The Giants decision makers are meeting on Thursday to discuss the six candidates they've interviewed so far in their search for a new head coach. Their hope is to come to consensus -- either on the new coach or on what they plan to do next.
All options appear to be on the table, according to multiple sources familiar with their search -- including most of the six candidates, the possibility of a second round of interviews, and even the possibility of interviewing someone else. Their first thoughts, though, will be about the six men they've talked to over the past week.
Here are the pros and cons of those candidates that they are likely to discuss (in the order of their interviews):
Steve Spagnuolo, Giants interim head coach
Pros: A tremendously popular former Giants assistant who is well-respected in the building, especially for the way he built the Giants' Super Bowl defense back in 2007. He'd work very well with management, has head coaching experience (St. Louis 2009-11), and with an 11-41 record (including 1-3 with the Giants) he definitely has something to prove.
Cons: His first coaching stint was bad. It started at 1-15 and ended at 2-14 and he did little to distinguish himself during his four-game audition with the Giants. Also, his defenses have been disasters in three of his last four years as a defensive coordinator. And this past year, most of the Giants' discipline problems came on his side of the ball.
Matt Patricia, Patriots defensive coordinator
Pros: Super smart. He's literally a rocket scientist (he has an aeronautical engineering degree from RPI). He has six years working under Bill Belichick as his defensive coordinator and the Patriots have been among the Top 10 in scoring defenses in each of those years.
Cons: He has no head coaching experience and he's only been in the NFL since 2004 -- and only in New England. Some wonder how much of his defense is really run by Belichick. He also will surely be reminded of the T-shirt he wore after last year's Super Bowl with a picture of Roger Goodell wearing a clown nose -- an unnecessary controversy not befitting a head coach.
Josh McDaniels, Patriots offensive coordinator
Pros: Over the past six years, the Patriots have been in the Top 10 in offense five times, and No. 1 overall once. Yes, they have Tom Brady, but they also have expertly mixed a lot of interchangeable parts and gotten a lot out of otherwise overlooked players. Has head coaching experience (11-17 in a season and a half with Denver in 2009-10) and something to prove after being fired midway through his second season.
Cons: He had a lot of controversy in Denver, from his fractured relationship with QB Jay Cutler, to team discipline issues, to his own mini-SpyGate scandal. He thought Tim Tebow was worthy of a first-round pick, which is a concern considering he might help choose Eli Manning's successor. He also reportedly wants some control over personnel issues. That's not the Giants way.
Pat Shurmur, Vikings offensive coordinator
Pros: The Vikings are 13-3 and have the NFL's No. 11 offense with 29-year-old journeyman Case Keenum at quarterback. Obviously he's known for his work with quarterbacks. He also has head coaching experience, albeit a forgettable 9-23, two-year stint (2011-12) with the Cleveland Browns.
Cons: His quarterbacks in Cleveland were Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden, but he didn't get much out of them as a head coach. Some think his personality and leadership fits better in the coordinator role. Also, word is out that he wants to bring Keenum with him to his next stop. If true, that could be a deal-breaker. The Giants likely wouldn't choose Keenum over Manning.
Steve Wilks, Panthers defensive coordinator
Pros: Considered to be a very tough, strong disciplinarian who had the respect of all his players in Carolina. He has the respect of and a relationship with new Giants GM Dave Gettleman, so that partnership should work. Has spent three years as the Panthers' "assistant head coach," which could help make up for his lack of experience.
Cons: He has a lack of experience. His only season as a head coach was at Savannah State in 1999. He also just finished his first year as an NFL coordinator. That might make him a hard sell to John Mara, who wants experience after striking out with the inexperienced Ben McAdoo.
Eric Studesville, former Broncos assistant head coach/RBs coach
Pros: Left a strong impression on the Giants when he was their running backs coach in 2001-03. He was an interim head coach in Denver in 2010 after McDaniels was fired (and went 1-3 with Tebow as his quarterback). Stayed with the Broncos as their running backs coach and added the "assistant head coach" title last year.
Cons: Has really only been a running backs coach in his 20 years in the NFL. He's never been a coordinator, and never been considered a strong head coach candidate before.
The latest on the search...