Now that Tom Coughlin has resigned after 12 seasons on the job, a name that has been mentioned as one to potentially fill the New York Giants’ head coaching vacancy is that of offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. As great a relationship McAdoo has with the organization, he should not get that job.
Let’s start with the positives. McAdoo is young enough at 38 years old that he would be considered a “fresh face” if hired as a head coach anywhere, and his experience speaks for itself. He took his lumps on the high school and college scene for eight years before landing a job as an offensive quality control guy with the New Orleans Saints under Jim Haslett, worked in the same role under Mike Nolan with the San Francisco 49ers the following year, and then spent the next eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers as their tight ends and later quarterbacks coach, winning a Super Bowl ring along the way.
But now let’s look at what McAdoo has done with the Giants in his two years as offensive coordinator. The team has missed the postseason both of those years, but still ranked 10th and 8th respectively in total offense. The problem has been the defense, with the team ranking dead last in that department in 2015 and 29th in 2014. That isn’t at all on McAdoo, but here is why he shouldn’t be the next head coach.
Keep in mind that the Giants had no problems scoring points this year, even though receiver Victor Cruz missed the entire season with a calf issue, and quarterback Eli Manning performed well enough and has a good enough relationship with McAdoo that he could easily convince GM Jerry Reese to hire him.
But therein lies the problem. McAdoo is a Coughlin holdover and while that would make for a smoother transition overall, you have to assume that he’ll retain most of the staff at this point. Given how terribly the defense performed this year under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, the same man who helped the team finish seventh in total defense in 2007, the year they won their first Super Bowl under Coughlin.
Granted, Spagnuolo could easily be given the benefit of the doubt this year, as the Giants’ defense was once again ravaged by injuries, most notably to star pass-rusher Jason Pierre-Paul, who was severely limited after coming back midseason thanks to losing his right index finger and suffering severe burns in a fireworks accident over the summer, but big changes need to be made.
That said, while McAdoo does deserve to stick around as offensive coordinator, he shouldn’t be the head coach. Scoring points is not this team’s problem, so better to bring in someone with a strong defensive mind to be the next coach and just let McAdoo call the offensive plays. In such a situation, someone like Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin would be ideal or, should Reese decide to search the college ranks, UCLA coach Jim Mora, who has NFL experience as a defensive coordinator.
Either way, one thing is certain. The Giants need a slight culture change from what Tom Coughlin provided and while McAdoo should remain on the staff in some capacity, it should not be as head coach.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports