The Giants were hoping for a little more clarity in their head coaching search this weekend. Instead, the fog from the perfect storm seems to be rolling in.
Just a few days after narrowing their list to a final three, at least one … and reportedly two … and quite possibly all three … are headed elsewhere, which would leave the Giants in a bit of a scramble to re-expand their head coaching search. Nothing is official yet, and a team source insisted on Sunday morning that at least two of their final three choices may still be available.
But it is no longer certain that the Giants will get one of those final three.
It seems to be a lock that they won't get Patricia, who will become the next coach of the Detroit Lions, according to multiple reports. Patricia, who reportedly was the Giants' choice and reportedly was favoring them over the Lions, was always believed to be leaning towards Detroit, where he has a long relationship with the Lions GM, Bob Quinn.
He may have been the Giants' top choice - it honestly depended on which team source was asked - but they also knew the Lions were his likely destination. And on Sunday morning a team source seemed resigned to the likelihood that Patricia was gone.
Things aren't as clear with McDaniels and Shurmur. An NFL Network report said that "the belief" is McDaniels will be the next coach of the Indianapolis Colts. But one team source said the Giants haven't been informed that he's out of the mix. He has appeared to be a real strong candidate all along, though there were worries that he wants more control over personnel than the Giants were willing to allow - though one source said they believed that issue could be resolved.
Most people around the league, though, have assumed he'd prefer the Indianapolis job where he could have a little more control and he could work with a presumably healthy Andrew Luck. So if it's true that's where he's headed, the Giants could turn to Shurmur - except that according to a league source he's the front-runner for the Arizona Cardinals job, and he's appeared to prefer that over the Giants all along.
Nothing is official, of course, because the Patriots and Vikings are still playing, and it's possible nothing will be official for several weeks. But it does seem to be a strong possibility, at least, that all three of the Giants' top choices will end up elsewhere.
So then what?
That would force the Giants to re-expand their search, and it most likely would lead them back to Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks. There was a chance they would include Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz in the mix - they had requested permission to interview him, but never actually did - but the Eagles' win over the Falcons on Saturday means Schwartz is still out of play.
Wilks, though, has long been a favorite of Giants GM Dave Gettleman, but he lacks the experience that co-owner John Mara prefers. According to an NFL Network report, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin called someone in the Giants to give a strong endorsement to Wilks this week. Wilks had been eliminated from the Giants' Top 3, but according to a team source he wasn't eliminated from the search entirely.
That's more about semantics, of course. The Giants focused their attention elsewhere, but since Wilks didn't appear to have any other head coaching opportunities, he was never completely out of the mix.
What happens next will be interesting to watch. If the Vikings lose to the New Orleans Saints today, the first domino could fall quickly with Shurmur. The Giants, if they're interested, will have to decide if they want to offer him the job or wait on McDaniels, in which case Shurmur could end up in Arizona instead. If the Vikings win, none of the Giants' final three will be available for a second conversation until next week, so all interested teams would have to work behind the scenes to decipher those coaches' intentions.
Wilks, of course, is available right now, so it might serve the Giants well to end the waiting and the uncertainty and just offer him the job. He does not appear to have any other head coaching options, so he would almost certainly accept.
So who will it be? The "favorite" has been a moving target all along, and it's not clear that the Giants even know who their next coach will be at the moment. McDaniels could be the guy if he decides he wants the job. But at this point, Shurmur and Wilks seem just as likely, too.