Palladino: Who Should Giants Tab As Offensive Coordinator?
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By Ernie Palladino
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Tom Coughlin could do worse. So could the Giants.
In scouring the NFL for a new offensive coordinator, now that Kevin Gilbride has retired under the impending threat of involuntary termination, the Giants must find someone who is compatible with Eli Manning.
That’s first and foremost, by the way. The quarterback has to be comfortable with his coordinator. Say what you will about Gilbride’s Red Zone play calling, but the fact that he and Manning won two Super Bowls together had a lot to do with comfort level and confidence in their game plan. And in that area, Gilbride excelled.
But the affable, 62-year-old coordinator is gone, and the Giants are left wanting, for now. It won’t be long, however, before Coughlin plugs a new and interesting one in there. He has already interviewed Manning’s former position coach Mike Sullivan, who gained offensive coordinator experience with the Bucs. Former Titans coordinator Dowell Loggains was supposed to interview this week.
The two most interesting names that keep the rumor mill spinning haven’t landed for an interview yet — Karl Dorrell and Ben McAdoo.
The rundown on Dorrell is certainly interesting, as the former Texans’ coordinator is the only one of the bunch with head coaching experience. He led UCLA for five years before he returned to the NFL as a Dolphins receivers coach.
Dorrell coordinated the Texans’ offense the past two years, which means he was pulling the strings when Matt Schaub had a strong season in 2012. He’s supposed to interview Friday, and don’t think Coughlin won’t be thinking about him as a potential successor if he decides to pack it in after next season. Perry Fewell, who lost out on the Redskins job when they hired Bengals coordinator Jay Gruden, would also be in line for a nod if, that is, Coughlin is even consulted when the time comes.
Dorrell could be more of a curiosity piece, however. The real one to look at might be Packers quarterback coach McAdoo, who comes East Saturday with the endorsement of no less than Aaron Rodgers.
“Make sure you put me down as a reference,” Rodgers said of his position coach.
On a staff that could use a dose of young blood in the upper hierarchy — Coughlin is 67, Fewell is 51 — the 36-year-old McAdoo might be just the fit. His career path and the fact that he’s successfully overseen one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL indicates he may be on the same arc as another quarterback coach who came out of Green Bay. Fellow named Andy Reid. You know him. Large guy. Just took Kansas City to the playoffs after spending 14 years as the Eagles’ head coach.
He’s never been a coordinator, but neither had Reid. He doesn’t have a high profile, but neither did Reid.
Manning could certainly get comfortable quickly with a guy like that. The only issue on Coughlin’s end may involve the system McAdoo ran, a West Coast hybrid. But Manning throws the ball, too, and with Andre Brown facing a free agent year and David Wilson set to undergo surgery on a bulging cervical disk and potential career-ending spinal stenosis, the Giants could find themselves in position to restructure their backfield. Keep in mind, though, that Eddie Lacy is a powerful, violent runner, so Coughlin’s ground-game philosophy may not have to go out the window entirely.
None of this should be seen as a weakening of Sullivan’s chances. Manning liked him the two years Sullivan coached him. He even won a Super Bowl with him in 2011. The wide receivers he oversaw before he moved to quarterbacks loved him, as Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks have said. And both Coughlin and the Giants are so big on consistency that bringing back Sullivan would simply fit into their mold.
Unless, of course, they decide it’s time to break the mold. That can always happen. If they decide to move in that direction, Dorrell and McAdoo would make for intriguing choices.
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