Who Ya Got Wednesday: New York Jets at Carolina Panthers

Will the New York Jets’ first game of the Robert Saleh era bring about immediate change on the scoreboard or further heartbreak?

  • What: New York Jets at Carolina Panthers
  • Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
  • When: Sunday at 1 p.m. ET
  • Watch: CBS

new york jets, robert saleh

Geoff Magliocchetti

The New York Jets undoubtedly became a better team this offseason. On paper, the arsenal that the Jets have surrounded Zach Wilson with is better than anything Sunday’s aerial opponent Zach Wilson ever had. Head coach Robert Saleh was a hire praised by on-field constituents both domestically and abroad, rather than the hot-take artists.

But Jets fans must realize something, especially in the early going: Saleh and Wilson have been brought in as long-term project overseers, not miracle-workers made to bless the metropolitan area with an instant fix. The Jets’ somewhat dire 2021 outlook, one where making the playoffs remains a tall task, is more of an indictment of the Adam Gase era than anything else. It’s simply asking a lot for this team to take out several established contenders in what’s ultimately an ill-fated attempt to reach the AFC postseason bracket. That also applies against a Carolina team that wasn’t as garish as its 5-11 mark from 2020 indicated.

The powers that be, true to their nature, did little favors for Gang Green: the first game of the Saleh era comes in Carolina, where ex-Jets Sam Darnold and Robby Anderson can prey on an inexperienced Jets secondary. Carolina as a whole is looking to make a statement of sorts, one that will remind observers not to forget them as they try to make noise in a division ruled by Tom Brady until further notice. Eight of the Panthers’ 11 defeats from last year came by eight points or less. Most of those games were staged without the services of star rusher Christian McCaffrey, who is set to make his return on Sunday. Granted a home opener against a Jets team lacking defensive clarity (thanks to the inexperienced secondary and Carl Lawson’s injury), the Panthers’ offense has a prime opportunity to state its intentions for 2021.

As it stands, the Jets aren’t a team that can waltz into another team’s home and steal a momentum-shifting win. It’s very possible Saleh can mold them into such a squad by the end of the year, but asking them to do so in Week 1 is, again, a little too much to ask for at this point on the franchise timeline.

Panthers 23, Jets 17

New York Jets, Quinnen Williams

Brendan Carpenter

Who better for the New York Jets to faceoff against than the Carolina Panthers to open the 2021 NFL season?

Zach Wilson and Sam Darnold in a 1 p.m. ET matinee will surely be a sight to see. Darnold’s unit is ahead of Wilson’s in the preseason power rankings, but that could easily change Sunday. The season-opening result will rely heavily on the Jets’ defensive front. They have to pressure the quarterback because the young corners could get torn apart all game. The Panthers will be missing their starting right guard, John Miller, so Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins need to push the inside. The matchup to watch will be, without a doubt, Carolina’s blockers vs the Jets’  defensive line.

Jets 24, Panthers 20

robby anderson running a touchdown against the carolina panthers
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Dylan Price

Well, here we are Jets, the game we’ve all been looking towards since last season ended. On Sunday, the Jets fly to Charlotte to face the Carolina Panthers. The game holds extra weight as the team faces their demons of the past: the Panthers are coached by former Jets target Matt Rhule while Sam Darnold, Robby Anderson, and Frankie Luvu are among the former bearers of green on the current roster.

The Panthers will undoubtedly be looking to make a statement out of Gang Green and spoil the debuts of Robert Saleh and Zach Wilson. Ultimately, this game is a hard one to predict, but the Jets have a fresh start and a decent amount of momentum coming out of the preseason. I expect the team to come out fast out of the gate and to start the season strong. It’s going to be a tight game, but I think the Jets have what it takes to emerge victoriously.

