If past success and proven track record are what the Giants are looking for, their Friday interview with Mike McCarthy will pretty quickly lead to a job offer that will make him the 19th head coach in franchise history.
McCarthy, 56, won more than 61 percent of his games in 13 years with the Packers, and his record season 125-77-2 is great compared to anyone else. He won a Super Bowl and brought the Packers to four NFC title games. He made it to the playoffs in eight consecutive years. Heck, there's a street named after him in Green Bay, right near Lambeau Field, opposite the practice field named after Ray Nitschke. McCarthy won more games with the Packers than someone named Vince Lombardi.
For McCarthy, being hired by the Giants is anything but a formality, described by a Green Bay source as "Pat Shurmur with a Resumeé".
Giants co-owner John Mara, general manager Dave Gettleman and deputy general director Kevin Abrams – co-owner Steve Tisch, who will be on the phone – needed to know why McCarthy's time with the Packers ended with so much fuss He had plunged into a Pittsburgh man who had once was the epitome of Blue Collar Green Bay and had secured the team's last Lombardi Trophy.
The source blamed the ugly end of McCarthy's long career for being "stale" and no longer cracked in his relationship with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
McCarthy is clearly attuned to all the negativity that followed him through the door in Green Bay. He went through a well-planned campaign to reinvent his image and inform the media about the details of his break. It might as well mean, "How I spent my year in exile." He put together a group of his former assistants and studied every game of the 2019 season to keep up with trends and players in the league.
Here are some of the answers / problems McCarthy needs to address to prove he's suitable for the Giants:
What will he do with Saquon?
McCarthy's version of the West Coast offense usually included nondescript setbacks, and sometimes he forgot or ignored the running game. With Saquon Barkley in the squad, this quarterback-centered system needs to be adjusted to have such a special talent – an adjustment that McCarthy may find difficult to guarantee.
In year 2, Giants ownership became clear that the staff that Shurmur was putting together was not good enough and in some cases – defensive backfield, offensive play – could have affected the development of the younger players. During his absence, McCarthy called on friends like Jim Haslett and Frank Cignetti to help him analyze events in the NFL. Cignetti spent two years with the Giants and worked as head coach with the quarterbacks during Ben McAdoo's time. He left no positive impression in the building. The 64-year-old Haslett last played an NFL defense with the Redskins in 2014. McCarthy will have to convince the Giants that he can put together an inspired team and adopt some of the newer ideas of college play.
This is a case where McCarthy doesn't ask for more say in personnel decisions. He would be more involved in compiling his roster with Gettleman than in Green Bay with Ted Thompson.
McCarthy was one of the highest paid NFL coaches and earned $ 9 million a year in the neighborhood. Will he accept less to get to the giants? Are the Giants ready to make McCarthy the highest paid head coach in franchise history? So that we don't forget, Shurmur has three years left for his contract.
McCarthy prefers a large staff that is staffed with staff, and is concerned with analytics despite some outside ideas. He wanted as much information as possible and had a large team of analysts at Green Bay who provided it to him. Gettleman promises the Giants will continue to upgrade their analytics department, but will it be enough for McCarthy?
Those who know McCarthy best, caution against judging him by his rather mild media information, and insist that he has a committed personality and is particularly keen to remedy Rodgers. The collapse was more about Rodgers wanting everything in his own way – he has a long history of estranging those closest to him – and that he wasn't ready to adapt to new ideas. Still, the giants have to find out what happened down here.
McCarthy's Quarterback School is well known and could accelerate the significant progress Shurmur has made with Daniel Jones. McAdoo – a McCarthy student – with Eli Manning was amazed at the implementation of this system, especially the aspect of footwork when playing the position. After seeing the sweetie turn sour with Rodgers, McCarthy endeavors to put his stamp on a young non-diva quarterback, and the Giants will want to know everything about it.