Last week we highlighted how New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is considered the top head coaching candidate for the, like, fifth year in a row, and Gary Myers of the New York Daily News has proposed a perfect landing spot and general manager pairing for McDaniels.
The team: New York Giants.
The general manager: Former Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli.
The Giants have soured on head coach Ben McAdoo after just a season and a half, with injuries mounting up and players no longer buying into the head coach’s style of leadership; McAdoo was the Giants offensive coordinator before he was promoted to head coach as the franchise leadership desired coaching consistency. General manager Jerry Reese has been with the team since 1994 as a scout and has served at his current post since 2007.
After an 11-5 season in 2016 where the Giants earned an NFC wild card ticket, New York is back in the dumps at 1-7, set up for a top three draft pick after floundering in mediocrity for the better part of the past decade. Quarterback Eli Manning is playing below average football- he’s only had two seasons where he’s been considerably better than average (2009, 2011)- and that leaves the door open for the next head coach to draft Manning’s eventual replacement.
Isn’t that kind of a perfect place for McDaniels?
The Giants are stacked with talent on defense, the defensive line and the secondary in particular, and with former Patriots linebackers coach and once-projected heir to Patriots defensive coordinator Patrick Graham already on the Giants staff, the Giants defense could have some coaching consistency and have the leadership and strategy McDaniels would want at the position.
Alternatively, current Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo once hired McDaniels to serve as his offensive coordinator with the Rams back in 2011, so maybe McDaniels would be happy just to keep the defensive staff together, with the belief that the 2016 Giants’ 2nd ranked defense under Spagnuolo should be the expectation, as opposed to the 30th or 29th ranked unit under Spagnuolo in 2015 and 2017.
And on offense, Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the best in the league, while tight end Evan Engram is a perfect option for McDaniels’ flex offense. If McDaniels is provided a better offensive line, then he could probably make the Giants offense productive again with Eli Manning.
That’s where Pioli comes in. Pioli left the Patriots to become the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs before his release where he was named assistant general manager of the Atlanta Falcons, and Myers’ notes that Pioli and McDaniels “have remained good friends,” despite going their separate directions away from the Patriots in 2009.
McDaniels and Pioli worked together from 2001-2009 in New England and it would make a lot of sense to bring them back together with a franchise that prides itself on coaching and front office consistency- and you can guarantee that Bill Belichick would provide his blessing on the pairing.
The Giants should be able to provide McDaniels with his quarterback of the future, especially with three of the other contenders for the first overall pick already with a franchise quarterback on the roster (49ers Jimmy Garoppolo; Buccaneers Jameis Winston; Colts Andrew Luck). Of the 10 teams with three or fewer wins on the year, the Giants will only be competing with the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, and maybe the Los Angeles Chargers for one of the young quarterback prospects- and even the Broncos haven’t even given 2016 first round quarterback Paxton Lynch a chance to prove himself.
So McDaniels could find himself with a perfect general manager that understands the type of team he wants to build, with a defensive coaching staff possibly already in place, great draft stock to find the quarterback of the future, and franchise ownership that desires long-term consistency. The Giants really do seem like the perfect place for McDaniels to get his second chance as a head coach.