He may not have been good enough for the irrational fanbase that is Tennessee football, but Greg Schiano would be a most interesting name for the New York Giants to consider in their head coaching search.
Schiano may not be highly regarded, given his flameout in the NFL after two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But this Jersey guy has built or been a part of a winner nearly everywhere he has gone in college, including building Rutgers from nothing into a team that won games, got ranked, made bowl games and won them.
That his lack of immediate success with Tampa Bay, who has been a combined 20-44 in the four seasons since he was fired, certainly is not an indicator of his coaching chops. That organization was a dumpster fire before Schiano and likely won’t change anytime soon.
Schiano once built a winner at Rutgers, a school that was a laughingstock and truthfully, the Giants need his type of discipline in their locker room right now. They have their own rebuild ready to take place and few are better at doing the impossible than this man.
This is a team that has seen multiple players suspended during their recently-completed 3-13 season. For an organization that has prided itself on character over the years, Schiano folds into the Tom Coughlin mold and mindset.
Suspended players, an alleged “cancer” in the secondary and a primadonna prone to tantrums in Odell Beckham Jr. could all certainly use this toe-the-line mentality that Schiano brings. They might bristle, some might be traded away but Schiano can clear out this locker room filled with overpaid malcontents and headcases.
The likes of Pete Carroll show that a lack of success in the NFL in their first go-around doesn’t exactly portend that a second tenure in the league must go poorly. A defensive mastermind, Schiano was endorsed by Bill Belichick for the Tampa Bay job and certainly got a strong endorsement in recent weeks from the New England Patriots head coach following the Tennessee disaster.
Perhaps more than his coaching acumen and his beyond solid resume at Ohio State as defensive coordinator, Schiano can also bring an intricate knowledge of the talent at the college level.
He knows the Big Ten up and down, especially when it comes to an Ohio State team that should land multiple selections in the first round once again. For a team that has struck out in the draft with a few big whiffs in recent years, this can be a big advantage.
That he is a defensive coach is also a plus given that this was the league’s second-best scoring defense in 2016, a group with individual talent and some young depth that needs to rebuild if this team will become a playoff team once again.
But beyond the legacy that Schiano has left in places across college football and yes, even in the NFL, he understands football. In particular, football in the tri-state area.
Schiano was born and bred in north Jersey and played his college football across state lines in Bucknell. He knows the area from his years building a winner at Rutgers and recruits it currently with Ohio State.
A Jersey guy, his tough exterior and swagger is reminiscent of another Jersey guy who had some success with the Giants and even the New York Jets. While Schiano would love a legacy like a Bill Parcells, there is something about the man who built Rutgers up from a doormat into something respectable that is akin to the most successful head coach in Giants history.
Keep in mind that a couple years into his coaching legacy, Giants fans wanted Parcells kicked to the curb too. If Parcells was coaching today, Tampa Bay would have fired him before he got to his first Super Bowl. Fact.
Schiano may not be the perfect head coach. He comes with his limitations, his flaws. But for a Giants team in need of a rebuild, his tough Jersey manner is what is needed for this team and organization right here, right now.
And no one knows right here better than Schiano. After all, he is one of us.