The Giants wrapped up their sixth interview Wednesday in their search for a new head coach when they spoke with former Broncos assistant head coach Eric Studesville. His is the last interview the Giants have scheduled.
At least for now.
Where the search goes from here is an unanswered question for the moment, though multiple sources insisted that a decision on the next coach has not yet been reached. There is the possibility that a second round of interviews could take place with one or two candidates -- perhaps with co-owner Steve Tisch present, since he only sat in on one. There is a smaller possibility that they will speak to other candidates, too, early next week.
Most likely, though, the braintrust of co-owner John Mara, GM Dave Gettleman, and assistant GM Kevin Abrams will sit down shortly and plot their next move. There could be a lot more clarity on the search by the end of this week.
At the moment, only three of the six candidates they've interviewed are eligible to be hired immediately -- Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, Studesville, and Giants interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo. Studesville and Spagnuolo don't appear to have any other options. Wilks was scheduled to interview with the Cardinals in Arizona on Wednesday and reportedly will meet with the Colts in Indianapolis on Thursday.
Wilks is believed to be a favorite of Gettleman, though he lacks the head coaching and coordinating experience that Mara said would be necessary for the Giants next coach. Spagnuolo and Studesville, who is a well-respected former Giants assistant (he coached the running backs from 2001-03), do not appear to be strong candidates for the job.
The other three candidates -- Patriots coordinators Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels, and Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur -- would require the Giants to wait until their teams are eliminated from the playoffs, which could be by Monday or might not happen until after the Super Bowl, on Feb. 5. The Giants could bring them in for second interviews in the week after the conference championship games if their teams reach the Super Bowl. But while they certainly could get away with a handshake agreement, they wouldn't be able to officially hire any of them until their current seasons are done.
And if they want to wait, they ought to make sure they know the coach they choose will choose them, too. Patricia, the most recent name to be anointed the favorite, was seemingly heading to the Detroit Lions just a few days ago, in part because of his long relationship with Lions GM (and former Patriots executive) Bob Quinn. A team source said the Giants are still "in the mix" for Patricia, and Patricia's camp has apparently leaked word that he's leaning toward the Giants and away from the Lions.
But again, if he's the Giants choice, they better be sure there's no chance of him leaning back towards the Lions, especially since McDaniels and Shurmur may also both have other options. McDaniels is reportedly the leading contender in Indianapolis. And Shurmur has been reported as one of the favorites in Arizona.
Meanwhile, no one has officially ruled out Jim Schwartz, the Eagles defensive coordinator who seemed to be high on the Giants' initial list, but didn't get an interview last weekend due to scheduling issues, according to a source. The Giants still were considering interviewing him next week if the Eagles lose on Saturday, a source said, but only if they haven't settled on a coach by then.
Whether they will settle on a coach by then should become more apparent in the next few days.