Tom Coughlin obviously helped himself greatly by getting the Giants into the playoffs. But the prevailing thought around Giantsland is that Coughlin is going to have to at least top last year's output – winning a playoff game – to ensure that he's back next season. Obviously Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch have been tight-lipped about the topic, but they can't be faulted for jettisoning Coughlin if they truly believe that he's reached his peak.
Another big factor is whether or not New York's new GM is an in-house guy or not. Jerry Reese, for one, would probably be more likely to sign off on giving Coughlin an extension and one more season to prove himself. A new guy, be it Patriots VP of Player Personnel Scott Pioli, Charlie Casserly or someone else, might not be so willing to watch Coughlin self-destruct for another season.
If Coughlin goes, there are the obvious names being circulated. We can tell you for sure that Bill Parcells is not coming here. Whether or not he returns for another season in Dallas is in question. Whether or not he's wearing the Giants blue and red is not. Charlie Weis, who seems to be the fan favorite, is also very unlikely to land in East Rutherford. Weis is making a cool $10 mil to coach the Irish and basically answers to no one in South Bend. While the Giants post is a dream job for the Jersey guy (Middlesex), it's not likely to happen this time around. By now you've all heard the Pioli/Bill Belichick rumors. While this is another unlikely scenario, if we had to choose one of the ‘popular' three candidates, Belichick would be it.
If you're looking for some other names, as most Giants fans clearly are, here are the guys the Arizona Cardinals have mentioned as possible replacements for Dennis Green. It would be surprising if the Giants didn't at least give each of these candidates a look: Former Packers coach Mike Sherman, now an assistant head coach with the Houston Texans; Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Ron Rivera, Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow and Indianapolis Colts assistant head coach Jim Caldwell.
One other question we can answer for certain is that Tiki Barber is going to retire regardless of who's calling the Giants shots on the sidelines. There have been rumors that Barber would consider returning if Coughlin left town, but that's not true at all. If anything, Barber's one of the few players in that locker room that still has Coughlin's back.
While the coaching situation is clearly still up in the air depending on how things unfold this postseason, there's no doubt that Ernie Accorsi is finished. At press-time, the Giants had already interviewed their four in-house candidates (with Reese being the leader) and Casserly. But there's no denying the mutual interest between Pioli and New York. Sure the Giants might have to give up something to get what they want, but if they're really sold on Pioli, which seems to be the case, then they should do whatever's necessary to bring him to New York. If that includes him bringing Belichick with him, that's all the better.
Gilbride takes reins
It was only a matter of time – and things got so bad that supposedly John Hufnagel was in on the decision to fire, of all people, John Hufnagel. The Giants had become so predictable, enough so that opposing teams claimed to know what was coming from Big Blue before they even ran it. Kevin Gilbride took over and did a good job in Washington. There seemed to be a solid balance between run and pass and you can never fault anyone for force-feeding the ball to Tiki Barber, clearly the Giants' most dangerous option. So Hufnagel left the organization, understandably so, and Gilbride is now in charge of New York's playoff run. There were some new wrinkles – like using enormous backup QB Jared Lorenzen as a short-yardage back to convert a third-and-one. But for the most part, it just appeared that the Giants offense did a much better job of executing. There were no stupid penalties, no foolish mental errors and, most importantly, no turnovers. That's the recipe for success. And while Gilbride gets the win and all the credit, it's obvious that Hufnagel could have orchestrated the same offensive output. Now, if only they had an answer on defense.
A must see
If you haven't gone to see "We Are Marshall" yet, make sure you do. It's a gripping tale of a football story most of us are totally unfamiliar with. Not only is it entertaining, but one of the stars is none other than Wellington Mara's granddaughter, Kate, who plays one of the head cheerleaders and works in the local diner. For those of you familiar with Kate Mara, enough said. For those who have yet to lay eyes on the most attractive version of football royalty you'll ever see, do yourself a favor and plunk down your eight bucks to see the flick.
Buzz Box: So, who's it gonna be?
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