Could the now-former AFC East foes go to battle for the Giants’ head coaching job?
Joe Schoen has arrived.
The Giants have hired the Bills assistant general manager to fulfill their GM role. Schoen comes from an operation out in Buffalo that’s been a major success over the last few years — the Bills went from a 17-year playoff drought to having now made the postseason in four of the last five years since Schoen arrived in Orchard Park in 2017.
Schoen also isn’t named “Dave Gettleman,” which is a major plus (I’m still not happy the Giants let DG retire after he went 19-46, but I’ll work on getting over it).
But there isn’t a celebratory vacation to be had for Schoen — it’s time to get working on fixing a franchise that has remained in the mud for a half-decade.
His first task: Hiring a new head coach to replace the recently fired Joe Judge.
Schoen says the organization will “cast a wide net” to find the next guy. However, there are two candidates that figure to be eventual finalists for the job — Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and recently fired Dolphins head coach Brian Flores.
Both will be legitimate options to contribute to the organization’s (hopeful) turnaround — what’s the case for either individual to earn this prestigious position?
Daboll — Familiarity with Schoen
Did you think Brian Daboll was going to be high on Schoen’s list of candidates?
If you did, good job…I guess (it was pretty obvious Daboll was going to be a serious option considering his familiarity with the new Giants GM).
Schoen was in Orchard Park when the Bills made Daboll their offensive coordinator back in 2018, and Brian is certainly capable of being an NFL head coach (at least we think) after having had great success with Buffalo up to this point.
Daboll’s prior relationship with Schoen could give him a leg-up on Flores and any other candidate (besides maybe Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier). But of course, that’s not the only reason why he would be a sensational choice for the Giants’ head coaching role…
You saw how putrid this Giants offense was the last two years under Joe Judge, Jason Garrett, and Freddie Kitchens, right?
You saw how the unit fared without Daniel Jones in the final six games of the 2021 regular season, right?
You saw how the group couldn’t even maximize the talents of various weapons such as Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and Evan Engram, right?
The Giants offense has been unwatchable for the last two years (it was second-to-last in both total yards and points in either campaign). Needless to say, this team needs an offensive-minded individual to lead the staff — Brian Daboll can be that guy.
The Bills have finished in the top five in both total offense and scoring each of the last two years; Daboll has been at the forefront of that success.
Josh Allen has gone from a mediocre quarterback to one of the league’s top signal-callers over the last two seasons; Daboll has been at the forefront of that development, as well.
Daboll could revamp this entire Big Blue unit and play a role in the (hopeful) improvement of Daniel Jones should the Giants roll the dice with DJ in 2022. He could also maximize the talents of Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and any other offensive weapon that resides on the roster next season.
The prior relationship with Schoen is important; what they did together in Buffalo is worth mentioning. But the sheer assistance Daboll can provide the Giants offense is unmatched when it comes to the other candidates — that’s the most crucial tidbit to remember here.
Flores — Head coaching experience
But if there’s an astronomical quality that Flores has over Daboll, it’s NFL head coaching experience.
Flores already knows what it takes to lead a coaching staff and won’t need to learn on the fly like Daboll would.
But wait, there’s more…
Flores accomplished back-to-back winning seasons in 2020 and 2021 with a limited Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback for the majority of that time. While Tagovailoa improved in year two, he’s still not looking like the big-game quarterback the Dolphins were hoping they drafted back in 2020. He doesn’t sport great size or a big arm, nor is mobile enough to make up for either of those physical setbacks.
The latter winning season also came after the team began 1-7 — if Miami reached the playoffs (and the team nearly did), Flores would’ve certainly been in the conversation for Coach of the Year.
Flores’ potential hire could also mean the retaining of defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who was Flores’ DC in Miami in 2019. If there’s a coach part of the Joe Judge regime Giants fans would prefer retaining, it’s Graham, whose defense kept New York in check in various games where Big Blue’s offense was…well…unwatchable.
And then, there’s the possibility of a major upgrade at quarterback…
Now, I don’t believe this will actually occur, and trust me, I don’t want it to (so I don’t know why I’m even bringing it up).
But it’s essentially clear Flores and Deshaun Watson want to team up at some point. Flores would probably like a superstar quarterback after needing to deal with Tua and Ryan Fitzpatrick over the last few years down South.
Thus, Flores’ hire would lead to the Giants becoming a prospective trade candidate for Watson, but there would obviously be various layers at hand.
The Texans quarterback, who hasn’t played a game since the 2020 season finale, would probably cost three first-round draft picks (among other resources) in a trade. The Giants would also need to clear up significant cap space to afford his expensive contract (Watson’s current deal carries cap hits of $40.4 million and $42.4 million, respectively, over the next two years).
But then there’s the biggest layer of all — Watson’s pending legal situation. The 26-year-old is dealing with over 20 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault and sexual misconduct, which fills his future with a great deal of fog.
I’m no legal expert, but it doesn’t take one to realize the severity of this situation and what may come about for Deshaun.
It may take a lot for Watson to ultimately be cleared and John Mara to sign off on trading for him. But if you’re willing to look past all of that (unlike me) and are rooting for Watson to come to East Rutherford, Flores would be your guy to possibly make that happen.
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY