special teams assistant under Nick Saban from 2009-2011.

Eric Bieniemy

Bieniemy is currently in his second season as the Chiefs offensive coordinator. A former NFL running back who played for the Chargers (1991-94), Bengals (1995-98), and Eagles (1999), Bieniemy reunited with Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, who coached him with the Eagles during the 1999 season.

Although Reid calls the plays in Kansas City, Bieniemy is said to have a very heavy influence on the offensive game plan each week. In his first season as Chiefs offensive coordinator, Kansas City finished first in yards and points per game, scoring the most points in NFL history with 565 and as quarterback Patrick Mahomes became only the second quarterback in league history to throw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns.

This season the Chiefs offense barely lost a step even though quarterback Patrick Mahomes was injured. They finished sixth overall in offense, and fifth in points scored while cruising to a 12-4 mark and another AFC West crown.

Bieniemy’s previous coaching experience includes stints as an NFL running backs coach with the Vikings (2006-10) and Chiefs (2013-17) sandwiched in between a stop at Colorado, his alma mater where he served as the school's offensive coordinator.

Bieniemy is in high demand for potential NFL coaching gigs. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the 50-year-old Bieniemy will meet with the Panthers on Thursday and the Giants on Saturday. The Browns are also reportedly interested in interviewing Bieniemy.

Josh McDaniels

The Giants interviewed McDaniels, the Patriots offensive coordinator, back in 2018 before eventually hiring Pat Shurmur for the job. They must have liked what they heard from McDaniels because he’s reportedly on their list again.

Unfortunately for the Giants, they’ll have to wait to speak with McDaniels, as the Patriots play this weekend in the wild-card round. McDaniels wouldn’t be available to interview with the Giants until the Patriots are eliminated from the playoffs or Jan. 12, the first date when assistant coaches under contract to playoff clubs who advance through the wild-card round can interview for head coaching jobs.

Kris Richard

Richard, the Cowboys defensive passing game coordinator, has drawn interest from the Giants as well, according to ESPN.

Richard is a former NFL defensive back, having made stops with Seattle (2002-04), Miami (2005), San Francisco (2005-06), and Oakland (2007).

As a coach, he worked for Pete Carroll in Seattle, first as an assistant defensive backs coach in 2010, working his way up to defensive coordinator in 2015, where he served for three seasons before being fired. Richard landed with the Cowboys in 2018, where in addition to serving as the passing game coordinator, he also was the team’s defensive backs coach.

Richard drew interest from the league last season, getting interviews with the Jets, Bucs, and Dolphins. Under Richard, the Cowboys this year finished ninth in total defense and 11th in points allowed.

Richard is reportedly scheduled to meet with the Giants on Thursday.

Matt Rhule

The one-time Giants assistant coach—he was the assistant offensive line coach on Tom Coughlin’s 2012 staff—and current Baylor head coach isn’t believed to have been scheduled yet for the Giants job, but there is said to be interest, according to ESPN.

Rhule is an intriguing candidate for many reasons, starting with his history of turning around two downtrodden programs and continuing through to his diversified coaching background that includes stints working on both sides of the ball. In his press conference Tuesday, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman, when asked about the benefits of hiring a college coach, said that such a move would have some advantages.

“You are drafting younger kids, so to take a college coach now, I think he would have that advantage of having been connected to these college kids for so long,” Gettleman said.

“Understanding the culture and what they’re at, what they’re about, and where they’re at. I appreciate that as far as him being the GM. Obviously, he has his recruiting war room, and he’s the one doing that. It’s a collaborative process.”

There has, however, been some conflicting information as to whether Rhule has an interest in the NFL. He’s reportedly already turned down the Browns and has told reporters that he plans to stay at Baylor.

But there was also another report that Rhule told his players that he’d be foolish not to at least listen to what NFL teams had to say should they come calling.

The most likely scenario is that Rhule, who also mentioned that he and his family have plans to vacation in Mexico once Baylor’s football season is done, is likely trying to limit distractions ahead of Baylor’s appearance in Wednesday night’s Sugar Bowl.

Still, SI.com’s Albert Breer anticipates that Rhule will eventually interview with the Giants, Cowboys, and Panthers.

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