EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- If the New York Giants decide to move on from coach Tom Coughlin after this season, as now seems likely, both offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo are likely to get at least some consideration as replacements. The Giants think highly of both men and see them as head coach material.
Neither would be the perfect candidate, but as discussed here Wednesday, the perfect candidate is a long shot to walk through the door. So here are some quick pros and cons on the Giants' coordinators and their theoretical candidacies to be the team's head coach in 2016.
Pros: The Giants thought enough of McAdoo two years ago that they brought him in to totally overhaul their offense after basically not changing it for a decade and gave him play-calling responsibilities even though he'd never had them at any level. He has done the job of setting Eli Manning right after Manning's disastrous 27-interception season of 2013, and it's likely the Giants won't want to change the offense around Manning for the second time in three years. A new head coach likely would want his own coordinator, so McAdoo could be gone if he doesn't get the promotion. Sources in the Giants' organization say the team's decision-makers believe McAdoo will be a head coach in the NFL someday and still see him as a rising star. If that's the case, they could decide to give him a chance and let him take his lumps even if they don't think he's all the way ready yet.
Cons: That's an awfully big risk. McAdoo was 37 when the Giants hired him and will be 39 at the start of the 2016 season. If he's not ready to be a head coach and he fails, that could set him and the organization back in major and damaging ways. McAdoo is a smart coach with a nimble and creative offensive mind who comes from a strong coaching background having worked with Mike McCarthy in Green Bay, but he hasn't been in position to demonstrate he has the leadership skills a head coach needs to thrive in the NFL. It may just be too soon to trust him with the big job.
Pros: He has head-coaching experience, having coached the Rams for three years after he left the Giants the first time. He would likely be fine with keeping McAdoo, as they work well together and he'd recognize that Manning and the offense are humming along and don't need to be disturbed. The people who run the Giants absolutely love Spagnuolo and believe he deserves another chance to make it work at the NFL level.
Cons: Spagnuolo's job performance since his first Giants tenure has been, quite frankly, abysmal. Sure, there's not much more he could have done with the personnel the Giants gave him on defense this year, but they're still 32nd in the league by a wide margin and it'd be a tough sell to promote the coordinator of the league's worst defense to your head coach job, right? Spagnuolo was 10-38 as head coach of the Rams, including a 14-loss season and a 15-loss season, and the 2012 New Orleans Saints defense of which he was coordinator set and still holds the all-time record for yards allowed in a single season. Spagnuolo may be a great guy, but his coaching résumé, isn't the best one that'll come across John Mara's desk in the coming weeks.
If you could somehow combine these two guys, you might have something -- Spagnuolo's experience, people skills and bedside manner combined with McAdoo's youth, creativity and X's and O's skills would make a nice head coach. It may be why they both work well under a strong head coach, and it may end up being an argument for keeping Coughlin. It just doesn't seem like those arguments are going to carry the day this time.