Jets 27, Panthers 21

Best of the Rest 

Magliocchetti Carpenter Price
Dallas @ Tampa Bay (Thu.) Buccaneers Buccaneers Buccaneers
Arizona @ Tennessee Titans Titans Titans
Jacksonville @ Houston Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars
LA Chargers @ Washington Chargers Chargers Football Team
Minnesota @ Cincinnati Vikings Vikings Vikings
Philadelphia @ Atlanta Falcons Falcons Falcons
Pittsburgh @ Buffalo Bills Bills Bills
San Francisco @ Detroit 49ers 49ers Lions
Seattle @ Indianapolis Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks
Cleveland @ Kansas City Chiefs Browns Chiefs
Denver @ NY Giants Giants Broncos Giants
Green Bay @ New Orleans  Packers Packers Packers
Miami @ New England Patriots Dolphins Dolphins
Chicago @ LA Rams Rams Rams Rams
Baltimore @ Las Vegas (Mon.) Ravens Ravens Ravens

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets 2021 opponent report: Carolina Panthers

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

The New York Jets won’t have to wait long to check in on Sam Darnold, as they’ll open their 2021 season against their April trade partners.

The Opponent: Carolina Panthers
The Date: Week 1, September 12, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
The Series: Carolina leads 4-3 (last meeting: 2017, 35-27 CAR)

The “main protagonist showing off their new significant other in front of their ex” episode seems to be a staple of every sitcom. But more serious matters await in Charlotte on September 12.

Five months after collaborating on a trade that set the post-Trevor Lawrence portions of the 2021 NFL Draft into motion, the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers will do battle to open their respective campaigns. That April transaction ended the Jets’ Sam Darnold era in New York, giving way to the Zach Wilson chapters of the green Gospel.

Blessed with a rare meeting between New York and Carolina, the scheduling powers that be at the NFL wasted no time in staging a reunion. The Jets will face off against an interconfertnce opponent on kickoff weekend for the first time since 2018, when the Darnold saga began with a win in Detroit.

Darnold won’t be the only former green representative partaking in the game. Other ex-Jets who saw nothing finer than Carolina include Robby Anderson, Juston Burris, Pat Elflein, and Frankie Luvu.

Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Skinny on the Panthers 

The Jets will likely be all too familiar with the predicament the Panthers currently find themselves in: trapped in a division with Tom Brady with no end to his reign in sight. Carolina hit the reset button shortly before Brady took his talents to Tampa, firing Ron Rivera and bidding farewell to franchise face Cam Newton after the 2019 season.

To replace the departed Rivera, Carolina hired Matt Rhule, who knew more than a thing or two about rebuilds on the college level. Following a one-year term as a metropolitan assistant (assistant offensive line coach with the Giants), Rhule went back to school and dragged Temple and Baylor out of the college football underworld. Rhule was reportedly strongly considered for the Jets’ job following Todd Bowles’ ousting, but he wound up returning to Waco for one more season (guiding the Bears to a Sugar Bowl appearance and a program-record 11 wins).

The football gods immediately bestowed Rhule another hurdle to leap, as injuries swallowed Christian McCaffrey after he became the highest-paid rusher in NFL history (four years, $64 million). Despite the loss of McCaffrey, the Panthers played respectable football. They were unable to escape another 5-11 season (their ten-win tally over the last two years is their worst since 2010-11), but nearly every game was competitive. Eight of their eleven losses came by single digits and they scored a late win over the playoff-bound Washington Football Team in December.

What’s New in Carolina? 

When removing veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina was one of the youngest teams in football last season (26.05 on their 53-man opening day roster). Somehow, they managed to get younger, apparently finding the fountain of youth in Cleveland.

The Panthers were one of three teams (Dallas and Minnesota the others) that came to the podium an event-high 11 times during draft weekend. They used their opening pick (eighth overall) on South Carolina defender Jaycee Horn and ensured continued to surround Darnold with strong talents. Some of Carolina’s Saturday gems could particularly intriguing: injury issues landed Oklahoma State offensive force Chuba Hubbard in the fourth round, while another former Gamecock, Shi Smith, could become a hidden gem in the sixth-round.

Defensively, Horn will join Burris and versatile sophomore Jeremy Chinn in the secondary. Veteran A.J. Bouye likewise joins the fold, though the former Denver Bronco is missing the first two games of the year with a PED suspension.

