Giants eyeing Weis, Crennel
Coordinators get chance to audition
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi was perched in the back row of the West side of the Giants Stadium press box during last night's Patriots-Jets game. He was there, though he couldn't say so on the record for fear of tampering charges, to watch two potential candidates for his head coaching job.
Was the receiver option thrown by David Givens in the fourth quarter a negative for Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis? Was the blitz on third down with 6:13 remaining in the game that led to a sack of Chad Pennington and forced the Jets to punt a positive for defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel?Accorsi wasn't able to say.
Crennel and Weis, both with a Giants pedigree, are high on Accorsi's list of candidates to replace Jim Fassel, who was fired last week. It appears former Boston College and Jacksonville Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin is the favorite, but Crennel and Weis, in no particular order, appear to be contingency candidates.
"I'm just trying to gather as much information as I can," said Accorsi, who was to rejoin the Giants in Dallas this morning. "I can get more done here than I can sitting in a hotel room.
"We're very impressed with the list [of candidates] we have compiled. We're not limiting our scope [to offensive or defensive expertise] because we want to make certain we're not eliminating the top people out there."
Weis and Crennel were careful with their words after the game. "Here's the problem I have," said Weis. "I have a great deal of respect for Jim Fassel and obviously the Giant organization. I grew up in Jersey so anything I say could and will be used against me in a court of law. Growing up here and growing up a Giants fan, of course you want it. Answering that question in the wrong way, it sounds like your politicking for the job. Let's let the chips fall where they may. If Mr. Kraft and the Giants said I could talk to them, I'm not gonna lie and say otherwise, but in reality it's out of my hands right now. If that happens that would be a good thing."
Weis, who grew up a half-hour from Giants Stadium, said that the way the Fassel firing was handled was in the best interest of both parties.
"Rather than just consider it a lame-duck situation, it was one where, `Hey, we're going to finish out the year and finish what we started and move on.' I think both for Jim and the Giant organization, they handled it as professionally as they could. One thing people forget being a career assistant myself, there are a lot of families involved. It's all the assistants and all those kids. It's not a lot of fun having to uproot your family. It's the whole package and I feel for them to tell you the truth. I've done it plenty of times myself."
Asked whether he felt he was ready to be a head coach, he said, "I would like to think at this stage, I've been in the league for 14 years. Every assistant coach, not just Charlie Weis, would like the opportunity to run their own show. For me to say I'm any better than anyone else would be foolish."
Crennel, who has produced one of the best defenses, if not the best, in the game, has been unfazed by the talk. "To this point it has not been a distraction, because they're just rumors," he said. "I'm elated that my name is being thrown out there and rumored to be considered for jobs. Until someone calls to ask permission, it's just a rumor. In any profession you're in, everyone wants to rise to the top. I'm not different than anybody else. I definitely would like to be the head coach and run my own program. If that opportunity arises I will be elated about it."
Accorsi said he wouldn't be averse to hiring someone lacking head coaching experience. "Most of the coaches in the league went from coordinator to head coach," he said. "It's a risk, but if you have the right person who fits what you're trying to accomplish, it's a chance you take."
Under NFL rules, Accorsi could ask the Patriots for permission to speak with the assistant coaches during the week following the regular season if the Patriots have a first-round bye. Otherwise, he'd have to wait until the Patriots' season is over.
Crennel and Weis both have Giants roots. Is that important?
"Oh no, not at all," said Accorsi. "It's important that they have NFL experience and that they're good teachers."
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.