Giants Top Head Coach Candidate ‘Has Eyes’ For New York Job: Report

Darius Slay, New York Giants

Getty Darius Slayton #86 of the New York Giants reacts after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game against the Washington Football Team at MetLife Stadium on January 09, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The New York Giants are zeroing in on a new head coach, and one of the team’s top candidates shares a strong mutual interest in the position.

Brian Flores, who was recently fired by the Miami Dolphins in a move that took most of the NFL universe by surprise, is a leading candidate for several head coaching positions across the league. Thus far, both the Chicago Bears and the Houston Texans have interviewed Flores for their vacancies, with more teams expected to take a look at the former New England Patriots defensive coach in short order.

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The Giants are among those organizations, but New York’s interest in Flores has perhaps been developed further than most. John Mara, the team’s owner, has already stated the Giants will hire a general manager (GM) first and that person will hold serious sway over who will replace the now-fired Joe Judge. Despite the GM position remaining open, NFL insider Ralph Vacchiano, of SportsNet New York, wrote Sunday that many of the likely candidates would favor Flores over most of the other options.

Vacchiano laid out the situation in an article published on SNY January 16:

The next general manager of the Giants might be the most important voice in the room when the team begins its search for a new head coach, especially if John Mara holds true to his promise that the next GM will have “the flexibility to bring in the head coach that he wants.”

But that doesn’t mean the Giants don’t already have a short list. And former Dolphins coach Brian Flores and Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll seem to be at the top.

Both of those coaches have been the subject of some discussion inside the Giants organization for quite some time, according to multiple sources familiar with their thinking, and they are both on the shortlists of several of the Giants’ nine GM candidates, according to various sources around the league. It’s possible that both coaches could get interviews with the Giants regardless of who is hired as the next GM.

Flores Finds Fit With New York Giants ‘Attractive

Brian Flores

GettyFormer Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores.

Beyond the Giants’ interest in Flores, the weekend also produced the knowledge that the former head coach reciprocates New York’s feelings toward him.

Pat Leonard, of New York Daily News, reported on Saturday that Flores could see himself with the organization.

“Brian Flores has eyes for the Giants. That’s on good authority from several trusted sources, although … Flores has interviewed with the Bears and Texans,” Leonard wrote. “Other sources insist Flores sees New York as an attractive fit but has no preference.”

Leonard noted further that Flores and Mara share a connection as both graduated from Boston College.

Would Flores Be Right Fit With Giants?

Giants make final decision on head coach Joe Judge

GettyFormer New York Giants head coach Joe Judge was fired after two seasons with the team.

The question of whether Flores would truly be fit in New York is a reasonable one to ask.

The recently-fired Dolphins head coach shares a similar background with former Giants coach Joe Judge, who Flores would replace if hired by Mara and the yet-to-be-named GM. Both came up under Bill Belichick in New England — Flores primarily as a safeties and linebackers coach, while Judge was a wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator. Neither had any head coaching experience, or experience as an offensive or defensive coordinator, before they were hired as the leads of their respective organizations.

Their relative lack of experience did not stop either from getting head coaching jobs but may have played roles in their ultimate demise. Each is reputed to have something of a gruff personality and said to coach players with a heavy hand. That didn’t work for Judge in New York, as his record after two seasons was an abysmal 10-23. Flores had more success in Miami, posting a career record of 24-25, including two winning seasons in a row at 10-6 and 9-8.

The purported reason behind Flores’ release, according to sources within the Dolphins organization, was because of his attempts to exert “full control of what he viewed as Miami’s unsatisfactory personnel process, including GM Chris Grier and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa,” Leonard wrote.

In other words, Flores allegedly wanted to run things in Miami the way Belichick runs things in New England. The difference is Belichick has been to nine Super Bowls and won six of them, while Flores has yet to lead a team to a playoff appearance.

There was some media speculation that reports of Flores’ behavior were exaggerated by the Dolphins organization to excuse the firing. The rationale behind that theory is that Miami owner Stephen Ross, a former University of Michigan graduate, has long desired to hire current Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh who is rumored to be open to an NFL job after leading the Wolverines to the College Football Playoff in 2021.

Whether there is any truth to that theory or not, there would also be valid reason for hesitancy on Flores’ part to join the Giants. After an 11-year run under Tom Coughlin that saw New York win two Super Bowls, the team’s ownership fired its next three coaches — Ben McAdoo, Pat Shurmur and now Judge — after just two seasons apiece.

Considering his hasty and surprising dismissal from Miami, Flores might be gun shy to join an organization like the Giants with a recent reputation of dismissing coaches following short stints at the helm.

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