Even before their draft day splurge (which also netted them LSU receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. in the second round), Carolina brought Darnold to an offense that, at least on paper, was better than anything he had to work with in New York. In addition to McCaffrey and fellow former Jet Anderson, Darnold will also get to work with D.J. Moore (1,193 yards in 2020) and touchdown hawk David Moore (no relation).

robby anderson running a touchdown against the carolina panthers
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

How to Beat Them

-Let Bygones be Bygones

It’s no secret that the Jets’ visit to Charlotte will be one of the most intriguing matchups of Week 1…if only because the court jesters of Twitter probably already have scheduled posts lauding Darnold and Anderson.

The Jets have proven to be one of the most exhausted sources of social media schadenfreude in football circles. That was ridiculously present throughout the course of the Darnold era. The discourse behind his mononucleosis diagnosis and supernatural encounter probably would’ve died down in a week if it happened anywhere else in the NFL map…but, because it happened in a green uniform, it went viral.

Simply put, the Jets can’t go into Charlotte purely with the purpose of trying to show Darnold and Anderson (who has never let an opportunity to disparage the Jets go to waste) what they’re missing. They’re playing the Carolina Panthers, not the Carolina Ex-Jets.

The team would be wise to follow the example of general manager Joe Douglas. Ironically enough, no one in football was more complimentary toward Darnold than the man who pulled orchestrated his trip down south (notably scoring a second-round pick for a quarterback with a career 78.6 passer rating). Douglas has diplomatically addressed the trade, claiming that Darnold’s “best football is in front of him” but that the trade was in the best interest of both sides.

“Ultimately, we felt that wouldn’t be the best situation for Sam…for Coach Saleh and his staff, and for the locker room,” Douglas said, per team reporter Randy Lange. “We felt this was the best decision for the organization moving forward, hitting the reset button.”

-Un-Christian Like Behavior

To the Panthers’ credit, the team did not completely fall apart when McCaffrey was lost for the season, thanks in part to a career-best season from the Atlanta-bound Mike Davis. If disaster comes to Carolina again, it’ll likely come down to the talented Hubbard to pick up the slack.

But, if McCaffrey is truly back, he’ll undoubtedly be a front-runner for the Comeback Player of the Year Award. No one on the New York defense…heck, any defense on Carolina’s 2021 docket…needs to be told what he’s capable of at full strength.

In the midst of their woebegone 2020 season, the Jets’ run defense was a rare silver lining. Thanks to the breakouts of interior linemen Quinnen Williams, Foley Fatukasi, and John Franklin-Myers, the Jets’ run game ranked fourth in the AFC last season (12th overall in the league). They’ll have an instant opportunity to prove that last year was no fluke, especially when the offseason centered on bolstering the pass rush.

Will the Jets be able to show Darnold what he’s missing when they meet in September? Follow @GeoffJMags on Twitter @GeoffJMags and continue the conversation. 

New York Jets: Why Carolina is the perfect Sam Darnold trade partner

The quarterback trade market has mostly dried up, but if the New York Jets are looking to deal Sam Darnold, Charlotte is a prime destination.

The mythical hands of the football gods are ready to pull up the needle on their record player, ending a turn in the proverbial game of musical chairs played amongst the NFL’s quarterbacks. When the music stops, another turn awaits at the end of April through the NFL Draft in Cleveland.

The New York Jets have a chance to partially control who sits in their chair. But, when you’re a team whose offseason to-do list length rivals that of a CVS receipt, it’s a seat whose occupant you’d like to be aware of sooner rather than later.

As the league inches closer to a date with destiny in Cleveland, the pressure heightens when it comes to a decision on Sam Darnold. While many have penciled in several non-Trevor Lawerence names in the Jets’ slot at second overall, the Jets have stood their ground with Darnold for the time being.

But if they do intend to draft, say, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, or Trey Lance, trading the incumbent should be a priority. A case could be made that Darnold could be a safety net for a newcomer, but circumstances, as they are, wouldn’t let that work for anyone. The Jets are already a team whose smallest controversies are amplified by social media platforms that thrive on schadenfreude, especially when it happens in a New York market. When rare hope presents itself in this perpetual rebuild, the Jets need to work through that situation with as few questions as possible.

