EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Decisions, decisions, decisions. The New York Giants have some big ones on their hands over the next few months. They need a head coach and general manager and appear destined for a top-five pick in the NFL draft.
They can't mess this up. These moves will likely define the next decade or so for the once proud but now floundering franchise. If co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch miss again, like they did two years ago when they hired Ben McAdoo as their head coach, they will be back in this spot again.
McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese were both fired Monday. The Giants (2-10) went for "wholesale changes" after missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six years.
Mara and Tisch have already started the process of finding a new general manager. That is first on their post-debacle itinerary. They have pegged former Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi to serve as a consultant in the process which might move quickly.
"Ideally, you like to have the general manager in place first before the head coach," Mara said. "That's not always going to be the case, but that would be the ideal scenario."
Interim general manager Kevin Abrams will be an option. Vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross and scout Chris Pettit could also warrant consideration. Accorsi knows them all well.
There will be outside candidates, though, and they seem more likely to succeed Reese than the internal options, considering the Giants' desire for change. Mara said they have a list of names in mind.
Some of the hot candidates this year are expected to be New England's Nick Caserio, Atlanta's Scott Piolo, Green Bay's Eliot Wolf and Seattle's Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer. One or none could be on the Giants' list (check out Mike Sando's full list of candidates).
The Giants would like to hire the general manager before the coach, so the GM can be involved in the process of hiring the coach. Ultimately, it's still Mara and Tisch who will be making the final call on both positions.
The Giants would prefer to have a general manager in place sooner rather than later.
"That's possible," Mara said of having someone hired before the end of the season. "If the right candidate comes along, that's possible. Obviously, if we want to talk to somebody who's currently employed, we would have to wait."
The same holds true for coaches. Many of the potential coaching candidates are scattered throughout the league as assistants. Interviews with them will have to wait until at least the regular season ends.
Tampa Bay's Mike Smith, Houston's Mike Vrabel, New England's Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia, Kansas City's Matt Nagy and Dave Toub, Philadelphia's John DeFilippo and Seattle Tom Cable could be names that attract attention this offseason.
And then there are the blockbusters: Alabama's Nick Saban, Standford's David Shaw, Notre Dame's Brian Kelly, Michigan's Jim Harbaugh and Jon Gruden. These are the names that always linger in the distance every offseason. Maybe, just maybe, they're intrigued.
While these names might desire more personnel power than the Giants traditionally could concede, it's not a deal breaker.
"My very strong preference is to maintain that traditional separation [between personnel and coaching], but again, I would never say never if the right candidate was there," Mara said.
In the meantime, the Giants' scouting staff remains intact. Ross handles the preparation for the draft. Whether the Giants' scouting staff remains long term will depend on the general manager. Mara said those are decisions for the new hire to make.
The general manager will likely have to lean on them for help in the draft given the late start. He will be a major part of the process, though.
"We will have the GM in long before the draft. Our scouts and Marc Ross, our head of scouting -- it's business as usual for them," Mara said. "They're going to keep doing what they're doing. But that GM will be in place long before the draft."
The coach will come next, and then the high draft pick (hello, quarterback?). It's an offseason of decisions for the Giants.