The Giants don't usually force assistant coaches on their head coaches, but they definitely aren't above making suggestions. And surely, when they decided to hire a 38-year-old who had never been a head coach before, they suggested he have some experience on his staff.
Whether it was by suggestion or by his own choice, the expectation around the NFL is that new Giants head coach Joe Judge will do just that -- hire several older, experienced assistants, perhaps including some who have been a head coach before. Just who that will be is still a mystery, but here are a few thoughts on who he could, should, and perhaps will consider:
There was a report that the Giants had requested permission to speak with former Cowboys coach Jason Garrett about this job. That wasn't true. But you know what? They should.
For whatever you think of the job Garrett did in Dallas, he at least knows how to be a head coach and can help Judge along the way. He was also loved by the Giants when he was a backup quarterback with them (2000-03). He's got a great offensive mind and could be a huge help for rookie quarterback Daniel Jones.
Bill Callahan deserves strong consideration, too. He's also one of the finest offensive line coaches available and could either fill dual roles, or at least have an impact on the line as he runs the offense. Both men would provide an experienced voice to help Judge with things he doesn't even know that he doesn't know yet.
Also, Chad O'Shea spent seven years coaching in New England with Judge, where he was the wide receivers coach. Judge took over that role last year when O'Shea left with Brian Flores to become the Dolphins offensive coordinator. He was fired after one year and the Dolphins offense was pretty bad. It probably wasn't all his fault, but it seems likely he won't get another shot at a coordinator right away.
Former Browns coach Freddie Kitchens has come up in some circles. He and Judge were on the Mississippi State staff together in 2005 when Judge was a grad assistant. Kitchens wasn't much of a head coach last season, but he earned rave reviews as the Browns offensive coordinator the year before.
Sometimes teams bring in coaches for head-coaching interviews even though they're really considering them as possible coordinators. Some thought that's what the Giants were doing when they brought in Cowboys passing game coordinator Kris Richard. He's one of the most respected assistants in the league and a commanding leader, and he had a huge impact both on the Cowboys defense and before that on Seattle's "Legion of Boom."
It doesn't sound like he'll be back with the Cowboys, so he'll be available. He's only 40 and should be able to connect with all the young players on the Giants defense. And if he can somehow turn around that mess, he could quickly springboard into a head coaching job in a few years.
A more likely candidate, though, might be Bret Bielema, the former Wisconsin head coach who was the defensive line coach last year after one year of being a "consultant" to Bill Belichick. He certainly would be an experienced voice in Judge's ear.
Two other popular names being kicked around -- Wade Phillips, the 72-year-old who was just let go by the Rams, and is probably the most experienced defensive coordinator available. And Pepper Johnson, the former Giants linebacker and former Patriots assistant. He likely wouldn't be a defensive coordinator candidate, but could end up coaching the linebackers or the defensive line.
A big name to watch here is Jody Wright, who was an offensive assistant with the Cleveland Browns last season. He went to Mississippi State with Judge and they coached together at Alabama, and one source said they remain close. Most of his experience is in college, but he's called plays, he's coached running backs, offensive line, and tight ends. He could fit in anywhere on the offensive side.
O'Shea seems to be a good fit for the Giants as the receivers coach, since he did a good job with an ever-changing cast of receivers up in New England from 2009-18. The Giants receivers would probably prefer he keep Tyke Tolbert, though it doesn't appear he has any connection to Judge.
Judge probably will keep a holdover or two from the Giants staff, though, and one name to watch is Ryan Roeder, a favorite of the organization who has been an offensive assistant with them since the Tom Coughlin days. He has experience coaching tight ends and could land in that role, and that's if the Giants don't keep Lunda Wells who did a good job in that role last year.
Callahan would make a terrific offensive line coach. But a more likely candidate could be Dave DeGuglielmo. He coached with Judge in New England from 2014-15 and was the assistant offensive line coach with the Giants on their Super Bowl XLII team. He was also recently let go by the Miami Dolphins.
But maybe an even more likely candidate for offensive line coach revealed himself earlier on Wednesday, when Auburn's long-time offensive line coach J.B. Grimes quit to "pursue other opportunities." A coincidence? Maybe. But he was also the offensive line coach at Mississippi State when Judge was there.
Joe Moorhead, the former Mississippi State coach (who was nearly replaced by Judge) could find a spot on Judge's staff, too. Moorhead had some success running the Penn State offense with a running back named Saquon Barkley.
There are a lot of former Giants who have long wanted them to bring Johnson home. This might finally be the year it happens.
Judge and Johnson worked together for two seasons in New England, so there's a history there. Johnson has experience coaching the defensive line and linebackers, and could be a terrific choice for either spot. He's currently the defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Wildcats of the XFL, but he'd probably leave that job for the Giants.
Another linebackers/defensive line candidate is Tosh Lupoi, a former Alabama assistant who spent last year coaching the Cleveland Browns defensive line. He comes with a strong recommendation from Nick Saban, according to a source, which will carry some weight with Judge. He'll have to move fast, though. The Falcons and Cardinals are reportedly after him, too.
Meanwhile, it's hard to see Belichick letting go of many -- or perhaps any -- of his defensive assistants. But if he's willing, one guy Judge should consider is Patriots cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino. The Long Island native is only 26, but did a heck of a job with the Pats' secondary this year.
Special teams coordinator
If there's one coach Giants brass seemed pleased with on Pat Shurmur's staff it was special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey. Surely they'll at least suggest keeping him on board.
Former Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn, who was the Carolina Panthers special teams coordinator last season, could be an interesting candidate, too. Neither of them have any obvious ties to Judge, though.