The question of where the Jets have been too patient can certainly be raised. Several of the aforementioned seats (such as those in Indianapolis, Washington, Chicago, and New Orleans) have been filled while others (Jacksonville) have clear plans to solve their quandaries at the draft.

But, if the Jets are still looking to send Darnold off to not-so-greener pastures, a prime opportunity awaits down south through the Carolina Panthers.

ESM explains…

Nothing to Lose

What Darnold needs for his NFL career to succeed is stability and relative peace and quiet. Carolina can offer the latter through somewhat macabre circumstances.

In short, no one is expecting the Panthers to contend for the NFC South in the immediate future. After all, the division lists the defending Super Bowl champions from Tampa Bay amongst its members. New Orleans maintains enough firepower to remain competitive with Jameis Winston while Atlanta seems to building toward one final run with Matt Ryan in tow. The Panthers, on the other hand, are engaged in a rebuild that’s now forced to take a detour after Curtis Samuel left for Washington.

But there’s no doubt that Carolina is a bit more quiet on the media spectrum that the New York metropolitan area. They have some pieces that can contribute to their potential future glory days but have fully acknowledged that they’re still several pieces away from contention…including quarterback. But a better setup than the Jets have ever offered him (Carolina franchise tagged blocker Taylor Moton and All-Pro rusher Christian McCaffrey is set to return) and relative, for lack of a better term, obscurity can help truly decide if Darnold is cut out for NFL endeavors.

Matt Rhules 

As he enters his fourth NFL season, Darnold, no matter where he goes, is set to work with his third different coaching regime. It’s not impossible to recover from this; the perfect case study in finding success after some brutal early-career turnover is Alex Smith, who has developed a lengthy, strong tenure despite entering in the midst of countless regime changes in San Francisco.

But for the personal reclamation project to officially begin, a strong, accomplished offensive mind must be at the helm. Enter Matt Rhule, who has dragged entire college football programs from the gridiron underworld through dazzling offensive antics.

When Rhule took over Temple, they were picking up the pieces after Al Golden left for Miami. After a two-win debut, Rhule had the team at .500 before consecutive 10-win seasons. That led to a Big 12 gig at Baylor, where he transformed a one-win team into a Sugar Bowl contender within three seasons. One of Rhule’s primary weapons, Denzel Mims, became a second-round pick of the Jets’.

A familiar face in a stocked arsenal

Despite an ugly five-win ledger, Carolina had a lot of things to be proud of last season. All but three of their losses came by a single possession as the team remained competitive in a year where McCaffrey was limited to three games. But their inability to close games and earn points on late possessions doomed them to be buried in the power NFC South, wasting a 3-2 start.

Manning the quarterback role was Teddy Bridgewater in his first full-time starting job since Minnesota’s star-crossed season in 2015. While Bridgewater’s story is one of the most inspiring in football…regaining a starting position after a non-contact training camp injury in 2016 threatened to derail his career…questions have been raised as to whether he can hold the responsibilities of a full-time franchise role. Rhule did not commit to Bridgewater under center in his year-end statements.

“Teddy is here. I have a lot of respect for him. I believe in what he can do. I’ve seen glimpses, flashes of us as an offense looking really good,” Rhule said, per ESPN’s David Newton. “With regards to the draft and players, we’ll look at every opportunity to have the best we can have at every position, and that includes the quarterback position.”

Bridgewater is set to enter the second year of a three-year, $63 million deal inked last offseason. While Bridgewater has some experience with the Jets organization through the early stages of his comeback endeavors through the 2017 preseason, it’s unlikely the Jets would want to take on that price tag, unless they want to go with a stopgap option.

When it comes to a trade destination, Carolina is stocked with several offensive weapons, including Robby Anderson, with whom Darnold worked over his first two years in New York. Anderson mentioned that he “loved Sam” shortly before he hit the free market. Reuniting with a familiar face, as well as one of the most electrifying rushing talents in the league in McCaffrey, would help move Carolina in Darnold’s corner. Even with the loss of Samuel, the team seems well pleased with the emergence of DJ Moore as well, though they’ll likely look to upgrade their depth come draft weekend in Cleveland. While the blocking (which includes Anderson’s fellow former Jet Pat Elflein) leaves something to be desired, it’s unlikely that Darnold has had protection of Moton’s caliber…save for probably the one season he had with Mekhi Becton last season.

