The reason I haven't been writing is because I've been on the phone, trying to figure out who's going to be the next head coach of the New York Giants. Here's where things stand as far as I know it, based on the most recent conversations I've had with people connected to this and other coaching situations around the league:
The Giants are trying to bring in Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson for an interview later this week. At the moment, Giants owner John Mara is busy with the NFL owners meetings in Houston and can't meet with Jackson in New Jersey until Thursday. There was a strong sense Tuesday that Jackson did plan to take the interview, but nothing has yet been scheduled and Jackson is getting a hard push from the Cleveland Browns, who'd like an answer soon. It's still possible Jackson could take the Browns' head coach job before he ever meets with the Giants, though that doesn't seem like the wisest move in the world.
Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo remains a candidate for the job, but he's also emerged as a strong candidate in Philadelphia, where the Eagles are thought to be deciding between him and Doug Pederson, with Pat Shurmur still lurking as a possibility. The Eagles interviewed former Giants coach Tom Coughlin for the job Monday, but people close to the situation there consider that a long shot.
Coughlin, by the way, was meeting with San Francisco 49ers GM Trent Baalke in New York City on Tuesday and could emerge as the top candidate for the 49ers' head-coaching job. I've been told Coughlin wants to go somewhere he can win right away, and it's tough to imagine how the 49ers can sell him that, with their unsettled quarterback situation and with Arizona and Seattle in their division. But if he wants to keep coaching, he probably can convince himself.
I've been told not to overlook former Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith as a candidate for the Giants, especially if Jackson ends up in Cleveland and McAdoo ends up in Philadelphia. The Giants like Smith's demeanor and his record of success as a head coach in Atlanta, which had just two winning records in the nine seasons before he got there and went 56-24 in his first five years there.
Others who've interviewed include Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, former Bills coach Doug Marrone and Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. The sense I get is that the Giants consider Marrone the strongest candidate from that group. The Giants currently have no other head coach interviews scheduled at this time.