Make no mistake, the New York Giants were serious about bringing Hue Jackson in for a head-coach interview and were stunned Wednesday to learn that the former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator had accepted the Cleveland Browns' head-coaching job before even flying in to New Jersey to meet with them. Even if he wasn't going to be THE GUY, it's clear the Giants were late to the party on Jackson, who had the Browns and 49ers waiting for him Sunday after the Bengals' playoff loss Saturday night and didn't even hear from the Giants until after those interviews were complete.
But that's water under the Big Blue bridge, and the fact remains that the Giants still need a coach to replace Tom Coughlin. All indications are that Jackson was the last guy they were planning to interview and that they'd like to get this wrapped up this week or next. The question is whether the surprising disappearance of Jackson from the field pushes them to pick someone from their original list of candidates or prompts them to expand the search and lengthen the timetable.
At this point, the Giants have interviewed offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, former Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase (who has since been hired to coach the Miami Dolphins), former Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone and former Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith. Of those, Spagnuolo, Marrone and Smith are the only ones with previous NFL head-coaching experience, which is believed to be a strong consideration.
I wouldn't be surprised to see them go with McAdoo or Smith at this point, and I know there are some people there who were high on Marrone when this process began. But it's also possible the Giants don't think they've found their guy yet and could wait to interview candidates like Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott or New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels when their seasons end. They'd be foolish not to at least call Alabama coach Nick Saban and find out whether he'd like to give the NFL another shot, though at this point I have not been told they're interested in going that way. And I still think former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith is someone not to overlook.
But all indications I've received are that the Giants want to get this wrapped up soon, get a coaching staff in place and get going on their offseason plan. So while it's not crazy to think they could expand the search, the more likely scenario is that they pick someone from the group they've already interviewed. We should know soon which way they're going.