No matter what happens with Darnold, the Jets will be staring at questions that will take months, probably even years, to be answered. But if they’re opting to move on from Darnold, Carolina might be their best, and possibly only, option.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets Head Coaching Candidates: Joe Brady

New York Jets, Joe Brady

With the New York Jets now sitting at an 0-11 record with only five games to go, it is apparent the team needs a change of pace. That is likely to come in the form of a. Full-scale rebuild, starting with the coaching staff. As the team will likely move quickly with their coaching search, I decided to take an individual deep dive into some of the guys who could lead the New York Jets into the next era. This begins with Carolina Panthers Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady.

Who is Joe Brady?

Joe Brady was born in 1989 in Miami Lakes, Florida. Brady played wide receiver in high school and earned an opportunity to play College Football at Willam & Mary. After a college playing career there, Brady begins his coaching career as a Linebackers coach before becoming a grad assistant at Penn State. Then, Brady got an opportunity of a lifetime to serve under Sean Payton as an Offensive Assistant. Payton saw a lot of potential with Brady, but when he took a gamble on heading to the college level under coach Ed Orgeron at LSU, Payton thought he was making a mistake.

Looking back, that chance Coach O took on Brady, and he took on a young and hungry LSU paid off immensely. When Coach O handed Brady the keys to the LSU offense, he revamped it and took it from the 38th ranked offense in the country to the 1st ranked offense in the country in just one season.

The offense was so explosive that they were able to roll over competition on the way to their National Championship. Along with that, he was crucial in the development of now Bengals starting quarterback Joe Burrow. In Burrow’s Heisman campaign, he had a 76.3 completion percentage that produced a line of 5,671 yds, 60 TDs, and 6 INTs. Not only was the passing attack spectacular, the rushing attack was spectacular. Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 1,414 yards and 16 scores, which only led him to be a first-rounder.

While on the topic of talent, I would be remiss without mentioning all the NFL Draft picks that came from last year’s offense and have excelled at the next level. Arguably the top rookie QB, RB, and WR are all LSU products. Now, this begged the question of how would Brady translate to the NFL, and he has answered that with emphatic success.

Joe Brady in the NFL

When Matt Rhule, a guy the Jets were heavily interested in before Adam Gase jumped from the college ranks to Carolina, he brought rising star Joe Brady with him. Brady has not disappointed. Brady inherited an offense ranked 27th in all of football in 2019 and has brought them to the 7th best offense in the NFL in only 10 games. With 6 games to go along with the impending return of Christian McCaffery, that ranking can only improve.

With McCaffery out, though, the offense has still hummed along perfectly fine. Guys like Curtis Samuel and Mike Davis have stood out in a big way, along with an impressive season from former Jets receiver Robby Anderson. The offense is innovative and unique, and the success he received at LSU has absolutely translated seamlessly to the next level. With a talent group that isn’t even on par with what it could be, Brady has built a resume capable of being a head coach, and at 31 years old, he would be a fresh, innovative hire, but why the Jets?

Why would he be a good fit?

The Jets have tried everything in the past few years. Todd Bowles was a discipline heavy defensive coordinator who was supposed to carry over the hard work culture built under Rex Ryan. Bowles failed to get on the same page with the management and could not gain control over the locker room after a strong first season. Then the Jets hired Adam Gase. This was a hire that was not received well, but fans set out to give him the benefit of the doubt. He has been absolutely awful, and the coach who was supposed to bring a head coaching background has only brought incompetence.

Joe Brady would be the anti-Bowles/Gase hire. He is a fresh, innovative mind along the lines of Sean McVay and Kyle Shannahan and would immediately revitalize the franchise. Not only that, but with 98 million dollars in cap space, a renowned general manager in Joe Douglas, and a plethora of draft capital, the resources are there to build a competitive team that would work around Brady’s strengths. Not only that but pairing Trevor Lawerence and Joe Brady is the kind of tandem that excites everyone repping the Green and White.

