The New York Giants are searching for their third head coach in four years. Coming off of a 4-12 season, New York felt it was time to make another change and fired head coach Pat Shurmur at season’s end. So far, the Giants have met with five candidates for their head coach position with two more scheduled interviews to go.
With the Dallas Cowboys’ recent hiring of Mike McCarthy, there is one clear top candidate for the Giants. Matt Rhule, the head coach of Baylor, is the best candidate available for the New York Giants. Rhule has an impressive college track record and was almost hired as an NFL head coach last offseason.
Ultimately, uncertainty surrounding Rhule’s coaching staff kept him from taking that job. Art Stapleton reports that Rhule planned on bringing former Giants assistant coach Sean Ryan in as his offensive coordinator. Assuming this is his plan again in 2020, Sean Ryan would be a great hire.
Sean Ryan’s Career History
Sean Ryan, the New York native and University of Albany alum, has had an excellent career in the NFL. Ryan has accomplished much throughout his coaching career that began in 1998. The two-time Super Bowl champion has overseen career-years out of numerous star quarterbacks and wide receivers in the NFL.
Sean Ryan’s first NFL coaching job was with- guess who- the New York Giants. In 2007, Ryan was hired as the offensive quality control coach and served under that role until being promoted to wide receivers coach in 2010. Ryan then moved up to quarterbacks coach in 2012, then went back to work as the Giants’ wide receiver coach in 2014 and served there through 2015 before moving on to a career in Houston.
In the 2019 offseason, Matt Rhule was in consideration for the head coaching job of the New York Jets. Sean Ryan was in line to be Rhule’s offensive coordinator with the Jets. Ultimately, the Jets and Rhule were not a good fit due to a disagreement in Rhule’s coaching staff. Matt Rhule described the situation as an “arranged marriage” because the Jets would not allow Rhule to select his own assistant coaches. Rhule wants full control over who is on his coaching staff in the NFL, and the Giants will be willing to give that to him.
Sean Ryan was then hired by the Detroit Lions to serve as their quarterbacks coach in 2019. Assuming Sean Ryan is still Matt Rhule’s choice of offensive coordinator, he will likely be one-and-done in Detroit as Matt Rhule is expected to make the jump to the NFL this offseason (hopefully with the New York Giants, but maybe with the Carolina Panthers).
Getting The Best Out Of His Players
The Giants and Their 2011 Three-Headed Monster
Possibly the most impressive tenure of Sean Ryan’s coaching career was with the New York Giants. While a member of Big Blue, Sean Ryan won two Super Bowls (XLII and XLVI) and had a part in coaching some of the best offenses in franchise history. From 2008 to 2012, the Giants’ offense was ranked inside the top ten every year.
Sean Ryan is credited with the development of the Giants’ best receiving corps in recent memory. The group featured Salsa-King Victor Cruz, along with Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks, all players that should stick out to Giants fans. Reminder, Victor Cruz was an undrafted free agent who made a tremendous impact as soon as he stepped foot on the field. Plus, it is hard not to notice the failing success-level that Manningham and Nicks fell to after parting ways with Ryan and the Giants.
In 2011, the unit helped the Giants set a franchise record with 4,734 net passing yards. Victor Cruz was the central standout, totaling 1,536 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns on 18.7 yards per reception. This was also Cruz’s de facto rookie season since he missed all of 2010 with a knee injury.
Giants fans will never forget Mario Manningham’s reception down the left sideline in Super Bowl XLVI. Without that catch, the Giants do not have four world championships. But they also would not have gotten there if not for Hakeem Nicks’s 444 post-season receiving yards and 4 touchdowns.
The Rise of Odell Beckham Jr.
Sean Ryan was promoted to be the quarterbacks coach of the New York Giants in 2012. Eli Manning made the Pro Bowl that year with 26 touchdown passes, 15 interceptions, and 3,948 passing yards. Unfortunately, Manning’s worst season of his career came in 2013 when he led the NFL with 27. Mixed results in these two years.
