New York Giants

McDaniels mum on Giants job, but longing for head coaching job remains

McDaniels mum on Giants job, but longing for head coaching job remains

The New York Giants jumped the gun on Black Monday, firing Ben McAdoo a full month before the end of the regular season. I’m told the Patriots fully expect the Giants to inquire about offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who wouldn’t be able to interview for the job until the first week of the playoffs at the earliest - assuming the Pats have a bye. 
 
McDaniels, 41, was asked if he had any interest in the vacancy on his conference call Tuesday. He stammered for a second before delivering a firm answer, “I have...I’ve just...I’m just interested in the Dolphins right now. That’s where my focus is at and that’s where it’s going to stay.”

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The Patriots play Miami on Monday Night in Miami.
 
McDaniels hasn’t been a willing participant in coaching roulette over the past two years. After the 2015 season, he didn’t interview for a post. Prior to the Super Bowl win over Atlanta last year, McDaniels had a meeting with San Francisco but withdrew from consideration, citing satisfaction with his current post and his family’s love of the area. 

Still, this isn’t that, or the Cleveland Browns or Los Angeles Chargers that are going to come calling. This is the New York FOOTBALL Giants, one of the marquee franchises not just in the NFL but in all of sport. And it’s not as if the longtime Belichick disciple doesn’t want another kick at the head coaching can. He spoke to that a little more than a year ago, also on a conference call.
 
“I definitely would love to be a head coach again,” he said on November 22, 2016. “There are only 32 of those in the world. They are opportunities that don’t come around very often, and if you would ever be so fortunate and blessed to have another opportunity to do it -- for myself, it would be a second time -- that would be an opportunity I would look forward to.”
 
But McDaniels is fully aware that this shot will likely be his last. He washed out of Denver after just 28 games, with zero playoff appearances and an 11-17 record. But that experience when he was 33 and 34 has helped shaped his mindset toward the next opportunity.
 
“It would have to be at the right place and the right time, which is what I’ve always said,” he recalled last year. “I try to make good decisions, what’s best for my family and myself. Again, somebody would have to offer that opportunity because you’re lucky if you get that. That’s my mindset, and anything that was reported about my thinking or my plans or the things that I want to do - the other day I saw that; those things I would say are unfounded.”
 
Bill Belichick gave his blessing to McDaniels when he took that Denver job. It had all the hallmarks of being a stable post, with a long-standing owner, a great fanbase and plenty of control over personnel. Obviously, it didn’t go as planned. Was McDaniels too inexperienced? Did he try to mold his style after Belichick and not be his own man? There were all kinds of rumblings post-firing. How does an assistant know he’s ready for that next step? I asked Belichick to recall his own situation many moons ago. But trying to get him on the record with less than a week to prepare for a divisional rival on the road went as you would expect.
 
“I really appreciate the question and I respect it but right now I don’t really care about anyone else’s coaches or some other team or anything else,” said Belichick. “I’m just trying to get this team ready. I’m trying to do a good job as a coach to prepare this team to play Miami. It's going to be a tough game down there Monday night, which it is always is and that’s really what I really need to focus on and see if I can help our team do a good job of that. It hasn’t been easy down there.”
 
That said, Belichick has known for some time that he may lose one or both of his coordinators (defensive coordinator Matt Patricia interviewed for two jobs, Cleveland and the L.A. Chargers, last year). He has a strong, veteran staff that could help to shoulder those departures without upsetting the incredible continuity this organization has had in that regard. But as for whether both men are ready to spread their wings, today wasn’t the day to dive deep into that possibility (likelihood?).
 
“I think I’ve been on the record so many times about our coaches our coaching staff and questions along those lines,” he deadpanned. “There’s gotta be notebooks full of my answers to that.”
 
Indeed there are. Again, from a year ago November, Belichick stated “I think both Josh and Matt are great coaches who should absolutely be on any head-coaching list. I can’t imagine that there are many other coaches that could present a résumé equal or comparable to theirs. They’ve done a great job here for a sustained period of time, so great track record.” 
 
There is no arguing that. Since his return to New England, McDaniels has been the coordinator on two Super Bowl winning teams. He also has the 2007-08 record-setting offense on his resume. He’s also developed a softer touch with his players, something he apparently lacked as the boss in Denver. 
 
“I think it’s important for them to understand how much I care about them personally and their well-being not only as a football player but as a human being,” he said Tuesday. “I think any good relationship is going to start with your connection to the person and as long as they know how much you care, then they’ll listen to what you have to say about helping them improve as a player, and get better and help your football team. That’s important to me. I love the guys we have. I love the guys we work with. I love our staff. Those guys understand that we’re all in this together and we gotta work hard to try to maintain those relationships and ultimately produce on the field. That’s what our job is.”
 
