Keidel: Giants Shouldn't Hire A High-Profile Assistant Coach Like Jason Garrett


The Giants shocked the media and masses when they hired Joe Judge as their head coach. And many of us have mused over the reasons. Maybe they just love him. Maybe they love that he won't push back when the brass leans on him. Maybe they just love the rare anonymity that comes with hiring an unproven coach with no Q-Rating.

If they love their new coach's low profile, then they would be wise to keep a couple high-profile coaches off his staff. 

The Giants asked Jerry Jones for permission to speak with Jason Garrett before the former Cowboys head coach was officially unemployed. Had the G-Men called to offer Garrett the same job for the Giants, then we would have understood. It would have been the wrong move, but we would have understood. 

But for the Giants to consider Garrett as an offensive coordinator is an even worse call. A career backup QB who is forever tied to Dallas, Garrett also lived in New Jersey as a Princeton grad and spent his final season clutching a clipboard behind Eli Manning. But the last thing the Giants need is to have the biggest name and most experienced coach standing next to their actual head coach every Sunday. What happens if the Giants stumble to an 0-4 start? What if a player or two happen to morph into manic divas? What if a star player is seen barking at Judge on the sideline? Every dim day will advance an agenda to get Garrett under the headset. So, the last thing the current coach needs is to wonder if the next coach is standing five feet away. 

Next is Freddie Kitchens, who should have gotten this Cleveland. Instead, GM John Dorsey anointed Kitchens - who had never been a coordinator - the head coach of the Browns. Kitchens was a fun guy who was just grateful for the gig and had a bromance with Baker Mayfield, which led to Kitchens leapfrogging one job to land one for which he was wholly unprepared. 

Freddie Kitchens the head coach of the Cleveland Browns watches the action during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio.Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Despite all the physical talent on the Browns, some of us saw through the surface and realized there were corporeal land mines all over the roster, players with epic egos and people with conflicting interests. Kitchens was not even close to being ready to manage a tinder box like those Browns. He was mercifully removed after one season on the job. 

In fact, Kitchens still must prove he can even be an NFL coordinator. A fledgling head coach like Joe Judge must surround himself with wisdom and some proven pro chops, not an assistant just trying to find his level as a football coach. Think of Sean McVay hiring Wade Philips to run the Rams defense, not a stern 38-year-old Judge hiring a fun-loving 45-year-old who just got chewed up by the most dysfunctional franchise in the NFL. Freddie Kitchens may need a year of decompression, if not decontamination, just to regain his coaching mojo. 

Joe Brady would have been great despite his youth, but the 30-year-old wunderkind, who left the Saints to design LSU's nuclear passing attack, has just signed to be the OC for the Panthers. Think more low profile, like Jim Caldwell or Bill Callahan, both of whom have been head coaches but seem more likely to accept their lot as lifelong coordinators. Perhaps, Big Blue would consider Chad O'Shea, who is 47 and has been an assistant with the Patriots, Vikings and Chiefs. This season, O’Shea was the offensive coordinator for the Dolphins, so he won't feel like he deserves Judge's job.  

The best pick would be Caldwell or Callahan, both of whom have oodles of NFL experience, are equally capable and modest me and might like a look at the world from the Big Apple. They are 64 and 63, respectively, have had two turns at NFL coaching gigs and are mature enough to school the Giants' rookie head coach without stealing his headset. 

You can follow Jason on Twitter: @JasonKeidel