Ryan was moved back to wide receivers coach in 2014. This was a crucial move as the Giants had spent the 12th overall pick on a wide receiver that year: Odell Beckham Jr. Ryan gets some credit for the rapid development of Odell during his rookie season. Beckham missed the first four games of the season, but then exploded onto the scene and racked up an incredible 91 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in only 12 games.
Odell Beckham Jr. was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2015 for another outstanding season, increasing his receiving yards total to 1,450. Beckham shattered numerous records during his first two seasons with the New York Giants and is another shining example of Sean Ryan’s ability to develop and get the most out of young, talented playmakers on offense.
Working With DeAndre Hopkins:
Sean Ryan left the New York Giants in 2016. Ryan left behind the versatile Odell Beckham and began working with the reliable DeAndre Hopkins. Sean Ryan became the Houston Texans’ wide receivers coach in 2016 and, admittedly, this was not one of Hopkins’s better seasons in the NFL.
However, Hopkins’s somewhat disappointing 2016 campaign is not the fault of himself or Sean Ryan. The Texans’ offense featured Brock Osweiler at quarterback who managed to throw only 2,957 yards and 15 touchdowns with 16 interceptions. Regardless, Ryan did not hold that coaching position very long. He was promoted the following season.
Developing One Of The League’s Best Young Quarterbacks: Deshaun Watson
In 2017, Sean Ryan was promoted to quarterbacks coach of the Houston Texans. This was a critical promotion since the Texans had spent a first-round pick on quarterback Deshaun Watson that year. Ryan and Watson developed a strong relationship that led to a spectacular on-field product. Houston head coach Bill O’Brien said to the Houston Chronicle that Ryan did a “good job” with Watson in terms of “prepping him with the game plan.”
Deshaun Watson was incredible during his two seasons under Sean Ryan. In his cut-short rookie season, Watson threw for 1,699 yards, 19 touchdowns, and an 83.6 QBR in 6 starts before going down with a gruesome knee injury. Watson got back to full-health for 2018 and built on his 2017 season. In 2018, Deshaun threw for a career-high 4,165, 26 touchdowns, and only 9 interceptions en route to an 11-5 record. The rapid development of Deshaun Watson in his first two seasons is something for Giants fans to take note of. Sean Ryan could be the best coordinator available for Daniel Jones.
Matthew Stafford’s Career Resurgence
Matthew Stafford was on track for a career-year under Sean Ryan before his season-ending back injury. 2019 saw Matt Stafford achieve career-bests in QBR at 73.1, 6.5 TD% per pass attempt, 8.6 yards per pass, 13.4yards gained per completion, and a 106 QB Rating (PFR). Stafford was also passing for an average of 312.4 yards per game (second-best mark of his career) en route to 19 touchdown passes and 2499 passing yards in 8 games.
Sean Ryan’s Role As An Offensive Coordinator
The job title of offensive coordinator would be a massive promotion for Sean Ryan. Ryan has been a positions coach throughout his entire career and has never been tasked with coaching the whole offense. Typically, offensive coordinators are designated play-callers in NFL offenses. This, too, would be uncharted territory for Sean Ryan.
Though Sean Ryan has no prior experience as an offensive play-caller, one of his former head coaches is confident that Ryan will find success:
“I think Sean could probably call the plays right now, but I think it’s important for me to take a little bit more ownership of this offense,” O’Brien said. “I think Sean is destined to be a coordinator in this league.
“He’s a very bright guy, is quick on his feet and works his butt off. Players respect him. So, yeah, I can see him doing that (calling plays) down the road.” – Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien via Chron.com in 2017
Regardless of his unknown play-calling abilities, Sean Ryan’s ability to develop talent at crucial offensive positions should be more than enough to excite Giants fans. His work with quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Matthew Stafford are telling of what Ryan is capable of, not to mention the former Giants assistant coach oversaw the development of some of the best receivers in franchise history. A Sean Ryan reunion could be precisely what the Giants’ offense needs to help their young talent take the next step.