That job is always easier to do when you have Tom Brady as your quarterback. He and McDaniels are close. They have been since Josh’s first go-round with the team. That relationship remains as strong as ever, despite what you may have seen Sunday in Buffalo. It was there that the 40-year signal caller erupted - be it ever so briefly - at his offensive coordinator. Brady is already on record as saying he wished he hadn’t done that. McDaniels on Tuesday said the page has been turned.
 
“Tommy is a very emotional person and emotional player,” he said. “It’s part of what makes him great you understand that those things happen. It's never personal. You move on quickly from it. We did and we have. I love Tom and all the things he stands for and does for our team.”
 
That relationship may enter a new phase once this season ends, but for now, don’t sweat it. McDaniels is committed to the Patriots, and the team will benefit from that in the short term, even if the job with the Giants ultimately is too enticing for him to say no to.
 

Giants fire head coach McAdoo, GM Reese

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Giants fire head coach McAdoo, GM Reese

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The New York Giants made a rare in-season house cleaning, firing coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese on Monday, less than a year after the team made the playoffs for the first time since 2011, a person familiar with the situation said.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not made an announcement. Co-owner John Mara planned to hold an afternoon news conference.

The dismissals came a day after the Giants lost in Oakland, with quarterback Eli Manning benched and the team dropping to 2-10. The firings cap an injury-marred season highlighted by the loss of catalyst wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on Oct. 8.

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will take over as interim coach for the final four games. He coached the St. Louis Rams from 2009-11.

Assistant general manager Kevin Abrams will take over on an interim basis for Reese, who became general manager in 2007 and had two Super Bowl wins on his resume. But the Giants missed the playoffs four times in the last five years, and this year his failure to address offensive line problems played a major role in a horrible season.

The moves came less than a week after the 40-year-old McAdoo made one of his biggest mistakes of his short tenure, mishandling the decision to bench Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP. Mara was forced to address the matter the following day and said he wished the decision had been dealt with better.

McAdoo had a 13-16 record, and his firing is the first mid-season head coaching move by the Giants since Bill Arnsparger was replaced seven games into the 1976 season by John McVay.

The 2-10 mark is the Giants' worst 12-game record since they were 2-10 in 1976, and their worst since the advent of the 16-game schedule in 1978.

A team that traces its NFL origins to 1925, the Giants have been an organization that for decades rarely shakes things up until after the season. Coaches get fired, but it's at the end of a bad run and usually they get an extra season to fix things.

The general's manager's job has been orderly succession. The late George Young turned the team around in the 1980s and was replaced by Ernie Accorsi, who eventually gave way to Reese, who joined the team as a scout and worked his way to director of player personnel before getting the GM position.

Going into this season, no one could have expected that the Giants would be replacing a coach before it finished. They came in with Super Bowl expectations coming off an 11-6 record in McAdoo's first season.

Those expectations ended quickly. The Giants lost their first five games, the last three after the defense failed to hold fourth-quarter leads.

With the losses, word started to emerge that McAdoo was losing the team. His one-game suspensions of popular cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins heightened the problem. According to several reports, some players also griped anonymously about having workouts on Saturdays, something the team also did last season.

Mara and co-owner Steve Tisch had come to McAdoo's defense after an embarrassing loss to the then-winless 49ers on Nov. 12, saying his job was safe until the end of the season. His handling of the Manning benching seemed to seal his fate.

The Giants hired McAdoo away from Green Bay in 2014 to serve as Tom Coughlin's offensive coordinator. He was elevated to head coach on Jan. 14, 2016, less than two weeks after Coughlin was forced out after missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

McAdoo had all the ingredients to succeed. He was young, ran an up-tempo West Coast offense, had worked well with Manning and he seemed to be a coach the players would like. His practices were filled with music and marked by short-interval segments.

McAdoo's first season was exceptional. Led by a revived defense, the team seemingly won every close game in a season in which most of the players stayed healthy. The only problem was the offense, which struggled to score playing with a poor offensive line, no running back and a lack of receivers other than Beckham.

Reese's failure to address the line in the offseason was a major gaffe that led to McAdoo's demise.

The line, which lost center Weston Richburg and guard D.J. Fluker to season-ending injuries and has seen guard-tackle Justin Pugh's time limited by back issues, wasn't the only problem. The receiving corps was decimated by season-ending injuries to Beckham and Brandon Marshall, who never lived up to the hype of his signing, and return man/receiver Dwayne Harris. Sterling Shepard has also been limited by ankle problems and migraines.

Before this move, the shortest stay by a Giants' head coach in recent years was that of Ray Handley — he was fired after the 1992 season. He lasted two years after replacing Bill Parcells. The only other time the team fired a head coach in midseason was in 1930 when LeRoy Andrews was replaced by Benny Friedman and Steve Owen.

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