Brady would be the best offensive-minded coach the Jets could grab, but is he a leader? Brady is 31 years old and inexperienced. If Brady can step up and show he is capable of being a leader in the interviews, he could be the easy favorite to be the coach. However, if he does not seem like a guy who could instill a winning culture in New York and mentor Trevor Lawerence, then maybe he is not the right hire. With that said, I firmly believe Brady deserves and should be the next head coach of the New York Jets.

How Tua, Joe Brady Impact the New York Giants Draft

Tua Tagovailoa

The New York Giants may have received some inspiring news outside of their organization for their NFL Draft plans on Tuesday. Everyone knows how the quarterback position can make NFL teams do some pretty wild and creative things.  The Giants could be in prime position to capitalize.

When will Tua Tagovailoa be ready?

In November, Tua Tagovailoa had major hip surgery after sustaining a season-ending injury against Mississippi State.  Many wondered how significant the injury would be to the mobility of one of the most sought after QB prospects in quite some time.  On Tuesday, Tua and the NFL received some promising news.

Tagovailoa’s agent, Leigh Steinberg, reported that the quarterback could be back to throwing and working out before next month’s NFL Combine.  Although he will be at the Combine, he will not be participating in the NFL’s workout.  Instead, expect Tua to show off his recovery in a scheduled throwing session before the Combine, or at Alabama’s pro day in March.

Who is Joe Brady?

Also on Tuesday, the Carolina Panthers announced the hiring of LSU QB coach, Joe Brady, as their offensive coordinator.  Many New York Giants fans may be familiar with that name, as he has been linked to Matt Rhule throughout the hiring process.

Joe Brady has quickly become one of the hottest names in the coaching ranks.  A grade assistant at Penn State from 2015 to 2016, Brady found himself making quite a leap into the NFL.  After his stint at PSU, Brady was hired by the New Orleans Saints as an offensive assistant from 2017 to 2018.  That is when LSU came calling, making Brady their passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach.

This past season, Joe Brady was honored with the Broyles Award, given to college footballs top assistant coach.  His work with eventual Heisman Trophy winner, Joe Burrow, has been recognized as one of the greatest seasons ever.  The Ohio State transfer finished off his Heisman season by breaking the FBS single-season record for touchdown passes with 60, including 12 in the College Football Playoff alone.  That success paid off, not only for the eventual 1st overall pick in Burrow but also catapulting Brady into the offensive coordinator role with the Carolina Panthers.

How does this help the New York Giants?

The Giants, picking 4th overall in April’s draft, could be in prime position to capitalize on what could be a rush on top QB prospects.

The Miami Dolphins, picking 5th, have been linked to Tua Tagovailoa for nearly more than a year.  The phrase “Tank for Tua” was often iterated following a Dolphins loss in the 2019 season.  With five picks in the first two rounds, including three in the first, Miami has all the ammo necessary to ensure that they get the coveted quarterback.  They may aim to trade up above the New York Giants, knowing that the Lions, who pick 3rd, could also be a potential partner for another team in the QB market.  It seems unlikely that the Washington Redskins would be willing to give up the highly regarded Chase Young, but what if Miami calls with an offer they can’t refuse?

Another team of intrigue is the Carolina Panthers.  Cam Newton’s time with the Panthers seems like it has a real chance of being over.  The oft-injured QB is heading into the final year of his contract.  If the Panthers were to move on from Cam, he would free up more than $19 million in cap space and cost only a $2 million cap hit.  So how does this help the Giants?

Panthers give New York Giants another option.

The Panthers seem poised to claw into the new era with changes across the board.  Hiring the young Matt Rhule and bringing in an even younger, quarterback savvy offensive coordinator screams overhaul.  Bringing in a guy that turned Joe Burrow from transfer to record-setting Heisman winner, National Champion and likely 1st round pick, could spell QB change in Charlotte. Carolina may not have the same resources as Miami would to sway Washington, or even Detroit, but what about the Giants?

