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The next general manager of the Giants might be the most important voice in the room when the team begins its search for a new head coach, especially if John Mara holds true to his promise that the next GM will have “the flexibility to bring in the head coach that he wants.”
But that doesn’t mean the Giants don’t already have a short list. And former Dolphins coach Brian Flores and Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll seem to be at the top.
Both of those coaches have been the subject of some discussion inside the Giants organization for quite some time, according to multiple sources familiar with their thinking, and they are both on the shortlists of several of the Giants’ nine GM candidates, according to various sources around the league. It’s possible that both coaches could get interviews with the Giants regardless of who is hired as the next GM.
Of course, that’s if either of them are still available by then. Daboll is scheduled to interview with the Dolphins and Bears on Sunday. In fact, the Dolphins are reportedly flying to Buffalo to interview him in person. Flores has already interviewed with the Texans and Bears and many consider him the front-runner in Houston where the GM is Nick Caserio, whom Flores worked with in New England.
The Giants seem to be on track to have a GM in place by the end of this week. They are wrapping up their first round of interviews on Monday, and plan to bring in multiple finalists for in-person interviews by the middle of the week, according to a source. That could lead them to a decision by Friday, after which the head coaching search would immediately begin.
Flores seems to be the one most in danger of being off the market by then. Even if he’s not, he almost certainly will have options after the work he did in Miami, leading the Dolphins to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in nearly 20 years, and guiding them out of a 1-7 hole and almost to a playoff berth by finishing on an 8-1 run.
One source said Mara has a “great respect” for Flores and likes him personally (It doesn’t hurt that Flores went to Boston College, Mara’s alma mater). And the former Patriots assistant comes with the Bill Belichick stamp of approval – always of importance to the Giants.
The 40-year-old Flores is also a native of Brooklyn, and a source said he’d be very interested in the Giants’ job, but he might not be willing to wait for it. His primary interest, the source said, is finding a team ready to win and an ownership that will commit to him and his plan. In other words, he could have some difficult questions for Mara, after the Giants have fired three straight coaches after two years or less on the job.
The 46-year-old Daboll, meanwhile, has been on the Giants’ radar since they hired Joe Judge two years ago. One source said they considered interviewing him then. Also, once Judge was hired, he was hoping to talk to his old Patriots staff-mate about becoming his offensive coordinator. But the Bills denied the Giants permission to interview Daboll, so Judge hired Jason Garrett, who was Mara’s preferred choice.
But again, the choice of a head coach will be up to the GM, if Mara is telling the truth. The co-owner also insisted there would be no “package deals” with a GM being hired with a preordained coach.
However, both Daboll and Flores do have ties to several of the Giants’ nine GM candidates. Daboll, of course, is often tied to Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen, who many believe is the favorite to become the next Giants general manager. He also has connections with Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort and 49ers assistant GM Adam Peters, who are both former Patriots executives. Flores is connected to Ossenfort and Peters, too.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has also been discussed in the Giants’ offices over the years. They did background research on him two years ago and were planning to bring him in for an interview before they abruptly decided to stop their search and hire Judge. It’s hard to predict whether he’d even be interested in a head coaching job, especially after backing out on the Indianapolis Colts after accepting their offer back in 2018, or whether the Giants really would consider him again.
The Giants’ interest in McDaniels could be renewed if Ossenfort or Peters were hired. Peters, in fact, left the Patriots to follow McDaniels to Denver in 2009 and some say the two have remained close. Although one source said Peters is actually even closer with Flores.
One other name that has come up, according to a source, is Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale. He apparently had a strong interview with the Giants two years ago, and he could be a top choice if the Giants hire Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz as their new GM.
But again, those are only names that have been discussed. It’s all premature until a general manager is in place. And while each of the nine GM candidates surely discussed which coaches they’d want to hire during their interviews, the Giants’ actual search for a head coach could turn out to be as wide as their search for a new GM.