Giants assistants will be hot coaching candidates

When hot head coaching candidates are debated, Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo usually is mentioned, rightfully, near or at the top of the list.

But New York’s other coordinator, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, also has coached his way into the conversation. Since Gilbride took over as the Giants’ offensive coordinator, New York has posted a 22-8 record. Quarterback Eli Manning has grown into the type of player worthy of the No. 1 overall pick. And the Giants are amongst the league leaders in every important offensive category –- second in points per game (28.3), second in rushing yards per game (162.3), second in giveaways with only seven, fifth in total yards per game (371.4).

An example of Gilbride’s coaching acumen was on display during Sunday’s decisive victory over Dallas. One week earlier, the Giants offense scored one touchdown in five red-zone trips. The very next week, after working on it in practice, the Giants offense scored five touchdowns in five red-zone trips. Coaching, with Gilbride’s influence all over it.

Gilbride got a chance to serve as San Diego’s head coach in 1997-98. He, like others before him, might turn out to be better in his second stint as a head coach.

And in a season when there could be plenty of head coaching changes and there seem to be a shortage of high-profile head coaching candidates, two other offensive-minded coaches are expected to get looks. Tennesee offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, who has revived the Titans offensive attack, has gotten head coaching interviews before and is expected to get more again.

And former Giants head coach Jim Fassel, who nearly landed the Washington Redskins job last off-season, would love to get back into coaching and a team such as the Oakland Raiders might be an ideal fit. Oakland could use somebody to work with its former No. 1 overall pick, JaMarcus Russell, and Fassel might be able to do for Russell what he once did for another of his pupils, John Elway.

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