It’s no secret that the Giants need all the help they can get.  Unfortunately, that may mean a process extending beyond this season.  Would an offer of multiple draft picks, including a pick or two in the 2021 Draft, be enough to get Dave Gettleman to trade down for the first time in his career?  If Carolina does move on from Newton, expect them to try to get into position for Oregon QB Justin Herbert.  Herbert, a 6’6″passer with excellent mobility, often draws comparisons to none other than Cam Newton. It seems like a perfect fit to me.

Is the Chase Young dream still alive?

Probably not, but let’s speculate for a minute.  What IF the Miami Dolphins use multiple 1st round picks to sway the Redskins out of the 2nd pick?  What IF the Panthers, Chargers, or even Raiders get Detroit to budge from the 3rd pick in order to get Justin Herbert?  I know, I know… that’s a lot of “if’s” and a lot of luck.  However, is it that unlikely?  Could the Giants still end up with the pass-rushing prospect they’ve needed?

New York Giants: Matt Rhule Says Agent Handled Negotiations With Giants

New York Giants considering Matt Rhule for head coach.

Joe Judge came from behind to win the race to become the next  head coach of the New York Giants – in perhaps a quicker resolution than many expected. There was a lot of talk about how the Giants should interview Matt Rhule and consider him as one of the top options for their head coaching job, but that didn’t materialize according to what Rhule has said about taking the Carolina job.

He’s said that Carolina was the only team that he spoke to – they would, of course, win the competition to make Rhule their head coach.

His agent handled the talks with the Giants, who were set to interview Rhule in addition to the Panthers… But the Giants chose not to fight for Rhule and instead went with Joe Judge, who had impressed the front office in his own interview.

Was it the right move to let Rhule go to the Panthers without as much as pushing for an interview, especially with Rhule reportedly having a somewhat favorable stance towards joining the Giants?

That depends on how you look at it, mostly. There is a chance that the Giants will stay in their current spot while the Panthers turn around under the leadership of Rhule, who himself was a popular candidate because of his history turning programs around at the college level, but on the other hand Rhule might not have been what the Giants were looking for in the first place.

It’s important to remember that Rhule still only has a few of experience as the head coach at a major college, and the jump between mid-major colleges and the NFL is huge. In all likelihood, the Giants just preferred the head coaching candidate with a vision that impressed them and more NFL experience to back it up.

That’s not to say that Judge has the best credentials of any candidate himself, coming from the background of a special teams coordinator and transitioning right into being a head coach without coordinating the offense or the defense first, but Judge has earned high praise from two of the greatest head coaches of all time and that’s definitely worth something.

“Joe can probably coach any position on the field. He does an excellent job of teaching players. He thinks quickly and the game comes easy to him. He understands concepts, adjustments and fundamental technique,” Bill Belichick told Patriots Wire.

Nick Saban, the legendary head coach at Alabama, also had similar sentiments. “Joe is one of the brightest young coaches in our profession, and I think he will do a tremendous job as the head coach of the New York Giants. They are getting an extremely smart football coach who is very loyal, organized and diligent about getting the job done,” Saban said.

Will the Giants regret not meeting with Rhule face to face and only handling negotiations through his agent? Possibly, but it’s still too early to tell, and there’s no reason to believe right now that the Giants don’t have a bright future ahead of them with Judge. We can only see how both head coaches perform before determining if the Giants “missed out” this offseason.

New York Giants lose their top target, Matt Rhule, to Carolina Panthers

New York Giants considering Matt Rhule for head coach.

The New York Giants were down to what seemed to be their top target in the head coaching search, and once again, they let him slip away after his desire to meet in New Jersey rather than Texas.

Rhule, who met with the Carolina Panther on Tuesday morning with the expectation that he would interview with the Giants later on in the day, never even made it out of the Panther’s facilities before finalizing a deal.

The Giants are now in a disadvantageous position, losing out on Rhule, forcing them to settle on another option. Don “Wink” Martindale seems to be the most reliable target available after losing Rhule, who will leave the Baylor program to pursue an NFL career. This is a devastating blow for Big Blue, who once again waited too long.

New York Giants news, 1/7 – Are the Giants making another costly mistake in their head coaching search?

New York Giants, Pat Shurmur

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

Fourscore two years ago, the New York Giants were in the market for a head coach after firing Ben McAdoo. After taking far too long to settle on their next HC, they decided on Pat Shurmur, who had previous experience with the Cleveland Browns in the same role. The Browns fired him after two seasons — maybe that should’ve been a good indication of his abilities.

Nonetheless, Shurmur was hired, and the Giants proceeded to win nine games over two seasons. However, rookie passer Daniel Jones’ progression was excellent, as he posted three games with four touchdowns or more. While Jones developed, Shurmur’s abilities as a head coach remained stagnant — queue the time management mishaps and personnel decisions.

The present-day Giants are in a similar situation as they were two years ago. They’re in the market for a new head coach, and they’ve already missed out on the two options with the most coaching experience in the NFL. They’re down to college coaches and choices that have no experience in the vacant role the Giants are selling.

The question is — are they taking too long with their interview process?

So far, they’ve interviews Joe Judge, special teams coordinator for the Patriots, Don “Wink” Martindale, defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, Eric Bieniemy, offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs, Kris Richard, Dallas Cowboys’ passing game coordinator, and former Greeny Bay Packers’ head coach, Mike Mccarthy.

Out of all the interviews, the Giants called McCarthy back in for one last chat, in which he declined and signed on with the Cowboys. It seems as if Big Blue is not wasting any time in their search, but the reality is, they’ve already lost out on the two most qualified options.

The Giants will interview Matt Rhule on Tuesday, who is supposedly their top target, but his lack of experience in the NFL has posed questions. They must pull the trigger on a new head coach within the next ten days, though, as the best options will be off the table.

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Emily Iannaconi – How does Tua Tagovailoa’s 2020 NFL Draft decision impact the Giants?
Paul Schwartz – Matt Rhule clear Giants coaching favorite after Cowboys hire Mike McCarthy

Giants.com – Cover 3: What’s next for Giants?

New York Giants are quickly running out of time in head coaching search

New York Giants considering Matt Rhule for head coach.

Two years ago, the New York Giants took their sweet time finding a head coach to lead them into the future. In fact, they took so long, they were forced to settle on Pat Shurmur, letting all of the premium candidates slip away. Fast forward to the present day, and the Giants are reenacting their mistake from two years ago — failing to make a decision quickly and grab their guy.

Reality is striking quickly, as Ron Rivera has signed on with the Washington Redskins and Mike McCarthy with the Dallas Cowboys, two of the most proven coaches available this offseason. Now, the Giants have to make a decision, unless they already have.

The fact that the Giants didn’t pounce on McCarthy should tell us everything we need to know — they have their sights set elsewhere. With Matt Rhule preparing to interview on Tuesday, it’s becoming clear that the Giants have a preference, but they’re losing immense leverage with every passing day.

The New York Giants need to be prepared to give power to their next head coach:

It’s expected that Rhule will want more control of the team, which would force GM Dave Gettleman to take a step back and let the head coach implement his style. While we can speculate whether Rhule will want more control, the Giants still have to go through the formal interview process and find their man.

There are still quality candidates remaining, despite Rivera and McCarthy finalizing deals elsewhere. Kansas City Chiefs’ Eric Bieniemy remains a quality option (check out this article on him), Don “Wink” Martindale is also a potential fit, considering his defensive mentality.

I like the defensive-minded head coaches, opposite of what Shurmur brought to the Giants. It allows the offensive coordinator to have a more impactful role and focus on a single system, rather than trying to lead every unit with benevolence. The head coaching options this time around are far more systematic and grounded than Shurmur, who is known as the “quarterback whisperer.”

The development of Daniel Jones is something that Shurmur can be credited for. However, his coaching ability in-game was abysmal. Giants ownership will be looking to bring in a coach who can establish a sense of discipline and toughness.

New York Giants: Taking A Look At Sean Ryan- Matt Rhule’s Likely Offensive Coordinator

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.